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Self-sustaining as in no filtration or no water changes? I believe it's possible if you plant your tank heavily, since my TDS stayed at a constant level for a month even though I fed my shrimp twice a week.

Edit: This is a tank with sponge filtration and a small internal filter filled with Seachem Matrix.
 

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It's nigh impossible to create a totally self-sustaining environment in a tank as small as a 10 gallon. Assuming "self-sustaining" means no water changes, no filtration, no feedings, etc.

You should define what you mean by self-sustaining. Are you looking for a tank that will require you to do minimal amounts of maintenance, or are you looking for a tank that will 100% maintain itself?

The only self-sustaining environments I've created HAVE to be outside, and they're mostly green water. They only require tap water top offs and sunlight. Dem ghost shrimp tubs.
 

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you'd probably want a bigger tank and it would have to be heavily planted. and id say have a lot of floaters like frogbit or water lettuce to keep nitrates down. but you'd still need to probably do top offs anyways. water changes are like simulated rainfall for your tank.
 

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its not to hard really. that is how alot of my tanks are well were i started using sponge filters this summer cause the tanks got hot. but i mainly just do top offs and a water change maybe once a month but prob like every couple of months. alot depends on the shrimp and the plants and substrate you use. if you really want to have a go at it here is what i would do

1. get as big a tank as you can ( more water more stabel)
2. get a soil based substrate ie something that will feed the plants like eco complete. ( ada is good for plants and shrimp but it will lower the ph so depending on the shrimp it might not be the best for you. most of my tanks are miracle grow organic with pool filter sand cap)
3. PLANTS, PLANTS, PLANTS!!! all kinds of plants. i would go with mosses something that will suck up nitates ( horn wort, duck weed {eww} frog bit) most floaters will do. and i like crypts cause they dont need ferts (see #2 for a reason) and they like low light
4. light is important. i would go with what ever standard light come with the tank but change out the bulbs for daylight bulb ie something like 6500k is good ( i use GE daylight bulbs and they are awsome cfl bulbs)
 

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no they are not i have had a 20 long set up for over a year doing that and with out any kind of of filter at all. plants have to have light or they die. the only thing i do to the 20 long is top offs and all the gups and plecos in it do just fine. i did add air to the shrimp tanks for the fact they cant really handle hight temps. and no mater what you do you will always have to top off a tank or it will drie up over time.
 

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Not gonna quote the water change part.

I stand by my statement, they are low maintenance and not self-sustaining.

I don't know if the OP wants a true self-sustaining tank or just a low maintenance one.

You can easily have a tank with no filter, no water changes, and no cleaning; all you need are plants, light, and top offs. That however, is not self-sustaining.

Self-sustaining aquariums rely exclusively on bacteria and plants for the processing of nitrogen. They use light to create their own food in the forms of algae and microscopic critter cultures for the inhabitants that reside inside, which in turn provide the nitrogen the plants and bacteria need to survive.

To become "self-sustaining" you need to remove the maintenance aspect and to complete the cycle naturally, otherwise YOU would be sustaining the tank. At the lowest level, you can get away with nothing more than top offs to replace evaporation, which is what I do to my outdoor tubs, they get nothing but top offs because they are truly self-sustaining.
 

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I agree with AVN, no such for shrimp tanks, the shrimp might live but not thrive or grow right.

( ada is good for plants and shrimp but it will lower the ph so depending on the shrimp it might not be the best for you. most of my tanks are miracle grow organic with pool filter sand cap)

I can tell you first had for shrimp tanks Mirical grow organic and pool filter sand is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. you will get random ammonia spikes as it release gas as it breaks down and then one day it will spike the ammonia sky high and kill everything. I had this happen in my CRS tank, wiped out 1000's of $$$$of shrimp
 

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A self-sustaining environment is very hard to build, the balance of nutrient output and consumption needs to be perfectly balanced in order to achieve a stable algae growth needed to support the food chain. It's hard to get started, but once it starts it will take care of itself 99% of the time.

Nature does this perfectly, so in order to get a truly self-sustaining environment you would need to replicate nature. Pretty hard to do with a small tank, especially if your goal is to not maintain it at all.
 

