Ecosystem Facts And FAQ’s
For detailed information on how to care for your Ecosystem, we highly recommend that you take time to read these helpful Ecosystem facts and informative FAQ’s (Questions and Answers) section.
Along with shrimp, there is algae and filtered sea water. The Ecosphere also contains a sea fan (the non-living, branch like material), decorative shells, and lightweight gravel as a part of the working ecosystem. The sea fan and gravel provide surface areas for the algae and micro-organisms to grow.
Ecospheres require very little (if any) maintenance. However, you will be provided with a booklet outlining everything you need to know (for example the best place to keep it) when you receive your mini Ecosystem.
As you gaze into your new Ecosystem, please take notice of the amount of green algae. This initial quantity of algae is the inoculants for the system. Algae growth is expected, but it should not grow too quickly. Keep your Ecosphere at a consistent temperature between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (15C-25C). Temperatures above 85 degrees put excess stress on the shrimp, and temperatures below 60 slow down the metabolism of the shrimp. Do not let the temperature fluctuate erratically.
Please DO NOT place your Ecosphere on televisions, stereo equipment, fireplace mantles, or near heating radiators and vents.ts.
The miniature Ecosystem needs indirect light, from either an artificial source or sunlight, for 6-12 hours every day. Please DO NOT place your Ecosphere in direct sunlight. If you place it in a room where plants flourish, this will be too much light. These systems do very well with low light levels. Light causes the algae to grow rapidly, which will change the chemical balance of the sphere and the shrimp will perish. If the algae starts to grow quickly, lower the light by shading the sphere or putting it in a darker area. If you notice the algae becoming greatly reduced, you can increase the light level.
Do not shake, drop, or otherwise treat the sphere roughly. Remember it is the shrimps’ home.
From time to time you may wish to clean any film that may have formed on the inside of the glass. Some of the micro-organisms, which are of nutritional value to the shrimp, are capable of creating a thin film on the inside of the glass. This film is not harmful to the system.
To make cleaning your Ecosphere easy, we have installed a magnet on the inside of the unit and supplied another attached to the handbook. To clean the sphere, simply take the handbook magnet and bring it near the gravel at the bottom of the sphere to attach the magnet on the inside of the glass sphere. Once you have the magnets attracted to each other, proceed to drag the magnets across the surface of the sphere in a light scrubbing motion to remove any excess film on the inside. It is not necessary to clean the entire surface at one time. If you lose your outside magnet, any refrigerator magnet will do. You will not harm the unit by moving it as you clean it.
The average life of the shrimps is between 2 and 3 years. The life expectancy of some shrimps is known to exceed 5 years, and the oldest are now over 10 years old (and still going strong). While we know that the life expectancy of these shrimp can exceed 5 years, we have no way of knowing how old each shrimp is as it is put in an Ecosphere. All things considered, our mini ecosystems may last many years, depending on the age of the shrimp and the environment in which it is kept.
Reproduction of shrimp does occur in some Ecospheres, but this is uncommon.
The shrimp that are in the Ecosystem have purposely been chosen because they do not exhibit aggressive behaviour towards each other.
The algae and bacteria in the glass sphere continuously reproduce and as time goes by, you can expect changes in the algae population.
Since the age of each shrimp is not known, it is not unusual for some of the shrimp to perish. If the shrimp die all at once, this is a clear indication that the temperature limits were exceeded. If they die over a period of time, they are probably meeting their normal life expectancy. As long as there is one shrimp alive in the system, it is a functional Ecosystem
The pale translucent shrimp-like bodies you may see lying on the bottom now and then are not dead shrimp, but exoskeletons. Shrimp are crustaceans. This means that they have their skeletons on the outside rather than on the inside. As the shrimp grows, it replaces it from time to time. After the old exoskeleton has been shed, the new one expands and hardens. It has been observed that a shrimp may moult once or twice a month in a normal environment. If a shrimp dies, the others will eat it, quickly returning the nutrients back to the system. The bacteria in the Ecosphere will also help decompose it within a few days.
Closed ecological systems are known as Ecosystems that do not rely on matter exchange with any part outside the system. Although the Earth itself fits this definition, the term is most often used to describe much smaller man made Ecosystems. Such systems are scientifically interesting and can potentially serve as a life support system during space flights, in space stations or space habitats. In a closed ecological system, any waste products produced by one species must be used by at least one other species.