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Microscope Monthly


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I’m not sure how many of us have microscopes, but I’m going to try to look at at least one new thing every month and I hope some of you will join me!

Right now I just have a tiny $10 pocket microscope. Still it’s pretty fun! I’m thinking of investing in a bigger one too.

Tonight I looked at my infusoria culture. I used Ich-X to stain them and pointed my phone awkwardly through the eye piece.






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8 hours ago, Fonske said:

Would love to know more details, e.g. what the magnification is.

This is 120x and I have no idea what they actually are. 😄 Paramecium seems like a good guess! The bottom picture is actually from a drop of water before staining. You could see them all swimming around and it was really neat, but the video didn’t turn out well.

The first three are after staining. I slurped up most of the drop with a tissue so the microbes stayed in the field of view. I think next time I’m going to try adding way less than a drop of stain, or diluting the stain first. A little goes a looooong way!

Other details, hmmm... without stain these little guys are really clear (like most cells) so they’re super hard to see.

I may have to invest in methylene blue, which preferentially stains nucleus material. That would be fun.

7 hours ago, starsman20 said:

I've been thinking about getting a microscope. Would appreciate recommendations

The one I used for these pictures is this one: https://www.amazon.com/Carson-MicroBrite-60x-120x-Lighted-Microscope/dp/B00LAX52IQ/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3DO9L9SAQJZP6&dchild=1&keywords=pocket+microscope&qid=1610993288&sprefix=Pocket+micros%2Caps%2C155&sr=8-3

It’s really easy to use! Though not easy to take pictures with your phone. Unless you can carve a phone holder out of a kitchen cutting board like @Daniel. 😉

I recently bought a different one because it wirelessly connects to your phone and claims it goes up to 1000x, but unfortunately it’s claiming that magnification from just blowing up the image rather than zooming in optically. The Carson gets better image quality than this one but if you like the idea of wireless, it’s also easy to use: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MJ6826G/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

At some point I’m probably going to get this guy: 

I was a bio major in college and have worked as a science teacher and a lab tech so I’m excited to be building up my own home lab. 😊

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I too have somewhat recently become interested in what microscopic inhabitants lurk in my aquarium and came about it in a similar fashion by using a "toy" microscope. I just got a real microscope and am eager to share and learn about it as it relates to aquaria.

I'll assume this months topic of discussion is infusoria, and I feel like that is good place to start since it's rather broad and most people with an aquarium will have easy access to it. Infusoria as defined by wikipedia - "a collective term for minute aquatic creatures such as ciliates, euglenoids, protozoa, unicellular algae and small invertebrates that exist in freshwater ponds." Being fairly new to all of these different terms for creatures, I'm not sure if I could identify any of them correctly. I hope this thread will be a good place to discuss things we find.

I guess I have started my own infusoria cultures by keeping some tank water and algae in a deli cup separate from my aquarium and allowing it to become it's own ecosystem. 


I take a sample with a pipette



and apply three drops to a cavity slide. I won't be using a cover as to allow anything to swim freely, but it will make things harder to follow and observe.


I have a trinocular microscope which allows for filming with a dedicated tube, and I am using a cellphone mount. I know that there are optics in the tube and on the cellphone mount that have to do with magnification, but I'm still new to all of this and what exactly it means in relation to the magnification of the final image produced.


I will be using the 10x objective. Although I think the filming tube has a 16x magnification, or at the very least I think the optics in it and the cellphone attachment make this more than actual 10x.


When filming through the microscope you get a circle of view and I will zoom in with my cell phone to remove the vignette from frame.


Now let's spend a minute or so and see what we can find in those three drops.






I'm not sure what all we saw. Some little creatures and some algae for sure, but what kind? I have been watching two Youtube channels that deal with microscopy and I'll share them with you if you are interested.

Journey to the Microcosmos


Microbe Hunter



I also started a similar thread on here if you want to take a look at it.



Edited by Aubrey
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Wow!! Green water is so beautiful. 

I found this image on Pinterest (not my usual go-to for scientific ID 😅) but if it’s legit I definitely recognized asterionella, fragilaria, and cocconies!

You have great diversity in that cup. I was raising my infusoria on just baby greens and tank water, and it’s interesting (though not surprising) to me that I only saw one species of microbe in my drops. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

February’s microscopic adventure is an amano shrimp molt! 😃


Everything but the last picture is 60x magnification. The last one’s a little more.

Some carapice near the tail:


End of the tail:


Leg joints:






Claw tips (so soft looking!!)


Swishy under-legs (pleopods):



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  • 1 year later...
On 5/26/2022 at 10:49 AM, Guppysnail said:

Advance stage bladder snail embryos still developing in the egg sac. It’s very cool you can see the heartbeat

Wow that’s really neat!

On 5/26/2022 at 4:14 PM, Colu said:

Not the best pictures sample of My tank's water

Mmmm looks tasty 😋 (I’ve been raising too many tiny fry!)

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Spouse got me a 60x to 200x microscope lens that attaches to a cell phone camera. I am still learning how to use it, lol.


My first discovery was watching baby scuds on hornwort leaves


Then, I found bugs on my duckweed


So I took it out and examined on an underlit glass table


Are there aquatic aphids?

Finally, I tried to get a good picture of a "snail trail" in the aquarium.... but I couldn't get it to focus...


Not sure how to know what magnification the combination of the microscope lens and the camera lens yields.....



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I had the scope out doing things today so I shot video of the snail development in the egg sacto share here. I think it is cool the sac is a perfect circle. That is not the lens as my scope shows full screen it is the sac. You can see eyes, foot, shel and heartbeat.  Towards the end I flipped to a higher magnification lens to view the heartbeat.  My cat kept jumping up on the table next to the scope so it shakes a little. Kind of made it hard to focus at the higher magnification. 🙄


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