• Bio-sphere

    From Gwen Morse@1:278/230 to All on Fri Oct 31 06:31:00 2003
    I have a commercial eco sphere produced by a company called Paragon SD
    Corp (Tucson, AZ). The labelled name is "Bio-Sphere (TM)". It's a
    heavy glass sphere about 10" in diameter, with a flat bottom that
    forms both a necked opening, and the base. The neck is covered with
    some sort of thick rubber that presumably forms an air/water seal.

    Paragon seems less than interested in supporting the spheres (I wanted
    to get mine recharged), so, then I was wondering how difficult it
    would be to recharge it, myself...

    From some googling in this group, it seems that folks build their own
    eco spheres. Is this something that someone who doesn't know all that
    much about aquariums can do?

    Looking it over, the big plant that came with it seems to be just
    fine. But, there's a fairly heavy algae coating on the glass of the
    sphere (there are bare patches I can peek through), and additional
    algae growing on the plant. I can't see in enough of the glass to be
    sure, but, I think all the snails that came in it are dead. It never
    had shrimp (my husband and I think they died in transit as it was
    shipped without the expected heat source, and it was purchased in the
    middle of winter).

    If I pried the rubber cover off, could I just put in snails and let
    them go to work cleaning it? Or, would I have to do some sort of
    balancing? The home page to my sphere says: ======================================================= http://www.paragonsdc.com/1A4DBiosphereCare.html

    Inside these water worlds are beautiful aquatic plants, snails, tiny
    shrimp (called amphipods), spinning water bugs and microscopic
    organisms living in harmony. The life inside the Biosphere comes
    mainly from fresh water habitats in the United States , but relatives
    of these species can be found the world over. The larger your
    Biosphere, the more diverse and plentiful the life inside.

    There are a number of different types of plants, animals, algae and
    microbes inside each Bio-Sphere.

    The tiny lily-like plants floating on the surface of the water are
    called Chain of Stars and are amongst the smallest plants in the
    world. There are a variety of snails in your Biosphere including the
    ramshorn, pond and trumpet snails (try to pick them out!). The most
    visibly active members of the biospheric community are the small
    shrimp-like amphipods seen darting wildly about. In addition to the
    larger animals, there is a vast population of tiny invertebrates
    inside the Biosphere including Daphnia, Ostracods and Copepods. Some
    of these little critters are difficult to see with the naked eye, but
    if you focus on the opposite side of the sphere, you may see them as
    little specs of dust (or try looking at your Biosphere through a
    magnifying glass).

    Though seldom seen, these creatures are important to the process of
    life going on inside. There are also small worms that live exclusively
    in the soil and many microscopic organisms living in the water that
    help with waste recycling. In nature these tiny animals form an
    important part of the food web providing prey to larger predatory
    species of invertebrates (animals without backbones) and fish.


    It sounds like there's alot going on in there, and I don't think it's
    like setting up a sea monkey tank where I open packet "A" and open
    packet "B", and then overnight have a sustainable population. I'm not
    sure how many of my necessary live creatures in there are dead now
    that the algae has spread as much as it has, but, I would guess that
    as long as there's live aglae, the water must be somewhat
    "sustainable" (is that a poor guess?).

    If it's not, can I go out to a local freshwater pond and just grab
    some water, or, is there more to it than that? Can I order water from somewhere, that would have the necessary micro-organisms? Where do I
    get my hands on things like "chains of stars" and the different kinds
    of snails (pet store with a big fish department)?

    From other googling efforts, I see that salt-water eco-spheres
    (complete with bits of live coral reef) are available for purchase.
    Would this be any more (or less) difficult for a normally "non-fishy"
    person to set up, if I removed all water and started "from scratch"? I understand salt water fish tanks are more work to maintain than fresh
    water, but, I think I've heard that's because the fish tend to be more
    fragile. From what I know, shrimp are pretty hardy, all things

    I really enjoyed having my sphere all these years, if not for the
    algae encroachment, I'd still be thrilled with it. I'd just appreciate
    some pointers on getting it back into an enjoyable state.

    Also, since I made specific mention of them, is it possible to set up
    a sealed eco-sphere specifically with sea monkeys (brine shrimp)? The
    stuff they eat as food, can it be self-renewing? I've played with the commercial sea monkey kits a few times and enjoyed them (as did my
    son), but, I did have a tendency to forget to feed them. In fact,
    that's part of why I wanted an eco-sphere :).

    I realize this is alot to go over, whatever help people can provide
    would be appreciated.
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