Jump to content

HS Classroom Tank Journal!


Recommended Posts

I am a newbie attempting a 5 gallon planted tank for my high school science classroom!  I thought it would be fun to keep track of the progress...because I know there will be ups and downs.  And, if this works out, I've got big dreams for a planted 20 gallon long with a corydora fleet...so, we shall see! 🤗

1886722346_Screenshot2021-01-25at5_58_35PM.png.a6df6c7844a9f05d5ed74d0d9e313ccc.png

The set-up includes:

  • 5 gallon Marina LED Aquarium kit (came with the S10 filter, a lid with an LED light, some cycle bacteria, water conditioner, tropical flake food, and a cute lil' blue fish net)
  • Unknown driftwood pieces
  • Fluval Stratum (the 4.4 lb bag was perfect!)
  • Plants from the Co-Op (Golden Anubias, Nana Petite Anubias, Wendelov Java fern, Coffeefolia Anubias, and Red Melon Sword)
  • 25-watt Marina Submersible Heater
  • Velimax Static Cling Total Blackout Window film (for the back glass)

I'm also using:

  • Seachem Prime Water Conditioner
  • Easy Green Fertilizer from the Co-Op
  • API Master Test kit
  • 24 hour mechanical outlet timer
  • Digital thermometer
  • Aquaclear Foam and Biomax inserts - slowly transitioning my filter over to become a HOT ROD y'all! 🚙

I am currently working on cycling the tank...and I've attached my data and doings so far!

1691070425_Screenshot2021-01-25at5_57_18PM.png.55b00e859f11bc153942ffb1c2a55d85.png]

1445316126_Screenshot2021-01-25at5_56_48PM.png.b2017c973ac05878e103372de0588d5d.png

The water at school has a pH of 6.8 out of the tap, and for some reason my tank keeps creeping acidic...maybe it's the driftwood?

Anyway...SUPER pumped that the ammonia is on the way down and my nana petite's little baby leaves are unfurling and looking great!  I do have some dusty black stuff on the golden anubias and the java fern...I think it's substrate dust?  Or, maybe black algae?

I originally super-glued my java fern...but it's breaking free!  So, I'll probably pull that out and see if I can tie it to the driftwood with some thread tomorrow.

Any suggestions/thoughts/ideas are welcomed!! 

Hope this was slightly interesting! 😅

 

  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@James Black - I teach Physical Science (which is an introductory chemistry/physics course for 9th graders).  It's a toughie!  So, it's nice to have fun things around the room...even if they're more life science than physical science!

I am plotting to engage the kids in the water testing (we study the polyatomic ions and acids and bases)...and we can always talk about water displacement and density.  I'm planning on putting a betta in the tank when all is cycled...so I can definitely name it something nerdy that relates to a tough topic (the spoonful of sugar, for sure!)!  A surprising number of kiddos are super interested in aquariums and aquatic life...so we can have a bonding moment. And...I can educate a few kids about how to properly care for a fish (not that I know a whole lot about that...yet)  It's win-win, for sure! 😁👍

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

1 minute ago, Betsy said:

@James Black - I teach Physical Science (which is an introductory chemistry/physics course for 9th graders).  It's a toughie!  So, it's nice to have fun things around the room...even if they're more life science than physical science!

I am plotting to engage the kids in the water testing (we study the polyatomic ions and acids and bases)...and we can always talk about water displacement and density.  I'm planning on putting a betta in the tank when all is cycled...so I can definitely name it something nerdy that relates to a tough topic (the spoonful of sugar, for sure!)!  A surprising number of kiddos are super interested in aquariums and aquatic life...so we can have a bonding moment. And...I can educate a few kids about how to properly care for a fish (not that I know a whole lot about that...yet)  It's win-win, for sure! 😁👍

Kudos to you--as an adult science nerd, my physical science class was a hard sell at 14. It lacked the immediate applicability of biology for a farm kid. Later as an adult once I became aware of how biology is driven by chemistry, and chemistry is driven by physics (and physics is driven by math!) I became a much bigger fan of the hard sciences--and even math! If you can tie those things together for your students they will be lucky kids indeed!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Brandy - that's always the goal!!!  Making the content relevant is soooo crucial!  If it's not relevant, then honestly...what's the point?? 

