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MandatoryDenial
12/11/2016, 03:59 PM
Hello keepers,

I am a teacher in South Florida and recently I was handed some tanks to make into interactive exhibits and the funds to pull it off. Currently we are cycling three tanks and two of the teachers (including myself) want to keep an invertebrate only touch tank. Would anyone be able to recommend specific species of invertebrates only that my kids could safely take from the tank, put on a viewing tray, and safely view under a field microscope.

Thank you

neiltus
12/11/2016, 05:36 PM
How old are the students?

I know a lot of us are hands on when it comes to our tanks...but you aware that there are quite a few things in our tanks that are pretty darn toxic and can provide contact issues.

MandatoryDenial
12/11/2016, 06:05 PM
How old are the students?

I know a lot of us are hands on when it comes to our tanks...but you aware that there are quite a few things in our tanks that are pretty darn toxic and can provide contact issues.


7th and 8th Grade. Yes I am aware that some are. That is why I am asking for ideas. There will be no cucumbers for instance.

neiltus
12/11/2016, 06:55 PM
You might do better going micro with this with microscope work. Over in the reef chemistry there is a user named Jason who does a lot of biological observation with microscope (and photography).-look for the 'vibrant' thread in that forum...we are trying to kill off a troublesome dinoflagellate bloom in tanks.

The only invertebrate that I would suggest viewing under a tray and touching might be a hermit/snails. Don't get me wrong, depending on the type of scopes you have access to and the tray size you might have other options.

But I would not go throwing a 100 buck anemone under my Leica expecting it to survive. A glass anemone, sure.

A planted tank with pods and hermits would allow for decent prepared slide work. Plus their a little more forgiving than a specific costly specimen. And would look extremely beautiful in the classroom-take a look at some of the planted tanks in the macro/planted forum. Plus living in FL, if your close to the beaches, there is plenty of stuff you could collect or buy from some local algae dealers. Forum member RonReefman can offer direction on this.

I would also suggest possibly getting some tampa bay live rock. It's rock that is placed in a lease site for grow out and shipped all over the US-it has tons of life on it, the stuff in my tank went from ocean to tank by noon the same day....lots of sponges, small crabs that need killing, etc...and very reasonably priced. Richard in the tampa bay vendor forum is the person you would talk to about this. This rock can go into your tank without cycling. His sand will have worms and such in it.

I hope I was helpful with something. Just cautioning that some of the larger pretty invertebrates can be pretty delicate and require specialized care. There are also systemic bacterial infections us aquarium types can get via cuts that require quite an antibiotic dose to clear. Handling equipment is important. There are corals that naturally have some pretty serious toxins...there are threads with photos and people nearly loosing eyes and such from incidental contact (like being in the room).

I wish I got to do cool stuff like that in 7th grade.

Maivortex
12/11/2016, 08:42 PM
Sea urchins

farfromsea
12/11/2016, 09:12 PM
From an instructional standpoint I feel like no "big" critters would be good in this situation...

I would grow a bunch of macroalgae so they can practice plating samples of it and playing with the microscopes. You could throw some pods in there so they can check out the water under the scope. Don't really see the point of looking at ornamental shrimp or anything but maybe I am missing something when I think it through.


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Timfish
12/12/2016, 05:01 AM
Skunk cleaner shrimp, if you hand feed them they will get very friendly and will clean hands that are put in the tank. Be sure to keep just put two per tank, they're monogamos. The big green brittle stars are also not shy and will pull food from fingers. And chocolate chip stars are another obvious choice.

Dogshowgrl
12/12/2016, 05:30 AM
If you are keeping a fowlr tank a chocolate chip star (or something similar) or pencil urchin. The kids I work with like the horseshoe crab, but I work with a LFS that "rents" them to me. I use cowries (the bigger the better), seahares (also rentals), sea cucumbers.

I breed seahorses so I take those in often, too.

