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scissortail

More tank updates 2/7/19

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Hi guys!  I just wanted to update everyone on the status of our classroom tank!  We are passed the brown diatom phase and have entered the green hair algae phase:

1787331247_greenhair.thumb.jpg.84761708e50840ca8e425db4c912c672.jpg

Ammonia has been staying consistently 3 ppm, nitrites 0, and nitrates between 10-20.  The pH has been low- 7.4- I am wondering if I need to add pH/alkalinity buffer to my distilled water during top offs?  I have been topping off with either distilled or salt water depending on where the specific gravity is in order to try to keep it consistently around 1.025.

An exciting discovery in the tank this week are little copepods crawling around on the glass!  I suctioned one out and put it under the microscope and snapped some pics- the students and I were super amazed!  Here is a pic of a female harpacticoid copepod with an egg sac attached (I think):

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The little red blob at the head is her eye- she has a compound eye with 3 ocelli (subunits), which we thought was pretty cool because we also do beekeeping and honeybees have compound eyes as well, and duh, they are both arthropods!  We think the elongated brownish blob at the back is a fecal pellet, probably full of phytoplankton.

Here is a closeup of the eye with 3 ocelli:

121136602_podhead.jpg.82062b05bf9f95a1097c68223a132c11.jpg

And look at how amazing and beautiful the details on the side of her body are:

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Anyway, so the copepods are very cool and hopefully a good sign that things are cycling in there!  Thank you for all the responses to my last post!  Suggestions and advice are always appreciated, especially because I am a newbie ☺️

 

 

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Fun stuff!  I'm so glad I bought a microscope and I'm frequently looking at all sorts of samples from my tank under magnification.  Did you look at the diatoms under the scope?  They come in many shapes.  Mine looked like tiny slices of pizza.

You & your students are going to make so many more cool discoveries over time.  Glad you're all having fun with it. :)

 

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Oooh I have always loved all the shapes of diatom skeletons- didn't even think to look at some of them under the scope!  They're pretty much gone now but I will see if I can find any hanging on...

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17 minutes ago, scissortail said:

Oooh I have always loved all the shapes of diatom skeletons- didn't even think to look at some of them under the scope!  They're pretty much gone now but I will see if I can find any hanging on...

If you can't find any diatoms, you can show your students mine.  It also shows a dinoflagellate moving between the diatoms:

 

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That is so awesome!  What do you use to take your pics?  I am just trying to hold a cell phone up to the viewfinder and it's really difficult.

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With nitrates showing up and a lack of nitrite, the ammonia reading may be a false positive. The test strips aren’t the best; they were just the only thing the fish store had the day before we came out. I think you said you have a Petco near? I would bring in a small container of your water for them to test for ammonia. If they can’t or won’t, they’ll at least sell a liquid ammonia test that’s more likely to show you’re at 0. 

The hair algae can get out of control fast, so I would rip off and pull out what you can. Nothing to stress over trying to get it all, but it’ll help. A water change to lower nitrates will assist in controlling the growth, as well. Definitely time to get your RODI hooked up! I’ll check with @Gumby and see when we can get out there to help.

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Hey guys!

Would Woody's Seahorse be able to test a water sample for me?  I'm thinking about making a trip into Portland on Monday since we don't have school.   I pulled off a bunch of hair algae, but it is still plentiful- do you think it's time to add some clean up crew?  Nitrates and nitrites were zero today, ammonia was at approximately 1ppm (as best I could tell from the color strips).  Ph and alkalinity are still kinda wonky and low, not sure if I even need to be testing those right now without any livestock in there.

@Gumby- Quick question for you- I have been keeping the filled saltwater bags under black plastic to block the light, but it looks like some fine algae growth is happening inside the bags.  Will this impact my water quality in a bad way, or should I just not worry about it?

@SuncrestReef- thanks for the tip on the smartphone adapter- I got it and it's awesome!  Here are some pics of the green hair algae (derbesia genus I think...) and a little bitty nematode.  Love that we can see the green chloroplasts inside.  Super cool!

