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I've seen some videos of people scooping up some water from a natural body of it, adding some sand and a few plants, and soon enough, they have a (near) self-sustaining aquarium. I've always wanted to do this, but I'm not exactly sure how. There's a river in a small ravine (about 20 ft. deep) behind my house, and a nearby pond, so I think I might be able to manage this, but before I do, is there anything I need to know, or any suggestions on how to pull this off? Thanks in advance!

P.S. I don't want to take any animals (such as frogs), and trap them is a confined space. All I really want is some organisms that are just large enough to see, and I think I'd be good. If I do take anything from the wild, though, I want to return it, and I want to make it a pretty darn good habitat, so it doesn't feel trapped.

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It is called an aquarium, put what ever you want in it. With natural waters you have a good chance of collecting dragonfly larva , which will eat about anything else you catch including small fish. Chances of mosquito larva are low in my experience. I don't know why you would not want frog or toad tadpoles ; I have a couple very small feral ponds in my yard and various frogs and toads deposit uncountable numbers of eggs > tadpoles. Some years I have taken thousands of tadpoles to nearby lakes and dumped them . When I don't do that most get eaten by siblings. You are unlikely to find suitable native plants other than duckweed, so I suggest buying Hornwort at a pet shop -pretty bullet proof.

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  • $\begingroup$ Okay, thanks! I would upvote, but I don't have the reputation yet! : ) $\endgroup$ – Tyler Selden Sep 18 at 21:20
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    $\begingroup$ I suggest a magnifying glass ; 5x is better than 10X to start. There will be rotifers about anywhere. Paramecium are common , a quart of pond water with a small bit of crushed lettuce should make some in a few days. $\endgroup$ – blacksmith37 Sep 19 at 21:10
  • $\begingroup$ So, unfortunately, I never made it to the pond, but I did get a sample from this area in the woods behind my house where there's a small pool of water, plants, and algae, put some sand in with a plant, a few rocks, and some of the algae and now it's in a jar in my bedroom. Would it still work with some crushed lettuce? $\endgroup$ – Tyler Selden Sep 19 at 21:27
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    $\begingroup$ Very small piece. A big problem with a small container is keeping up oxygen content; any "food" will use oxygen. A natural body of water, even very small, has good air movement at the surface to promote oxygen exchange. $\endgroup$ – blacksmith37 Sep 20 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, thank you! $\endgroup$ – Tyler Selden Sep 21 at 12:09
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It's doable "Ecospheres" is a self-sustaining ecosystem, you never have to feed the life within. Simply provide your EcoSphere with a source of indirect natural or artificial light. They use small sea worms, filamentous algae, shrimp and microbes.

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