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By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#310979
Alright, so it has been a couple days since I introduced the Marimo ball into the jar, but it didn't make much of a difference, and then I realized all of the masses of seed shrimp conglomerating at the top. Lack of oxygen, I suppose?

I noticed that white dots in the water that I considered as dormant minerals floating around from far away, were actually thousands of tiny organisms on closer inspection. Uh, oh! This means that the algae, and the plants aren't creating enough sustainable oxygen for the organisms. So, I have a few solutions:

- Find some type of animal that can be sustained in a small place, and be content with being lonely. Something hardy that can withstand fluctuating seasonal temperatures. I find this the last resort as I feel this will only end up harming the animal in the long run.

- Backstriders would be a great option, but unfortunately they have not appeared as of yet. I have huge swathes of mosquito larvae though, so eventually the dragonflies and backstriders will come back to feast again this upcoming seasonal shift.

- Culturing Hydra is a possibility, but it could possibly end up running rampant and spread everywhere. They are immortal as well unless intervention is made, so once I go in I can't go back without the possibility of killing everything in the jar.

- Adding more plants could help, but with Malaysian Trumpet snails it kind of crosses out a lot of opportunities. I could use fishing weights to weigh down the plants, but I am unsure if it will affect the biosphere long-term. Either way it's just a temporary solution as the populations can keep expanding out of control.

Anyways, here are some updates:
seed shrimp munching on algae plastered to the eggshell. Lots of oxygen bubbles at the time.
seed shrimp munching on algae plastered to the eggshell. Lots of oxygen bubbles at the time.
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Seed shrimp in huge amounts, at this point out competing the Utricularia in volume. MTS population begins budding :)
Seed shrimp in huge amounts, at this point out competing the Utricularia in volume. MTS population begins budding :)
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Overview of ecosphere. 4/6/2018
Overview of ecosphere. 4/6/2018
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All of those white dots are swimming organisms. Take note that the Utricularia has been shedding a lot of traps (hard to see), as they are littered upon the Marimo ball. The green blurry balls floating are discarded traps that are either kept afloat by the weight of their prey or just by being empty. It varies depending on amount of organisms caught.
All of those white dots are swimming organisms. Take note that the Utricularia has been shedding a lot of traps (hard to see), as they are littered upon the Marimo ball. The green blurry balls floating are discarded traps that are either kept afloat by the weight of their prey or just by being empty. It varies depending on amount of organisms caught.
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By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#310982
Here's another video:
https://youtu.be/rjB8MRKbRDk

And some pictures:
I'd say 2/3rd's of the seed shrimp population has moved shop into the Utricularia Gibba. Although it provides constant danger, the benefits outweighs the losses. There's more oxygen for the ostrocods to take in, and it provides a place for them to latch onto and rest at night; on top of that, the decaying traps and duckweed end up as a food source for the bustling population, boosting growth in the long run. I think of it as the seed shrimp sacrificing themselves for the greater good of the whole colony.
I'd say 2/3rd's of the seed shrimp population has moved shop into the Utricularia Gibba. Although it provides constant danger, the benefits outweighs the losses. There's more oxygen for the ostrocods to take in, and it provides a place for them to latch onto and rest at night; on top of that, the decaying traps and duckweed end up as a food source for the bustling population, boosting growth in the long run. I think of it as the seed shrimp sacrificing themselves for the greater good of the whole colony.
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For some reason they like to huddle up together, I noticed the tiny white dots earlier formed a U on the side of the glass as well.. Interesting behavior.
For some reason they like to huddle up together, I noticed the tiny white dots earlier formed a U on the side of the glass as well.. Interesting behavior.
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My Utricularia Graminifolia culture awaiting its new home.
My Utricularia Graminifolia culture awaiting its new home.
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By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#311032
Okay so these tiny white organisms that I spoke about originally, are quite microscopic in size.. I kind of have to strain my eyes to see them, but the thing is that there are at least millions of them, they are locusts!! I have no idea what the heck these things are, but I'm going to head to a local fish shop to get some more plants to see if that alleviates the situation a little bit.

