Gardening Rhythms

Rat (Remy) Lives in Biosphere IV for 2 Weeks; Existing off the Grown Food and Water within the Hermetically Sealed System

Pholowko Monday 14 of December, 2015

Remy, the rat (named from the movie Ratatouille), is named because this rat has to forage for it's own food in the biosphere.  In the movie the rat has to cook.  It's been in the sealed biosphere for two weeks and the CO2 levels have averaged around 400 ppm.  Sometimes less.  And sometimes more.  Obviously not high enough to kill the rat.  


The rat eats off the plants growing in the biosphere.  Plants are watered by the dehumidifiers in the center of the tanks.  The waste products from the rat are consumed within the soil.  It takes about two weeks for the waste products to start decomposing.  The smell in the tank went very "ratty" for while and then started to smell again like organic soil.  The CO2 levels raised when the rat is first put in.  There was a surge of required water.


The rat's health improved.  The coat (fir) is shiner and the rat has more energy than when I first got it from the pet store.  When the rat was first introduced, it ate none-stop.  After about two days, it slowed down and the rat's movements improved.  The O2 levels in the biosphere are around 22%.  It's a bit higher than the outside.


Pictured below is Remy sleeping on the air pump pushing air from this tank into the marine tank.  The average temperature in the tank is around 21 degrees C.  The light was turned on to take the picture this morning.  Rats seem to sleep hard.  That pump is vibrating.  They are nocturnal animals.    


Remy With Light


Below is the complete setup.  The rat is resting on the air pump.  Air is constantly moved between all of the tanks.  That can be seen on the left two pipes.

: Remy In Center Tank

The air pump moves air into the marine tank off to the right.  CO2 from the plant/farming tank is mixed with the phytoplankton growing in the water and produces more O2 while absorbing CO2.  Pictured below is the air bubbling within a glass chimney to provide water movement.  There are no pumps in the marine layer.  The only pumps are the water/air glass chimneys.  There are also no plastics within the biosphere.  Plastics gas off toxins that slow/stop reproduction of microbiology within the water and air.

Air In The Marine Layere

Carbon Dioxide Levels

The RH levels in the tank effect the readings from the CO2 meter.  When the RH is around 99%, the CO2 meter reads around 2000 ppm CO2.  This is not the case.  Once the meter is removed from the tank and is left to stabilized in around 40% RH, it goes back to around 400 ppm.  (the earth's CO2 level is around 400 ppm)


When taking readings using current CO2 meter, I've learned to take RH into consideration with the measurement.  The CO2 levels hang around 350 to 450 ppm.  


The light levels in the tank effect the CO2 levels more than I realized.  This past week, one more light is added to each tank.  This decreased the CO2 levels by 30% within the first 15 to 20- minutes.  One light is added to each day and night tank.  CO2 levels started to hover around 350 ppm.  

Rat Behaviors

The habit of the housed animal needs to be understood and configured within the biosphere.  Rats make paths, chew on things and like to dig.  See the picture below.    

Rat Paths

They drink water and can eat insects, worms and plants.  This is a small rat, if it gets larger, I may have to switch out the animal for this test.


A small grade (1/4 inch square) galvanized screen is used to cover the soil top in the left biosphere.  It's anchored with 5-inch pins.  This prevents the rat from digging up the plants.  You can see in the picture the rat dug up the sorrel plant.  The original shape of the pot can be seen.


In addition to screens covering the ground, all equipment is raised out of reach.  


Last, rats have to chew on things to keep their teeth short or they will starve because they can eat anything.  This is a common problem with rabbits.  Wood for chewing is provided.  It is also raised into the air.  Rats don't have homes on the ground; they live in trees and small bushes.  That is why this rat picked the air pump location for sleeping.  


Rabbit with overgrown teeth pictured below.

Overgrown Teeth

Grown Food

The left plant tank received new soil and potted plants.   Plants are placed directly into the soil.  This tank is left along from about 2 weeks to let it get established before the rat enters for feeding.  The plants are on the bottom and the dehumidifier is on the ceiling dripping water into the beaker.

Plants Growing The Bisphere Iv

Provided Water

The left biosphere tank is a plant growth tank.  It's used to house the rat every two to three weeks.  The rat grazes in one tank at a time; while the other tank has time to recover.


It can be seen in the center of the tank, there is a 100 ml beaker planted in the soil.  This is a water source for the rat and plants.  Water drips from the dehumidifier attached to the ceiling of the tank.  Because of the behavior of the rat, wires and fans need to be placed where the rat cannot climb along the wires or hoses.  This includes wires and small paths leading to fans and equipment.    

Water And Air Movement

Attached on the ceiling is a small fan blowing air over the condensation fins.  Everything is hung from the ceiling to prevent the rat from climbing and chewing on the wires/hoses

Air On Dehumd

Air Movement

Air movement does many things.  Air movement does more than we realize.  Air movement (wind) strengths plants for stability.  Air moves bacteria and microbiology around onto the canopy and under canopy to promote diversity.  Air movement also keeps a steady flow of high RH air over the condensation fins.  The RH went from 99% to 76% with in one hour after the fan was introduced.  Water drips occurred and dripped into the beaker below.  It has a rate of around 100ml per 4 hours.

Dehum Freezing Up

Pictured below is one fan used for moving air around.  Since the discoverly of the importance of air movement, all of the fans are getting upgraded to something larger.

Airmovement Fan