All times are UTC + 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Aquatic composting?
PostPosted: Jan 2nd, '14, 14:34 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Jan 2nd, '14, 13:32
Posts: 10
Gender: Male
Are you human?: Yes
Location: San Francisco
I have been running planted aquariums for several years now. I culture some live foods for my fish, and I have some other critters around for clean-up. I use the water from my culture tanks to supplement the nutrients in my main tank.

Im very curious whether or not anyone has utilized aquatic animals as part of their system. I see a lot of people struggling to figure out how to utilize terrestrial compost worms, but seems to me that's a bit of gardeners with earthworm hammers seeing really wet nails... I see compost "tea" where terrestrial compost is getting swirled around in water for its microbes, but not its nutrients. Isn't that sortof a waste?

Isn't anybody doing aquatic compost?

Some critters of interest:


ASELLUS AQUATICUS:

The water hoglouse or water slater, an aquatic species of sowbug, is an isopod that feeds only on decaying matter (or perhaps just the fungi growing on it). They are found almost everywhere, just like their terrestrial counterparts. They get to about half an inch long and trundle around on the bottom, where they like to dig in substrate. I have seen them mentioned as a potential way to keep fish eggs clean in breeding tanks, as they may eat away fungus and dead eggs while leaving the healthy ones alone. I haven't found a source for these yet-- Carolina Biological has some, but won't ship to California (despite them being native and ubiquitous... in theory I might be as to go outside and catch some, but I live in an urban metropolis). Seems to me these could be very cool in a hydroponic system, crawling about on roots and nibbling away any dead bits or mold.


SCUDS (Gammarus):

A quarter-inch long at their biggest, these amphipods look like tiny gray shrimp, with little gills constantly fanning under their curled tails. They sit or crawl about, but can also swim quite fast, zooming around randomly in smooth swooping motions. These make great fish food, but might chew on plants or predate on other critters like daphnia and copepods. Asellus are probably a safer option.


SEED SHRIMP:

These look like swimming sesame seeds, adorable little bubble-like copepods that swim in dizzy loops. They are filter feeders, with small fronds that pick up bacteria and the like. They live in pools that periodically dry out, so they can hatch from eggs that have been dry, but in aquaria I find their populations very unstable-- they may need the dry cycles to keep proliferating regularly.


DERO WORMS (Dero digitata, sometimes called microfex):

These get barely half an inch long max, white or pinkish in groups. They like to clump together under a protective layer of slime while they feed on tiny stuff like bacteria and protozoa-- and can help produce infusoria for culturing other critters like daphnia. When found drifting through the water, they swim with a distinctive corkscrew thrashing motion.


CALIFORNIA BLACKWORMS (Lumbriculus variegatus):

Annelid worms who have been studied as a possible tool for sludge reduction in waste water treatment. Usually found in cleaner waters than tubifex worms. Usually seen at 2" or so in culture, although they can grow larger. Sexually mature specimens are rare, as they often split apart asexually. Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT have to store these in 1" of water in the fridge. They will thrive in the deep, warm water of an aquarium-- provided there is enough oxygen and food. They will eat just about any kind of scrap. If the oxygen levels are very high, you won't see much of them, but as soon as the levels drop a bit, you will see little tails sticking up out of the substrate into the water, up to an inch or so (with enough of them it can look like weird pink grass). Good treat for fish, without the diseases that tubifex worms can carry. They are native to North America and Europe (maybe Asia too?) and can be found in the muck all over.


NEMATODES and PLANERIA:

I've heard some of these can be pretty useful but I don't know much about them. They tend to turn up everywhere, at any rate.


SNAILS:

I am very curious whether snails can be used to help control algae and the like. Anybody know of any snails that can climb far enough out of the water to work on that, without chewing on plants or roaming around the house??

In water I am familiar with these types:

Malaysian trumpet snails will multiply to epidemic proportions in a tank with a lot of detritus, but in of themselves are harmless. They don't eat live plants, even if they're pretty hungry, and hide in the substrate most of the time, coming out at night to munch on algae and dead plant matter. They like to dig, BUT-- contrary to rumor, trumpet snails do not do much to aerate substrate, rarely burrowing much more than 1" down. Live bearing, they do not lay eggs. They have pointy cone-shaped shells, and a distinctive snout.

Ramshorn snails are more decorative, though they will chew on live plants if they are hungry enough. May be bright pink, red/orange, lavender, gray, brown, or black. Shell curls in a flat coil like a cinnamon roll.

Also commonly found in aquaria and other wet situations are pond snails-- the smaller, obnoxiously prolific Physa pond snail, about 1/4-1/2", and the larger (up to 2") Lymnaea pond snail, which can climb out of the water and breathe air if it needs to (maybe it's a candidate for hydroponic situations? I wonder!). Physa have long skinny eye stalks (unless fish nibble them off), while Lymnaea have short, triangular ones-- also if the snail is crawling on the glass, with the tip of the shell pointing upward, a Physa's shell will open to the left, and a Lymnaea's shell opens to the right. Both prefer dead stuff to eat but will probably chew live plants if hungry enough, like the ramshorn.

