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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, it has been quite some time since I've posted. I trust everyone has been having a good time : ) . I have recently quit moving around the state and decided to take up the hobby in a very small way, and place some aquatic plants in a 0.03 gallon jar similar to the one in this fantastic thread. (I considered bumping it... Perhaps I should?)

This jar will have substrate, plants and water. I essentially want the exact look the OP's jar has. I was considering livestock--such as a snail or shrimp--iif I could establish the jar. How would I go about establishing such a small, no tech "tank"?

Thanks in advance!
 

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I had a few marimo moss balls in a jar for a while. They do pretty well in small spaces, take up all the "Energy" in the water and keep algae from growing for the most part, but seem to let plants actually planted in the substrate do fine.

Smaller plants like the mini cardinal MIGHT do ok, depends on lighting, they like good light. Stem plants and java moss would work, you'd have to do a good bit of clipping on stem plants since they grow fast, but you could always sell what you get too much of and keep them nice and tiny. Java moss might take over though, it's just strands of pretty green moss that grows and grows, though you can shape it and keep it smaller, still might not be the best idea in very small places.

Those are all I can think of that'd be easily managed and easily kept small without killing them. Moss balls you can get really, really tiny and they take years to reach golfball size(about six or seven years to hit that size). They're oddly cute. lol Some people keep tiny ones in little things on necklaces(you know like those little tube things people put gold dust and water in?), pop some substrate in and wear those.
 

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inland aquatics used to have a hidden thread on eco jars.

I did some testing and found that some peat moss in the substrate prevents kh and gh rise.

I also kept a feeder guppy for 2 years in a in a one pint jar.

If you can get up to a gallon you might be able to keep more and larger fish.


my .02
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks everyone. I decided to start yesterday. I have placed two bunches of anacharis and a couple of java ferns in there, as they are the best suited for this type of experiment. I also had an onion bulb floating in my five gallon tank, so I threw that in the jar for good measure. I used black gravel mixed with Floral-Max for the substrate, and have a small piece of driftwood and some small stones. There is no livestock yet. I have heard my LFS has horned nerites, so perhaps I will check them out sometime later this week.

I'm planning on post pictures soon, if anyone is interested. I had to buy the anacharis from a chain store, and it was not looking great, so hopefully we can turn it around.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It's been about 24 hours since the original set-up. I have not tested the water and I don't plan to tonight. My apologies. However, it does have quite the stench of scummy water. I have not put the lid on the jar from fear of killing the plants.

Perhaps I will need some source of significant light. The fluorescent lights are six feet away--at least. Diagonally. And maybe an hour of natural sunlight. Anyway, I'm rambling again. Pictures tomorrow or Thursday, if anyone is following.
 

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I wouldn't call that rambling. lol You should see my posts, some may as well be books. Sometimes you just need to bounce ideas off yourself and others.

You will need to get light to it, even if those are low light plants. I have a little desk lamp that I pt plant lights in from the pet shop for my five gallon tank because the lid on the tank is not sufficient for HOLDING a light(it lets all the water in, not even fully blocked off, I have no idea what the incredible moron creators were thinking). You can use normal lights, but they'll probably be too powerful even for short periods and cause algae, big time.

It's been so long, I had one of these when I was a kid, and it stunk. But if I recall correctly, changing out about half the water per day for a while there killed that, or at least lessened it A LOT.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I took some really shoddy looking pictures. Hooray! I have "rescaped" since the first two images. The last three are taken earlier today (say "hi" to Oscar the dog). I have actually placed the ferns on a piece of wood and put the anacharis in the substrate. And finally, I bought some tiny horned nerites and ghost shrimp to stock the jar with today.

Can someone please educate me on whether I should place a air-tight lid on the container? If so, how does that work? Will micro-organisms feed the shrimp while the snails feed on algae? Will the plants oxygenate the water well enough for the livestock, or will the livestock create enough carbon dioxide for the plants? I suppose it is all trial and error until equilibrium is achieved. Anyway, I have to get ready for work. Thanks for reading. : )
 

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Not bad. I'm now debating on doing this, if only to spread out and grow my plants more. lol


Hello, Oscar the Dog! I have a pleco I named Oscar. :3
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hello Oscar the Pleco!

