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Space aquarium

Because fish care less about gravity
 
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Fish are used to floating. Obviously they still have a sense for up and down, but it should be less important for them than for land animals that have to balance all the time. I would expect them to be nearly as happy in an aquarium in orbit as on earth. In addition there is already long term experience with fish farming as part of waste recycling (see google link).
The idea is to put an aquarium into orbit as part of the international space station. Organic waste is dumped into the aquarium. Sunlight and algae convert it into food for fish. Astronauts can eat healthy, fresh fish filet without the cost of launching it from earth.
The system doesn't take much to get started. Initially tanks can be made from used rocket shells, water comes from fuel cells and air recyclers. Fish eggs and algae for the start-up are just a few ounces.
If the system is successful NASA can invest a little more. Shoot up a balloon made of a tough , tear resistant plastic (Kevlar reinforced Polyethylene?) painted like a globe. The balloon should have several hundred meters diameter to be visible from earth. Once it is filled with water everybody on the ground can see what blue earth looks like from space.
kbecker, Aug 21 2003

Google-ing for fish and waste http://www.google.c...ina+waste+carp+pond
Thousands of years experience [kbecker, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Fish Recipes http://www.hugs.org/fishdex.shtml
Mmm, fishy [DeathNinja, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

A lot less expensive. http://www.halfbake...a/orbital_20guppies
S.S.P. [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

[link]






       I believe there was an experiment with fish in space. They actually get seasick.
Cedar Park, Aug 21 2003
  

       EcoSpheres are baked, and they were invented by NASA.
Shz, Aug 21 2003
  

       Mmm, dinner of flying sunfish poached in a starfish reduction, garnished with LOX and rocket, followed by celebratory mooncakes and galactose-sweetened coffee. Dining in the neighborhood of Neptune, on the sea of Tranquility, or way out in the Crab nebula, who needs anything meteor than that?
n-pearson, Aug 21 2003
  

       //Organic waste is dumped into the aquarium.//   

       ALL organic waste??   

       //Astronauts can eat healthy, fresh fish filet //   

       Not after all that waste, they can't.
k_sra, Aug 22 2003
  

       Just send up a mola mola in a space suit. That ought to get the job done.
bungston, Aug 22 2003
  

       Fish have air bladders to keep them upright and afloat, I'm sure a little thing like gravity is a hinderance to them.   

       The key to getting into space is bagels, LOX and cream cheese.
sartep, Aug 22 2003
  

       I've been looking for a link to this for ages but I can't find one. There was an article in the new scientist about this idea n´being tested as a possible food source for astronauts. They had a huge tank filled with a large number of mollies (livebearing fish), plants and snails. The theory was the fish breed v. rapidly but many offspring will be eaten, feeding the adults. The plants will remove liquid waste products from the water and provide food for the fish and snails. The snails will eat fish poo and rotten plants and will provide food for the fish. Personally, I think it overestimates the plant's ability to keep water quality balanced.   

       One of the problems is inbreeding of course. As the fish inbreed generation for generation the strain will become weaker and weaker until there aer no viable breeders left (would take a while to happen though). The fish didn't seem to be bothered by there being no up or down (they said) but the snails had a bit of a tough time now and again. As they didn't drop to the bottom of the tank when knocked of the side or when they let go, they just drifted around in mid water until they hit something. Inevitably this was often another snail and they clung on to one another. Huge snail balls formed in this way, which can't have been too nice for the ones in the middle.   

       I certainly wouldn't advise putting waste into the tank if the fish are going to be eaten though so this idea gets a poisoned fish bone for that and for not being original.   

       P.S. The astronauts involved reported that the mollies were a bit rubbery.
squeak, Aug 27 2003
  

       Actually, the plant thing supposedly works. I don't have an article, but I do remember thta NASA ended up selling sealed glass aquariums that, given sunlight, could sustain an enclosed ecosystem for at least five years. Now, that's not PERMANENT, but it's still probably a sturdier life support system than most. As for the molly experiment, that's fascinating. As for the mollies not tasting good, that's to be expected. Airline food always sucks.
Madcat, Aug 27 2003
  

       Id like to hear more about this frying magnet procedure.
bungston, Aug 27 2003
  

       [ravenswood] The focus of this lens is likely not anywhere on earth, so no fried city. ;(   

       [bungston] Fried magnet is a delicacy in my home town, high in iron and other essential elements. Just peel one out of the alternator from a junk car, stuff into the cored muffler of your Harley and go for a ride. After 30min or so it will be hot enough to sear your tongue, so have some beer ready.
kbecker, Aug 27 2003
  
      
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