Animal Welfare Vote
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RogueRavyn RogueRavyn
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 21:11
Ecospheres - not sure where to put this #1
Hi Guys,

I have always liked the look of ecospheres but never owned one.

Couple of questions - are they ethical? I know that even the bigger ones only have a small amount of shrimp, but I'm concerned that they aren't ethical in respect to space and nutrients if not looked after properly.

What about if they only contained a very small number of snails instead of shrimp?

I have read that marine ones exist with a small lump of live rock with a couple of peppermint shrimp etc.

The reason I ask is because I have found a guide to make your own and IF they are ethical I would like to try it.

Thanks in advance!
Violet Violet
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 21:21
Re: Ecospheres - not sure where to put this #2
This thread did the rounds a few years ago and I think the final consensus was that a) they did look very attractive b) we were all a little intrigued by them c) it went against the grain for most fish keepers on humanity grounds.

They are odd little, intriguing habitat/things though aren't they? I seem to recall uber expensive too.
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Asumel Asumel
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 21:29
Re: Ecospheres - not sure where to put this #3
I have done two small, plant only ones in old 2L whiskey bottles (my tipple of choice) both of which are entirely sealed.
and found that there is a huge problem with fluctuation of the basic elements, especially in the air in the bottle. They are both still up and running, one has been going now for 6months and the other for 5.
I tried to seed the first with plants and flowers to make something rather nice to look at, but they all died as there was little to keep it alive ( I even conducted a form a cycling first to get the bacteria up).
This is still going however with some interesting mosses and a weird jelly like thing ( almost like a sea squirt) and the chemistry in the jar seems to be settling down. but I don't think even at this stage I will be putting anything in it. I did consider a snail but that might be a bit detrimental to its progress.
The second one I made however I must have picked up some slug eggs with the soil and they have been flourishing in the jar. and there seems to be less of a problem with the chemistry. this time I started with a mass and tried to seed with natural bacteria ect.and added twice as much activated carbon, and I concentrated some waste from the fishtank to fertalise.
They look like very interesting pieces with just plants in but I don't think they are big enough to support any animal life really.
The problem with things like this is that a single animal needs quite a bit of space to support it, for example one snail would need enough algae for it to eat plus enough algae to turn the CO2 to O2 and this need with increase as they grow. it will also need enough bacteria to remove its waste ect.
In theory if you had a large tank you could support a few snails or shrimp in a completely closed way but they would be constantly living on the fine line between life and death.
In my opinion no they are not ethical on a small scale, you would need to factor in a large amount of biological processes to provide exactly what the organism would need before sealing the tank.
They have managed to do it (sort of), the Biosphere projects were sort of working ( apart from massive O2 fluctations from 2%-60% amongst other things) but there is a long way off.
In conclusion to this rather long post, I would say no they are not ethical, just stick to plants you would be surprised with the interesting stuff which springs up in one you just add soil and water!
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Asumel Asumel
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 21:33
Re: Ecospheres - not sure where to put this #4
Quote:

Violet wrote:
This thread did the rounds a few years ago and I think the final consensus was that a) they did look very attractive b) we were all a little intrigued by them c) it went against the grain for most fish keepers on humanity grounds.

They are odd little, intriguing habitat/things though aren't they? I seem to recall uber expensive too.

make one yourself Violet, as in the above post I made two "plant/moss" ones just to see what would happen ( good old scientific curiosity) and I have got some intriguing things growing!
I will post some pic's if anyone is interested
But again I agree to put animals in is just not fair on them.
big no from me
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RogueRavyn RogueRavyn
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 21:33
Re: Ecospheres - not sure where to put this #5
Yes, they start at about ?99 for a tiny one! The benefit of doing your own would be that you could afford to make a really quite big one for not much money. Personally I think that the images online are quite 'idealistic' - i.e. not a true picture of one working in reality since the whole concept relies somewhat on the growth of algae to provide food for the shrimps etc and in actuality would not look as nice and crisp as the ones online do!

I think the concept is less ethically challenged with the loss of the shrimps and an addition of a few small snails instead - I have read that they are hard to balance in general anyway.
RogueRavyn RogueRavyn
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 21:41
Re: Ecospheres - not sure where to put this #6
Hi Asumel,

Probably a stupid question, but I hadn't thought that you could do it with just plants - are they still underwater ones or more terrarium type? Could you show me some photos? To be honest I'm not worried with the lack of animals per say, just more the concept of the closed environment, etc.
finnipper finnipper
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 21:43
Re: Ecospheres - not sure where to put this #7
Quote: "They have managed to do it (sort of), the Biosphere projects were sort of working ( apart from massive O2 fluctations from 2%-60% amongst other things)."

So in other words the system failed. Even a large scale well funded project could not achieve a good result.

Sorry but this concept is doomed to fail, trying it with any livestock is therefore unethical.
Asumel Asumel
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 21:50
Re: Ecospheres - not sure where to put this #8
Quote:

RogueRavyn wrote:
Hi Asumel,

Probably a stupid question, but I hadn't thought that you could do it with just plants - are they still underwater ones or more terrarium type? Could you show me some photos? To be honest I'm not worried with the lack of animals per say, just more the concept of the closed environment, etc.


The ones I have done are terrestrial but in a very moist system as they are mainly mosses, but I'm sure you could quite easily do an underwater one. however i think i will leave someone else to do that as my partner is already fed up with the ones that I have got!
If you want to know how, I will write up a little guide tomorrow and post it some time tomorrow evening with a few hint and tricks which helped me.

Finnipper:
Yeh... sort of a failure, they managed to fiz some of the problems in the 2nd trial run, but the people who were in the 1st trial tampered with the results and the US government cut the funding at this point so we will never know whether they managed to fix the problem. though in the first one the O2 was stabilising towards the end
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Asumel Asumel
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  • Posted on: 2/11/2013 21:50
Re: Ecospheres - not sure where to put this #9
However I agree that putting animals in a closed system is unethical
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Asumel Asumel
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  • Posted on: 3/11/2013 10:20
Re: Ecospheres - not sure where to put this #10
This is the picture of the bottle:
Original Image

And this is a few of the interesting things growing inside:

Original Image

The little gooey blob on the left of the picture grew somehow and I'm no really sure what it is. I personally find it fascinating what,s growing in it, and its quite a discussion piece.
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