World in a Jar.

Discussion in 'Heavenly Visions & Echoes' started by kris23, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    its a really fun project... i basically got into electronics and fish-keeping at approximately the same time at a really young age and this is the result of everything i learned so far...

    im currently studying to be a computer engineer but this sort of thing probably reflects something in the environmental or agricultural engineering fields... just goes to show that i still have options...

    combining basic engineering concepts with biology apparently produces manmade ecosystems...
     
  2. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    does temperature change the rate of metabolism?
    and what is the ph of the water normally?
    bet its still alkaline right?
     
  3. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    No, hornwort suffers no effects at any temp that one would experience indoors. Its basically active up to freezing.

    The ph is stable at 8.0+ (no tests but crushed coral gives about 8.5 usually)

    Hornwort may fare better in neutral water but the uninhabited jar is exactly the same in terms of setup and its doing very well with just some co2 and nitrate rich water.

    Its known to do well in all water conditions, just needs to be fed.
     
  4. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    do you wish to scale up then? and can you substitute the nitrate producers?
     
  5. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    it seems to be fine, but i just had to add some pond sludge to keep the plants fertilized so far, the hornwort's activity has increased after the addition of a few things...

    i rearranged the jar, added a few more marimo algae balls, and added plant food tabs with pond sludge to see if i can provide a stable source of nutrients for the plants.

    with all the added stuff, i rarely see the shrimp... but so far it seems very healthy! the hornwort is releasing a massive amount of oxygen and the shrimp are very active within the dark crevices of the jar.


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    only time will tell if there is still more to be done... the jar now looks like a small section of a densely planted aquarium...
     
  6. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    Are you doing in morphology on the changing one celled life in the jar, or do you believe it is predominantly plant vs animal, if there is a distinction?
    My father bought me a microscope when I was a lad, and my brother and i studied plants for the most part as we learned photosynthesis in primary school. I fondly recall him shining the images from the microscope on the wall and comparing it to different animals too.
    We even found bacteria in reconstituted soils from dry lake beds..All very fascintating stuff.
    I bet you have a telescope to eh?
     
  7. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    I wish i had a microscope... would be pretty fun to use. however ones used in actual scientific institutions cost a lot of money...

    the jar was put together mainly with the plants and large organisms in mind. while the bacteria and algae dwelling in the jar are very important, they are also very durable.

    the cultures of single-celled life are far more resilient as a whole compared to a more complex organism like the shrimp or snails. usually, natural conditions that would kill the larger life-forms would hardly put a dent into the simpler ones.

    generally, the evolution and adaptation of single-celled organisms tends to be more rapid than that of complex organisms.

    it would be nice to observe, but since i cannot observe them, i will just have to settle with knowing that they're in there somewhere and focus on factors i can observe like the plants and animals foraging through the jar.
     
  8. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    A jewellers loupe would be a big too large, and I suppose you really need a stage, a light and a 100x magnifier to even appreciate the plants life. I have several microscopes, I wish I could send you one, they are bloody cheap nowadays.
     
  9. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    i guess one of these days, i will go and get me a nice one... but it probably wont be anytime soon...

    just looking around, i see i can get a decent one of solid construction for about $250. not too bad, and if i can get some benefit from using it then it'll be worth it.

    then i can look into just what goes on in these jars (or anywhere else for that matter) in detail...
     
  10. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    Well old man, I shall rummage about in the storage locker and see if I can find the old microscope...you have sparked my interest again. I have a Three year old grandson I want to show a bit of this to.
    Thanx Kris.
     
  11. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    haha its always good to develop healthy interests at a young age..

    setting up a jar like this or simply setting up a small natural aquarium will definitely of aesthetic and educational value...

    the amount of info received from pulling apart each ecosystem component is astounding!
     
  12. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    I recall in my youth understanding photosynthesis at a very early age.
     
  13. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    yea... at the young age, finding out how it works.

    then moving a bit further and eventually trying to find out WHY it all works and comes together...

    then more and more difficult questions arise... its great aint it?
     
  14. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    I wonder if you can determine population density without a microscope.
    I see top predators like the dragonfly and want to know how many different lifeforms have to live and be eaten before the dragonfly recieves its meal.
    Microscopy-UK full menu of microscopy and microscopes on the web

    What are the animal's basic needs? (They are food, water, air, and shelter.)
    What organisms would this animal rely on in order to meet these needs?
    What might happen if some of these organisms were to disappear?
    What organisms rely on this animal for survival?
    How does this animal interact with the non-living things in its environment?
    What might happen to a freshwater ecosystem if this animal were to become extinct?
     
  15. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    its interesting to look at the sort of food-web one would find in an environment...

    in a system like this jar, the order of lifeforms is pretty narrow with shrimp on top, then snails, then the various planktonic creatures that live in the sediment and debris, and finally the plants which consume the byproduct of the breakdown of dead matter...

    increasing the variety of living components would make the system much more interesting... which is why i ordered a mixture of freshwater phytoplankton to add to the jar...

    it should be here tomorrow... or rather it better be here tomorrow... those things cant be tossed around for much longer in the mail...
     
  16. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    I wish we had some dialysis fillters, we could find the parasites too. I just love this sort of thing and miss the old microscope projector.
     
  17. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    I regret to say that the 2 shrimps died Wednesday night...

    The reason was due to oxygen being consumed in the night by the plants that got too large for the system...
    and a rather large algae bloom added to the oxygen drain...

    I suppose I added a little too much fertilizer and plants...

    I was saddened by the fact that I lost the shrimp because I could not foresee this obvious outcome...
    I knew right away what had happened only AFTER they had died...

    The next day, my plankton culture as well as the parts for the 2nd light source for the jars came in...
    I set up the 2nd jar right away as another microcosm.

    The first jar, equipped with the new light source.
    Its 3 times as bright as the first one and consumes about 24w of power

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    The second jar, equipped with the older light source. It's the main system for culturing the plankton.

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    Once I can get the jars running the way i want, ill probably buy more shrimp. I'm looking to keep the plants to a minimum requirement for the oxygenation and just enough free-floating algae to support the plankton.

    Definitely trying to avoid the same oxygen drop issue as before... if I can increase the total available oxygen level in the system upon sealing, I can probably avoid the same issue.

    Another potential reason the shrimp died is because the dechlorinated water I used to change the water in the jar sat for a day and a half, degassing it (I change the water everytime I unseal the jar for a fresh start). With a lack of both O2 and CO2, there was an overall low level of oxygen to begin with.... leading to what happened...

    Now I'm tackling all possible reasons and hoping for the best...
     
  18. Falstaff

    Falstaff Old Codger

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    is there a natural filter for the water and biota..say like a small snail or something.
     
  19. kris23

    kris23 Going Insane.....

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    worms... snails... tiny detritus shifting shrimp.... plenty of variety there...
     

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