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self-sustaining curiosities

This is a discussion on self-sustaining curiosities within the Advanced Freshwater Discussion forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> for the last couple posts, i appreciate everyone's input on what i need to do to help myself out. i do like Mikaila's idea ...

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self-sustaining curiosities
Old 03-22-2014, 06:56 AM   #41
 
for the last couple posts, i appreciate everyone's input on what i need to do to help myself out.

i do like Mikaila's idea of write it out in a word document and post just a few (if that many) of the points. for ideas, clarification, discussion, and other.

i can't say i currently agree with all of Mikaila's thoughts about my points that were wrong, but currently i'm not in a position to say otherwise till i have finished the text (already proving informative) ... and when done, i may be able to look back at what i wrote and see "damn, i really shouldn't have said all that"
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:20 AM   #42
 
couldn't help myself.

algae will not necessarily consume nutrients as fast as nutrients are added to the water column.
algae scrubbers make it apparent that very intense light is needed to increase nutrient consumption to actively lower nutrients in the display tank.

damn
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Old 09-01-2014, 01:42 AM   #43
 
I love when this subject comes up because I have had something like a self sustaining tank going for at least 2 years. Let me break it down for ya. Ok so it is a 20g. It started as a planted tank with I don't remember what kind of fish, but whatever it was wasn't anything special. At first I cared for it but after a little while it went south and I stopped doing anything with it. By the time I decided to finally do anything with it I almost tore it down and cleaned it up but since the plants were still alive...mostly just swords...I figured why not fill it back up...it was less than half full with water now due to evaporation...probably closer to 1/4-1/3 full. Shortly after I put about 5 feeder guppies in and 2 Chinese algae eaters since the glass was covered in algae. At first I was dropping an algae wafer or 2 in there for a while but then I got over interested in my saltwater tank and started to neglect this one again and stopped feeding it. All I have ever done to this tank after that point is top off for evaporation. The algae eaters died probably 4-6 months after I stopped doing anything including feeding. The guppies have survived and continued to breed up to this day and the plants are still doing well too. Oh it also has a lot of small snails in there too...came in with the plants. It has fluorite for substrate, no heater, no filter, and one of those canopies/lids that has the small led fixture in it...like 3 weak leds. I'm not sure what brand or anything the lid is but they still sell them. So all in all it's been set up for probably 3 years and top off only for about 2 years or so. No water changes, heater, filter, food, pruning, cleaning, etc....Only top offs. And remember guppies still breeding. I know its not ideal or perfect but after leaving the tank to die and it survived its more of an experiment now then a "pet" fish tank.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:58 AM   #44
 
schoch79, do you know what the guppies are living off of ? (what are they eating to survive)

how many fish are in there (if you can count them, guppies could easily be too many to count - any guesses) ???

it sounds like the end goal i am searching for, i'm very interested :)
-no maintenance, no feeding, just water topups

how do the plants look ? (any noticable deficiencies)?
any calcium/lime buildup ? (k, this one is either/or, i'm just curious as i have some major buildup in my one tank, but enough excess snails i should be able to remove old shells and get that down eventually)

do you know what the water perameters are ? (pH, gH, and such ??)

any pictures ?
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:17 PM   #45
 
I have no water tests for you at all. As for how many fish that's where you may be disappointed. Its only 4-5 guppies that at this point look like endlers...though I only started with feeders anyway. If I had to say what they are feeding on I'd say algae on the glass, bits of dieing plants, debris on the bottom and to take a wild guess snails that die. The plants don't look super like what you always see with "planted" tanks but in my opinion they kinda have a natural/wild look to them. Deficiencies?...I'm sure there are some but top offs give at least some trace nutrients/minerals. As for calcium build up...the only thing I can say there is there is some slight scaling on the rim of the tank but no more than I've seen in the past on "good" tanks. Keep in mind this tank is taken to the extreme. I'm sure if you would interfere at all you could make it much better. Maybe throw in the occasional algae wafer or some root tabs here or there. That's just not what I'm going for though. For me this is just a neglected tank gone good and that's where I want it to stay....its never going to be anything fancy until I put the work in.
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:31 PM   #46
 
i'm not dissapointed at all

so 20 gallons is supporting 4-5 endler guppies, ... (actually that's good to know)

i'm sure the snails eat the dead fish (preventing ammonia spike)

are you noticing any zooplankton in there at all ? (will look like tiny bugs in the water, ... if present you will miss them unless you take the time to search for them)
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:56 PM   #47
 
