EcoSphere Closed Aquatic Ecosystem, Sphere
Size: SmallBrand: EcoSphere
- Product Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 4 inches ; 1 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
- Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
- International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
- Item model number: SS-504
- Hand blown glass
- No maintenance required
- Contains live marine shrimp
- Average life span of 2 to 3 years
Size: Small Small Sphere EcoSphere. This fascinating enclosed world contains marineshrimp, algae and micro-organisms. Made from hand blown glass, each EcoSphereis a completely enclosed, self-sustaining little world. The EcoSphere onlyneeds indirect light and comfortable room temperature (between 60F and 80F.)The EcoSphere works on the basis that a closed system recycles its nutrientsand does not produce excess waste. The shrimp conume the algae and micro-organisms and they, in turn, break down the shrimp waste. External light,either artifical or natural, keeps the algae growing. There is no feeding orwater changes required. The average life span is between 2 and 3 years. EachEcoSphere comes with a replacement, recharge or upgrade policy. The Inside Story of the EcoSphere The Original EcoSphere is the world’s first totally enclosed ecosystem – acomplete, self-contained and self-sustaining miniature world encased in glass.Be wary of inferior and lower quality imitations. Easy to care for, anEcoSphere is an incredible learning tool that can provide powerful insightsabout life on our own planet… and provide a glimpse of technology that’sshaping the future of space exploration. Shrimp in the EcoSphere The Original EcoSphere is the world’s first totally enclosed ecosystem – acomplete, self-contained and self-sustaining miniature world encased in glass.Be wary of inferior and lower quality imitations. Easy to care for, anEcoSphere is an incredible learning tool that can provide powerful insightsabout life on our own planet… and provide a glimpse of technology that’sshaping the future of space exploration. Inside each EcoSphere are active micro-organisms, small shrimp, algae andbacteria, each existing in filtered sea water. Because the EcoSphere is aself-sustaining ecosystem, you never have to feed the life within. Simplyprovide your EcoSphere with a source of indirect natural or artificial lightand enjoy this aesthetic blend of art and science, beauty and balance. Becausethe living organisms within the EcoSphere utilize their resources withoutoverpopulating or contaminating their environment, the EcoSphere requiresvirtually no maintenance. But an Ecosphere is much more than a scientific breakthrough – it is a work ofart. A living treasure to own or give to someone special. Each EcoSphere iscarefully crafted to achieve an aesthetic, meditative beauty that can sootheany environment, including home, classroom or office. Our ecosystemsdemonstrate in a most simplistic way the interdependence of animal and plantlife with Earth’s most precious element – water. The EcoSpheres have beencalled science projects, the world’s lowest maintenance pets, or closedaquariums. They are in fact developments of space age technology initiated byNASA. Product Features Hand blown glass No maintenance required Contains live marine shrimp Requires no feeding or water changes Average life span of 2 to 3 years Sizes Small Sphere 4″ diameter, contains 3 to 4 shrimp, 6 month replacement policy Small Pod 5.25″ tall, contains 3 to 4 shrimp, 6 month replacement policy Small Water Drop 5.5″ tall, contains 3 to 4 shrimp, 6 month replacement policy Medium Sphere 5.25″ diameter, contains 7 to 8 shrimp, 12 month replacement policy Large Pod 7.5″ tall, contains 7 to 8 shrimp, 12 month replacement policy Large Water Drop 7″ tall, contains 7 to 8 shrimp, 12 month replacement policy Large Sphere 6.5″ diameter, contains 12 to 13 shrimp, 12 month replacement policy Extra Large Sphere 9″ diameter, contains 30 to 35 shrimp, 12 month replacement policy What is a Closed Ecosystem? Closed ecological systems are ecosystems that do not rely on matter exchangewith any part outside the system. Although the Earth itself fits thisdefinition, the term is most often used to describe much smaller manmadeecosystems. Such systems are scientifically interesting and can potentiallyserve as a life support system during space flights, in space stations orspace habitats. In a closed ecological system, any waste products produced byone species must be used by at least one other species. How were EcoSpheres Invented? The EcoSphere is the result of technology developed by two scientists, thelate Dr. Joe Hansen and the late Dr. Clair Folsome at NASA’s Jet PropulsionLaboratory in California. NASA was researching self-contained communities forspace explorers to live in during long-term space flights. Out of thisresearch came the EcoSphere. NASA had two programs that benefited from thediscovery: Mission to Planet Earth, aimed at studying Earth’s environment, andthe Space Program. If NASA could figure out how to sustain life in a closedenvironment, perhaps they could build space stations that would help inexploring our solar system,¦ and perhaps one day, help us live somewhere otherthan Earth. What is in the EcoSphere? Along with shrimp, there is algae and filtered sea water. The EcoSphere alsocontains