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Make Labs’ Biosphere & More!

Make Labs’ Biosphere & More!

Make 945

It’s always hard to tell which MAKE project will be the one that lots and lots of folks make and then share, it looks like for volume 10 a lot of makers are going tabletop biosphereing.

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Here’s one from our labs, over 5 months and going strong! – Link.

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Here are a few photos from the Sparks Research Group – Link.

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And this one from Cephalopodcast! They also took some nice macro photos – Link.

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Weekend project, make your own tabletop biosphere – Link.

From the pages of MAKE:
Make 943
Make 944

The Tabletop Shrimp Support Module (TSSM)
is a fun demonstration of the ecological cycles that keep us alive. MAKE 10 – page 110. Subscribers–read this article now in your digital edition – Link or subscribe to MAKE.

13 thoughts on “Make Labs’ Biosphere & More!

  1. cephalopodcast says:

    Thanks. I had fun with this project. Also made a short video to go with it.

  2. Cassica says:

    Although it’s difficult to get actual large organisms or aquatic life into the bottle, you should note that there is micro-organisms like plankton living in the water. If you combine this with say a small lamp overhead (emulates sunlight) you could potentially make it hospitable for a wider variety of life forms. Just remember that living plants are a necessity since they produce oxygen, without which your organisms will die.

  3. BubbleJar says:

    Ok, so I used fresh river water and the water that came with the shrimp. All the bugs and plants lived except the shrimp. I’ve tried it twice, and both shrimp died. The first biosphere lasted a week, and the second lasted only two days. The second time, I put a water thermometer in the biosphere jar to see if the water was too hot for the shrimp. The water temperature was 30 degrees C.

    I want to know why both shrimp died.

    I would be thankful for anyones suggestion.

    1. Annie McAulay says:

      When we did it our shrimp lasted 3 months.. second is going strong and it loves the plants! I would check the plants we had to buy extra and some were about to die.. our snail in there lived, though through both snail deaths. I also used tap water since we don’t live by ponds or lakes. Also put where there is plenty of light. I hope it helps.

  4. mjb2000 says:

    Hi BubbleJar, sorry to hear about your experience. From what you’ve written I notice there are two places you have diverged from the recipe in the article. You used river water instead of “nitrate poor freshwater,” which may have been loaded with nutrients and therefore contributed to an algal bloom, reducing the amount of oxygen available to your largest animals. Also, your temperature (30 C or 86 F) is higher than recommended by the article. I believe the Amano shrimp are a temperate and not a tropical species so their tolerance to high heat may be poor. There’s a reason for practically every detail in the article, so if it’s at all possible for you to follow it exactly, please give that a shot. While it’s not guaranteed, your chances may be better. -mjb

  5. Sparks_Research_Group says:

    I’m the kid in the Sparks Research Group picture. It’s been 37 days now and everything is A-OK. Shrimp have already molted. Found a lot of baby snails.

    Thanks for the project!

  6. A. Murphy says:

    The boy in his photo is growing Eurasian Watermilfoil, an invasive plant species in much of the United States. This plant grows about an inch per day and takes over native plants residing in waterways, disrupting natural ph balances and ecosystems. It has also been the cause of several swimmer deaths over the years. I know this because I am a scuba diver currently subcontracted at Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe working to remove this prolific plant from the area. It began growing in Lake Tahoe back in the 60’s when a person irresponsibly dumped their fish tank into the lake when they decided they didn’t want it anymore. I would urge anyone who intends to do this project to choose their water plants responsibly, doing their research and using only plants that are native to their area.

  7. rebecca at thisfineday says:

    Very cool! I lover terrariums and this just takes it totally a step further. I look forward to trying this out with my girls! Thanks for the post :-)

  8. mathitalladdsup says:

    I am an avid fishkeeper and have a few recommendations to those struggling with the project with the shrimp. If you are using tapwater you should use a dechlorinator and add a product that contains beneficial bacteria, such as “safestart”. You should change out at least 1/2 the water a couple of times a week and add more dechlorinated water and more bacteria. Having a little piece of aquarium filter sponge (biofilter) would improve results as well. If using stream, river, or lake water, I would still declorinate and include a filter, but bacteria will already be present so you won’t need to add any.

    My inclination is your shrimp and snails are dying because:
    1) You bought carnivorous shrimp, not vegetarian. Amano shrimp or cherry shrimp would work. Bamboo shrimp will not work.
    2) There are metals in the water. All invertebrates, including snails and shrimp, are sensitive a water dissolved metals, especially copper.
    3) You bought salt-water shrimp, not freshwater…
    4) There was not enough algae and they starved… :(
    5) There was an insufficient amount of bacteria and the ammonia spiked and killed the invertebrates.
    6) The water was too hot or too cold…

    I would get a nanotank (less than 5 gallons) with a filter, water circulation, and a heater. It will be much more consistent, and once set-up, a lot less work. Good luck!

  9. ifitfitsinajar says:

    I live in Florida and our home is about 85 degrees inside all year except winter when it about 70 degrees inside. What animal could live in a biosphere in my temperature zone?

  10. ATO @ atocompostingconversation says:

    Reblogged this on allthingsorganicblog and commented:
    I love this idea. I think I will try it out soon! :)

  11. AbouttheGarden says:

    This is fantastic! My kids are going to love making one of these

  12. Cecilia Karlsson says:

    could this be done without shrimp? shrimp generally want to be in at least groups of 10 or more to thrive and I wouldn’t want to do that to any of mine :(

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