To answer a question you asked earlier and I forgot to answer I don't have any pics because I don't do any pic stuff with my computer or really even take pics of anything lol. As for the zooplankton, I've never seen any and I occasionally do look really closely for anything new. About the closest to that I've ever had was shortly after I had picked up a few really small clams from the river and it turned out 2-3 were empty shells....anyway shortly after adding those to this tank (2-3 weeks later) I saw what I could best id as scuds...a type of freshwater shrimp. I haven't seen one for a long time though. Another thing I forgot to say was I actually lied just a little bit on never cleaning anything. When I filled up the tank after it being nearly empty I cleaned off the front glass really good since it had hard water stains/deposits and lots of algae under the water line...like super thick mat like algae...and I wanted to be able to see inside. But since then I haven't cleaned it again and it stays clear. I credit that to the other 3 walls that still have that algae on it. If you ever think to try to recreate this my suggestion to you is to keep in mind to have it up and running legitimately for a while so you can establish some detritus and stuff on the bottom and some nutrients in the tank for everything to feed off of. I couldn't imagine being able to start a tank that runs itself from scratch and never feeding it from the start. It would just be too clean. If you have more questions feel free to continue to pick my brain. I think the fact that this tank is still running is amazing and I love being able to share this idea. Oh and by the way, I would in no way consider this a show tank so to speak. It's basically more of a guilty pleasure that you hide in your bedroom or something lol. Not really attractive at all.....
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Old 09-01-2014, 10:28 PM   #48
 
peat for substrate
i want to get blackworms & tubifex worms
snails (including malaysian trumpet snails)
rotifers
moina (prefered over daphnia)
other zooplankton (i'm picky over size)
adding greenwater phytoplankton (to feed zooplankton) - a couple species are reported to have a really fast rate of reproducing)
algae (lots of different types)
very fine leafed plants (like hornwort or finer)

i might have missed a few things, ... this is the basics of what i want to add to a tank in my attempt at self-sustaining (no maintenance, no feeding)

to see/hear anyone that has had anything 'work' on any level is truly inspiring

it does suggest/reinforce something i have also come to realize, ... i may be seriously underestimating how much space is needed to keep a few flagfish alive

---

one person put a video online, 300 gallons about, for a daphnia tank
getting about 2-3 handfulls of daphnia a week for live food from the tank
feeding yeast (don't care about this part)

but what he's able to keep going in the tank (daphnia population) and it's a 300 gallon tank, ...

i had previously been thinking a lot about the food chain & ecology to get as much as i could in a tank, to have as high a eutrophic system as possible to help the phytoplankton as much as possible,

i was just hoping i would have a start with a 40 gallon breeder (or standard 50 gallon - more common)

wasn't till i got to hear some experiences on what size of tank is sustaining what amount of food
schoch79, or in your case how sustainable any tank size is for any fish

with everyone saying "can't be done, won't ever work", ... all i could find was a bunch of examples that only took into consideration fish & critters large enough to easily see & obtain from any LFS, ... but nothing and no where could i find a single example of anyone that considered a base from phytoplanton and up, or anyone talking about where things started to fall apart after they started.

schoch79, you have no idea how long i've waited to hear anything like what you have done :)

doesn't matter that the tank isn't pretty, it's a start, a proof that it's possible, ... well i always knew it's possible
but from that base it's a start to see what it looks like, what is able to be maintained with any size tank

as you said, as i repeated, ... 20 gallons sustaining 4-5 guppies, you've really said more than i have ever heard before, you truly have my thanks there :)

Edit:
my live food critter collection, ... i also have to ensure no predator type species at all ... makes things a little more complicated
i forgot wolffia (floating plant like duckweed, but much smaller)

Last edited by Flear; 09-01-2014 at 10:45 PM..
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Old 09-02-2014, 05:32 AM   #49
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self-sustaining curiosities

I haven't done a water change in my shrimp tank for half a year now :P But I definitely wont call the tank self sustaining. even with water changes the system's bound to fail in a year or two, my tank's simply too small.
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Old 09-02-2014, 10:10 AM   #50
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by schoch79 View Post
I love when this subject comes up because I have had something like a self sustaining tank going for at least 2 years. Let me break it down for ya. Ok so it is a 20g. It started as a planted tank with I don't remember what kind of fish, but whatever it was wasn't anything special. At first I cared for it but after a little while it went south and I stopped doing anything with it. By the time I decided to finally do anything with it I almost tore it down and cleaned it up but since the plants were still alive...mostly just swords...I figured why not fill it back up...it was less than half full with water now due to evaporation...probably closer to 1/4-1/3 full. Shortly after I put about 5 feeder guppies in and 2 Chinese algae eaters since the glass was covered in algae. At first I was dropping an algae wafer or 2 in there for a while but then I got over interested in my saltwater tank and started to neglect this one again and stopped feeding it. All I have ever done to this tank after that point is top off for evaporation. The algae eaters died probably 4-6 months after I stopped doing anything including feeding. The guppies have survived and continued to breed up to this day and the plants are still doing well too. Oh it also has a lot of small snails in there too...came in with the plants. It has fluorite for substrate, no heater, no filter, and one of those canopies/lids that has the small led fixture in it...like 3 weak leds. I'm not sure what brand or anything the lid is but they still sell them. So all in all it's been set up for probably 3 years and top off only for about 2 years or so. No water changes, heater, filter, food, pruning, cleaning, etc....Only top offs. And remember guppies still breeding. I know its not ideal or perfect but after leaving the tank to die and it survived its more of an experiment now then a "pet" fish tank.
thanks for posting.

Sound like my old 10g only I actually added food and had a much higher guppy count..

my .02
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