Step by Step

I have been trying to get an aquarium up and running in my classroom. I had the longest delay because my water-filler-and-empty-er tube wouldn’t connect to the faucet in my room. I got that figured out, and then there was a leak.

The leak is patched, so I’m starting the nitrogen cycle. When biological material breaks down in the water, it produces ammonia. There is good bacteria that eat the ammonia and release nitrates. Then living plants in the tank take in the nitrates and produce nitrites. Nitrites are mostly harmless, but regular water changes remove them and keep the tank fresh and the fish happy.

I haven’t gotten fish yet, but I did get some wood and plants for aquascaping. The plants I bought will help seed the aquarium with the good bacteria, because they were in a mature tank at the pet store. I also got some fish food and sprinkled a little in the tank so some there could be some decaying biological material to produce ammonia for the bacteria.

I still want to get a light, and cut some fiberglass to cover the water. Then I’ll be ready for fish.

I used a flashlight to put a little light in the tank.

I used a flashlight to put a little light in the tank.

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5 Responses to Step by Step

  1. Lauren says:

    It looks good! That ‘flashlight’ – is it a rectangle? Is it a phone screen? Am I looking at the actual aquarium light?

    I never knew how complicated the aquarium ecosystem could be. Nitrates and nitrites? Good grief. Dearth Vader looks impressed. 😉

    • Brad says:

      Because I don’t have a real light yet, the reflections on the front of the aquarium are really prominent. The horizontal light is the ceiling light. The white square is my white board. I should maybe have just turned off the lights and only used the flashlight.

      The flashlight is in the upper right-hand corner of the picture. I was able to kind of balance it on the edge of the aquarium and against a bookshelf.

  2. Carol says:

    So there are how many weeks left in the school year before … ?

    Would you then need to break the tank down and set it up again at home, or do you have access to your classroom throughout the summer for regular maintenance so that need not occur, or am I just missing something overall – which would not surprise me, but still…?

    • Brad says:

      I do have access to it all summer. I’ll be gone for a few weeks, but it can run over long absences. There might be some fish losses though. There are some critter lovers at school that might stop in from time to time when I’m gone.

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