Jump to content
MaeganWink

Marine Science Saltwater Tanks at Liberty High School

Recommended Posts

Marine Science Saltwater Tanks

Liberty High School

 

Introduction: I teach Marine Science (among other things) at Liberty High School in Fauquier County. As a semester-long project I have students manage 50+ gallon tanks. This is the first semester, so my 3 small groups of students are setting up our first 3 tanks from scratch. The tanks will be passed on and maintained by the next class of students when the new semester starts. This is a student driven project, meaning most of the research, problem solving, and work falls on the students. I am supporting them and doing legwork where they cannot.

 

Funding: Around $200-300 from the school, all else out of pocket currently

 

Tanks: Two 48 x 13 tanks guessed to be 50-55 gallons

One 36 x 12.5 tank guessed to be 50-55 gallson

All were donated. One has a leak we hopefully managed to patch. Patch successful!

 

Current stage: Water testing and cycling

 

Needed Materials: Organisms

 

Incoming donations: Coral and snails from a fellow teacher

Lights and other equipment from Kyle Gustafson

 

Desired Organisms (things my students specifically want): **This section is relatively obsolete due to budget constraints, so as soon as my students revamp their plan this will be updated**

Peppermint shrimp 

Sand sifting starfish

Clownfish

Pajama Cardinals 

Yellow Tang  Tanks are not big enough

Gobies 

Sea horses*

Note: Not all organisms are going to be in the same tank.

*I am fully aware Sea horses are difficult. My students have done a lot of research and are determined to give it a try if I can get the funding. The plan would be to set up a separate tank as a refugium for copepods so that we could add in populations before weekends when we can't actively feed them. If you have other suggestions, I'm open to them.

 

I'll post pictures when I get the chance, though there isn't much to look at right now.

Edited by MaeganWink

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of our sponsors here, Pacific East Aquaculture, has captive bred seahorses that happily eat frozen mysis

 

https://pacificeastaquaculture.com/collections/seahorses/products/hippocampus-erectus-seahorse-pair

 

They can give advice on their care and water quality.  They require good filtration because they'll take a lot of feeding.  A taller, rather than wider tank will be better for them.

 

Everything else can probably go in the same tank.  You might reconsider the tang, though, because none of your tanks sounds really big enough for one.  It might even be a good project to let them research the fish going in to determine for themselves which are appropriate and which are not and why.

 

Sand sifting stars and gobies and shrimp will be fun to watch.  A bunch of hermit crabs are fun for students to watch too.  Very busy.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, I have a sand sifting starfish and possibly two yellow tail damsel for you guys. Just let me know. I'm in Glen Burnie.

 

FYI: the damsels can get quite aggressive but very hardy fish.

 

Also, I have a hand held refractometer if you need one.

Edited by littlelise1985

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is awesome what you are doing for the kids! I wish one of my teachers would have done the same. I have a new Salifert Magnesium Test and a new Aquariclip (for the kids to take pics of their tanks) that I'll throw in also if you are able to come up and grab them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of our sponsors here, Pacific East Aquaculture, has captive bred seahorses that happily eat frozen mysis

 

https://pacificeastaquaculture.com/collections/seahorses/products/hippocampus-erectus-seahorse-pair

 

They can give advice on their care and water quality.  They require good filtration because they'll take a lot of feeding.  A taller, rather than wider tank will be better for them.

 

Everything else can probably go in the same tank.  You might reconsider the tang, though, because none of your tanks sounds really big enough for one.  It might even be a good project to let them research the fish going in to determine for themselves which are appropriate and which are not and why.

 

Sand sifting stars and gobies and shrimp will be fun to watch.  A bunch of hermit crabs are fun for students to watch too.  Very busy.  

I'll check them out, though if they only eat frozen mysis that may be a problem...the issue is no one is here on the weekends to feed them, so that's why we were investigating the copepod option, hoping we could dump in a good population of those to last them the weekend each week. I know sea horses need to eat frequently and I definitely won't let me students get them if we can't make sure they are taken care of appropriately. 

 

Good to know about the tang. Again, I don't want to get anything we can't care for appropriately. 

 

And I agree about the invertebrates...I think they are super fun to watch and I think the students will love them.

 

Hello, I have a sand sifting starfish and possibly two yellow tail damsel for you guys. Just let me know. I'm in Glen Burnie.

 

FYI: the damsels can get quite aggressive but very hardy fish.

 

Also, I have a hand held refractometer if you need one.

 

I'm definitely interested in the sand sifting starfish once our water is set up appropriately. My students are excited for that one. I don't know about the yellow tail damsels - we're trying to keep most of the organisms relatively peaceful. Also I heard they are best in groups of 3 or more, is that true?

 

I have a donated refractometer already, but thanks so much for the offer! If you're trying to get rid of it I can take it, so that more than one group of my students can water test at once, but I don't need it if you were just offering to make sure I had that aspect covered.

