Nature is incredible. Anyone who has ever seen an oyster would probably not think these small bivalve mollusks are capable of achieving much of anything — but a timelapse video recently posted on Reddit shows a bunch of oysters filtering and purifying a tank of water in just 90 minutes.
Posted to the r/oddlysatisfying subreddit, the video shows a tank of dirty, cloudy water separated into two halves: one containing a bunch of oysters and the other (the control) containing none.
Over the course of just under an hour and a half, the oyster side goes from dirty to clear while the non-oyster side remains the same.
The Chesapeake Bay Program explains that a single adult oyster is capable of filtering 1.3 gallons of water per hour. “Oysters are filter feeders, meaning they eat by pumping large volumes of water through their body,” the organization writes.
“If you listen carefully, the oysters sometimes say little quips like ‘It’s a living!’” one Redditor joked.
The Chesapeake Bay Program goes on to explain that once an oyster removes all the nutrients it can get out of the plankton, algae, and everything else it ingests, it expels the waste as feces, which then settles to the bottom.
That means that, contrary to what many of the commenters on the Reddit thread came away believing, there is no reason to worry about oysters being filled with toxins or waste.
“So every time we eat an oyster we eat s***,” wrote one commenter.
“And this is why I’ll never eat oysters,” wrote another.
Despite these misconceptions, oysters — particularly sustainably farmed oysters — are among the most nutritious and sustainable types of seafood that we can eat, along with herring, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, and salmon. The least sustainable include the northern prawn, Pacific cod, haddock, and American lobster.
One commenter had the right idea. “Delicious and useful!” they wrote.
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