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H. formosa, Hermetically sealed.


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#1 Auban

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 04:22 PM

so, for the last two decades, i have been putting various living things in jars and sealed aquariums in order to see how things progress.  my original interest in this was born out of wanting to understand the bigger picture of how living things interact with their environment and each other.  well, that is actually still my interest in hermetically sealed systems today.  every time they start to degrade, i learn something.  often, it seems that i can set two different tanks up in the exact same way and i will learn something different from each of them.  i fully understand why nobody tries to keep a sealed aquarium with fish in it.  several years ago, i wrote a post about it on a forum where people were talking about doing just that.  my goal was not to discourage them, but to give them things to think about.  let them know some of the challenges they would have to overcome.  

 

i have always seen closed systems as the holy grail of ecology learning tools.  if you dont get everything right, your critters and plants WILL die.  i never cared about the fact that they will die, everything dies.  what i cared about was HOW they die.  i wanted to find out what i had not considered.  i have ALWAYS been drawn to the unknown...  

 

so, with that said, here is what i want to do:  i want to put some heterandria formosa into a 125 gallon glass tank.  i wont give them much room in the tank, maybe 10X20 inches, or something along those lines.  the rest of the tank will be sectioned off in compartments, each with their own purpose.  

 

i will manipulate the contents of the tank using lights, powerful rare earth magnets, and lasers that are powerful enough to cull whatever needs to be culled(snails, fish, etc).  im also thinking about using wireless power transfer technology to power pumps and such to move water around inside the tank.  that would eliminate a need for power chords going into the tank, which would potentially create a weak point in the seal.  i could also use magnets to move water, but im not been able to think of a way to create water pressure great enough to circulate it around the entire tank.  i am not sure if wireless transfer technology would produce enough power to do what i want to do.  it is possible i would end up using a solar panel placed inside the tank, pared up with a battery and capacitors to power the pump.  i dont know yet because i have not decided on a design yet.  everything i come up with in my head has its pros and its cons.  

 

and that brings to why i am starting this thread...  i want honest feedback, honest criticism, and i want to know HOW it might fail.  if i can defeat all of those and learn some NEW ways  it will fail, i will consider the whole thing a success.  actually, there is no success or failure.  i will either learn from it or i wont.  since i LOVE seeing things i dont expect, im sure i will learn from it.  

 

i have been starting these kinds of discussions for years now.  i have not sealed a tank in a about a decade, but i have always been discussing it.  i want to bring the topic up here because i feel that there are a lot of people who are far more knowledgeable about limnology in general than i am.  so, i think people here would be able to give me much better criticisms than challenges than what i find on regular aquarium forums.  

 

i have kept hermetically sealed aquariums with H. formosa before.  the last one was dismantled about a decade ago, and it had been running for a few years while sealed.  the fish all ended up stunted as could be.  i learned a lot from that experiment.  i have learned a lot since then, and i hope to learn a lot more from my next attempt.  

 

my next post will be a basic idea of how i want to set the tank up.  basic layout and such.  in the mean time, i will be happy to answer any questions or respond to any challenges.  i want to do something that nobody seems to care about, and im pretty sure i have not thought about everything.  it will likely be a year or more before i actually set up this tank.  until then, i want people to challenge me.  tell me how its going to fail, lets see if we can come up with a way to prevent that failure.  i have no expectations for the tank once it is set up.  i want to try and overcome the known issues and discover the unknown issues.  

 

ill be posting more thoughts on this later.  at the moment, i am doing some writing...


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#2 Matt DeLaVega

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Posted 26 May 2018 - 06:05 PM

I think some land may be the ticket. Seems like that lacks from all the examples I have seen.


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#3 Irate Mormon

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 11:25 AM

Magnetohydrodynamic drive:  https://www.wired.co...-can-build-one/

 

Conclusion:  You need salt water, and it's impractical.


