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Self feeding ecosystem tank


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#1 Balzac McVinegar

Balzac McVinegar
  • NANFA Guest
  • New Yawk

Posted 22 July 2015 - 02:14 PM

I apologize that I don't keep native fishes, but for my project I read a lot of good threads on here about freshwater live foods. I wanted to share with you my experiences because I thought some of your members would find them useful.

 

Years ago I had a salt water tank with a refugium that produced enough food for all my fish. I wanted to create something like this with freshwater that more closely replicates an ecosystem with a food and I believe I have been successful. the detritivores eat the plants, the fish eat the detritivores and the plants consume the fish waste. Nitrates are quite low.

 

I created a 10 gallon proof of concept with a small refugium. the refugium houses floating plants, scuds, copepods, ostracods, planaria, and some sort of worms. I originally kept one betta but there was too much food for him so I added a second fish. I used to feed my cultures food, but I haven't in about two months and everything seems to be doing fine. The refugium also has a box filter and a heater. It's fun to watch the fish hunting for food 24/7.

 

There are a lot of other setups you could do based on the same principle. I'd love to have a 5 gallon refugium in a 20 galon long with some mosquito fish. I am also curious about having a 10 gallon long with a air driven HOB refugium liek this http://www.amazon.co...9DDH378Z2VBQ8AA

 

I was worried it wouldn't produce enough food. I can tell you the big problem now is it produces too much food.

 

Any ideas for native stocking? the community must have members small enough to eat copepods and ostracods, but also must have at least one inhabitant big enough to eat a full sized scud so the colony doesn't become too big to eat and over populate. Bettas seed to be the perfect size. I have high hopes for gambusia possibly mixed with a community. My other idea is to start a brand new culture of native inverts collected from the wild with fish collected from the wild.

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#2 Mrfipp

Mrfipp
  • NANFA Member
  • Runaway Bay, Texas

Posted 22 July 2015 - 03:27 PM

I apologize that I don't keep native fishes


Inexcusable.

On a more serious note, with enough planning and some diy this could be done. The difficulty would be in finding an aquatic food source as many fish eat insect larvae or other fish... Additionally it'd have to reproduce fast enough and reliably enough to support fish in a ridiculously small environment (as compared to a creek or lake). I've done it with aquatic worms in a thick dirt substrate with lots of plants and very few fish, as well as with sails and a snail eater. Those were not natives though. I'd think smaller benthic level fish would be easier, perhaps darters.

Right now my long ear sunfish juveniles are eating all the livebearer young from their tank mates, but there's no way the birthrate would keep up with my seven 1" sunfish. They are voracious. So... You can scratch them from the list.

There's something fishy about this place...


#3 gerald

gerald
  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 22 July 2015 - 03:49 PM

Might work with small darters (swamp, sawcheek, tesselated), pygmy sunfish, swampfish, bluefin or rainwater killifish, ...  I would think having a food-bug (e.g. scud, grass shrimp, etc) that grows large enough to avoid being eaten, but produces lots of young, would be an advantage.  A similar approach is to have a "pasture" of blackworms kept with small fish like pygmy sunfish or Heterandria that nibble off the worms' tails, which regenerate. 


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel


#4 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Board of Directors
  • Ohio

Posted 22 July 2015 - 04:20 PM

Red cherry shrimp and fish small enough that the adults are safe.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#5 Mrfipp

Mrfipp
  • NANFA Member
  • Runaway Bay, Texas

Posted 22 July 2015 - 04:34 PM

In my head I was thinking completely native, including food sources. The approach of foreign food supplies make this much easier to approach. Using black worms or cherry shrimp you can easily replenish your food stock if the population isn't keeping up... Those are great food choices.

There's something fishy about this place...


#6 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Board of Directors
  • Ohio

Posted 22 July 2015 - 05:15 PM

I would choose a native species or two, that could tolerate warmer temps to keep the RCS breeding well. Something up to the size of maybe eastern mudminnows, elassoma, whatever. I would just pretend that the RCS were native, and you will likely be selling your excess after a while. They really are perfect for a tank like this.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#7 Balzac McVinegar

Balzac McVinegar
  • NANFA Guest
  • New Yawk

Posted 22 July 2015 - 07:22 PM

Thanks for all the fish suggestions.

Right now my good source works. I have scuds, copepods, and ostracods. I should be able to find all of these locally. Hopefully even though they are different species they will behave similarly. The suggestion of worms is great. I should add them to my current tank. Can you recommend Someone who sells cultures?

One thing I'm worried about is if I go native and stop heating it will lower the inverts metabolism and they will reproduce slower.

#8 gzeiger

gzeiger
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Posted 26 July 2015 - 08:53 AM

Many natives can handle the heat.



#9 gerald

gerald
  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 26 July 2015 - 11:44 AM

For blackworms, call around at the "better" fish stores if there's any left near you.  (Big Box chains usually dont sell them).  You can mail order them from Eastern Aquatics in PA or California Aquatic Foods, but shipping isn't cheap since they need to be kept cold during shipping.  They do fine at tropical temps once they're spread out in a thin layer, in an aerated aquarium.  One of our members "Auban" has been harvesting small amounts from his own pond, but i haven't seen him on here lately.

http://forum.nanfa.o...ina-blackworms/


Gerald Pottern
-----------------------
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel





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