River Ecosphere 6 Month Update: Sealed Biosphere Terrarium


Six months ago I went down to the creek near my old neighborhood and gathered samples of mud and water to seal up in a glass jar. Within a few days life began to emerge seemingly from out of nowhere, and they began to flourish in their new environment. First came the snails and before I knew it they were multiplying. Then came the crustaceans: seed shrimp, Cyclops. They were so small that you didn’t even know they were there unless you got close and saw all the dark creatures twirling through the water. Then came the algae and the cycle was complete, each organism depending on each other for survival. Only two of my eco spheres remain alive now and this one has been alive the longest. A little over six months have passed since I last opened the jar and yet life continues uninterrupted. The Sun shines its light on to the miniature world providing the energy needed to sustain life. New species have emerged. Worms come and go. A small colony of spring tails continue to inhabit the dry area at the neck of the jar, completely unaware of the monsters that lurk in the waters beneath them. The dense forest of algae has become so thick that debris and the dead bodies of previous generations remain suspended above the ground in a cloud of green. Morbid as it may be, those decaying remnants provide nutrients for the algae which feed and sustain the creatures that live in it. How long can this possibly go on? How delicate is this balance of life and death? I can’t tell you for sure if or when this experiment will finally come to an end. I can only continue to observe it and document how it evolves over the ages.

100 thoughts on “River Ecosphere 6 Month Update: Sealed Biosphere Terrarium

  1. dustin, i love your videos. they're very relaxing and also informative. you inspired me to start making ecospheres myself (:

  2. Yesterday you inspired me to go to a lake a get a jar of water! 😂
    Today I see tons of little creatures swimming around at the surface of the water. No ides what they are yet, maybe I'll figure out soon

  3. How were new creatures appearing even though it was sealed??

  4. I love that you added the reading. I'm a soon graduating biologist and feel a little lost to what I want to do in my life. Thank you for reminding me why the study of life is so fascinating and important!

  5. Woah I’m going down to the montanzas inlet and I am going to do this

  6. Subbed that was a dope video, the music and your explanation and narration were awesome

  7. You could literally make this a half hour documentary on life inside that jar and I'd watch the entire thing.

  8. I have a strange new found pond in my backyard, I think I will try making an ecosphere once school is finished.

  9. Copepode, cyclps ecc, members of plancton, i curious to see a drop of this water under the lens of a microscope.

  10. Any tips on how to make such a jar? Just go out, grab some mud, gras and water and put it in a jar?

  11. What exactly did you start off with? I understand it was all growing, not bought, but did you have plants, or types of dirt, sand etc?

  12. Dustin??? Do you ever clean these please let me know how? Just bought mystery snail for mine I cant see anything at all there's so much algee!

  13. I purchased an ecosphere with tiny shrimp and it has been alive over 2 years. It’s quite amazing!

  14. If we send this to Mars, would that mean we will have life in Mars officially?

  15. What is the name of the snails? I have thos snails too .. in my tank

  16. ╔╗╔╗╔╗
    ║╚╝║║║
    ║╔╗║║║
    ╚╝╚╝╚╝

  17. Heyya how did your other jars died? What did you do to them prior their death? Have you opened them?

  18. Make more videos like this, especially with this style of dialogue. Truly amazing! Thanks

  19. This is so freaking amazing, I had a jar like those for some months too, It's really nice and interesting to look at

  20. Circle of life inside a tiny jar….beautiful….my eyes are blessed

  21. Ermagoooosh I wona make one I live in the desert but I will find a river damnit 😑

  22. Hmmm, any maintenance needed? Or is everything in there okay with the semi-stagnant water?

  23. How would customs handle something like this? I have a 3 jars of river water and 1 above-ground I'm hoping to bring them with me overseas but I don't know if customs will like them as much as I do.

  24. Sadly that same evening everything died and dried up into dust. R.I.P. life in a jar 🙁

  25. amazing, I just love these projects!!
    guessing your jars are from America region??
    Anyone fancy giving my video a watch & potentially helping me identify what lurks within mine please? 😂🤓 plenty of daphnia & shrimp from what I can tell, but I'm an still learning :p

  26. eon: a unit of time equal to a billion years.
    That ecosphere is giving earth a run for it's money. You are its Yahweh, and a very good one at that.

  27. Is there anything you've done in order to keep algae growth at a minimum? I accidentally 'killed' mine when I left it in darkness for a few days in the hope of bringing down the algae growth, but should start to spring back to life shortly

  28. Beautiful. Ecospheres, when done right are very beautiful and can live a long time. Mine is on three years now!

  29. After watching your videos, I decided to make an ecosphere for myself. I was doubtful anything would survive. But, to my amazement, I now have a little jar filled with aquatic life 😀

  30. You’ve grown so much!!! I love this video it’s so poetic and creative ❤️

  31. Imagine how many of those microscopic river bugs we swallow when we swim lol

  32. Have you all seen the channel life in jars? It is great if not you should watch it

  33. I have a question, what do you do with the ecosphere when it dies? Do you just dump it out or do you have something special you have to do as to not intermix different environments (such as not being able to dump goldfish in regular ponds because of the risk and issues)

  34. This has enspired me to start a small ecosphere of my own which I will start tomorrow

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