Most snails eat some algae, but nothing beats the algae-mowing power of the nerite snail, which can even eat black beard algae. Nerites eat algae ONLY, and may starve if there's not enough-- also they can only breed in salt water, and will tend to leave inert white eggs stuck everywhere in a freshwater tank.

If you have too many snails, predatory assassin snails can be used to help control them. These are not hermaphroditic like other snails, and must breed in pairs.


A side note-- snails and other shelled creatures (isopods, copepods, etc) need more calcium in the water than worms, and may not do so good in a low-pH environment. What's the max calcium that can be run for various types of plants, I wonder?


Anybody know of other potentially useful critters? Had any experience with them? I'm really excited to learn more about this.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
    Advertisement
 
 Post subject: Re: Aquatic composting?
PostPosted: Jan 2nd, '14, 23:00 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: May 27th, '06, 04:57
Posts: 6480
Images: 0
Gender: Male
Are you human?: I'm a pleasure droid
Location: Frederick, Maryland
Welcome rosemadder, thanks for the interesting topic!

I had a ton of snails in my system, they scooted all over the pond liner cleaning up surfaces everywhere.

Looking at the gravel beds there is a lot of unidentified things in there, not just compost worms. I'm sure some of the things you mention are in there if they are native.

I've heard of scuds here, some folks have tried to add them to DWC areas:
search.php?keywords=scuds&terms=all&author=&sc=1&sf=all&sk=t&sd=d&sr=posts&st=0&ch=300&t=0&submit=Search

I was trying to identify some of these arrow-shaped worms once, might have been planaria: viewtopic.php?p=54430#p54430

When I bought my fish from the pond stocking place I also bought a bag of daphnia, figured it would help the little fishes grow. I also had minnows living in my troughs under the roots, didn't plan it they must have hitched a ride through the pump. The minnows bred to where they were everywhere, I'm sure they help keep things cleaned up as well.

Had a lot of slugs in the last system, starting using iron phosphate pellets to control them.

_________________
DD's Landing Page

Plant and fish pictures are money


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Aquatic composting?
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '14, 00:35 
Offline
Almost divorced
Almost divorced
User avatar

Joined: Apr 16th, '12, 11:43
Posts: 1417
Location: 'Kooinda Bindi', Muckenburra
Gender: Male
Are you human?: family Hominidae
Location: deep in the bush north of Perth, WA, Oz
Welcome, rosemadder, and congratulations for creating quite probably the longest first post!
There are 106 references to Gammarus on the forum, and black worms and microfex worms have been mentioned as sources of live food.

_________________
∞ ∞ PLJ's Big Concrete Tank System ∞ ∞
∞ ∞ ∞ The 'Puddle' ∞ ∞ ∞


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Aquatic composting?
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '14, 01:48 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Nov 6th, '11, 10:04
Posts: 5100
Gender: Male
Are you human?: Humans err, I Arrr!
Location: Chula Vista, CA, USA
Pop on up to lake Berryessa to fond you aquatic critters. It is not far from you.

_________________
What answers I can question for you?

My Patio System

My Indoor System

No single drop of rain believes it is responsible for the flood.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Aquatic composting?
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '14, 02:36 
Offline
A posting God
A posting God

Joined: Apr 8th, '10, 23:51
Posts: 2017
Location: Fairport Harbor, OH
Gender: Male
Are you human?: yes
Location: fairport harbor ohio-on lake erie
yup, i have scuds in all my tanks/beds.. had glass shrimp until the crayfish took over..snails in all the fish tanks..
i've planted beneficial nematodes in my gb's several times.. i had daphnia cultures going for a while..

_________________
my basement system;
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=8354


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Aquatic composting?
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '14, 03:05 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Aug 26th, '10, 07:17
Posts: 8492
Gender: Male
Are you human?: YES
Location: Oregon, USA
A lot of critters have taken up residence without my permission some good, some bad. Tons of snails like others, look like Ramshorn snails. I've had the pond snails but they don't seem to be around much if at all anymore. The problem with these guys is they can have die outs going into Winter when the food supply drops and they can slow the flow through pipes (thankfully this hasn't happened much for me). They do sometimes wind up in the growbeds but don't seem to bother the plants. A couple of other oddballs I've had in the past, in the media beds in this case, Damselfly larvae and Crane Fly Larvae. I'm not sure what the Damselfly larvae were eating but they are predators. The Crane Fly larvae were coming up the stem of the plants at night and feeding on the plants (they do a job on lawns so this makes some sense). I'm pretty sure I've had scuds in the past but don't currently.

