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Aquatic plants at work

I have an aquatic garden in a bottle on my desk at work.  It is a decorative glass bottle with a glass stopper, perhaps intended for brandy or such.  The total capacity is probably not more than 24 oz.  I started with a substrate of sand and pebbles, no more than 1/2 inch deep.  I also added a couple of small seashells to keep the water stable and hard.  I used water from my tank at home to make sure I got all the bacteria that I would need.  It is filled around 2/3 full, with a significant air space and surface.  I also threw in a couple of granules of KNO3, a tiny bit of MgSO4, and a couple of drops of Kent Freshwater Plant Supplement.

For plants, I added little sprigs of anacharis and hornwort, a "leaf baby" of java fern, and a little duckweed.  For animals, I added a couple of pond snails, a smallish trumpet snail, and several of those tiny ramshorn type. (the ones that carry their shell sideways)

After about 5 months, it is still doing very well.  The anacharis and the hornwort grew rapidly at first, and then started putting out tiny dwarfed growth as they became nutrient limited.  The java fern grows well but the leaves also deteriorate fairly rapidly, so there isn't much net increase in plant mass.  The duckweed increased at first, then decreased back to what seems to be a stable population.  Recently, I have seen several young trumpet snails and a couple of tiny pond snails.  There is a little bit of filimentous algae but it doesn't grow enough to be a bother.

I occasionally blow into the bottle with a straw and get oxygen bubbles on all the plants.  And a while back, I cut a tiny bit off the end of a Jobe's stick and dropped that in.  But I have also left the stopper on for weeks at a time with no problems at all.  It seems quite capable of existing as a "closed" system, at least in the short term.  

David Ozenne
Berkeley, CA