AquaRank.com

FishProfiles.com Message Forums

faq | etiquette | register | my account | search | mailbox
# FishProfiles.com Message Forums
L# General
 L# Getting Started
  L# looking for ideas
 Post Reply  New Topic
Subscribelooking for ideas
Tabs
Small Fry
Posts: 6
Kudos: 5
Votes: 0
Registered: 15-Aug-2014
EditedEdited 16-Aug-2014 05:25
Hello all I am a generalist (meaning multi-subject) 5th&6th grade teacher. This year I have been asked to take some sessions of science. Traditionally science classrooms have some living examples in the classroom. No the school doesn't carry those costs so I am on a budget that will need to include many other supplies as well.

I immediately thought FISH but, as we all know, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. It appears at one point the previous teacher had a vase/bowl but as I did some research this seems a poor idea. Let's not have the science teacher promoting an unhealthy environment for the class fish. I did see a neat little tank set that would be interesting for teaching the concepts of hydroponics and symbiosis but at $60 for a 3 gallon tank its not in the budget this year.

Anyway, does anyone have any ideas that would help me set up something manageable on a tight budget and limited space keeping in mind that the entire set up will need to be relocated over the summer?

It doesn't have to be fish exactly. I have heard of some shrimp that do well in small spaces but don't know how accurate that is or which ones to look for. I DO know enough to avoid a gold fish bowl.
Post InfoPosted 16-Aug-2014 05:22Profile PM Edit Report 
ztb23
*********
Hobbyist
Posts: 118
Kudos: 137
Votes: 0
Registered: 13-Jan-2014
If you're thinking about using fish to symbolize symbiosis, I really don't know if there's a good true example. You could keep a betta with a few shrimp possibly. Shrimp will eat waste produced by the betta, thus reducing the amount of material that decomposes in the water, resulting in less ammonia production in the tank which is great for the entire environment. Be careful with shrimp though. If you get a male and a female, the offspring will overpopulate the aquarium immediately if you get something as small as a 3 gallon tank.

I'll PM a few links to some fish store web pages showing prices of kits and fish. I'm sending to you that way to avoid any kind of legal issues that might come up.

If you are going to keep fish then please know how to take proper care of them. Feel free to ask anything you need to know.
Post InfoPosted 16-Aug-2014 07:08Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Tabs
Small Fry
Posts: 6
Kudos: 5
Votes: 0
Registered: 15-Aug-2014
More any type of "eco system" a basic aquarium set up would work BUT I need pointers I haven't kept a successful tank in many years. What I have seen in basic "kits" doesn't really seem to meet minimum requirements and therefor would need additional purchases.

Is buying a used tank a good idea? Or are there inherent problems I need to avoid.

I would love to include some plants but want to steer away from the fish in a planter/vase display idea. From what I am reading they are pretty unhealthy for the fish. I do remember my mom having one for years though.

I could also go with an aquatic plant display with no fish or ever a terrarium plant set up.

I am just looking for ideas that can be done well on a tight budget.



Post InfoPosted 16-Aug-2014 15:52Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Fallout
 
**********
---------------
---------------
-----
Moderator
Communications Specialist
Posts: 6416
Kudos: 4053
Votes: 742
Registered: 29-Jul-2000
Can you give us an idea of how limited your space and budget?

A small vivarium filled halfway with water with a land area with a few frogs and maybe a few small minnows pique your interest? You could have plants that both go under the water and a couple of plants on the land area. Give you a little cross section of a riverbank.

There are quite a few 10 gallon tank kits available, but you'd need an underwater filter, the hang-on-back ones wouldn't work well with a half filled tank. You might be able to find a decent turtle kit, they have half glass sides so you can use a traditional filter.

Used tanks are fine, just make sure they haven't been used for small animals (pee soaks into the silicone) and they are water-tight. A good rinsing and scrub with hot water (no soap) is pretty much all you'll need to do.

http://www.exo-terra.com/en/products/turtle_terrarium_small.php

Probably too pricey, but something like that?
Post InfoPosted 17-Aug-2014 00:56Profile Homepage ICQ AIM MSN Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
Tabs
Small Fry
Posts: 6
Kudos: 5
Votes: 0
Registered: 15-Aug-2014
The set up you describe would be fantastic but I think it may be more of a long term goal.

I was hoping to start out under 60 total (and that would be real stretch). I have a lot to learn about maintaining a good environment of that type.

