Friday, June 13, 2008

How cool are ecospheres?

Ecospheres have got to be the most amazing gift around. I first saw one in a magazine and Max and I decided that this was just the thing for Jeff for Father's Day. Developed by scientists, it's a contained biosphere, with water, oxygen, algae, shrimp that eat the algae, bacteria that eat the waste products of the algae, gravel and diatoms that keep things tidy. Astonishingly beautiful, it's also fascinating to watch. (I was a little worried I would feel claustrophobic watching shrimp contained in a glass ball, but that's not the case at all.)

The brine shrimp (yes, folks, big sea monkeys) can live from two to ten years. When the shrimp go to the great shrimp heaven, you can get the ecosphere "recharged" for a minimal sum, and depending on the light, the algae grows and turns green. The ecosphere itself is about 6" high and 4" wide and truly a thing of beauty.

Amazing, right?


Clea Simon said...

oh man! Sea Monkeys for the new millennium! No, this does sound cooler, but still...

Caroline said...

Hey, Hey, hey! I had sea monkeys when I was 12, and they were invisible to the naked eye, and they soon had a watery toilet grave. But these are a half inch long, pale pink, and I swear they look intelligent. They nibble on the algea (which is beautiful and mysterious), and they shed their skins which form ghostly cocoons on the bottom (not to be gross, but they also nibble on the cocoons.) They also are delicate, balletic swimmers!