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toucansamantha
01/21/2007, 10:50 PM
Some of you have already read and responded to my crazy teacher request. Now I have a new and similarly crazy request. I am blogging my experiences with setting up a classroom marine aquarium. If you have the time and inclination please read and comment as you see fit. Or if your interest was piqued you can just follow along.

http://middleschooltank.blogspot.com/

As Bartles & James used to say "Thank you for your continued support."

danch
01/22/2007, 08:08 AM
Bookmarked!

Afishianado
01/22/2007, 09:06 AM
Run away from that LFS and never go back.

You are now on the right track reading the books and resources that you are, keep it up and continue as much as possible before setting up this system. There are several similar programs being done by public schools out there, one of them I read about recently has even begun aquaculting and selling the animals to help support the program.

Shagsbeard
01/22/2007, 10:20 AM
Don't "run away"... but also don't take their advice at face value. I know the area you're in and unless you're into driving into Santa Rosa or the Bay area, you're probably very limited as to what shop you use.

You're doing this so right that you probably don't need this advice.

Your research has got you started right... RO/DI is the way to go. You can buy it by the gallon, or you can get your own filter. I get 'good' RO/DI water for a quarter a gallon... but make sure you know it's 'good'. You can ask for TDS readings and they're obligated to give you them.

Salt is something people argue over, but none of the commercially available salt is "bad". Get it on sale.

Live rock is the way to go, but it will be more interesting (and cheaper) in a classroom to go with 20% live rock and 80% base rock and watch (and documment) the colonization of the base rock with life from the live rock. It will take a while, perhaps a full year before the base rock is "live". This new live rock is refered to as cultured live rock, and can be just as good, if not better, than live rock from the ocean.

Live sand on the otherhand is typically a waste of money in our systems. Bacteria from live rock is quick to colonize the sand in our tanks. A cup of sand from an existing tank is plenty to seed any sized tank, and you should find hobbiests who will gladly part with a cup for a school's tank.

While your rock is culturing, keep the bioload of the tank low... don't cram a bunch of fish in. Hermits are a blast to watch, keep your tank clean, and are really hardy... if you're killing off hermits, you know your tank is having trouble.

Don't skimp on your skimmer. You list it as being $29.95 in your blog. Unless you got a super deal, it's probably not worth it. Check out the used equipment page and you might find a better one. Think of the skimmer as the lower digestive tract of your tank. You want that to be working at top efficiency. If your skimmmer isn't smelly, you're leaving all that organic gunk in your tank.

toucansamantha
02/04/2007, 09:39 PM
For the 55 gal I am thinking 75 lbs of rock, 50 live 25 base. What do ya think? Also what kind of rock are you using and how do you like it? This Namoli rock looks amazing. I want super nooks and crannies. How do you seach for scary worms on your rock when it comes in? Are they obvious?

Any links for scary hitchhiker id?

Thanks

Afishianado
02/04/2007, 09:58 PM
you live in Willits?, My sister lives in Willits...

You should be "curing" your rock for a few weeks once you get it, before you start adding livestock and such. During that time you should be able to observe anything that is potentially harmful. I'm not familiar with Namoli live rick but you should be able to read up some and find out what kind of bad creatures come from the area where your rock is from and specifically look for those. The odds of a scary worm being present are slim, not zero but slim. Mso thtings that will come in on our rock will be harmless if not beneficial.

Almost nothing is obvious when it comes to hitchhikers on the rock. Personally I remove any sponges that are on the rock, they usually do not survive the shipping ordeal and will doe off anyway. I almost always get some new sponge growth later on as the rock matures anyway.