My worst fears have come true, I placed three shrimp in the jar and within an hour two had died. I'm not sure if it was poor acclimation or poor water quality. I'm afraid my ignorance and eagerness to make this thing work exceeded careful decision making. Since then, I have placed the nerites in my other tank. Hopefully the one remaining shrimp isn't too much for the jar.
 

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Oh dear. Yeah, there wouldn't be much in there for them right now, oxygen-wise or food-wise, and you want to test the water first, especially since shrimp can be pretty delicate. You wont want to pop any critters in there until your plants have established in the jar a bit, few weeks at least without any issues. Also, a tiny bubbler might help all around. It's hard to get CO2 into small spaces like that, someone was surprised I had plants doing so well in my 5 gal because of that little issue(I had no idea about it), and I informed him that the plants rotted and died before I got an airstone. Just an idea in case you have issues. =) As for the bioload? A trio of ghost or cherry shrimp would likely be fine, cherries especially stay smaller and have a very small bioload. Although in a jar it COULD have shocked them adding them all at once. Do a litle water change in there, add some Prime...although that might make it smell like sulfur.
 

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It's so weird clicking on a link and having my own thread pop up :p

I do have a few recommendations for your current set up that may help it work. From your profile, I see you are from Texas. Is it rather hot down there right now? Anacharis is more of a cold water plant, it is likely this plant will melt under warmer temperatures. Due to the ease of temperature fluctuations in such a small body of water i would recommend tropical stems plants....

Where did you source the water and substrate from? are they new? is the water newly treated? PH in new water often fluctuates within 24 hours, shrimps are fairly sensitive creatures, so I don't recommend being to quick to stock these fellows in your jar. On the other hand, snails such as the ramshorn snail/ pond snail are super hardy and can help you get through that initial phase needed to establish a mini ecosystem in the jar :) Simply plop a few snails in and wait. When you can see that the snails are doing well AND the water remains clear AND the plants look like they're thriving with new green growth, THEN your jar is most likely ready for shrimps. Definitely test the water parameters to be sure :)
This process may take a week or three.

Lighting is also an important factor, natural light (away from any form of direct sunlight is great! Do make sure that the temperatures do not get too warm, a cooler environmental temperature will help the flora and fauna acclimate to their new environment.

Lid or no lid is up to you, the absence of a cover will mean that you will need to top up more often.

Planted jars are fun (and addicting!) Good luck!
 

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Sorry if I miss some info, I read the thread quickly. So you've used soil for the substrate? MGOPS? *Make sure there are no chems or manure in your soil.* Also, I would add some rooting plants, at least rooting stems to use the nutrients in the soil. It will release nutrients in the water column too, but rooters will aerate the soil.

You should have sufficient oxygen in your jar with the elodea densa, very high oxygenating plant, good choice for your jar :) +1 on the Prime, the soil will release ammonia until your jar cycles and BB match the soil bioload.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the responses. It is much appreciated.

Sylverclaws, adding an air stone, or any sort of "tech" at all is a last resort. I want this to be electricity free. Although, do not expect me to place any more livestock in there until the water parameters have become much safer. Thanks for the tip, though. If the plants start to look bad, I will begin to consider alternatives.

ao, thanks for the inspiration! Also, anacharis has always done well in my tropical tanks, and even in my low light tropical tanks. I just wanted a hardy plant that I was familiar with, which prompted my decision on anacharis. Of course, I will make adjustments accordingly. What are your suggestions?

The substrate is CaribSea - Flora Max. As for the water--I always keep treated water for top offs and emergencies. I still consider myself a beginner in the hobby, however, I am somewhat familiar of the PH fluctuations in "new" water. If I need use "new" water quickly, I run an air stone in it for an hour before using.

