Detritus (in CC amphib glossary)

fishkeeper

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Joseph S
simple explanation here, maybe its benefits also.
 

Jan

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Detritus - Organic matter derived from dead or decaying plants and animals and their waste products (e.g., skin cells, feces, shed skin, etc.). Serves as a food source for certain aquatic and terrrestial animals and as a substrate for bacterial and fungal growth.
 

Jennewt

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That's good, jan. I'm going to modify it slightly and throw some mulm into the mix:

Detritus - Organic matter derived from dead or decaying plants and animals and their waste products (e.g., skin cells, feces, etc.). Serves as a food source for certain aquatic and terrestrial animals (see [Tank Critters article]) and as a substrate for bacterial and fungal growth.

Mulm - The end-product of fully decomposed [detritus] in an aquarium. Appears as brown debris, usually under gravel.
 
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Jennewt

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Detritivores - scavengers that eat dead plant and animal material. Healthy [aquariums] contain an assortment of detritivores, which transform aquarium [detritis] into [mulm]. Soil-based [terrariums] also contain detritivores. Detritivores range in size from microscopic to easily-seen, and include creatures such as protozoans, tiny worms, snails, etc. See [Tank Critters article].
 
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