What's new
TerraForums Venus Flytrap, Nepenthes, Drosera and more talk

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

DIY enclosed ecosystem

hey everybody :)

i just found this thing while cleaning yesterday



as you can see its just an empty snowglobe. i have a really cool idea in my head to try and make a self sustaining enclosed ecosystem by adding some kind of substrate, plants and maybe some snails or, if i can get some at this time of year, some water fleas or something.
something along the lines of this :


what do you all think? could it be done with something so small? im looking for ideas/tips on what type of plants and animals might work best

heres an outline of my plan:

WATER: fresh rain water. its clean and naturally high in disolved oxygen

SUBSTRATE: some crushed coral or lava rocks from my planted tank. (straight from the tank it should have a good population of nice microbes) along with some sand or maybe even some soaked and leached out peat moss for extra biomass? not sure here. tips please! :)

PLANTS: a bit of fast growing pond weed thats good at oxygenating like hornwort or elodea

ANIMALS: snails. thats all i can think of really. they would keep the sides clean i guess. i need some ideas for this part. ive thought of getting some fairy shrimp since if found them before growing in some seasonal ponds. theyre cool but would get too big i think. and as far as water mites or water fleas, couldnt i get those from just useing some dirt from a dried up pond bed? they always seem to just magically appear so i think the eggs stay dormant until its wet, right?

anyways, thats all i can think of for now. ill get this going as soon as i do a bit more research
That sounds really cool! I would think, though, that snails would eat all the plants before they had time to grow back... but thats just my gut feeling!
Just throw in a bunch of pond scum, but not too much.
You can also do this, take some fish food and put it in a jar that recives alot of light. When it gets good algea growth put in some brine shrimp eggs. Then put everything into your snowglobe.
well... nevermind. the damn thing shattered with the first pebble i put in there. stupid cheap glass! makes me realize now it wasnt an actualy "snow" globe. it was probably just meant to be an enclosure for a small model or something. whatever...

im gonna look on ebay for a better one. i could use a pickle jar but thats ugly... a jar of scum looks ugly compared to a globe full of scum!
Years ago when living in an apartment, I put a small (VERY small) underwater/saltwater hermit crab (left over/last survivor from a small aquarium of saltwater fish) in a container no bigger than the one you show (with a glass lid) and kept it in a semi-sunny/semi-shady kitchen window. The thing survived about 3 or 4 years, and we occasionally had to throw in another shell for he was outgrowing them slowly! All he had to eat was the algae that grew in the container.
I can't say he was happy, but he lived a good long time! :-O

Also, had a gallon tank of feeder guppies that I fed about twice a year. They also lived off the algae (west facing window that didn't heat up the tank much but grew lots of green algae). Population grew and dropped, but it too lasted a number of years. I only had to put some water in, as the top allowed for some evaporation.
The tank bottom had about 2 inches of sand in it, and no aeration or filtration at all. Just a cover with some holes in it. Don't underestimate the ability of plants (mostly algae in this case) to use the sun to convert animal (fish) waste into life giving oxygen and food. It is how nature does it.
I would never do this to animals I care a lot for or paid good money for, but the crab and feeder guppies were on their way to the porcelain bowl anyway, so I thought I would try to at least save their lives.
Again, I can't say it was a good life however!

Some animals do not need a complex environment nor high grade filtration and pristine water to survive. Only humans have made themselves so fragile so as to need that!
But for a nice experiment, keep trying. It is amazing what can survive with a little care and common sense. (Like giving it a lot of sun to grow some plants and algae, but not the heat of the day sun to cook/boil them!)

Good Luck!
a jar of scum looks ugly compared to a globe full of scum!
LOL It's all in the "packaging"!

My dad wants to do this with snails as well. He only has a south facing window though so I imagine they'd toast in there.

Paul, it's amazing how little food crabs eat. I feed my vampires and the live feeders sometimes wander for days before they get nabbed and eaten, and the dead foods like dried shrimps and mealworms have to be removed cos usually they grow mold. Unless I put in isopods, boy the crabs go simply nuts for pill bugs you can see them carrying them around like corny dogs at the fair! LOL