When Your Dorm Room Becomes An Aquarium

aquarium and ecosystem of my little shrimps and snails
On the far right, in the last jar, you can see one of my snails saying hello. 🙂 If you look hard enough, you may be able to see a shrimp. They’re very hard to find, mostly because most of them are fairly transparent.

So you might be asking yourself, “Did her dorm room flood?”. The answer to that is no, thank goodness. For my honors ecology class, we were asked to make five small ecosystems. We could do this in what ever way we wanted to using the jars provided. Other than that the only other rules were that the ecosystems are closed, meaning that the jars remain shut, and that we cannot use invertebrates.

For my closed ecosystems, I chose to use cherry shrimp, ghost shrimp, and Japanese algae eater shrimp. I also used zebra nerve snails. For plants, I’m not quite sure what my longer plant is, but I know that the moss I got was java moss, which the shrimp and snails enjoy.

Last weekend, I went home to set up my miniature aquariums and spent a lot of time at PetCo and online, doing a lot of research on all of my little fellas. Ghost shrimp are actually really cool, weird creatures and so are all of the other shrimp and snails I got. The project was due this past Friday and so when I came back up to CSU last weekend, I became a mother to 13 little snails and shrimp together. They were all in their little ecosystems and throughout their time with me, I tried to give them as much light as possible, so that the plants could photosynthesize and provide all of my shrimp and snails with enough oxygen and food.

Unfortunately, my cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp passed away before I even handed in my ecosystems, but that’s ok, I guess that my snails will have more food and nutrients available to them. RIP Cherry and Ghosty Goo (name courtesy of my sister).

The goal of this project is to create ecosystems that are self-sustaining and will support life up until the end of this semester. I’m not totally optimistic about how my ecosystems will do, but the process of making each little aquarium or ecosystem was really fun and insightful. I’m hoping I don’t kill any other shrimp and that I don’t lose any snails in this process either. We’ll see how this goes! Have a good week everyone.

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