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scissortail last won the day on June 22 2018

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About scissortail

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    Hood River, OR

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  1. scissortail

    More tank updates 2/7/19

    Ahhh! Thank you! I would have been super bummed!
  2. scissortail

    More tank updates 2/7/19

    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!
  3. scissortail

    More tank updates 2/7/19

    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!
  4. scissortail

    More tank updates 2/7/19

    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.
  5. scissortail

    More tank updates 2/7/19

    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...
  6. 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: 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): 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: And look at how amazing and beautiful the details on the side of her body are: 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 ☺️
  7. Hey everyone! My name is Deborah and I am the science teacher at the Klahre House! I wanted to introduce myself, share some pics of the new tank, and ask some questions, so.... here she is: We got all the rock in and placed and are happy with the layout- also updated the "do not touch" sign for those teenage boys- haha. There are some tiny feather duster worms who hitchhiked in on Jim's live rock that the students are really excited about- they have been searching every inch of the rock for any additional life hanging about. It's so amazing how the tiniest thing like a minuscule feather duster worm could captivate them- I can't wait until we have corals! Things seem to be going pretty well, the ammonia level is sitting at about 3ppm and so we are patiently waiting for the bacteria to do its thing. Some brown algae has started to grow, which I know is to be expected. I got some tubing to fit the canister filter, I just need to pick up some aquarium suction cups to attach the hoses to the back of the glass and I will fire that thing up and see how it goes! A few questions I have: The water temperature is a bit warm- around 80.5 degrees- should I adjust the heater a bit to get it closer to 77? How much water evaporates off your tank each day? To get to my water level marking on the tank, I have been adding a gallon of distilled water a day. As soon as the RODI is working, I will use that. Do you all usually just keep a big bucket of RODI water on hand for daily top offs? Despite adding a gallon of fresh water each day, the specific gravity is lower than 1.025, it is around 1.022. Should I top off with salt water to try to get the numbers a bit higher? One quick question for @Gumby- when you were here on Saturday the air intake control valve for the protein skimmer was twisting fine. I went to fiddle around with it, and when I try to twist the value, it won't budge. Could it be jammed with salt or something and that is why it is stuck closed? That's it for now on the questions, but I know there will be more! 😁 Thank you so much to everyone who has put in their time and effort to make this tank a reality for our class! Thanks to @Flashy Fins and @Gumby for prepping things and coming out to set us up on Saturday, and to all the behind-the-scenes volunteers who have helped put this tank together. My students will not only benefit from the educational side of the aquarium- but also it will be very therapeutic and relaxing as well because most of them have experienced significant abuse and trauma in their lives. Tanks for Teachers is an amazing program- thank you all for contributing!
  8. scissortail

    Teacher looking to start a classroom reef tank

    No worries! We don't have space for a tank that size anyway. Thanks!
  9. scissortail

    Teacher looking to start a classroom reef tank

    Great! I have been watching this forum for years, and am super excited to finally make this happen. Just keep me posted on any updates- thank you so much!
  10. scissortail

    Teacher looking to start a classroom reef tank

    Awesome! 40 gallons would be great. Our school is very hands on and experiential education works best for our kids, so maintaining the tank and posting on the forums would be a big component of our marine biology class.
  11. Hello! I am a high school science teacher at a very small alternative school in Hood River for teenage boys in foster care. I am working to create a marine biology class and my students (and myself) are very interested in starting a reef tank. Our school is year-round, so I think it would be a good fit for us because we don't have the problem of maintenance over summer break. I have a little bit of experience with saltwater tanks because I had one about ten years ago, but, full disclosure, I was foolish and insisted on it being a 12 gallon nano reef that promptly crashed and was impossible for a newbie like me to save. Being older and wiser, I am ready to do it right and start with a bigger tank- somewhere in the 55-60 gallon range. I have a good understanding of some of the basic marine science, i.e. water chemistry and nutrient cycling, but I am really overwhelmed as far as equipment goes. I have read the "Tanks in Classrooms" article about Stratton Elementary and am trying to create a straightforward build that is conducive to teaching. Does anyone have any advice about specific equipment that would work for my situation or how to get started? Thank you for your help!