How to Make a Mini Fish Ecosystem

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Guppies are smaller than goldfish and require less living space.
Guppies are smaller than goldfish and require less living space. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Ecosystems can exist outside of nature. One of the easiest ecosystems to create is a mini fish ecosystem. When given good natural light and ample time, a mini fish ecosystem will sustain not only fish but micro-organisms including amoeba, rotifers, ciliates, diatoms and small crustaceans. Best of all, this ecosystem can be created at any time of year, and anywhere.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass gallon jars
  • Pond water
  • Stones
  • Shells
  • Aquatic plants
  • Feeder guppies
  • Fish flakes

Wash the gallon jar with soap and sterilize it in the dishwasher. This ensures that there are no chemical residues or germs that could affect your ecosystem.

Obtain some water from a local pond. It is always important to obtain pond water because it already contains living organisms.

Wash the shells and stones and place them in the gallon jar. Add enough water to cover the stones by 1 inch.

Anchor the roots of the aquatic plants in the rocks at the bottom of the jar.

Gently pour the rest of the water into the jar, filling it almost all of the way.

Introduce the feeder guppies to the ecosystem by first placing their bag into the water. This ensures that the temperature of the water in their bag matches the temperature in the jar. Let them sit in their own bag for an hour and then release them into the jar. Observe their behavior to make sure they are adjusting.

Add a fish flake for the guppy three times as week as a backup food source while the mini ecosystem is becoming established. This will give the plants time to grow before the guppies feed on them.

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