I ran across this the other day on Instructables, and it sounded like something that I would like to try and make. I have kept freshwater fish in the past and I am comfortable with this type of thing. I decided to make two identical setups. Here is where/how I obtained the materials:
- I had to find the right containers. I found a 1 liter glass jar (Weck) with a glass lid from World Market, though I found out later that an Ace hardware nearby also has these jars.
- The sand is fine grain black sand that I got from Petsmart, though it was also available from local aquarium stores. Petsmart had a small bag versus a 25lb bag from aquarium stores.
- The plant (Anubias barteri var. nana) was found at Petsmart as well. They had them in small, medium, and large. I choose medium, which fit well in this container. Word to the wise, make sure that you leave the plant in its container until you are ready to use it. One one of the plants, I took it out to look at it. The plants were inside clear plastic tubes with their roots in clear plant gel. After I took it out, it started getting dried out quickly and never really recovered.
- I had trouble finding the types of snails that were listed in the Instructable. None of my local pet/aquarium stores had the “right” snails. They had other snails, however. So, I took a gamble and bought 2 nerite snails. These were larger than I thought, so I was concerned that they would not have enough algae to eat from a new setup.
- The water I obtained from my neighbor (thanks Alan) that has two small aquariums. This was necessary for a good start to introduce good microbes to these small setups to quickly establish a balance.
Assembly was quick. Like the Instructable stated, I would recommend using chopsticks to move and place the items in the jar, since getting your hand in there can be tricky. I didn’t weight the plant down, which I should do later, since it works its way out of the sand and floats around.
After two weeks, one of the aquariums is doing very well. I have had to supplement the snails food occasionally, since I see nibble marks on the leaves. The other aquarium started getting cloudy and then the snail died. The plant lost all but two leaves. It smelled horrible. I removed the snail, changed the water and then ran a bubbler for 12 hours to oxygenate the water. So far, it looks better, so time will tell.
I didn’t take pictures of the process, but here is one of the final result.