My Utric in my specimen 2 jar is beginning to send up some vinelike shoots up the side of the jar, and in the middle of it. I believe it is beginning the ritual of becoming a flower. :mrgreen:
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On another note, here is my last surviving springtail culture. It also contains a jumping spider that found its way into my room. I tried to release it yesterday, but no luck, it wouldn't budge even when I put my finger by it. The springtails are surprisingly good climbers so I can't leave the jar open too long. So far, the arachnid has consumed one baby cricket so it is full of vigor at the moment.
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Some of the white specks on the glass are springtails.
Some of the white specks on the glass are springtails.
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By KategoricalKarnivore
Posts:  1725
Joined:  Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:00 pm
#311033
Locusts are grasshoppers so I’m pretty sure that’s not what you have in there. lol
By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#311040
It was a joke, kinda like how they are in droves like locusts.
By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#311191
Alright, more bad news, and good news + update.

(Skip this first paragraph if you are up to date with the experiment)
In the past couple of days I noticed that the huge surplus in population also came with the risk of potentially killing off the whole biosphere. I tried to combat this by adding more plants, but I could not think of a reliable option of curving the overpopulating disaster looming over the horizon naturally. I put a sheet of aluminum foil to help reflect light back onto the jar (glass reflects a lot of light) to provide extra light for the new additions and left it alone for a couple of days.

Yesterday (2/11/2018)
I moved the sheet over to check out the Anubius I set in the jar and noticed a huge pile of ostrocod corpses in the layered peaty substrate. One of my larger MTS had seemed pale and lifeless and a couple more juvenile snails had passed atop of the Marimo moss ball. Many seed shrimp seemed weakened, and dazed as many dropped to the bottom, unable to use the last of their strength to swim; what had once been a sprawling metropolis of organisms grazing on the sides of the glass, now were reduced to stragglers dotting the sides of the jararrium like the Pacific islands. Even the microscopic inhabitants (from now on I will refer to them as Microids) that swarmed the waters had been reduced from millions, to just a couple thousands.
I circled all the lifeless ostrocods buried beneath the soil. As unfortunate and disgusting this is, I would like to observe how the corpses break down into the substrate over time. The MTS will make short work of them most likely. I noticed the abundance of Microids in this pic compared to the later ones. I took this picture on 2/11/2018 when the Microids hadn't been fully hit by the extinction event.
I circled all the lifeless ostrocods buried beneath the soil. As unfortunate and disgusting this is, I would like to observe how the corpses break down into the substrate over time. The MTS will make short work of them most likely. I noticed the abundance of Microids in this pic compared to the later ones. I took this picture on 2/11/2018 when the Microids hadn't been fully hit by the extinction event.
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So, what happened? The buildup of so many living organisms in such a small volume of space meant that too much ammonia and nitrite/nitrates overwhelmed the plant's abilities to absorb these overabundant nutrients. This quickly turned the water toxic which inevitably wiped out most of the residing organisms in it. I assume my constant intervention/opening of the jar helped in activating the toxicity of the ammonia buildup. So from now on I will abstain from opening the jar and intervening in general.. Maybe one day I will super glue the jar closed.

This unfortunately was a disaster waiting to happen that I could not avoid in time, but it is not over yet!
Notice how there's significantly less seed shrimp and Microids in the water.
Notice how there's significantly less seed shrimp and Microids in the water.
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One of the larger MTS managing to pull itself up to the top to the jar. What usually is a bad sign (low oxygen), is actually turning out to be a good thing, only a healthy snail that fat can lift itself up that far.
One of the larger MTS managing to pull itself up to the top to the jar. What usually is a bad sign (low oxygen), is actually turning out to be a good thing, only a healthy snail that fat can lift itself up that far.
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There also is quite a large surviving community taking refuge at the surface of the water.. Again a mixed sign, as it's a good thing that there are survivors, but again, low oxygen is a big problem in this instance.
I don't blame them for getting a breath of air, that water stinks! *badum tsssss* On another note, my MTS's LOVE to play in the Utric.
I don't blame them for getting a breath of air, that water stinks! *badum tsssss* On another note, my MTS's LOVE to play in the Utric.
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I divided one of my Hornworts to increase plant volume, and I will get more aquatic plants tomorrow, but from what I see, if the organisms manage to survive this extinction event, than it will most likely happen again as a constant circle of life and death.. Or it's completely possible that I may wake up to the end of my experiment tomorrow. Nothing is guaranteed, but at the end of the day my goal is to keep my Utricularia alive. The seed shrimp only played its part in the long run, by providing constant nutritional support to the Gibba.