@Flashy Fins- I am around the next few weekends if you guys want to make the trek out- just let me know what works for you!  Thank you SOOOO much for your help!

1335262877_greenhairmicro.jpg.3f52128c24b85de4dd15770d3b35e083.jpg1188090343_derbesiaandnematode.jpg.f7c972d2799927b15aad1ed03230cf78.jpg

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Just a heads up that Seahorse is closed on Mondays although they normally would be able to help you out.  Not sure anyone answered your question about alkalinity buffer but that could help stabilize your pH at a bit higher level.  Not sure what test kits you have on hand though as I would be careful about that without the ability to keep an eye on the alk level.  This might actually help your algae issue indirectly.  If you saw nitrites and nitrates come up and down already then Cherany may be right about the accuracy of that ammonia test - strips can be a bit iffy.  Sounds like you could be good to go with some cleanup crew.

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Oh good to know about Seahorse, maybe I'll try Cuttlefish and Corals.  I have been testing alkalinity but it's really hard to match the color on the test strips- in any case, I can definitely say it has been lower than it should be- it's been around 40-80 ppm.  I'll bring in a water sample to the store to get a good read on things, and maybe pick up some of the dropper type test kits so things are a little easier to read.  Thanks for the advice!

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22 minutes ago, scissortail said:

Oh good to know about Seahorse, maybe I'll try Cuttlefish and Corals.  I have been testing alkalinity but it's really hard to match the color on the test strips- in any case, I can definitely say it has been lower than it should be- it's been around 40-80 ppm.  I'll bring in a water sample to the store to get a good read on things, and maybe pick up some of the dropper type test kits so things are a little easier to read.  Thanks for the advice!

Actually, CnC has winter hours now and are listed as "appointment only" on Monday and Tuesday so you might want to give them a call or send a note to make sure someone will be around.  Hate to see you drive down and miss everyone!

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32 minutes ago, albertareef said:

Actually, CnC has winter hours now and are listed as "appointment only" on Monday and Tuesday so you might want to give them a call or send a note to make sure someone will be around.  Hate to see you drive down and miss everyone!

Ahhh!  Thank you!  I would have been super bummed!

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If you drive about 4 miles beyond Cuttlefish on Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, you could stop at World of Wet Pets.  They will test your water and have a variety of test kits for sale.  They're open every day.  I'm sure there are other shops, but that's one I know of.  http://worldofwetpets.com

Cool algae photos!  I'm glad the cell phone adapter worked out for you.  😀

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On 2/15/2019 at 2:38 PM, scissortail said:

Hey guys!

Would Woody's Seahorse be able to test a water sample for me?  I'm thinking about making a trip into Portland on Monday since we don't have school.   I pulled off a bunch of hair algae, but it is still plentiful- do you think it's time to add some clean up crew?  Nitrates and nitrites were zero today, ammonia was at approximately 1ppm (as best I could tell from the color strips).  Ph and alkalinity are still kinda wonky and low, not sure if I even need to be testing those right now without any livestock in there.

@Gumby- Quick question for you- I have been keeping the filled saltwater bags under black plastic to block the light, but it looks like some fine algae growth is happening inside the bags.  Will this impact my water quality in a bad way, or should I just not worry about it?

@SuncrestReef- thanks for the tip on the smartphone adapter- I got it and it's awesome!  Here are some pics of the green hair algae (derbesia genus I think...) and a little bitty nematode.  Love that we can see the green chloroplasts inside.  Super cool!

@Flashy Fins- I am around the next few weekends if you guys want to make the trek out- just let me know what works for you!  Thank you SOOOO much for your help!

1335262877_greenhairmicro.jpg.3f52128c24b85de4dd15770d3b35e083.jpg1188090343_derbesiaandnematode.jpg.f7c972d2799927b15aad1ed03230cf78.jpg

I wouldn't worry about the algae since you are in cycling stage. 

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I think Upscales is also open on Monday

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