a sea fan (the non-living, branch like material), decorative shells,and lightweight gravel as a part of the working ecosystem. The sea fan andgravel provide surface areas for the algae and microorganisms to grow. How do EcoSpheres Work? The EcoSphere is a tiny working model of the Earth. It contains the sameessential elements that are found on our planet- air, water, life (algae,microorganisms and shrimp) and land (gravel and sea fan). Life functions inthe EcoSphere just as it does on Earth. The shrimp live by consuming the algaeand breathing oxygen in the water. If you watch them closely, you will seethem feeding on the algae and picking bacteria off the sea fan and lightweightgravel in the EcoSphere. The byproduct of which is shrimp waste and carbondioxide to be broken down by bacteria and converted into nutrients for thealgae. The algae survives by converting the carbon dioxide and light intouseable oxygen which the shrimp will then breathe. The shrimp can also eattheir own shed exoskeletons. Nothing in the EcoSphere goes to waste. Thus theEcoSphere is a perfect model of a balanced ecosystem where all inhabitantsprovide for each other to sustain a living environment. Do the Animals and Plants Reproduce? Reproduction of shrimp does occur in some EcoSpheres, but this is uncommon.The shrimp that are in the EcoSphere have purposely been chosen because theydo not exhibit aggressive behavior towards each other. The algae and bacteriain the EcoSphere continuously reproduce. In fact, as time goes by, you canexpect changes in the algae population in your EcoSphere. Guidelines for EcoSphere Care As you gaze into your new EcoSphere, please take notice of the amount of greenalgae. This initial quantity of algae is the innoculant for the system. Algaegrowth is expected, but it should not grow too quickly. Keep your EcoSphere ata consistent temperature between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (15C-25C).Temperatures above 85 degrees put excess stress on the shrimp, andtemperatures below 60 slow down the metabolism of the shrimp. Do not let thetemperature fluctuate erratically. Do not place your EcoSphere on televisions,stereo equipment, fireplace mantles, or near heating radiators and vents. TheEcoSphere needs indirect light, from either an artificial source or sunlight,for 6-12 hours every day. DO NOT place your EcoSphere in direct sunlight. Ifyou place your EcoSphere in a room where plants flourish, this will be toomuch light. These systems do very well with low light levels. Light causes thealgae to grow rapidly, which will change the chemical balance of the sphereand the shrimp will perish. If the algae begins to grow considerably, lowerthe light by shading the sphere or putting it in a darker area. If you noticethat the algae is greatly reduced, you can increase the light level. Do notshake, drop, or otherwise treat the EcoSphere roughly. Remember it issomeone’s home. Cleaning Your EcoSphere EcoSphere Handbook with outer cleaning magnet From time to time you may wish to clean any film that may have formed on theinside of the glass. Some of the micro-organisms, which are of nutritionalvalue to the shrimp, are capable of creating a thin film on the inside of theglass. This film is not harmful to the system. To make cleaning your Ecosphereeasy, we have installed a magnet on the inside of the unit and suppliedanother attached to your EcoSphere handbook. To clean the EcoSphere, simplytake the handbook magnet and bring it near the gravel at the bottom of theEcoSphere to attract the magnet on the inside of the EcoSphere. Once you havethe magnets attracted to each other, proceed to drag the magnets across thesurface of the Ecosphere in a light scrubbing motion to remove any excess filmon the inside of the Ecosphere. It is not necessary to clean the entiresurface at one time. If you lose your outside magnet, any refrigerator magnetwill do. You will not harm the unit by moving it as you clean it. How Long will the EcoSphere Live? The average life of an EcoSphere is between 2 and 3 years. The life expectancyof these shrimp is known to exceed 5 years, and the oldest EcoSpheres are nowover 10 years old and still going strong. While we know that the lifeexpectancy of these shrimp can exceed 5 years, we have no way of knowing howold each shrimp is as it is put in an EcoSphere. All things considered, anEcoSphere may last many years or not depending on the age of the shrimp andthe environment in which it is kept. Why do I See Condensation Inside? Condensation forms on the inside of the glass periodically. If it is warmerinside the EcoSphere than outside, water will condense on the cooler walls ofthe EcoSphere. Sometimes, excessive condensation can give the illusion of achange in the water level. What if One or More of the Shrimp Die? Since the age of each shrimp is not known, it is not unusual for some of theshrimp in the EcoSphere to perish. If the shrimp die all at once, this is aclear indication that the temperature limits were exceeded. If they die over aperiod of time, they are probably meeting their normal life expectancy. Aslong as there is one shrimp alive in the system, it is a functional ecosystem.The pale translucent shrimp-like bodies you may see lying on the bottom nowand then are not dead shrimp, but exoskeletons. Shrimp are crustaceans. Thismeans that they have their