I’ve kept my ecosphere glass alive for almost half a year, so I thought it was time to share how I made one! We did that with our unschooling group and it’s so much fun!
What you will need:
The how is pretty simple:
- Scoop some sediment and soil into the bottom of your glass.
- Add water from the pond. It will be very cloudy – this will take a few days.
- Add a few plants like hornwort, duckweed, water grass. Algae normally grow naturally and establish themselves from the soil and the added stones.
- Find some freshwater snails or small crustaceans to add. Tip: look under the leaves in the water.
Note: Fish, larger animals and insects do not survive in a closed ecosystem like this. The reason for this is that they have too high a bio-load. In principle, their waste creates too many by-products that the ecosystem cannot process.
- Seal it and watch how life unfolds! Our glasses have reproduced sea monkeys and the snails!
What is an ecosphere?
A self-supporting ecosphere, also called a biosphere, is a miniature ecosystem that does not require any external resources.
Basically, everything your ecosphere needs from outside the glass is a little sunlight. Indirect light near a window is best in my experience.
How does it work?
The plants and algae produce oxygen as a product of photosynthesis. Snails and other living animals breathe in oxygen and carbon dioxide, and their waste contains nitrogen – both of which the plants need. The snails also eat algae and keep the ecosphere clean.
Bacteria and other microorganisms eat snail waste, rot plants and also help plants with carbon dioxide and inorganic nutrients, which they produce as waste. The water continues to flow in the closed system through condensation.
The mini ecosystem goes through a settlement period – also known as an ecological successor. This is a phenomenon that essentially balances the ecosphere. For example, plants with less carbon dioxide grow less. The ecosystem reaches equilibrium if the bio-pollution corresponds to the same input and output.
If you create one, please mark me on instagram! I would love to see your ecospheres!