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Old 07-18-2010, 05:40 PM   #1
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Oops - accidently ended up in SW today

Ok, I'm a science teacher that uses live aquatic models in class for student research projects. Since I changed districts this year I've gone from being 5 minutes from the best Aquatic store in Nashville - to an hour away..

One of the main projects I do every year involves brine shrimp colonies. So I got the bright idea of using a 5G tank I had in storage to create a permanent breeding colony of them. That way I'm not driving WAY out've my way to the ONE store that sells them. (mentioned above). I also intend to feed the excess to my planted barb tank and Malawi Lake tank.

On the way home I stopped by my favorite Petco to buy the pair of Mollies my stepson has been wanting. While there I was given a pair of marine snails and a Chocolate chip Starfish that another customer had returned. (they always give me free stuff at this store.) Also purchased a big clump of algae.

So now I've got the whole shebang sitting in an overnight container with air stone. The starfish reacted to being dumped in by curling all legs up and over. I actually found this site because I was searching for why he did that. Turns out I now have a very happy starfish because he's in the middle of food...

Perhaps enough brine shrimp will survive to breed in the five gallon? Or perhaps I need to set aside a bowl of them just in case. (I doubt he'll manage to eat them all in one evening) Maybe the starfish will be so happy with the shrimp that he'll leave the snails alone.

In any case, I'm now the proud owner of a critter that I never intended to own. Though my students will get a kick out of him for sure!
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Old 07-18-2010, 05:45 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

Just wondering....where are you going to keep the starfish?
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Old 07-18-2010, 05:56 PM   #3
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That is a neat story... what are your plans. What exactly do you have the starfish in? Sand/Live Rock/Equipment? This could go south very quickly
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Old 07-18-2010, 05:58 PM   #4
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I thought of trying to do this a few years back, and from what I read, to have a sustainable colony of brine shrimp, you need a tank of a few hundred to a few thousand gallons :P. I was told it would be cheaper and easier to just grow them when I needed them. That said, you can for sure grow the brine shrimp to larger sizes once they hatch in the 5 gallon, but I'm not sure if you'll be able to get them to reproduce.
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:35 PM   #5
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They reproduced like nuts in the 1L control tank last year. Students thoroughly enjoyed seeing them mating. It was a good healthy colony throughout the six weeks of research. Then I gave it to my department head to feed to her reef to dispose of it. Why keep it when that particular school was a mere 5 minutes from the ultimate aquarium store?

Moral of the story - it isn't hard to keep a breeding colony going.

Mr. Starfish will be kept in the 5G. Just him, sand, algae clump, a fake sea sponge, the two snails and some brine shrimp. I'll probably just set some of the brine shrimp in one of the 1L research containers to ensure a supply for the class project this winter.

Nope, no live rock/reef for Mr. Starfish to consume. Just Brine shrimp and maybe the snails (hope not, we'll see)
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:46 PM   #6
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How do you plan to cycle that 5g to make it safe for the starfish?
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:48 PM   #7
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Maybe the project I was thinking of was to make it self-sustaining? Like have algae grow and have the shrimp reach an equilibrium?
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:53 PM   #8
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Tank will need to cycle and need a heater to maintain good temp. Something to also think about would be transporting the tank to and from school during summers/winter break.
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:54 PM   #9
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It's been cycling/running since last week in preparation for the brine shrimp. From what I've been reading and was informed by the store who gave it to me - if the tank is safe for Brine, it's safe for the Starfish.

I generally allow my classroom tanks to cycle for over a week before I put anything more than plants in them. Allows the chemicals to balance out. After all, I am a chemistry teacher... LOL... Chemical testing is my strength..
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:56 PM   #10
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good to hear. wasn't aware you had this already going. What did you use to cycle with?
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