 

To both of you, thanks for the support. I've only been on the forum a short time and everyone has been very friendly and helpful, it's a great resource for me!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Culturing copepods will be a cool project for students to do.  It would involve making lots of procedures but there are lots of resources online done by marine breeders for how to do it.  

 

You'll probably need a phytoplankton culture and a rotifer culture and a copepod culture (phyto one is optional, probably, but does look cool with glowing green and brown bottles on a lighted shelf).  Once those get going you can even breed clownfish in addition to doing seahorses and mandarin gobies.

 

Another sponsor of ours is Reef Nutrition, and they have a really cool system for running cultures in 5 gallon buckets:

 

https://reefnutrition.com/product_compact_culture_system.php

 

https://reefnutrition.com/promo/zoo-intro-hobbiest-ccs/

 

They're really nice to talk to and can give you lots of advice on setting up a system that would be interesting for the students to run and learn from.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought I could edit my topic post, but I've having trouble finding the option...so as soon as I figure that out I'll edit with updates but...

 

Update: First I want to thank Kyle Gustafson for being willing to donate a good amount of equipment. Honestly he's a lifesaver in that regard.

 

In other news, I got my funding finalized and it's...not idea. The school has given me $150 and is not allowing me to fundraise since all of this is considered "classroom material". That means everything beyond my budge will be out of pocket (and that's not including what I've already spent out of pocket. SO that means our gameplan has to drastically change.

 

So if anyone has any suggestions on affordable, but interesting organisms, please let me know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maegan, I moved your topic from Education to the Tank Build forum. This should enable editing of the first post. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think my ability to edit is gone again, so for now I'll update this way.

 

Tanks are set up and have had fish for a week and a half now.

 

We have a invert-friendly tank, a fish only tank that will eventually have a small puffer in it, and a clown + other friendly fish tank that will eventually have clowns.

 

For now, what's in each tank is as follows.

 

Invert-Friendly tank:

Pajama Cardinals (3)(temporary, will eventually go to clown tank)

Firefish 

Longspine Urchin

Peppermint Shrimp (3)

Nassarius Snail (3)

Turbo Snail 

Scarlet Red Hermit Crab 

 

Clown and Friends tank:

Spotted Hawkfish

Molly Miller Blenny

Peppermint Shrimp (3)

Nassarius Snail (2)

Turbo Snail (2)

Scarlet Red Hermit Crab

 

Puffer tank:

Striped Fanged Blenny

Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel

Tiger Pistol Shrimp

Watchman Goby

 

The clown tank will be getting a light and coral donation today I think as well, but I'll update about that after I see how things fair.

ClownFriendsTank.jpg

InvertTank.jpg

PuffTank.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, MaeganWink said:

I think my ability to edit is gone again, so for now I'll update this way.

Yes. Sorry. It's global with the forum software update. The way we had things was a custom solution (where we went in and modified the software to suit our needs). In coloring within the lines, we have not re-implemented the customizations which ultimately serve as a hindrance to software maintenance and can therefore become a security problem. This includes the "first post remains open for edits in certain forums" modification. The current software does not allow for us to do that. It's all at the global level (across all forums): On all posts, we can disallow edits; allow edits for a specified time after posting; or we can leave all posts available to edit without restriction. Historically, at one time we allowed the last of these options. But that became a problem when some members of the community engaged in bomb-throwing, hit-and-run behavior that created problems for others and that they subsequently edited away before the moderation team could take notice. That's when the privilege of editing without restriction was lost, and when we looked for a solution that was more restricted, but still workable.

 

So, for now, there's an 1-hour time window for edits after the post is made. I'll bring this matter up at the next Board meeting to see if we want to stick with this or do something different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice. Just remember, holidays, weekends, long breaks... 

 

What are you doing about water, and mixing salt? Do you have an Auto Top Off? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm aware. The head of our Science Department is trying to get us special permission to get into the school over breaks, not just for the fish, but because other critters are here too.

 

I've been getting my water from a local saltwater store. I've been getting it as fresh, though, because it's my students' jobs to monitor water quality. I don't have an autotopoff. I'm open to suggestions if anyone has them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is probably already been addressed, Maegan, since you have other critters that are in the school: But make sure that you understand what the Building Engineer does with climate control during long breaks (such as summer). Do they shut parts of the school down? If so, will the temperature remain within tolerable limits for your livestock? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will do! I know for short breaks things are running as normal, but I haven't checked for summer yet. I'll be sure to find out.

 

Also, something I'd love help with if anyone is interested: Suggestions on equipment. All my tanks have very basic heaters and filters, but that's it. I plan to apply for grants from different sources so I can hopefully get additional equipment or even upgrade to better equipment. Right now I know I want to apply to get funds for a RO system, since with so many tanks buying water isn't economic and using the deionized filter tends to go through the canister obscenely fast and that's supposed to be for the chemistry department not me...so suggestions on equipment I should aim for would be appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×