The pond. Life is everywhere. In the mud, in the water column, on the debris, under the floating plants and on top of them.
I’ve already posted some pictures about this tank. I want to breed floating plants & shrimp to feed my other tanks. Yesterday my floating plants arrived. Three kinds of duckweed and azolla…a fun little fern that lives symbiotically with cyano bacteria and can fix nitrogen from the air. I was so happy to get them and plopped them right into the tank, which I was finely convinced had matured nicely. I wasn’t so sure of its progress until I was adjusting the hose and felt the familiar slipperiness of bacteria growing a slime coat on everything.
Yesterday morning I also noticed some life in the tank that I couldn’t see before! I had to look up a few of these little bioindicaters because I had never seen them in a tank. Some short descriptions from various sources follow each picture.
This picture courtesy of Biodiversity Snapshots. It was such a good picture of this miniscule creature, my camera just gets little dots that are blurry. These guys scuttle along the bottom and swim lazily in the water feeding on detriment.
From my dear friend Wiki, the Pedia:
Ostracods are a class of the Crustacea (class Ostracoda), sometimes known as seed shrimp. Some 65,000 species (only 13,000 of which are extant) have been identified, grouped into several orders. They are small crustaceans, typically around 1 millimetre (0.04 in) in size, but varying from 0.2 millimetres (0.008 in) to 30 mm (1.2 in) in the case of Gigantocypris. Their bodies are flattened from side to side and protected by a bivalve-like, chitinous or calcareous valve or “shell”. The hinge of the two valves is in the upper (dorsal) region of the body. Ostracods are grouped together based on gross morphology, but the group may not be monophyletic; their molecular phylogeny remains ambiguous.
Ecologically, marine ostracods can be part of the zooplankton or (most commonly) they are part of the benthos, living on or inside the upper layer of the sea floor. Many ostracods, especially the Podocopida, are also found in fresh water and terrestrial species of Mesocypris are known from humid forest soils of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. They have a wide range of diets, and the group includes carnivores, herbivores, scavengers and filter feeders.
I seriously can’t get over how cute these little guys are…all stuffed up inside their shell, just legs and antennae out. Check out the diagram of them on the wikipedia link, fascinating. What else do I love? Free food growing for my fish. These are a great size for any of my smaller fish and larger fry. I’m sure they already exist in my other tanks…but in hiding or smaller populations as fish love them.
This picture, from infectiouslandscapes.org, is a close up a copepod, particularly one known as cyclops. There are all kinds of copepods, most are very small, and they are quiet common in freshwater everywhere. Even from our sinks. The adults are visible to the naked eye as these little, jittery creatures swimming in short bursts in the water column. According to wikipedia:
” Cyclops is one of the most common genera of freshwater copepods, comprising over 400 species .The name Cyclops comes from the Cyclops of Greek mythology which shares the quality of having a single large eye, which may be either red or black in Cyclops.
Cyclops individuals may range from ½–5 mm long and are clearly divided into two sections. The broadly oval front section comprises the head and the first five thoracic segments. The hind part is considerably slimmer and is made up of the sixth thoracic segment and the four legless pleonic segments. Two caudal appendages project from the rear. Although they may be difficult to observe, Cyclops has five pairs of legs. The long first antennae are used by the males for gripping the females during mating. Afterwards, the female carries the eggs in two small sacs on her body. The larvae, or nauplii, are free-swimming and unsegmented.
Cyclops has a cosmopolitan distribution in fresh water, but is less frequent in brackish water. It lives along the plant-covered banks of stagnant and slow-flowing bodies of water, where it feeds on small fragments of plant material, animals or carrion. Cyclops has the capacity to survive unsuitable conditions by forming a cloak of slime.”
Discovered these little guys came with the plants. Commonly called “scuds” these little shrimp-like crustaceans are now all over my tank AND a great source of food for my other fish. This guy is bright white…mine are yellowish green. Photo & info below from Wikipedia:
” Hyalella azteca is a widespread and abundant species of amphipod crustacean in North America. It reaches 3–8 mm (0.12–0.31 in) long, and is found in a range of fresh and brackish waters. It feeds on algae and diatoms and is a major food of waterfowl. Hyalella azteca grows to a length of 3–8 millimetres (0.12–0.31 in), with males being larger than females. Their colour is variable, but the most frequent hues are white, green and brown.”
These are like mini versions of ghost shrimp in terms of tank usefulness. They swim around into nooks and crannies cleaning everything by eating all the dead plants/animals.
These are all the identified and visible ones. I have a new species of freshwater snail I haven’t seen before, as well as a few insects who are living on top of the plants. Maybe more aphids…maybe some fungus gnats. There are too few and they are too small to tell right now.
The next few weeks will be watching the tank for growth of plants/animals and seeing how much I can actually feed my other tanks with this size…I might have to get a 50 gallon, LOL. I’ll also be collecting ghost shrimp when I can to start the breeding in this tank.
I really like the idea of doing AP for my AP tanks…it all just fits together so nicely Below is a recap video of the tan, enjoy.
Youtube is being cranky and won’t let the embed code work, LOL, please follow this link instead