linderaberry

Experienced Reefer
Anybody here have an EcoSphere? One of those blown-glass sealed balls containing a few tiny scarlet-colored shrimp, marine snails, and a combination of algae and bacteria to provide a closed life support system? I've got one from about 1991; the snails are dead but the shrimp seem to be doing fine. I don't know anyone else that has kept the shrimp alive so long.

The thing is, with the growth of the shrimp over time, the closed system can't support them forever. I've gotten attached to the little guys and I don't want them to die in there. I want to know what kind of shrimp they are and where they originated, so that I can set up a little aquarium for them.

The species of the shrimp is a trade secret of the EcoSphere company! But have any of you experts out there figured it out ?
 

linderaberry

Experienced Reefer
Okay, I am answering my own question -- a friend in Hawaii tells me they are a Hawaiian shrimp of brackish to saline pools, and that in Hawaii they are called opaeula. I looked up more info on them online and apparently they can live for 20 years. The scientific name is Halocaridina rubra. It grows up to 1/2 inch or about 2.5 cm long. It is vegetarian. However, very similar-looking species in the same pools are predatory. One of them feeds on polychaetes!

Because these brackish oceanside pools are rare and very endangered environments, some of the shrimp species in them are very endangered. Opaeula isn't, because it lives in seawater too, and tolerates such a wide range of salinities that it can colonize or be raised in brackish artificial pools.
 

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