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Old 04-18-2008, 08:28 PM   #1
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Ecosystems

Has anyone here successfully created aspects of an ecosystem in their tank?

I'm particularly curious about growing food for my fish *in the same tank as the fish*. Does anyone here have both the food source and the fish that eats it growing in the same tank? If so, would you please share a bit about your setup?

Thanks!!
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Old 04-18-2008, 08:45 PM   #2
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The general answer is this is not possible. Most of the time a fish will consume everything that is in the environment that it can. In order to do something like this, you would have to have a pretty large tank with a lot of empty space. You might as well fill this with fish and add food for your fish yourself.

For example, I have Ghost Shrimp in my 55-gallon and I know my fish are big enough to eat the small ones, yet I always see a few here and there as they have plenty of hiding places. Still, it wouldn't sustain the tank. If I had a lot more room and hiding places, there might be a sufficient shrimp colony to feed the fish, but I'd rather have more fish with that space.
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:00 PM   #3
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Not unless you created a downstream environment where the main bodies of water were separated.
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:07 PM   #4
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Are you saying it is possible in a paludarium but not a dedicated aquarium?

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Not unless you created a downstream environment where the main bodies of water were separated.
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:10 PM   #5
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Pretty much. There has to be a barrier between predator and prey not to mention, depending on the food culture, heavy filtration if excessive feeding is to be included.
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Old 04-18-2008, 09:13 PM   #6
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I see the issue... is this problem of space limited to carnivores? For example, would one have enough tank space to grow plants to feed herbivores?

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Originally Posted by theotheragentm View Post
The general answer is this is not possible. Most of the time a fish will consume everything that is in the environment that it can. In order to do something like this, you would have to have a pretty large tank with a lot of empty space. You might as well fill this with fish and add food for your fish yourself.

For example, I have Ghost Shrimp in my 55-gallon and I know my fish are big enough to eat the small ones, yet I always see a few here and there as they have plenty of hiding places. Still, it wouldn't sustain the tank. If I had a lot more room and hiding places, there might be a sufficient shrimp colony to feed the fish, but I'd rather have more fish with that space.
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Old 04-19-2008, 11:58 PM   #7
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It'll be the same thing with herbivores. Fish that eat algae or plants will either finish it all of and need supplemental feeding or not keep up with it, because of an understocked tank. Some people keep separate tanks to raise feeder guppies, shrimp, and snails, but that ends up defeating the purpose of an ecosystem.
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Old 04-20-2008, 11:07 AM   #8
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We had a guy come and do a talk at our siciety a few years back, and his company was building ecosystems. they reputedly were self sistaining once establishe. Supposedly, once the chaos theory had run it's course, and the system reached an equilibrium, it would sustain itself. He showed pictures of a number of such installations in commercial and resdidential applications. The original one they built even contained a himmingbird, but cost about $16,000.00, so was not very practical. later evolutions moved away from a closed system to a more open one, which helped purify the air as well as provide entertainment. I don't know if this company exists today or whether any of their installations survive. Still. it was an interesting presentation.
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