How To Make A Closed Aquatic Ecosystem
Getting children interested in aquatic ecosystems is very easy and inexpensive to do. All you will need is a few house hold materials and a location where you can find small aquatic life and fauna. Explain to your child or children that an ecosystem is basically a community just like the neighborhood that they live in, where each organism interacts with other organisms and by sharing, breaking down and eventually dying that it helps the circle of life keep going around and around.
The best place to find everything you will need is in your very own kitchen and the items to do this project are as follows:
- One Mason jar with a tight fitting lid
- One Plastic Bag (Sandwich size will work perfectly)
- One small net to catch wildlife with
- One pH water testing kit. (Can be purchased from any store for a few dollars)
- One small thermometer ( To test the water temperature)
Once you have all of those things then it’s time to go to the pond or lake where you will be collecting the things that will create your closed aquatic ecosystem. The first thing you are going to do is find a place that has small wildlife like snails and from there you start collecting, Collect about 2-4 little snails and put them in about an inch of water from the lake or pond in your sandwich baggie and put them aside for now. Then what you want to do is dig up about a half an inch worth of sand, rocks, sediment from the bottom of the lake or pond where you found the snails at it has to be from around the same place that you found them. Put the rocks and mud in the bottom of the Mason jar and then fill up the mason jar with three inches of water. You might want to actually measure this off on the jar before you get to the lake or pond by using a magic marker and a ruler
Once you fill up the jar you want to take note of the temperature of the water where you got the snails and water from and write that number down because that is the temperature that you are going to need to keep your ecosystem at, at all times. You also want to collect some plants or sticks from the area as well because that will help the snails get up out of the water sometimes. Do not overload the space just a few will do the trick. Once you get everything arranged what you want to do is transfer the snails from the plastic bag into the Mason jar. Now you put the lid on your jar and take it home to enjoy it. The only thing you need to remember is that you have to keep it out of direct sunlight because it will heat up the ecosystem far too much and will kill off the snails inside so use diffused light, like a light bulb or something like that. Every single day your children can enjoy this small and simple closed aquatic ecosystem.