Top of page

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about the Eco-sphere closed ecosystem aquariums

IF I WANT TO ORDER AN ECO-SPHERE AS A GIFT FOR CHRISTMAS, WHAT IS THE DEADLINE ?

You can order online until Tuesday December 20, 2016 5pm Eastern time to ensure to receive it in time for xmas.

WHAT IS OUR FAVOURITE PRODUCT ?

The Elliptical ! It provides a wonderful view of its content.

HOW WERE ECO-SPHERE DISCOVERED?

Two scientists, the late Dr. Joe Hanson and the late Dr. Clair Folsome, originally discovered these shrimp could live for many years inside a closed ecosystem. NASA became interested in these systems for two reasons: First, this tiny model of the Earth could add information to NASA’s “Mission To Planet Earth” program aimed at studying Earth’s biosphere. Second, it could help NASA’s research on human life support systems directed towards the construction of space stations for exploring our solar system.

WHAT DOES THE ECO-SPHERE REPRESENT?

The Eco-sphere represents our planet on a small scale, and the shrimp represent the human race. We can learn, through the Eco-sphere, the importance of maintaining the delicate balance with our environment.

HOW DOES THE ECO-SPHERE AQUARIUM WORK?

The Eco-sphere works on energy. The Eco-sphere is a small biological battery, storing light energy converted biochemically. Food and oxygen cannot be produced for the shrimp if the system is starved of light. Light, together with carbon dioxide in the water, enables the algae to produce oxygen. The shrimp breathe oxygen in the water and nibble on the algae and bacteria.

Bacteria break down the shrimp’s waste into nutrients which the algae again utilize. The shrimp and bacteria also give off carbon dioxide that the algae use to produce oxygen. The following diagram shows the nutrient cycle:
 

DO THE ANIMALS AND PLANTS REPRODUCE?

There have been cases of the shrimp reproducing, but it’s rare. However, the algae and bacteria in the Eco-sphere do reproduce continuously. As the years go by, gradual changes may occur in the algae’s population. These changes will include the green algae turning into blue-green algae.

HOW LONG WILL THEY LIVE?

The average life of an Eco-sphere is 2 to 3 years. The life expectancy of the shrimp used in the Eco-sphere can exceed five years. The oldest Eco-spheres are over 15 years old and are still going strong.

UNPACKING YOUR ECO-SPHERE

When you unpack your Eco-sphere, you may notice that the water is initially a little cloudy. This will clear up after a few hours. Slowly let the Eco-sphere warm up to room temperature. Don’t panic if it is cold to the touch and the shrimp are still slow or sluggish. When the temperature is cooler the shrimp’s metabolism slows and they may appear still and lifeless. Normally the shrimp will be swimming around within 24 hours. Sometimes the lightweight gravel at the bottom of the Eco-sphere will float to the surface. It will eventually sink back down.

GUIDELINES FOR ECO-SPHERE AQUARIUM CARE

Do provide light for the Eco-sphere for at least six to eight hours per day. The light intensity should be suitable for reading and from one of the following sources: ceiling mounted fluorescent lamps or low indirect natural light.

Do keep your Eco-sphere at temperatures between 15 and 27 degrees °C. Temperatures above 27 degrees can put excess stress on the Eco-sphere. Temperature below 15 degrees slows down the metabolism of the shrimp.

Do not leave the Eco-sphere in direct sunlight. It is a tiny greenhouse and direct sunlight will overheat it, regardless of the room’s temperature. It will also cause the algae to grow rapidly.

Do not handle the Eco-sphere excessively. The Eco-sphere will pick up the heat from your hands.

Do not let the Eco-sphere go for more than 60 hours without light. If the Eco-sphere has not received light for several days, it will be “charged” with oxygen.

Do not shake it, drop it, or otherwise treat it roughly.

Do not place the Eco-sphere on televisions, stereo equipment, fireplace mantels, near heating radiators, computer equipment, vents, or in lighted cabinets. It can also pick up heat from exterior walls which are exposed to the sun. Also, beware of the light source, because it may give off too much heat.

Do not place the Eco-sphere in front of a window because heat and cold can transfer through the glass.

Keep out of the reach of small children.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE A FAKE OR IMMITATION

Very simple: the fake imitation is not marked "Eco-sphere"!
There is one, and only one true Eco-sphere. In this article from NASA’s official site, it is clearly written that, “A closed ecosystem is called Eco-sphere".

Fake Logos (shuttles, rockets, planets...) have been spotted.
The use of these logos has only one purpose: To deceive you NASA has only one official logo and it’s the one that appears at the bottom right of this page.

However, on certain occasions such as for the 50 years of the NASA, different logos were temporarily used. Authentic NASA logos can be found on the official NASA website: www.nasa.gov

Fake replicas come and go under different names.
But Eco-sphere has been around for over 25 years...

For you reference, feel free to visit the following links from NASA’s official websites:

- http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/en/kids/earth/wordfind/
- http://www.nas.nasa.gov/About/Education/SpaceSettlement/teacher/lessons/bryan/ecosys/
- http://www.eco-sphere.com/sagan.html

WHAT IS THE RISK OF PURCHASING A FAKE?

You simply are not getting a true sustainable ecosystem!
Because only Eco-sphere has NASA’ patented technology, the fake replicas may not be as durable or self-sustainable.