skeletons on the outside rather than on the inside.As the shrimp grows, it replaces it from time to time. After the oldexoskeleton has been shed, the new one expands and hardens. It has beenobserved that a shrimp may molt once or twice a month in a normal environment.If a shrimp dies, the others will eat it, quickly returning the nutrients backto the system. The bacteria in the EcoSphere will also help decompose itwithin a day or so. Replace, Recharge and Upgrade Policy EcoSphere Replacement Policy Each EcoSphere comes with a Replacement Policy. The replacement policy periodwill start from the original issue date of your original EcoSphere. NoReplacement Policy exists on Replaced or Recharged EcoSpheres, or EcoSpheresthat have been transported to international locations. Should all the shrimpdie for any reason during the Replacement Policy period, Ecosphere Associates,Inc. will replace the unit promptly. The Small Sphere, Small Pod, and SmallWater drop have a 6 month Replacement Policy. All larger EcoSpheres have a 12month Replacement Policy. This Policy requires the customer to pay allshipping charges. EcoSphere Associates, Inc. agrees to replace your EcoSphereany time within the replacement policy period should less than one (1) shrimpremain alive. No warranty, implied or otherwise, shall exist on the EcoSphere.No replacement will be made where the glass is cracked or broken, or where thetemperature or light limits have been exceeded. Each EcoSphere is housed in ahand-blown glass vessel and variations in clarity, smoothness, size, and shapeare to be expected. EcoSphere Associates, Inc. will honor replacement onlyupon receipt of the unbroken and otherwise undamaged failed EcoSphere system. EcoSphere Recharge Policy If your EcoSphere has passed the Replacement Policy period and all the shrimphave perished, you can have your EcoSphere recharged. No Replacement Policyexists on Recharged EcoSpheres. Please return the old EcoSphere to our officealong with the Recharge cost. EcoSphere Associates, Inc. will Recharge yourEcoSphere only upon receipt of the failed system. EcoSphere Upgrade Policy You also have the option to upgrade your EcoSphere to a larger size. EcoSphere History EcoSphere Pod July 15th, 1982 Joe Hanson of Jet Propulsions Labs in Pasadena holds a workshop for the newlycreated study of “Closed Ecosystems.” This is where the “EcoSphere” wascreated. Attending the workshop were several renowned ecologists andbiologists who had for many years been running tests with closed biologicalecosystems. As a new class of science Closed Ecosystem research created asmany questions as it answered. It was Joe Hanson who, at the time was workingon the first Space Shuttle program at JPL, realized the potential scientificimplications of closed ecosystems to applications for human space exploration. The history leading up to the development of the EcoSphere dates back to themid ’60s. In the early ’80s scientists were looking into examples orcorollaries where “open,” balanced ecological systems were similar to closedecosystems. This led to the possibility that these studies where animal andplant life could be used to sustain humans in space exploration. Pioneered by Clair Folsom of the University of Washington research in the ’60sand then jointly with Joe Hansen of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in the early’80s, along with other top bio-scientists, it was discovered that diversecolonies of microbes, alga’s, and higher life forms (colonies) could persistapparently indefinitely in closed lab beakers. Hundreds of various closed”EcoSpheres” where made in laboratory flasks by Hanson, Folsom, and others;each became its own ecosystem for further study. In 1983 Loren Acker, President of Engineering and Research Associates, Inc. (asmall Arizona based medical research company and long associate with the U.S.space program was visiting a NASA official and noticed one of the flasks JoeHansen had created. Interested in the idea, Acker obtained a NASA Spin-OffTechnology license for the EcoSphere. Along with a young employee, DanielHarmony, they developed the first pilot manufacturing facility for EcoSphereswhere the public and educators could directly benefit from NASA’s works. After the overwhelming success of a 1984 marketing campaign the EcoSphere wasput into full production. The EcoSphere was marketed throughout the US inhigh-end national catalogs. The original EcoSphere has been featured in many TV news articles, magazines,and even included in school textbooks. From kids to Presidents the EcoSpherehas been a favorite gift for over 25 years and still being enjoyed today. Today the EcoSphere is a family run company where Daniel, his wife Michel, andtheir family successfully operate Ecosphere Associates, Inc. in Tucson AZ.From the startup in a small office complex Ecosphere Associates, Inc. hasgrown to a highly successful global company with manufacturing partnersworldwide. Initially the handcrafted EcoSphere was produced in only one size. Over theyears various other sizes were created and in 1987 even museum sizedExhibition EcoSpheres were added to the line. Today, still handcrafted, the EcoSphere is offered from a 4 inch sphere up tothe Exhibition sized 39 inch 500 liter! So far almost 1 million EcoSphereshave been sold worldwide.
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