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#4 Irate Mormon

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 11:40 AM

WRT the laser, you can pick up a 5W laser diode for $60-$70.  That is the wattage used in a lot of cutting machines. Dunno how quickly glass and water would dissipate the power - that might take a bit of research.


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#5 Auban

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 01:30 PM

WRT the laser, you can pick up a 5W laser diode for $60-$70.  That is the wattage used in a lot of cutting machines. Dunno how quickly glass and water would dissipate the power - that might take a bit of research.

i actually already have the laser...   

 

the glass wont dissipate it very quickly.  it will still kill stuff. it doesnt work on my acrylic tank though.  probably because the laser is UV.  


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#6 Moontanman

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 05:06 PM

Doesn't hermetically sealed mean no input from the outside? 


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#7 Auban

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 06:33 PM

Doesn't hermetically sealed mean no input from the outside? 

 

no, hermetically sealed really just means "air tight". 


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#8 lilyea

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 07:34 PM

...im also thinking about using wireless power transfer technology to power pumps and such to move water around inside the tank.  that would eliminate a need for power chords going into the tank, which would potentially create a weak point in the seal.  ...

 

By this statement, do you mean using a product like the EcoTech VorTech?

 

 

 

no, hermetically sealed really just means "air tight". 

 

 

How strict is your definition of hermetic?  Would you be open to any interchange of outside air, water, or other elements through a valve? 



#9 Auban

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 07:54 PM

ugh, was just about to post and then my computer froze...

 

anyway, i plan on buying a 125 gallon glass aquarium for the experiment.  it will be sectioned off by mesh into several sections.  the mesh will need to be fine enough  to prevent H. formosa fry from slipping through, but course enough to let small ostracods, copepods, and other food critters though.  the idea is to have most of the aquarium devoted to food critters, while leaving a small space for the fish.  im thinking about using the front 6 inches or so of the whole tank for the fish, while leaving the rest of it for everything else.  

 

the substrate will be an inch or two of peat moss, with about an inch or two of sand on top of it.  in a couple of the refugium sections, ill also add a couple inches of crushed coral to help buffer the whole system against ph swings.  i know the water will end up very hard, but that is not a problem.  i have kept the fish and most of the food items in liquid rock before and they did fine.  

 

no on to the hard part...  i want to be able to circulate water through the tank.  moving water speeds up the biological processes that algae uses to keep the tank water clean of too much nutrients.  but how do you circulate water in a tank when it is sealed?  i have a few ideas for this...  

 

one, i could enclose a solar panel and just shine a really bright light on it, and use that to power a small pump.  but, i dont know how big the solar panel would have to be.  it might have to be so large as to take too much space, blocking light out from the tank.  another option is to use wireless power transfer coils.  i could essentially line the bottom of the tank with pancake coils and sting them up with capacitors and batteries, then use other coils placed under the tank to transfer enough power to run the pump.  i havent done any experimenting with this though, so i dont know how well that would work.  nor do i yet know how it would be done, though i am pretty sure it is doable.  another option is to use powerful rare earth magnets to drive a simple pump.  i would use a motor on the outside of the tank to spin a wheel that has magnets attached to it.  inside, i would have another wheel with magnets on it attached to bearings.  then it is just a matter of using gears and rods to pump water.  

 

another option is to scratch all of that and instead use convection to circulate water.  this would be the simplest option, technically.  i would simply heat one side of the tank and cool the other side using peltier thermal ceramics with big heat sinks on them.  i say this would be the simplest option because i could do maintenance on them at any time.  i would not be able to do maintenance on anything inside the tank without opening the tank up to air.  that said, i do not believe this would be a very good option for moving water.  it would necessitate harsh temperatures on either end of the tank.  but, who knows?  that may not be a bad thing.

 

speaking of the thermal ceramic plates, that is how i intend to cool the tank.  i plan on bathing the tank in a lot of light to encourage all kinds of algae growth, so im going to need a way to cool it.  gluing a thermoelectric plate to a corner of the tank seems to be the simplest option for that.  