On another note, I finally planted my Utricularia Graminifolia in Specimen jar III yesterday (2/11/2018), and transferred a good chunk of seed shrimp over to that specimen jar as a backup if specimen I fails. I will post pictures next update, I get the feeling the Graminifolia won't fair too well since I kept trying to get it to stay in the substrate, and in turn broke it up in many pieces that are now floating at the surface; but we will see, I managed to anchor some down with rocks.

Instead here is some update pictures of the Specimen II jar, it has grown vigorously these past couple of days, and now has many shoots poking out of the surface of the water!

2/12/2018
Love how it creeps up the side of the glass, like a vine.
Love how it creeps up the side of the glass, like a vine.
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Apologies for the grainy pictures, Samsung never had the greatest phone cameras. :P
Apologies for the grainy pictures, Samsung never had the greatest phone cameras. :P
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EDIT: I admit, I cheated. I added some Searchum Prime to the jar yesterday as soon as I noticed the huge loss of life to help cancel out a lot of the toxic ammonia buildup.. Seems to have helped a bit. I also dosed some liquid carbon to all my specimen jars today, and will probably dose 1 drop of liquid fertilizer tomorrow. I tested the fert in Specimen jar I a couple days ago and it did help boost growth, at the cost of also helping the algae make a foothold (more food for the animals :D ). I use Searchem brand liquid carbon & fertilizer, as the former is known to help keep algae in check and it is completely harmless to the organisms residing in the jar, whereas the latter is a great supplement for the aquatic plants other than the Gibba. I wouldn't recommend doing this as I have no idea how kindly the Utric will take to ferts, and I dose in very low amounts.
By Mawy_Plants
Posts:  383
Joined:  Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:23 am
#311320
I'm sorry to hear about the mishap! Good thing you have been able to address the situation a bit. I really enjoy keeping up with this project of yours. So neat having a mircoecosystem in a jar!
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By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#311559
Okay a quick descriptive update:

'Specimen Jar I' currently has been overrun with algae, and the water has become tinted a bit brown, another thing to note is that the rancid smell has dissipated (as far as keeping the jar closed). Seed shrimp population has dwindled to a couple survivors but it seems they may make a comeback, MTS are thriving with the copious amounts of algae. Oxygen levels have considerably risen with the extensive growth of algae, but it has also covered my plants (including the gibba) which can lead to death if not combated against.

Why has algae overrun my jarrarium though? One of two options that isn't naturally occurring is likely the dosage of Prime I added to the jar, the other natural reason is the amount of nitrates/nitrites encouraging algae growth. In all honesty though, it seems like a combination of both. So no more ferts for this experiment :roll: :P . My current options are to do a water change, or ignore it and let nature take its course.. I did mention I did not want to bother with the ecosystem much, so I'm going to leave this up to you guys (although since this is a man-made mistake, if there is no response, I will take it upon myself to remedy this mistake with a man-made solution).

'Specimen Jar II' is increasingly doing better each day. The growth has died down a little bit, but the Gibba has now established itself, and the tendrils poking out of the water absorb much more sunlight than the submersed sections of the plant. I believe it will begin to flower, come spring. Furthermore, the water within the jar has become somewhat "thicker" like nepenthe fluids and does not ripple when I shake the jar around. Either algae has something to do with that, or the Utric has maybe somehow leached it's own enzymes into the water. I will test this by dropping some fish pellets in there, and seeing if it dissolves.

My new 'Specimen Jar III' contains Utricularia Graminifolia and is doing alright as of now. The seed shrimp colony I transferred into this ecosphere are doing well, I started them off on a tiny bit of algae wafers and they are slowly expanding. When the Graminifolia settles into the soil and roots down, I will add a MTS or two to help stir the soil from time to time.

