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Old 07-18-2011, 07:41 PM   #1
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New; attempting 10g planted tank for classroom

Hi!
I have been teaching for several years now and am at long last going to have, as of this August, a classroom of my own.

I love gardening and fish and had this idea that it would be terrific if I could manage to set up an aquarium over the summer to have in my classroom to interest the students, create authentic learning opportunities (ecology! botany! chemistry! biology! let's get curious and write about it!) and create a little nook of tranquility amidst the wackiness that is 7th grade.

I was fortunate enough to find on craigslist a mature, 10 gallon tropical aquarium for sale complete with fish, plants, gravel, lights, tacky decorations, etc.

I believe the tank is very overstocked (Betta + 2 zebra danios + 2 orange platys + black neon tetra), so I have set up a second 10 gallon aquarium, planted the plants I could find at the local fish places and hope to cycle the tank so that it can receive a number of the fish for the greater health and comfort of all. I have put some of the original tacky decorations into this tank in the hopes of helping beneficial bacteria to colonize.

Meanwhile, I love having the tank at home, and am especially fond of Mr. Betta.

Has anyone else maintained an aquarium in a classroom? Does anyone have recommendations in terms of books/magazines/articles/literature I could include in the classroom library for curious students? Thoughts about a filter for the second tank (10 gallon, planted)?

I will have more questions soon...

It's great to be here!
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:44 PM   #2
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I like this idea!
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Old 07-18-2011, 07:54 PM   #3
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Petsmart has a bunch of literature on aquarium basics in flyer form that may work out best for what you are doing.

I would make sure you go over the plants you have and be certain that they are all true aquatic plants. Unfortunately, pet stores have a trend of selling plants that don't do well totally submerged.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:08 PM   #4
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I did some research, I believe all plants are true aquatics. They include:

Hornwort (pond/garden store)
Duckweed (pond/garden store, free with everything else)
Water Lettuce (pond/garden store)
And
Water wisteria PetSmart
Dwarf hairmoss PetSmart
Java fern PetSmart

I read Diana Walstad's book about planted aquariums and while a lot went a bit over my head, I thought her advice about putting lots of plants in the tank and letting them work it out made sense.

I am trying to locate a good source of Java moss or some other mossy thing. I like moss.

Two snails have also hatched out of the plants, so I am keeping them separated and away from the fish until I can figure out what kind they are, if I want to keep one, both, or neither. I think they are probably regular pond snails (dark, football-shaped/conical shell, seem to be happy in the water and on the side of or the surface of the tank). Any informed opinions on this issue are also welcome.

Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:23 PM   #5
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circular shells are ramshorns, the efootball shapes are pond snails. They aren't necessarily a bad thing, they will eat any leftover debris in the tank. They will have a population explosion if the tank is being overfed, so they are a good indicator of that.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:45 AM   #6
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I would stay away from duck weed. Java fern and java moss are easy plants, and anubias is pretty sturdy, and looks really nice
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:46 AM   #7
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I have a 10 gal planted, with a crowntail betta, kuhli loaches, cherry shrimp, and tons of plants. If you want to really help the plants grow make a yeast sugar c02 reactor for the tank as well
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Old 07-25-2011, 01:18 AM   #8
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I had a tank in my 4th grade science classroom. It was great for your basic 4th grade science. We used it most when talking ecosystems. I had class discussions about it, and the kids loved it! I'm thinking about having one this year with live plants and breeding fish. That adds another aspect!
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