I still hate calculus because I have zero desire to know the volume of a donut...or, how fast a cone will empty into a cylinder, haha!  (Apologies to all of the calculus lovers...it just feels so derivative to me! 😜)

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Betsy, you could see if your state has a program like we have in Vermont:

TIC600.png

Trout in the Classroom

"Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program brings the science of Vermont's aquatic ecosystems into schools across the state.

Through the TIC program, students raise brook trout at their school, monitoring and supporting all stages of their development, before releasing them into a local stream. Students learn about early trout development and anatomy, habitat, water chemistry, life cycles and food.

They also explore larger themes involving streams and aquatic ecosystems, water quality, environmental issues and the impacts humans can have on aquatic resources."

Edited by Streetwise
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awesome project. I think you'll find most kids can find something with aquariums to be interested in. And the more you can engage them in the different aspects the better. I'm sure there are plenty of resources out there for ideas on relating the aquarium to different aspects of science, but engaging them in other non-science aspects will help too. Little things, like having them come up with some names and then voting on the winner, or even having them do some maintenance (water changes, plant trimming, etc can actually be fun!).

Also, as @Streetwise mentioned definitely look around for any programs your state, city, etc might offer. Some retailers and websites also offer discounts to classroom aquariums, I'll try to PM you one such example.

Love the project, definitely keep posting back here with updates!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Dancing Matt - you should seriously go for it!!!  The kids looooove it!!  

And, that's good to know about the driftwood...do you think the driftwood will have a smaller impact on the pH of the tank over time?  Because if so, I can totally wait it out!

@Streetwise - I saw your comment and talked to my students about it today because I thought it was so cool!  There's a middle school in my district that participates in the program - super exciting!!  After we normalize post-Covid, I will definitely talk to my department about it.  Trout in the Classroom sounds like a FANTASTIC engaging opportunity!

Thank you for letting me know about it! 😁👍

@Colu - it feels like a slow go...but it's going!!  Haha!

@OceanTruth - I'm all about that data! 🤓 

It's nice to be able to see how the tank responds when I make a small adjustment!  I ghost fed today, and I'm itching to test my water tomorrow to see how the ammonia level responded...crossing my fingers that the tank is still close to 0!  I'm almost out of the cycle bacteria that came in the tank kit...so, I'm hoping that the cycle is well on it's way to being complete! 🤞

@Socqua - Thank you so much for the PM!  That was suuuper helpful - I didn't even think to check!!  

I'll have to check it out and see what else I can do - getting the kids involved is always a win...the question is how many different ways can I apply it to the physical sciences?  Biology and Chemistry are easy enough...but I'll have to keep pushing to get some Physics out of the tank! 😜

 

THANK YOU all for the kind words and encouragement!!!  Even as a total newbie, I can already tell...this community is GREAT! 😁❤️👍

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't take a picture of my stats journal before I left school today, but things have been pretty stable...

  • Temps are steady at 77.4 Fahrenheit
  • pH is a steady 6.4 (although I do have a jug of spring water that I'm tempted to add in...I guess the fish I end up with determines how important that would be to do!)
  • nitrites are a steady 0 ppm
  • nitrates are high when I fertilize and then drop by about 5 ppm per day after that
  • ammonia is a steady 0 (except for right after I ghost feed...but they never get higher than 0.25 ppm)

I still want to switch out the filter pads that came with my filter for sponge and BioMax filter media...I will probably wait until those pad things are spent (waste not!)

The only thing that is a little meh is one of my golden anubias plants...it doesn't look as nice as it's brother from the same pot.  I think it's getting too much light?  Maybe?  So, I turned my light timer from 9 hours to 8 hours...I'm not sure that'll be enough to make any difference, but we'll see.  I may move it to a shadier spot.

