Educational Aquarium and Aquatic Systems


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Learn basic and advanced aquarium setups and maintenance.  Students will gain an understanding of the key differences in saltwater and freshwater equipment and care.  The uses of educational setups for housing and observation of microscopic and macroscopic organisms will be covered.  The class will be held in a fully stocked microscopy lab on the Bioreserve where the nature trails and the three on site ponds will be used for the portion of the class that deals with proper collection and housing of pond organisms for in-class observations. 

In the lab. . .

We will go over basic construction of tank environments, in-tank and collection based observations, water chemistry for freshwater, saltwater and reef environments and lighting requirements for reef and planted aquariums. Extensive time will be devoted to understanding the chemical and biological balance of this “alien environment” that you will be housing in your classrooms and homes. Learn how to properly test for PH, Alkalinity, Ammonia, Nitrate, Calcium, Phosphate, Copper, Chlorine, Magnesium and all the other micro-nutrients that are involved with keeping a healthy ecosystem. The complex relationship between the bottom of the rung organisms (bacteria, algae, and other invertebrates) and the top of the pyramid organisms (fish, shrimp, and other macroscopic organisms) will be explored. Topics also covered include: what it means to “complete” your ecosystem, what bio-replacement means for algae control, and techniques on gaining the diversity natural environments need to function properly.


Each participant will set up his or her own personal self-contained ecosystem for use in the classroom.  These will be small systems able to sit in a windowsill and will contain a representative of each major component of the nitrate system as a good example of what your students will be able to build in class at minimal cost.  The class will be held indoors in the laboratory but it will venture out into the reserve for a portion of the collection process.  The class is limited to ten participants.  Please bring comfortable walking shoes and clothing