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I had a 10gal RCS tank last year that was very low maintenance. Not self-sustaining, though.
- inch of substrate (I had eco-complete)
- airstone
- heater
- 50-75% of the tank was occupied by java moss
- drop half of an algae wafer in there every other day, if I remember.
- top off the evaporated water every week, if I remember.

The RCS were indeed breeding in that neglected tank.

Eventually I decided that I should spend 5 minutes each sunday to do a water change on the tank -- the anecdotal results were better coloration on the RCS, faster growth of the juvies, and a strong population bloom. The population was so big that I sold close to a couple hundred shrimps locally, and was still to give at least a hundred juvies to my buddy.
 

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The closest type of tank to a self-sustaining tank would be a NPT(Natural Planted Tank). This tank is pretty heavily planted with soil as bottom substrate and gravel on top. It would just need water movement and light.

In my 9 gallon NPT tank I have 20-25 cherry shrimps, yellows, pumpkins and velvets. About 15 Endlers. I leave the light on for 7-8 hrs a day. I have a filter running but only with a sponge and its mostly for water movement. I feed once a week, but very little. I would do a 25% water change once every 2 months.

Everybody seems fine in the tank.
This is my tank if you want to take a look http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=197153

Gluck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok, sorry I was so vague. As self sustaining as possible. A filter is ok an topping off. Water changes once a month just not every week. I'd like to plant it heavily and add shrimps/snails. Looking for the best substrate and plants. Thinking of the fluval edge 12.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The closest type of tank to a self-sustaining tank would be a NPT(Natural Planted Tank). This tank is pretty heavily planted with soil as bottom substrate and gravel on top. It would just need water movement and light.

In my 9 gallon NPT tank I have 20-25 cherry shrimps, yellows, pumpkins and velvets. About 15 Endlers. I leave the light on for 7-8 hrs a day. I have a filter running but only with a sponge and its mostly for water movement. I feed once a week, but very little. I would do a 25% water change once every 2 months.

Everybody seems fine in the tank.
This is my tank if you want to take a look http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=197153

Gluck!
This is beautiful and very similar to what I want looks wise. What kind of soil? Would Ecocomplete be good or the stuff fluval makes for planted tanks?
 

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well when it happens it happens i have been using it for a yr and a half and all is still fine with just the top offs. maybe i just help by doing so many top offs cause of central heat and air where my 55 can lose 5 gallons of water a week who know all i know is what i have and what works for me. sorry if i didnt make the right statments back to my rock i go
 

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Self-Sustaining Tank

Ok, sorry I was so vague. As self sustaining as possible. A filter is ok an topping off. Water changes once a month just not every week. I'd like to plant it heavily and add shrimps/snails. Looking for the best substrate and plants. Thinking of the fluval edge 12.
Hello dream...

Shrimp are even more sensative to traces of nitrogen in the water than aquarium fish. However, you can have a self-sustaing tank that requires only periodic replacement of the tank water that's lost to evaporation. Such a tank must be open to allow the leaves of the emersed plants access to the surrounding air, so the leaves can take in CO2.

Research the land plant "Aglaonema" or Chinese Evergreen. I have a 38 G with no mechanical filtration. The roots of the "Ag" plant are cleaned of all potting soil and then emersed in the tank water. The plant/roots grow by taking in all forms of nitrogen (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate) from the aquatic animal waste and maintain pure water conditions.

B
 

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This is beautiful and very similar to what I want looks wise. What kind of soil? Would Ecocomplete be good or the stuff fluval makes for planted tanks?
Thanks! I actually used Miracle Grow potting soil with ferts. I left the soil in the water for about a week or so. I forgot what that does to it! sorry..

I think Ecocomplete or anything for planted tanks should be good. Most important thing I think is that it the plants need food after the nutrients are sucked dry by the plants. So the shrimp and fish poop is what they use for ferts.

Use this link: http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/el-natural/

Has tons of info on how to get started! Tells you what you need from lighting to soil. It's what I used so this would definitely help. Let me know if you need any help with anything else!

Gluck!
 
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