1798049515_Screenshot2021-01-29at5_39_11PM.png.fffe744bec2fb50bace8026fda5eb293.png

But yeah!  I'm ready to go fish shopping!  Haha!  (Or, I feel ready, anyway!  Is there a way to tell?)

Any stocking suggestions??

I was originally thinking a betta...but I am pretty open! 🤗  

Those pea puffers are suuuper cute!  But, I don't think my pH is quite right for one...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stocking suggestion: 

Nerite snails, 1-2, red racer if you can find them, zebra or tiger if not.

1 Betta, preferably long finned and therefore slower.

Add moss or small leaved low growing plant and a few more rock piles, wait for algae to build.

Then, 8-12 red cherry shrimp--add them at night after dark with lights off to let them sneak passed the betta. They will add endless interest to the tank without over stocking, and multiply.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Streetwise - I am all about inverse-square laws!  We study two in physical science...and I am totally down to add a third, haha!

I didn't know what a light PAR meter was...but then I Googled it (and now I'm in a rabbit hole...thanks a lottt 😂)!  That'd be so fun to talk about in waves when we talk about the wave-particle duality of light!  (Then, they'll REALLY get my favorite photon joke!)

This plant is probably one of the farthest from the light source...I think I might move him.  I wish I could go lid-less and get a nicer light!  One day they'll stop spraying for Covid in my room! 🤞

@Brandy - ohhh...this is fun!!!  You have me FULLY convinced about the nerite snails and the moss!  

I also think a betta is in my future...and I need to stop trying to fight it, haha!

Cherry shrimp are so bright and cheerful!!!  I love that idea, too!

I might start visiting stores in my area this weekend...just to see what's up in Charlotte, NC! 😜

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, Brandy said:

Oh, geez, you could eventually have enough shrimp to send them home with interested kids as prizes. I would have done anything for one.

Edited 28 minutes ago by Brandy
(admittedly I am weird)

I hate giving kids candy...so I usually give stickers for their water bottles!  Shrimp would be so much more fun and exciting!! 🤣

(Girlllll, me too! 😜)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice tank! It sounds really good that teachers are trying to connect with their students. Maybe try working with buoyancy and make boats/rafts using a set of aquarium safe materials or use a 3D CAD program like Tinkercad as an intro to 3D Design and 3D printing? 

Edited by FlyingFishKeeper
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@FlyingFishKeeper - there's an engineering course that does a whole unit on 3D printing and design - such cool stuff!!!   

Thank you for the kind words!!!  Any time I can sneak something fun and relatable into the curriculum, I do it!

@Streetwise - that could be really cool!!  I'll have to think about it a little more - my mind goes immediately to resistance demonstrations...but that doesn't directly apply to aquatic things...it's just a good analogy.  We also talk about rates...so, rate of flow would fit in...  I could definitely talk about the transfer of gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy - why the end of the gravel vacuum hose needs to be lower than the intake.  All good stuff!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Streetwise - the Tesla valve is wild!!!!  (It also kind of reminds me of diagonal parking! 😂)  That would blow my 9th graders' minds!

@OceanTruth - Thank you!!!  I'm hoping it's all just a light problem - my other anubias that's just like it is doing very well in its shady spot.  I'm trying to plot the perfect place to move it...and now I'm online shopping for plants to go in its place! 🤑

I just went to three aquarium stores near me to look for plants, and they were kind of disappointing...especially after being spoiled by the Co-Op!  No one had nerite snails or a good selection of bettas either...meh!  I feel like salt water aquariums must be more on-trend in my area...or, maybe all the things I want are out of season?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Betsy said:

I just went to three aquarium stores near me to look for plants, and they were kind of disappointing...especially after being spoiled by the Co-Op!  No one had nerite snails or a good selection of bettas either...meh!  I feel like salt water aquariums must be more on-trend in my area...or, maybe all the things I want are out of season?

I feel your pain! Buying online is really my only option. There's nothing around me when it comes to the aquarium hobby. I guess the only good thing is that I don't have an opportunity to impulse buy. Any livestock I buy already has a ton of thought into it.

As long as you have room in the tank, you're ALWAYS in the market for some plants. Lol. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...