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sick1166
12/15/2016, 05:08 PM
touch tank great idea years ago I went to many schools with marine touch tanks in south Florida mainly npb wpb areas, we used all local inverts coral banded shrimp,peppermint shrimp snails all crabs hermits horseshoe crabs many different brittle starfish,and orange serpent starfish, and even the big starfish, seahorses,time to time octopus, conchs,small sting rays, spiny oysters, add groups of different sea urchins and variety of local tropical fish to see
love the idea
amazing to see kids from pahokee or areas that never have been to the ocean let alone hold a sea urchin and feel it crawl in your hand and freak out at the bright orange serpent starfish climbing on their hands it was a fun thing visiting schools and seeing their faces in amazement and some in disgust when touching these animals
never had a problem with sea cucumbers small ones from the Atlantic even dying in tanks or lots oh handling try and find yellow ones the brown one look like terds and no one wants to touch a terd

Raintree
12/17/2016, 03:03 AM
I don't know of any species that can reliably be expected to survive after repeated removal from a tank to be viewed under a microscope by middle school students.

So if you are going to do this i would recommend using only species that you don't mind killing in one class session (and preferably no organisms that can feel pain).

Zooplankton, macroalgae, fast growing coral, sponges, etc. There is a LOT to be learned from these 4 groups alone. It might make more sense just to treat this tank like a biological grow-out tank. Throw in a bunch of macroalgae and get some maricultured rock and sand from Tampa Bay Saltwater, throw a bright light over the top, let it grow for awhile and then have students pick things to view under microscopes. You would just need to watch out for any poisonous or potentially dangerous organisms (palythoas, certain mollusks, certain anemones, some urchins, etc).

Here are a couple lab ideas for you if you are interested:

Algal cell replication: have students photograph algae cells under a microscope at regular intervals. If you have healthy cells from fast growing regions of the algae, you should be able to view the cells elongating and then dividing. Alternatively you can stain cells a certain way to view the different stages of mitosis.

Diversity measurements: fill petri dishes with live sand, have students identify, sort, and record all the species present and the number of each (you will need tiny samples because live sand can have an insane diversity).

Coral dissection: I have never done this so i don't know how much skill it requires, but it would probably be interesting.

birdfish
12/20/2016, 02:32 PM
On the probably better not for touch tank list, would be Blue-ringed Octopus, Crown-of-Thorns Starfish, Cone Snails and Fire Coral. LOL

MuShu
12/20/2016, 05:40 PM
There is a glassblower who makes hermit crab shells. Get a bunch of hermits and some of his shells and the kids can observe hermit anatomy.

IdahoCindy
12/20/2016, 06:13 PM
The touch tank at the Seattle Aquarium is full of cold-water species. Mostly starfish and urchins, as I recall.

Bobbitworm13
12/20/2016, 07:47 PM
Mantis shrimp.

Zatoichi
12/22/2016, 12:23 AM
SeaWorld pass small bamboo sharks in a touch tank right by the entrance my comment was these things must be bulletproof with all the Filthy Hands that go into the water :-)

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Spiffy
12/27/2016, 09:11 AM
Sea urchins

Mantis shrimp.
You savages... :lol2:

ktownhero
12/27/2016, 09:39 AM
You savages... :lol2:

Just curious why you chose to include sea urchins in that comment? Any urchin I've ever come across (wild or demestic) has been extremely touch-friendly.

Spiffy
12/27/2016, 11:09 AM
Just curious why you chose to include sea urchins in that comment? Any urchin I've ever come across (wild or demestic) has been extremely touch-friendly.

Not every urchin likes to be touched. Although they are extremely beautiful and interesting to see and inviting to touch, Flower and Fire Urchins aren't really the touchy-feel types...

fabulousfavia
07/21/2017, 05:48 PM
Hello keepers,



I am a teacher in South Florida and recently I was handed some tanks to make into interactive exhibits and the funds to pull it off. Currently we are cycling three tanks and two of the teachers (including myself) want to keep an invertebrate only touch tank. Would anyone be able to recommend specific species of invertebrates only that my kids could safely take from the tank, put on a viewing tray, and safely view under a field microscope.



Thank you



I am also starting a marine touch tank starring horseshoe crabs. You could do horseshoe crabs, maybe arrow crabs shame face crabs, conchs, slipper lobsters, spiny lobsters (students should wear lobstering gloves handling these), pencil slate urchins, abalone, and sea cucumbers. Take note that most of these species will need extensive feeding and care.


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fabulousfavia
07/21/2017, 05:56 PM
The choices I mentioned would be great if you have access to large microscopes. But even without the microscopes the species I mentioned would be great for your students to study and interact with.


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LuizW13
07/25/2017, 10:24 AM
I want to see pictures of all this when it's done! I wish i had something like this in school.

Exceptionrule
07/25/2017, 11:05 AM
Mantis shrimp.

Bobbit Worm