I know they need a filter system and both water and land. Isn't it important to also have a heater on that set up like with an aquarium.

Is a ten gallon tank sufficient or would it need to be larger?

If I were to start small and build to a more complex environment what would a good staring point that could be added to consist of?

Post InfoPosted 17-Aug-2014 04:51Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Fallout
 
**********
---------------
---------------
-----
Moderator
Communications Specialist
Posts: 6416
Kudos: 4053
Votes: 742
Registered: 29-Jul-2000
The bigger the environment, the easier it is to take care of as it will be more stable. With the limited budget though, not really feasible.
A 10 gallon tank and hood can be had new for about 25 bucks, and a small in tank filter for about 15. Gravel is dirt cheap, a few dollars a bag. You'd probably need 2 or 3 to have a built up area for land and some left to cover the rest. Depending on the type of animals you want to keep, a heater may be preferred, but not necessary. If so, they are not expensive either, another 15 for a mini. Factor in livestock and plants, a background, food, water conditioner and other incidentals you're probably looking more towards 100 all said and done. Mind you this is retail, there are a lot of used setups on classified sites such as Craigslist.
Setting up isn't hard, just be sure to rinse everything good before using the item, gravel especially can be dusty. The hard part is being patient in adding livestock. You'll have to start slow in order for the beneficial bacteria that decompose waste products to form. This is called the nitrogen cycle and if loaded too fast can be harmful to the animals.
Starting small like you describe is best. Maybe some fire bellied toads and plants to start, then add a few fish? Did you have anything in particular in mind?
Post InfoPosted 17-Aug-2014 06:48Profile Homepage ICQ AIM MSN Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
Tabs
Small Fry
Posts: 6
Kudos: 5
Votes: 0
Registered: 15-Aug-2014
EditedEdited 20-Aug-2014 03:08
I am very excited. I visited a locally owned pet supply place with a large aquatics department after in-service for a little recon today. It turns out that starting Thursday they will be running a tank sale. One dollar a gallon for basic tanks. That would be tank only. I would still need to get heater, filter, gravel, and a hood but I could possibly get a good size tank and part of the necessities and get the rest the next paycheck. Maybe if I am careful with product choices I could swing it all this month. The manager even said that since it is for a classroom he would give me up to $15 in fish and a bottle of Safe Start, which he claims would jump start the Nitrogen cycle to about three days. I figured I would double check that here before trying it.

So, now I need to decide what type of set up is my goal an aquarium as ztb and I have discussed or a vivarium as Fallout suggested. I need to take some measurements but I am pretty sure a 10 gallon will be very workable possibly even a 15 gallon. A 20 might be pushing it since I think I would need to invest in a stand. I am not sure that the table/cart I am thinking of using will handle the weight of a 20 gal set up.
Post InfoPosted 20-Aug-2014 03:04Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Fallout
 
**********
---------------
---------------
-----
Moderator
Communications Specialist
Posts: 6416
Kudos: 4053
Votes: 742
Registered: 29-Jul-2000
Excellent news! Bigger is better but remember it will cost more to maintain. 15 gallon tanks are nice because they aren't much bigger than a 10 but give added real estate without adding a ton of height.

Bacteria starters are decent products overall and they do reduce the time to cycle a tank, so no harm in using that.

Small tanks are pretty light themselves, and even a fully loaded 10 tips the scales at around 100lbs. If you do a vivarium it will be less.

Glad we got the wheels turning, let us know what you decide.
Post InfoPosted 20-Aug-2014 03:48Profile Homepage ICQ AIM MSN Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
Tabs
Small Fry
Posts: 6
Kudos: 5
Votes: 0
Registered: 15-Aug-2014
So I have not moved forward at all since the last visit except to meet with the principal. Weighing all the factors at this time I am going with a freshwater traditional aquarium. This weekend is the last weekend of the tank sale and I want to take advantage of that because it will allow me to go in with a 10 or 15 gallon tank.

I have my list of basics.

Tank
Hood
gravel
heater
filter system
net
tank
gravel vac
plants

1. am I missing anything?
2. is a hanging filter or under gravel better? any other recommendation on the filter?
3. should I go with live or artificial plants?

