Phase 3: Demonstration
3.1 Freshwater Aquarium Model
I populated the tank with, 10 ember tetras, 15 strawberry rasboras, and a variety of caridina, neocarindia and amano shrimp. These animals were chosen for their small size to give a sense of scale to the overall build and visually communicate an oceanic environment.
Even though theses are not marine animals, I was happy to find that they were instinctively interacting with the plants and structure in with behaviors that I had hoped to see. The shrimp graze on the plants, the fish school together, and all animals take shelter inside the structure when startled.
The size of the weave and spacing of the plants is large enough for both fish and shrimp to easily swim through.
The tank does have a filter and heater: I removed them to take clearer photos.
Grown-In: One Month Later
After one month, a layer of beneficial biofilm has grown on the surface of the ropes and sand. This is normal for small quantities of water with high light and nutrition, and provides increase grazing area for the shrimp. The plants have continued to grow, their roots reaching down from the weave to the substrate. This highlights an important difference between marine seaweed and freshwater plants. Freshwater plants take nutrients from their more delicate roots, while marine algae takes in nutrients from the water column and use their holdfasts exclusively to remain in place.
This was fun to make. The elements came together successfully, and are ready to progress into next testing phases with more complicated design elements and a true saltwater environment.