All these and more were unintended guests of the system.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Aquatic composting?
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '14, 05:07 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Jan 2nd, '14, 13:32
Posts: 10
Gender: Male
Are you human?: Yes
Location: San Francisco
Yeah with outdoor systems it's inevitable some critters will find their way in, very interesting to hear about.

Starting to realize finally that most people around here are in Australia. So, animals that are ubiquitous most everywhere else, like asellus and blackworms, might be exotic for you guys and a potential problem?

Asellus are present in human water supply systems globally (where they can be a nuisance if they pop out of the faucet and scare people, but have not been shown to carry any dangerous stuff like e coli) but I'm not sure about their natural range.

About Asellus-- there's a lot of information and some really great pictures here, from a guy who has cultivated a bunch of them in his koi pond filter:

http://www.koiphen.com/forums/showthrea ... s-happened

Another worm I've seen mentioned is the cod worm, genus Amynthas, native to Asia. Sounds like these are already doing some damage in a lot of places. Are they already all over Australia? No way I would intentionally cultivate those worms where I am. North America, as it happens, did not have its own earthworms until they were brought in-- red wigglers probably aren't a huge risk here, at least in cooler areas, but other types are spreading dangerously. If I pick up any terrestrial worms here in San Francisco I I'll probably stick with Eisenia.

A note about potentially invasive fish-- Even if your system seems isolated, you'd be amazed how fish can spread! People have actually witnessed birds like kingfishers catching fish and carrying them between water bodies, where they drop them in, ALIVE, almost as if they're trying to spread the fish around on purpose. Also fishing birds like herons and pelicans tend to swallow their prey whole-- and if startled, may cough them back up to reduce weight before emergency takeoff, potentially barfing still-living fish into a new location. So be careful, if you have a fish species that could be dangerous in your region, with natural bodies of water and/or fishing birds in your neighborhood, you might want to seriously consider some netting. I mean, think about it-- there are a lot of lakes and ponds in the world that have never been connected to other waterways, yet they got fish populations somehow...


Anyway. I am looking at building a small indoor system under T5s or HPS. I'd love to keep koi again but I just don't have the space. It will be in a separate room from my fishtank-- and honestly, those fish are tiny anyway, neons and Congo tetras and such, nothing one would measure by poundage heh. I might use a few goldfish, but really I will be relying mainly on the invertebrate composting team to do the heavy biological lifting-- utilizing household compost (no meat or dairy probably). I want to grow a few edible plants, maybe blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, something like that. I expect to need to supplement with iron, calcium (eggshells might do it?) and potassium, plus probably some other micros from a fert mix, but otherwise the system will be mainly organic.

From what I'm reading, Eisenia worms can actually do some aquatic work if there's enough oxygen? But I'll need a clean source to get them from to try that, what with the manure e coli thing and all. Unless I want to wait four months, yuck.

Oh just realized I forgot to mention springtails. Adding them to my post.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Aquatic composting?
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '14, 05:13 
Offline
Newbie
Newbie

Joined: Jan 2nd, '14, 13:32
Posts: 10
Gender: Male
Are you human?: Yes
Location: San Francisco
Wow, is there no forum option to edit posts here? That's too bad.

SPRINGTAILS (Collembola):

Teeny tiny guys the size of the period at the end of this sentence. White or gray, they are often seen hopping about on the surface of water. Likely to be found in your humidity trays, they are extremely prolific everywhere in the world.

Recently I've been studying terrariums, and I keep seeing springtails mentioned as a very important clean-up crew that can not only serve as live food for pets such as dart frogs, but help control unwanted mold.


I just came across some interesting information from a study in which beet seedlings were exposed to springtails and pythium (the dreaded root rot fungus). Springtails alone caused some limited damage to the seedlings. Pythium alone destroyed the seedlings. But a combination of the two resulted in less damage than either alone-- the springtails would rather eat the pythium than the plants. That's awesome.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Aquatic composting?
PostPosted: Jan 3rd, '14, 13:49 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Aug 26th, '10, 07:17
Posts: 8492
Gender: Male
Are you human?: YES
Location: Oregon, USA
rosemadder wrote:
Wow, is there no forum option to edit posts here? That's too bad.


Probably something along these lines going on - If you weren't logged in then you wouldn't get the option. If you were then it's either because you don't have many posts yet or it's been too long since the posting. The moderators will know for certain.

FYI - Had Springtails in my first system which was indoors and wouldn't want them again. They do great in the growbeds and multiply by the thousands. Mainly they are a nuisance.

Cheers


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Aquatic composting?
PostPosted: Jul 13th, '18, 03:52 
Offline

Joined: May 15th, '16, 10:12
Posts: 2
Gender: Male
Are you human?: no
Location: Vietnam
you might want to check this out: https://user.xmission.com/~ramcat/afilterdesign.html
About the use of the water slate to clean filters.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 

All times are UTC + 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 8 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
Portal by phpBB3 Portal © phpBB Türkiye
[ Time : 0.128s | 17 Queries | GZIP : Off ]