4. any fish recommendations?
Post InfoPosted 30-Aug-2014 19:40Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Tabs
Small Fry
Posts: 6
Kudos: 5
Votes: 0
Registered: 15-Aug-2014
question on placement window good or bad idea?
Post InfoPosted 30-Aug-2014 19:49Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
FRANK
 
**********
---------------
---------------
Moderator
Posts: 5108
Kudos: 5263
Votes: 1690
Registered: 28-Dec-2002
male usa us-colorado
EditedEdited 31-Aug-2014 05:23
Hi Tabs,
This seems to be a community effort!

Under Gravel Filters (UGF's) were all the craze a couple decades ago, and I've run one in my 30G tank for decades. If you do not do regular maintenance on them, they can cause problems. The maintenance is simply cleaning the gravel with the gravel filter all the way down to the filter plate. With a planted tank, you do not disturb the gravel around the plants when using the gravel vac. Rather you divide the non planted part of the tank into quarters and with each weekly water change, you vaccum a different non planted section down to the filter plate.

With the hang on the back (HOB) filter, you disconnect the filter, take it to a sink and replace the filter material and return it to the back side of the tank.

Placing a tank in the window can cause problems. The sunlight shining on the tank can raise the tank water temperature to lethal heights and the strong sunlight while great for the plants, can cause more algae than you would care to have. Generally the aquarium lights, in a planted tank, should be on for 8-10 hours/day. You want the lighting of a tropical fish tank to mimic the tropical sun (+/- a few degrees latitude of the equator) in brightness and duration.

An aquarium is a fanstastic tool to introduce students to biology, chemistry, geology, physics (lighting) and botany. An experianced fishkeeper becomes acquainted with all of them, and math as well.

Frank

-->>> The Confidence of Amateurs, is the Envy of Professionals <<<--
Post InfoPosted 31-Aug-2014 05:17Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Tabs
Small Fry
Posts: 6
Kudos: 5
Votes: 0
Registered: 15-Aug-2014
EditedEdited 14-Sep-2014 16:06
Thanks for all of your help. The tank is up and running. We have cycled and we tested the water Friday (several times actually since we did it with each of my science classes). I went with a 10 gallon because the 15's weren't on the special and for the tank plus hood it was a bit high for now. My plan if all goes well is to up grade to a 20 down the road and re-purpose the 10. Part of me wishes I had gone for the 20 because of the limits in stocking.

We are ready to start stocking. I thought I would go today and see what kind of small schoolers that the shop has. I am thinking Zibra Danios or Neon Tetra. The kids have asked about the glofish that are so bright. From what I read they are genetically altered danios and Tetera.
Post InfoPosted 14-Sep-2014 14:45Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
superlion
 
----------
Mega Fish
Posts: 1246
Kudos: 673
Votes: 339
Registered: 27-Sep-2003
female usa
EditedEdited 14-Sep-2014 17:13
Sounds like you're doing a great job already with the tank! Many aquarists call the 10-gallon the "gateway aquarium" because that's what started them in the hobby.

Zebra danios would be a great choice for your classroom. They are very hardy and active. They're also widely used in laboratories as a research animal, like white lab mice. Neon tetras tend to be a little more delicate and susceptible to diseases, IME.

Another great fish (or group of fish) for beginners that might let your students see them reproduce would be livebearers. If you live in a part of the country where the tap water is hard, as I do, they're quite hardy. I highly recommend platies. They're quite friendly and tend to swim up to the front of the tank to see people and "beg" for food. Not schooling fish per se, but they have a wider range of social behavior you can see: the males will display for the females and chase other males away, etc.

><>
Post InfoPosted 14-Sep-2014 17:12Profile Homepage PM Edit Delete Report 
brandeeno
 
-----
Mega Fish
Posts: 925
Kudos: 631
Registered: 13-Sep-2007
male usa us-california
Tabs,

Not sure if you're still doing the science thing with your classes, but I'm a recent college grad with my BS in Biology and did a fair deal of volunteer teaching throughout college and now work with an environmental education program that teaches a bit of marine science.

I'd love to hear what you ended up running with the tank and using as your lessons and I'd also love to be a resource for you if you're still using the tank teaching mechanism!

\\\\\\\"an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure\\\\\\\"
Post InfoPosted 06-Jan-2016 00:43Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Post Reply  New Topic
Jump to: 

The views expressed on this page are the implied opinions of their respective authors.
Under no circumstances do the comments on this page represent the opinions of the staff of FishProfiles.com.

FishProfiles.com Forums, version 11.0
Mazeguy Smilies