Maintaining ecosystems is a difficult task. Not only does one need to maintain the ecosystem but also the housing for the ecosystem. My roommate's 60 gallon freshwater ecosystem was destroyed one night when the glass tank sprung a leak. Water was dripping at an alarming rate. To prevent further damage 75% of the water was removed. Silicone caulk was used to seal the tank until someone could remove the tank. He removed the fishes and sold them to the aquarium store. The plants were thrown out and the drift wood was cleaned and dried out for another ecosystem. Because of the size of the leak, the tank could not be salvaged and was donated to someone on Craigslist.
The saltwater ecosystem is still in the beginning phase. Three green cromy fishes were introduced to the system. But two of the fishes died within the first week. The thrid fish is no longer seeming healthy. This could be related to the current nitrogen cycle and lack of readiness for a fish. A green candy cane coral was introduced recently as a test of the system. At the moment the coral looks healthy but more research is needed on coral care.
The betta ecosystem is doing well. Walter the fish has a healthy appetite. He also leaves a large amount of bubbles at the surface indicating a healthy betta. For exercise and entertainment a mirror is used to simulate the presence of another male. When Walter sees the reflection he flares his fins and protrudes his gills. This in an interesting behavioral adaptation to limit male competiviness for offspring. I also use this behavior to gauge the health of Walter. Healthy bettas engage in this behavior, also the physiological display helps to evaluate the health of the fins and gills of the fish. This behavior also is a form of excercise but should be limited to a few minuets to minimize anxiety. Since the fish is healthy, I want to continue this trend. I am looking into possible additions to the ecosystem to promote a healthy system. This may include the addition of ghost shrimp to clean up betta waste. However there is mixed reviews on this addition, in smaller environments the betta may feel threatened and attack the shrimp. Only experimentation will show if the betta can handle a shrimp friend.
In efforts to document the 20% project, I am exploring Vine as a method for obtaining video. Here is a link to a Vine about the freshwater ecosystem. https://vine.co/v/O3JL12VwO7D