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Re: self-contained eco-system

 > From: IDMiamiBob <IDMiamiBob at aol_com>
 > The small red shrimp I have seen in these spheres are just brine shrimp.  Th
 > ey
 > will live only a few weeks and lay only a few eggs.  

Humm.  I've seen ads in adult toy catalogs with photos of a
self-contained eco-system in glass spheres which contain bright
red shrimp that are 2-3x larger than brine shrimp.

 > With any attempt you make at this, the balance in a sealed container system
 > will find its own balance between the photosynthetic producer and the animal
 > living off it.  The trick is to figure out what species to use, and then
 > introduce only those two species.

Don't forget light.  

I once struck a balance between "sea monkeys", green hair algea
and light from a West facing window above the kitchen sink at my
parents house.  My mother enjoyed watching this self-contained
(albeit not air-tight) eco-system for a two or three years
after I left home.  She kept it going for at least four years
with nothing more than water top offs every 2-3 months.

Alas, the, ah, ~ 16 oz tank crashed when she moved it to
different West facing window that was only three blocks away!!
To my amusement, she was very bummed--I hadn't realized she
became attached to her tiny brine shrimp "tank".

 > From: Olga Betts <sae at arts_ubc.ca>
 > Am I wrong in thinking that this would be impossible. Surely the sphere
 > could not be completely enclosed. The living things would need air. 

The idea is the algea, er, plants (=:) give off O2 eh.