I will add more pictures soon, but with my new job my activity will probably lessen quite a bit, so I will try to get in a lot of good shots before then. Thanks for the support guys! :)
By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#311773
Alright so I did a 35(?)% water change and transferred the old water into a water bottle to use as fertilizer for my other plants later.

02/23/2018 (Yesterday)
Easy process, just took a tubing I bought a year ago from Home Depot, and siphoned the water into a water bottle.
Easy process, just took a tubing I bought a year ago from Home Depot, and siphoned the water into a water bottle.
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As you can see the water is a bit tinted from being "used". Water clarity boosted immediately after water change.
As you can see the water is a bit tinted from being "used". Water clarity boosted immediately after water change.
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Before I post further pictures, I would like to explain the current going-ons with Specimen Jar I. The Seed Shrimp seemed to have survived the mini extinction event (will now be dubbed Microid Extinction Event [02/11/2018 - 02/20/2018]) that occurred within my ecosphere, and are actually doing quite well. I see them doing their usual routine, but this time behind a film of algae, with their shadows playing the parts. The huge algal bloom, what was seemingly a bad thing, (for my plants at least :p) ended up preventing a huge biological disaster. To further explain, each algae strand produces its own oxygen, now multiply that with 2/3rd's the whole jar, and well... Now my jar can support it's current population + more than what was capable before; considering there's more food to go around, and oxygen to breath on, and let's not forget the nasty ammonia being sucked up constantly.

However, this comes with a price. My plants! My gibba was overrun but as soon as I washed off the excess algae, and did a w/c; my gibba has slowly recovered but now has a lot of dead weight in the form of dead leaves, and algae. My Anubius is coated in algae and I can already see the veins of the leaves.. I don't have much hope for the Anubias, but I will maybe scrub off the algae, depending on how generous I feel.

Check out all the bubbles in the lower three pictures! :mrgreen:
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Some of the dots behind the Great Algal Wall are the tough little Ostrocod bastards!
Some of the dots behind the Great Algal Wall are the tough little Ostrocod bastards!
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This is the remnants of Utric Gibba hanging in the water along with Hornwort. Many O2 bubbles being formed.
This is the remnants of Utric Gibba hanging in the water along with Hornwort. Many O2 bubbles being formed.
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Anyways, as I promised, I will be posting a picture of my 3rd specimen jar. From what I see, the seed shrimp I transferred must have died from stress or lack of food, so there is currently nothing in it (except maybe Microids?). I also have a couple update pictures on the 2nd specimen.
On another note, my hypothesis with the Gibba leeching acids into the water was false, it was just algae buildup on the surface of the water preventing it from creating waves within the jar. Ironically I believe the algae growth actually helped the Gibba in the long run by keeping the water stagnant. If it were not for me lowering the water level in the first place to induce flowering, it would for sure be a goner. Algae is no joke :|

Enjoy!
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So much growth over in this section!
So much growth over in this section!
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'Specimen Jar III' Utricularia Graminifolia (started 02/11/2018)
Devoid of life, as far as I have seen.. At least put 5 batches of seed shrimp in here, and the water smelt worse than the one that actually had dying inhabitants?!? Guess I'll just have to wait a little while before another colony transfer.
Devoid of life, as far as I have seen.. At least put 5 batches of seed shrimp in here, and the water smelt worse than the one that actually had dying inhabitants?!? Guess I'll just have to wait a little while before another colony transfer.
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Last edited by nuck on Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.
By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#311775
Last big post from me for this month.

From now on I will be dating extinction events as best as I can. I obviously cannot keep my eyes on this project 24/7 so there may be some errors, but this is all trial and error. The point of dating these is to show that not everything goes smooth with these kind of things, and to show the incredible circumstances it took to survive these mass biological terrors. These things happened in real life and it can happen at any time, but having it happen in front of your eyes is an incredible thing to see, especially so if there is an avoidance of total annihilation, and so I must share this incredible feat no matter how cruel it sounds.

