Does The EcoSphere Closed Aquatic Ecosystem Really Work?
The EcoSphere Closed Aquatic Ecosystem is one of those odd, attractive pieces that fits into a few categories. On one side the use of live shrimp, natural materials and the Ecosphere name means that it is an alternative aquarium for those that don’t want to keep fish.
On the other, the attractive look of the closed spheres and the emphasis on hand blown glass means that this is also meant to be seen as a unique ornament, the sort of office gift for the man that has everything.
The concept is simple – the shrimp eat the algae and the algae break down the waste of the shrimp and reproduce for a self-sustaining ecosystem that can be admired by the observer. The question is, does it work with any practical purpose?
What benefits are there to this EcoSphere Ecosystem?
There are two main selling points to address here. Firstly, this is an unusual alternative to an aquarium because it offers live shrimp, algae, microorganisms and plant matter to create a mini ecosystem. The shrimp are tiny in order to be able to live in this sphere, but the shape and quality of the glass means that they are magnified and are clearly visible.
There are many reports from parents of teenagers that are starting to learn more about science and ecology who see this is a great project for further study. It came as quite a surprise to many buyers that the live shrimp come ready and sealed within the sphere. You really do simply unpack it, place it in sunlight and leave it to do its thing.
This simplicity in the set up highlights the other important selling point to this product – the fact that there is “no maintenance required” as long as buyers leave it in indirect sunlight and a temperature of between 60 and 80F.
The water doesn’t need to be changed and no food needs to be added, which is where the attractive closed sphere works. Even cleaning is straightforward, when required, as the company have placed a magnet inside the bowl that can wipe away the film created by the microorganisms.
What are the downsides to choosing this EcoSphere Closed Aquatic Ecosystem?
One of the biggest problems with this product is the lifespan of the shrimp. Some have given the sphere a 1 star review because their shrimp died within a month and they got nothing out if what could only be considered an expensive paperweight.
This is the problem with the idea that this is a “no maintenance” product. There is the assumption that users don’t have to do anything to look after the animals and that a life expectancy of 2 to 3 years is about right as long as the sphere is in sunlight and able to look after itself.
The problem with this notion is that there are more knowledgeable buyers that know about shrimp and have seen a clear flaw. Some state that these shrimp should be able to live for as much as 20 years in the wild, and that this sphere limits their chance to prosper and reproduce.
There are very occasional reports from users that have set this up like a proper aquarium and worked hard to look after their shrimp, to the point where some are still alive decades later, but this requires a lot more thought and maintenance that the company advertised or than buyers expect.
Summary: how does this mixed response affect the final verdict for this Closed Aquatic Shrimp Sphere?
There is essentially something of a catch-22 situation with this product. You can use it with its intended purpose of a hands-off product with some pretty shrimp to watch, and then run the risk of poor care and the shrimp dying after a few months, or you can put a lot of effort into the product to keep them alive for years.
It all depends on the purpose for buying the product. If you are buying this EcoSphere aquarium because you want a simple, maintenance free alternative to an aquarium then it definitely meets this criteria (perhaps at the expense of the shrimp). If you want to keep shrimp and are willing to put the effort in then it can be rewarding and attractive, although there may be more preferable methods.
You can find more customer reviews about the EcoSphere Closed Aquatic Ecosystem on Amazon here.