 

@Matt DeLaVega mentioned land as possibly being key to making the system successful.  i sort of agree...  i dont think it needs land per say, but it would benefit from the kinds of processes that happen on land.  for the last couple years i have been growing a few different kinds of fungus to see which one will break down algae.  yea, paul stamets got me hooked on mycology...  anyway, i have a few samples that seem like they would work.  they wont grow in water, so they would have to have a place suspended in air.  im thinking about gluing a platform above a corner of the tank to be able to deposit algae from time to time, to let it rot.  i would be using magnets with a plastic claw attached to move the algae around.  the fungus would break down the algae and release carbon dioxide.  after it does its thing for a while, i would use the magnetic claw to push them back into the water to re-enter the system.  im also thinking about a waterfall type algae scrubber.  if i can get a pump that can lift water several inches, i could probably get away with building one while only using one pump.  it will tank some experimenting to get right.  if i can design a good magnet driven pump system, i might just add another pump.  

 

something else i was thinking about is pressure.  as things progress, im pretty sure the air pressure  is going to change.  i want to be able to let the air pressure change as it will, but i dont want air exchanging with outside air.  the whole point is for this system to use its own resources and find out where its going to fail while doing so.  the idea i have in mind for that is to build a four to six inch tall extension, for lack of better word, to go on top of the tank.  it would basically just be a rectangle on top of the tank made out of acrylic.  its purpose would be to allow me to drill a hole in it and set an airtight fitting into it.  attached to the fitting would be a hose that leads to what would essentially be a balloon.  it could be anything that can inflate and deflate.  im not sure what i would use for that, but i have thought about using an air mattress covered in several layers of 100 miler an hour tape (green army duct tape) and a few blankets to protect it from my cats...  

 

that would allow the gasses to expand and contract as they will without losing them.  the acrylic part would eventually get covered in algae, but that is  not a problem as it does not need to have light shining though it.  

 

anyway, i havent really settled on any of these ideas yet.  im still brainstorming it and have been for years.  every time i try to do this, i learn something new.  i have kept sealed tanks with H. formosa before, one of which ran for years with a small breeding population.  i have thought about a lot of things since then, and learned a lot since then, so now i want to apply all that and see what else i will learn.  


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#10 Auban

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 08:05 PM

 

By this statement, do you mean using a product like the EcoTech VorTech?

 

 

 

 

How strict is your definition of hermetic?  Would you be open to any interchange of outside air, water, or other elements through a valve? 

 

i dont know what ecotech or vortech is.  i googled them, but im still not sure.  can you provide a link to their products?

 

as for hermetically sealed, i really mean just airtight.  i have been keeping tanks that feed themselves for years.  usually, i set up a tank before i deploy and go away for six months.  when i come back, the tank is half empty, but the fish are still alive.  all i tell my wife to do is leave the lights on.  since she is pretty forgetful when it comes to fish tanks(they fade into the background for  her), i cannot keep fish unless i set them up to "set and forget".  i already know where those kinds of tanks will fail...  i want to see where an airtight tank is going to fail.

 

that is not always so bad though...  she ignored a special group of empire gudgeons for me when i was in afghanistan.  when i came back, i introduced some stuff into the tank, just to watch all the fish die.  i got sores on my hands, ended up feeling like absolutely crap with migraines, mood swings, etc.  i then scrapped the entire tank after i pulled out my microscope.  im pretty sure it was a particularly nasty dinoflagellate.  my wife took better care of them than i did...


Edited by Auban, 27 May 2018 - 08:06 PM.

"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#11 lilyea

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 09:41 PM

 

i dont know what ecotech or vortech is.  i googled them, but im still not sure.  can you provide a link to their products? ...

 

I am not endorsing the product - just asking if this is the type of product that you have in mind - https://ecotechmarin...roducts/vortech.  The impeller is on the inside of the tank and the wiring is on the outside.



#12 Auban

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 10:01 PM

Yes and no... I have built stuff like that before, i didn't realize they were commercially available.