Finally, I use both the sun and fluorescent lights for lighting. The jar stays room temperature all day, aside from a degree or two fluctuation with the noon sun shining on it. We do not have central air, but awesome window units that keep our house nice and cool. : )

And angelcraze, thanks for sharing the latin name for anacharis. I am a sucker for that kind of information. Again, I am using CaribSea - Flora Max for a substrate. I have heard of people using potting soil, although, that is beyond my understanding at the moment. Any chance you could recommend some rooting plants that may do will in a jar system such as this?

With all that said, the jar is doing fine today. Lonely ol' scrimp is doing all right, and two tiny snails have appeared from no where.
 

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Haha, like I said, I was in a rush, missed the crib sea thing. I have jars set up with snails. An accidental hitchhiker cherry shrimp made it in a plated vase I had and did alright. So, in my jars, I use potting soil, but stems like stargrass, mini ludwigia, tenellus etc all do well. Although I know nothing about crib sea, so it's probably not necessary to keep that aerated or 'use up' the nutrients.
 

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You really don't need substrate at all :) As the poster above me mentioned, all kinds of plants can do well in a jar, if your anacharis has been doing well for you tropically, I would suggest to keep it in there ^_^ I do recommend using water from an established planted tank water over using fresh treated water. By using tank water, you are bringing over small/ microorganisms in the water column which will help the jar settle.
To be honest, it's rare for me to purposefully set up a jar, usually they just happen. most of my jar happen when after a trim, I get lazy and toss the plants into a jar. Then weeks later I would suddenly realize that the plants has been doing quite well on neglect. and then maybe I'll try to make the jar look a little better/ stock etc. :D
 

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To back up the 'no substrate at all' comment, I recently started a 5g EB ram fry grow out bare bottom tank with a seasoned sponge filter. I threw in some moss, anacharis and baby tears from the parent's tank, just floating, and I too used water from the parent's established tank and use their tank water for water changes as well. The fry are doing great, and I do see lots of little organisms for them to feed on, as was the idea. It works!!!
 

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...
. Then weeks later I would suddenly realize that the plants has been doing quite well on neglect.

...
. :D

Ain't that the truth? :shock:

Glad your jar is working.


my .02
 

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Indirect sunlight is always good.

For c02 problems, they do have liquid boosts for them. Larger bottles that you only need TINY amounts of, so it'd be low cost considering how long even a small bottle would last. I'm not sure how it goes with invertebrates though, should you chose to keep any in there. But some natural light may well fix it all for you. =)

For help with dead matter and algae, you could probably put one or two nerite snails in there. They wont eat your plants, but they will eat dead matter, they can only breed, or I should say eggs will only hatch in brackish water, so you wont have to worry about over-breeding and getting swamped. They will eat algae, and in a smaller space they would be perfect to maintain it. There are several types, most common is the zebra nerite snail, I personally like the tigers/leopards(they look like leopards but are often called tigers...dunno why, they typically have spots over stripes or both). I don't know of any other small helpful snails that wouldn't breed in freshwater and can live in the smaller space with cooler temps and just plants other than snails(nerites are the only one I know of that wont mass produce in freshwater).
 

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Your Shrimp! These would be awesome little cleaners too. I used to put my diatom covered stems in my 5g tank with TONS of shrimp and the plants would be strip clean without a spot by morning, dead plant matter too. Agreed, nerites are the BEST algae eating snails out there. Even GSA!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Update time! I will post pics later this evening.

Everything has been going smoothly, aside from the horrid stench of the jar. The water has a thick film on top, but all the livestock is alive and seemingly well. The plants have not shown signs of growth, but they have not deteriorated either. The must have been snail eggs with my anacharis, and the tub outside that I throw scraps in is filled with tiny snails. It's like 100 degrees outside. I don't see how they survive!

Today is cleaning day for my tank, so I will do a partial water change for my jar as well. I will make sure to take pictures of the jar before I clean it, too.

Also, thank you everyone for the helpful information and attention. It's very encouraging. : )
 
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