As anyone who ventures down our tinted road knows, one of the great "inevitable" of utilizing botanicals in our aquariums is the appearance of biofilms. You know, those scuzzy, nasty-looking threads of goo, which make their appearance in our tanks shortly after immersion of the botanicals (much to the chagrin of many).
Now, we've long maintained that biofilms and fungi appearing on your botanicals are to be savored and in a sense, celebrated. They represent a burgeoning emergence of life -albeit in one of its lowest and most unpleasant-looking forms- and that's a really big deal.
The real positive takeaway here: Biofilms are really a sign that things are working right in your aquarium! A visual indicator that natural processes are at work.
And it turns out that our love of botanicals is truly shared by some people who really appreciate them as food...Shrimp hobbyists! Yup, these people (you know who you are!) go out of their way to cultivate and embrace biofilms and fungi as a food source for their shrimp.
And this makes perfect sense, because they are abundant in nature, particularly in habitats where shrimp naturally occur, which hare typically filled with botanical materials and decomposing leaves...a perfect haunt for biofilm and fungal growth!
Now, this isn't a revelation for us. We knew that shrimp and their keepers would appreciate these nasty-looking, misunderstood organisms. However, what we didn't' anticipate is how obsessive that shrimp geeks are about doing the best stuff for their little friends and cultivating biofilms for food!
And it makes sense, right? Their very nature and function shows how they caudal serve as food. Biofilms form when bacteria adhere to surfaces in some form of watery environment and begin to excrete a slimy, gluelike substance, consisting of sugars and other substances, that can stick to all kinds of materials, such as- well- in our case, botanicals.
And some materials are better than others at recruiting and accumulating biofilm growth. The "biofilm-friendly" botanical items seem to fall into two distinct categories: Botanicals with hard, relatively impermeable surfaces, and hard-skinned botanicals with soft interiors.
Okay, that kind of covers like, everything, lol.
Not only are the biofilms themselves nutritious for the shrimp, with carbohydrates and sugars- the botanicals and leaves they attach to also form a great food source, as we know. Many shrimp will directly consume materials like Mulberry Leaves and our just-debuted Moringa Leaves, as well as some of the aforementioned soft and soft-interior pods.
And of course, we have curated items just for shrimp, with a new variety pack debuting later this week!
And the idea of biofilms and such being an excellent supplemental food source for shrimp is not revolutionary...it's just something that we're finally getting around to agreeing about with our little friends!
Accepted? Sure. Appreciated. Yes.
Stay innovative. Stay resourceful. Stay open-minded. Stay creative.
And Stay Wet.