That one uses magnetic coupling, basically the same method i described with the magnets and wheels, except that the product you linked is a powerhead instead of a pump.

It isn't actually wireless transfer of power though. What i mean by wireless transfer is the same tech that is used nowadays to wirelessly charge cell phones.
"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#13 Irate Mormon

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 12:16 AM

Tesla did wireless power transfer a long time ago.  It is certainly feasible. 


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#14 Auban

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 08:30 AM

Tesla did wireless power transfer a long time ago.  It is certainly feasible. 

 

the coils themselves aren't really all that complicated.  its easy to do things like light an LED or charge a battery.  what i dont know about is an aquarium pump.  i may get half way through it and decide its too much hassle.  

 

i guess it all comes down to what ends up looking like the most practical and simple option when i get around to building it.  


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#15 Irate Mormon

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 12:59 PM

 

i got sores on my hands, ended up feeling like absolutely crap with migraines, mood swings, etc.  i then scrapped the entire tank after i pulled out my microscope.  im pretty sure it was a particularly nasty dinoflagellate.

 

It sounds to me like it could have been some trematode, some of which are nasty indeed (e.g. Schistosoma mansoni).  Trematode larvae (cercariae) can enter directly through the skin, some of them.  The symptoms you describe could have been verminous intoxication. 


-The member currently known as Irate Mormon


#16 Auban

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 09:24 PM

i dont really know what it was.  whatever it was, it made the water really nasty really fast.  

 

the tank got an odd smell to it... like a mix between gardinias and lysol.  im one of the people who hate the smell of gardenias, so it wasnt a pleasant smell.  but it was definitely not hydrogen sulfide.  


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#17 Auban

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Posted 29 May 2018 - 09:24 AM

i really need to get a new computer...  

 

mine just restarted for some reason and i lost a lot of work.  again.  very frustrating.  

 

im taking a break for a few hours to read Thorps "Algal Ecology".  i have a tendency to read these kinds of books like they are science fiction novels.  


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#18 Irate Mormon

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Posted 30 May 2018 - 11:54 PM

There is also a mycobacterium that can infect you, but it doesn't sound like that. 

 

And BTW, ACTUAL science fiction novels are pretty good.  i recommend "Ancillary Justice" by Ann Leckie.


-The member currently known as Irate Mormon


#19 Auban

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 06:39 AM

ill look into it, thanks for the recommendation.  i actually read a lot of science fiction as well... 

 

anyway, work got pretty busy lately.  plus i have been on another forum that a friend of mine pulled me into.  while chatting with some of them, i figured out how i am going to "prep" my 125 gallon tank.  

 

i wont be able to just set it up and then expect it to do well.  it will need to go through the process of different kinds of algae colonizing the tank and "maturing".  i also dont want to seal it up until the ph and gh/kh stabilize, more or less.  this means that i am going to want to set the tank up and let it run for a while before i start messing with it.  since it will be a while before i can actually set it up to be sealed up, i will want to put something into it.  i have decided what i am going to put into it in the mean time.  

 

Discus.  when i get home, ill buy the tank, get some lights for it, and set it up with algae and seed it with lots of live foods.  once the algae is growing well, im going to buy some discus and grow them out and try and get one generation out of them before i give them all away.  that is really just to demonstrate what the algae does for water quality.  when i was breeding all those natives while in california, it was not uncommon for me to cram 50 fish in a five gallon tank and powerfeed the absolute crap out of them.  even then, the water in the tanks was better then the water coming out of my tap.  i could never get any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate readings and the fish were growing FAST.  

 

so yea, ill prepare the tank for being sealed and showcase the algae's ability to purify the water in the process.  


Edited by Auban, 31 May 2018 - 06:39 AM.

"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson

#20 gerald

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Posted 31 May 2018 - 09:22 AM

Why bother with discus when you're smack dab in the land of E. chaetodon? 

How about macro-algae like Nitella and Chara?

Still have a steady blackworm population in your pond?


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





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