Maureen's Classroom DSA 105


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Turns out that shellfish is a Jewel Box Clam and it is very cool. Hard to convince students its siphon is not a giant mouth for eating chunks of fish.

Questions about adding fish:
Situation: Tank is stable and teeming with inverts, a few corals and one goby who came in on live rock.
Since we are basically starting from scratch with fish do you suggest any certain order when adding fish, such as docile ones first? Preferable to add each one as we get it or several at once?
Unsure how to select fish. Fish still in bag from distributor at LFS seems good so I can acclimate and skip LFS acclimation stress and brief stay there. However, in bag I cannot see if fish eats, swims well, etc., so not good.
Used fish from existing tanks seems good to find ones suited to aquarium life, though should I automatically QT even if they look fine in their old tank?
Been reading recent threads about Tank Transfer Method and ich treatment. So is the process the same for adding new fish who appear healthy and for ich treatment? I have never done full QT or encountered ich.
Generally can multiple fish be in the same bucket without problems except for large adult fish, as someone mentioned in a different thread?
While the fish are in the bucket for three days do they eat or do I do anything else?
If I try to work around school being closed on weekends do you think I could start a bucket Fri evening and pretend it is Sat morning without 12 extra hours being a problem?


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I suggest sitting down n putting together a list of fish that you want to add.

LiveAquaria has an excellent list of fish and their requirements/temperaments etc.

Then you can list them from lest aggressive to most aggressive. You add the lest aggressive 1st. Bearing in mind that even the lest aggressive of fishes will fight if the tank is over crowded.

I would buy from a good LFS. That way you can ask them to feed the tank to see if the particular fish is active or there are underlying problems. Fish from a fellow reefer is a good way to go to if you can go observe the fish.

Always do QT, regardless of where it came from.

You feed the fish in the bucket. That way you can see what it will eat and what it will not. Gives you a chance to train it to eat pellet/flake. You can suck up and uneaten food to reduce ammonia build up.

TTM is a 4 transfer protocol. You have to transfer with in 72 hrs and you have to do at least 5 transfers if you do less than 48hrs iirc.

So if you put in a fish on Friday evening, your next transfer needs to happen before Monday evening. Then every 60-72 hrs after. So next will be Thursday evening.

If TTM is not an option, you can setup a qt tank and either observe for parasites/disease or proactively treat for them with medications.

I think, if you can, do the TTM at home then bring the fish in to school when done.

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I just QT for 6 weeks, observing. If no fish get sick, I put them in the DT. So far so good, as none of the fish have gotten sick in my DT.


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Thanks for all the details and things to consider, Vincent. I was mapping out the 12-day plan and it can work if I start on a Fri night. However, I never even thought to do it at home. Doh!

Gabe - when you do the 6-wk QT you do not treat the fish w/ copper or meds? Just observe and feed? Do you just keep the tank bare with no substrate?
I don't treat fish prophylactically. Just like with humans, treatment stresses the fish. Although it is a bit different, I would never give antibiotics to someone who I wasn't pretty confident had a bacterial infection; antibiotics have side effects and can harm healthy people. Similarly, I don't want to stress new fish by treating them unless I see evidence that they need treatment. I just observe them and try out a bunch of different foods until I'm sure they're eating.

My QT (and all my tanks) are bare bottom. However, I also use the QT to quarantine inverts, so there is an egg-crate frag rack in there. I also keep about 4-5 lbs of live rock in there, macroalgae, and some PVC elbows of varying sizes for the fish to hide in. However, as I said I've never had to treat any fish in there. If I ever actually need to treat the QT with meds, I'll remove the live rock, macros, and any inverts that might be in the QT first. I do not have a filter on my QT because my automatic water change system transfers a gallon of DT water into the QT every day, resulting in a daily 10% water change on the QT, eliminating the need for a filter. I do have two oscillating powerheads in the QT to provide flow.