These animals survived on their own accord. I had only done the w/c when I had noticed there was already an increase in Ostrocod population, and that will only help them in the future, as they did not need help to begin with. This now solidifies that I should let nature take its course, and mess with the project a whole lot less. However I will still adjust things to however I see fit, pop control, pop transfer, carbon dosing for plants, transplanting, etc.

Maybe if this thing works out for another 5 months I will seal the jar completely, and let this officially be a self-sustaining aquatic Jarrarium. I originally intended this to be just about the Utric, but now there's a whole lot more on my hands than a hardy aquarium weed to care for.
Either way if 'Specimen I' Utricularia Gibba dies, than I will substitute it with a chunk of 'Specimen II' Utricularia Gibba, and just start the whole process anew, or I can completely ignore it and just be content with what's in the jar.

--END
By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#312394
Alright so I will just let the pictures do the talking.
3/5/18
3/5/18
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Algae walls begin to slowly peel off again (this had happened the first time an algae outbreak occurred in the jar, seems to be a cycle with algae). Take note that during this period, detritus worm population has increased significantly with the swathes of decaying ostrocods underneath the soil. It's more noticeable in the above picture.
Algae walls begin to slowly peel off again (this had happened the first time an algae outbreak occurred in the jar, seems to be a cycle with algae). Take note that during this period, detritus worm population has increased significantly with the swathes of decaying ostrocods underneath the soil. It's more noticeable in the above picture.
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3/8/18
3/8/18
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3/10/18
3/10/18
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I'm going to assume that Microids are actually Seed Shrimp infants at this point. They actually have gone over the threshold of life capacity, as last time they weren't even half this size and it caused an extinction event. The fact that I can see a salt cloud floating around in my jar from 3 feet away is further proof of that.
I'm going to assume that Microids are actually Seed Shrimp infants at this point. They actually have gone over the threshold of life capacity, as last time they weren't even half this size and it caused an extinction event. The fact that I can see a salt cloud floating around in my jar from 3 feet away is further proof of that.
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MTS are doing fine, but I am assuming the progenitors have finally passed away, along with the torch to their descendants. Hard to tell but MTS is slightly annoyed by the seed shrimp hitching a ride on his shell, and picking at it's soft spots. Very cute :)
MTS are doing fine, but I am assuming the progenitors have finally passed away, along with the torch to their descendants. Hard to tell but MTS is slightly annoyed by the seed shrimp hitching a ride on his shell, and picking at it's soft spots. Very cute :)
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Summary: *I have not opened the jar since my last post* Algae has been consumed/dying off from glass walls. Duckweed has stolen the surface from Utricularia Gibba, and tons of roots are now hanging down. Speaking of the Utric, it is doing fine, lost a lot of its vines but at the end of the day, a small chunk is better than nothing at all. Anubias seems to be dead but will not remove as that provides a food source, and prime breeding ground for algae.

Population all across the board has increased maybe excluding MTS; have not seen them out and about as much, but than again I don't check on the jar daily like I used to. Current theory is that in the next week or so another extinction event will occur at this rate. Hopefully I am proved wrong.

03/10/18

EDIT: I forgot to mention something REALLY important. The seed shrimp population quadrupled(?) in size within 2 days. On the eighth as you can see in one of the pictures, there is damn near no ostrocods; now today's date, there is way too many to even bother counting.
By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#312397
I hope this thread can surpass the CP taste-testing thread lol
nuck liked this
By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#312568
Greetings, so the more I continue to observe this jarrarium, the more I realize how similar the events that occurred in this small space, are parallel to the events that happened in the past of our environment, Earth.

For example, the Microid Extinction Event activated further catalysts that would change the ecosphere in whole, as did multiple real life extinction events.

To further explain:
02/10/2018 - First casualties of the MEE (Microid Extinction Event) are witnessed firsthand. *not noted*
02/11/2018 - MEE is witnessed in full force. *fully noted*
02/15/2018 - At this point most of the living population was dead, algae had now overtaken the plants and was beginning to build up on the walls. *not noted*
02/20/2018 - Whole jar was covered in algae, no visible light could penetrate which resulted in plant life being prone to extinction. *noted, no pictures*
02/22/2018 - I scrape some of the algae off the walls to allow light to penetrate into the jarrarium, and to help observe the current situation. Plant life is mostly dead or overtaken by algae except for Duckweed, I try my best to separate algae from Utric. G., and Hornwort; Anubius was already dead, left algae on as food/oxygen source. Seed Shrimp population stabilizes along with detritus worm pop. creeping back up; MTS doing great, eating up all the algae/detritus. *not noted*
02/24/2018 - Water change conducted, last recorded time opening the jarrarium. Has not been opened since, and signifies the end of the MEE.
*fully noted*
03/04(?)/18 - Algae walls begin to fall off, and algae growth begins to curb. *not noted*
03/(08-10)/2018 - Most recent update.

It's quite amazing to see how certain causes, can create multiple events which could ultimately affect a whole ecosystem negatively, or positively. To further explain, the Utricularia Gibba acted as a shelter for the living biosphere; somewhat of a symbiosis between the plant, and the Ostrocods was shared. As a result, the Seed Shrimp would provide themselves, unknowingly or not, as food for the Gibba to consume, and in return would further branch out to create more living space for its' inhabitants.

With the Gibba now reduced to a couple of branches, the conglomerate of Duckweed, and its' roots now replaced the Gibba as a new living/resting place for the Seed Shrimp.
Anyways, here's some new pictures to gawk at. Descriptions below, as always :roll: :D


Here's a better picture of the seed shrimp hitching a ride on a MTS:
20180310_162405.jpg
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I honestly was not expecting the Duckweed to survive the huge ammonia/fert nuke in the recent month. Even less so, their population boom.
I honestly was not expecting the Duckweed to survive the huge ammonia/fert nuke in the recent month. Even less so, their population boom.
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Seeing the infant seed shrimp rest on the DW roots is somewhat relaxing to see, a nice replacement of the old terrain which was the mythic, and dangerous Gibba Jungle of times long past.
Seeing the infant seed shrimp rest on the DW roots is somewhat relaxing to see, a nice replacement of the old terrain which was the mythic, and dangerous Gibba Jungle of times long past.
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This is really cool, and somewhat irritating to look at as well. This will be dubbed the Hollow Tower.
This is really cool, and somewhat irritating to look at as well. This will be dubbed the Hollow Tower.
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Some Hornwort has survived the hostile conditions it was previously in. Pieces of Utricularia Gibba littered across the substrate/mossball; resting seed shrimp usually contribute to most floating debris sinking to the bottom.
Some Hornwort has survived the hostile conditions it was previously in. Pieces of Utricularia Gibba littered across the substrate/mossball; resting seed shrimp usually contribute to most floating debris sinking to the bottom.
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Kind of disgusting, but most of that debris is feces, decaying algae/plants, and decaying corpses. Detritus worm population has increased significantly because of that, and could possibly be the reason for less MTS sightings.
Kind of disgusting, but most of that debris is feces, decaying algae/plants, and decaying corpses. Detritus worm population has increased significantly because of that, and could possibly be the reason for less MTS sightings.
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By Mawy_Plants
Posts:  383
Joined:  Tue Jul 25, 2017 5:23 am
#312683
I absolutely loved Ecology when I took it during my undergrad. This makes me reminisce hardcore. Thanks for sharing such a neat experiment!
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By nuck
Posts:  45
Joined:  Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:44 pm
#312859
Thanks!!

I have been gradually keeping up with the project, taking pictures here, and there. I observed it today, and realized that the seed shrimp and the detritus worms are peacefully coexisting within the detritus. I also have hypothesized that most of the oxygen production is actually seeping from the soil itself.

Algae, as hardy as it is, always seems to find ways to surprise me. It has managed to grow on the glass walls beneath the soil/detritus, and in turn produces oxygen that then travels through the aerated soil into the water, and finally dispersing on the surface or dissolving within the water itself if it gets latched to a plant.

I will post some pictures in a couple days or so, along with attempting to create a table of contents in my first post.

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