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Old 06-28-2009, 01:16 PM   #11
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Nice keep us posted.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:38 AM   #12
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Worms, glorious worms!

I'm so excited! This morning I was staring as usual into the tank and a true planarian popped out! Well, sort of glided out. So I have planaria as well as that strange, gutless, pseudo-planarian.

Now, if I could only figure out exactly what those tiny, hopping, grey-white, mite-like critters are jumping around on the surface of the water and (I think) nibbling at my floating watersprite.

Any suggestions? They're smaller than the finest pen tip I've ever seen, even architectural pens. I can only see a speck and with the largest, two antennae are visible. With a magnifying glass, I can only make out that they have legs, probably more than six though sometimes it looks like they have only four! Their bodies look like they have a slightly smaller head than their second segment. I'm not sure but I think there's only two segments. They can hop at least 3/4 inch in distance, which is scads of times their body lengths. Some are more grey and some more white. I swear they're the smallest living creatures I've ever seen as individuals. Any smaller and I'd either think they were dust or silt.

I'm afraid I may seem off-topic with all the ooo! and ahhh! over critters but the whole point of my DSB is to foster an ecosystem that takes care of much tank maintanance. I think the bugs are probably not helpful nor are they in the DSB, but the flatworms generally hang out in the sand and eat organics and break em' down further.

Actually when I say ecosystem, I don't mean an independent, self-sustaining sort of thing, but a system in which a little filtration and fishfood are variables. My tank is only "balanced" as long as the filter (10gph) is on and disturbing the surface and I feed the fishies every day but not too much. I've just choosen to incorporate way more animals and plants than are in an UGF tank with plastic plants and only fish and/or amphibians. Both are actually "balanced," just we are part of the balance. If my tank goes out of balance, If I don't intervene, I'm sure it will find a new equilibrium once only algae and those pesky little mites survive. Then all it will need is sunlight!

I think my next project, a Walstad style tank, may be a shot at a self-contained ecosystem. I can hardly wait!
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Old 06-30-2009, 03:03 AM   #13
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This is an extremely interesting post. You've got me wanting to try something like this now. I can't wait to see how it turns out for you.
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Old 07-02-2009, 07:09 AM   #14
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Not to burst your bubble, but those are copepods and amphipods, which would grow in any established tank, regardless of substrate. Especially a planted tank...

I use a pretty deep layer of pool filter sand, but I use my python to clean it with water changes... Left side of the tank one week, right side the next week... I guess this goes against your wanting a layer of anaerobic activity at the bottom, like you would get with a DSB, but that is not my goal... I wanted a somewhat DSB strictly for aesthetics...
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Old 07-02-2009, 05:11 PM   #15
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bubbles to burst

Well, I didn't really think that tiny bugs on the SURFACE of the water were due to a DSB, so don't worry - I appreciate your concern for my bubbles, but no bubbles have been burst. I wasn't aware of copepods or amphipods which live on top of the surface tension, up in the air, and that seem to suck juices out of surface plant leafs but that's a neat idea! I bet you could be right because I sure haven't seen any insects that small before.

I still wonder if they could be mites. Besides jumping around on top of the water, they like to hang out on top of dry watersprite leafs in the air and to climb around on the glass and that seems very mite-like to me, like some sort of semi-aquatic leaf mite. Anyhow, these little guys are under 1 millimeter long.

I'm probably too lazy to figure it out but I definitely enjoy any new, not too destructive, organisms to my tank. Oh, and I consider my DSB to be an aesthetic choice-I find beauty in all the processes happening in my aquarium and enjoy the way it looks.
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Old 07-02-2009, 08:08 PM   #16
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Sorry! Lately I keep glossing over the important info in some posts, I didn't read yours thoroughly! I didn't notice you said "Surface"!

Maybe some type of water-flea? I have seen them in ponds, but not in an aquarium!
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