Again, I just want to note that I haven't had to treat any of my fish, so I'm not sure how effective my QT would be as a hospital tank. I know some people keep separate quarantine and hospital tanks, so maybe I'd set up a separate hospital tank if I found it necessary to treat.


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Approaching the first anniversary of our classroom reef tank:

April 2015:

April 2016:

What a difference a year makes. How many corals from club members can you spot? Thanks to BAR and Diablo Corals frag swaps plus some generous donors, our tank is pretty full! We are setting up a frag tank next week. Also, I welcome the topic of aquascaping at the next club meeting. That will be one of my summer tasks. The first year was so interesting, as documented on our website Now it's time to get serious about keeping a healthy habitat. It will be so fun to watch the corals grow!


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I haven't examined all the options yet. There are different palettes that highlight different features and also a setting to estimate temperatures, though I think it is affected by a lot of factors.


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2015-16 school year was the first full year of our classroom reef tank. Here are my Top Ten posts taken from our website, Keep in mind the students were mostly 8th graders. : )
Here are the first 6. You will notice a theme of interest to young teenagers...



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What did you do over the summer with the tank. It seemed like you went dark with your posts since school let out.


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Over the summer I made frequent trips to the school to care for the tanks and was helped out by the teacher in an adjacent classroom who keeps a lot of pets and plants. Added fans to supplement climate control and was grateful for our Apex controller. I did not maintain our rotifer culture. Our remaining jelly reached the end of its life span so we will get more once our rotifers and artemia get set up after I'm back from a trip in Sept. Planned to re-aquascape main tank and set up nanoreef/frag tank but wanted to wait until the room was cleaned (floor chemicals) which turned out to be just last week. So we'll see what I can get done before meetings Thurs and students starting Monday.
So I didn't really update website over summer - students generally did a lot of that and now nearly all have moved on to high school and I was too busy. However, I have an elective class of Marine Science this year so I expect there will be plenty of students to take on tasks. I learned last year that despite big ideas it is really difficult to do a lot with the tank with 230 students in an already action-packed physical science class and a weekly one-hour afterschool club barely puts a dent in tank maintenance. I have high hopes for my new semester-long class though I wish I had it all planned out.
Summer made me so bummed that the tank was not at my house for me to enjoy at all hours!


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Update on main classroom tank. We are approaching 2 years and here it is, noticeably different from the two shots at the top of this page:

On Friday we finally added our first fish (not shown) - a shoal of six chromis. Can't say that I move too quickly with changing our reef! I have neglected this tank journal because I have been nearly overwhelmed with everyday science class activities, making up the new marine science elective class, and maintaining tanks with the students. Just finished the first semester-long marine class and overall it was awesome and I have a better idea now of what to do and what to change. It was an action-packed class documented online at I want to tidy up the cluttered sandbed, get alk and such stable and do some deferred maintenance. Attention now needs to go to our frag tank and upgrade of clownfish tank. Ton of work, but so glad it is working out in my classroom!


That looks great! Hopefully the chromis shoal doesn't start to whittle itself down and have the kids start screaming! ;)

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Long overdue update. A LOT happens in reef tanks in a year and a half! I will mostly skip to the present.

Main tank: Most of last school year I was fighting hair algae, chronically low Ca/Alk, summer heat wave that caused massive coral bleaching, cyano, dinoflagellates, water filter issue, and possibly monti-eating nudibranchs. After all that and finally setting up dosers I am really happy about where it's at now. Green hair algae looks much better than the other plagues and getting a clean up crew and fish will help in the future:

Our current favorite is new bubble coral, although students have not yet seen the centerpiece birdsnest (thanks @JVU!):

Frag tank: Definitely had MENs. Was designed to look like a bonsai-type reef, but we added frag rack a couple weeks ago for more room:

Clown tank: After awful summer cyano and dinos, was looking great until I added acan colony a week or two ago, which died. Weird - the BTAs always have stringy tentacles, then one got upset after the acan and is looking more bubble tippy. This week part its foot was damaged when it moved into a pump, but still bubbly: