Classroom Aquarium Thoughts

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Dopey

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Dec 5, 2002
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Hello.

I am setting up a freshwater tank in a 5th Grade classroom. I'm looking for input from people who have experience with this.

I plan on using a 90 gallon aquarium with a Fluval 404 filter and two 48" double fluorescent tubes for lighting.

I am fine with general aquarium knowledge, ie set up, cycling, maintenance, stocking etc. But I'm wondering of anyone out there had learned any "classroom specific" techniques, cautions, ideas, etc. that would help. Things that should be done, or not done. Breeds that for some reason are better (or worse) for a classroom environment. Maybe just some war stories or neat curriculum ideas you've had.

Thanks.
 

dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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I really don't know much about it, but I'm relatively close to Scranton, and know a few people in the hobby in the eastern side of the state, and into NJ.

A national organization who might be able to help are the Pets in the Classroom foundation. - https://www.petsintheclassroom.org

To meet some folk who have experience, and sponsors and such too, check out the Tanks in Schools program from the Reef Conservation Society, they are/were based in Williamsport until they started to spread past the center of the state.. - https://www.reefconservationsociety.org/schools.html

You might also be able to get a bit of funding through the Aquarium club of Lancaster and their Aquatic Life Education Fund - https://www.aclcpa.org/aquatic-life-eduction-fund

you might be able to find assistance through one of the local, or a couple of hours away aquarium clubs, within PA there's BCAS in Churchville, DCAS in Delaware county, ACLC in Lancaster or CCY in York, there's also one in Central New York, Danbury Area in Carmel NY, also NJAS in Northern Jersey... I know folks at all, and they are all great clubs who would likely be able to get you a ton of resources.


hope that helps.
 
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FreshyFresh

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Jan 11, 2013
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You've got fishkeeping knowledge and I'm assuming you're keeping this 90g in a spot where weekly water changes and tank maintenance will be easy. That's most of the battle right there.

Myself having 4 school aged kids, that's a tough call trying to gauge your stocking to get/keep kid's interest. Especially the way things are today.
 

fishorama

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Jun 28, 2006
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My club friend is a kindergarten teacher. She had 2 small 20g high tanks in her classroom before she retired this year. 1 had co2 & lots of plants, very small fish & shrimp. The other was also heavily planted (we belong to a plant club) but I don't remember what she had in it, but smaller fish I think. If you keep livebearers, you'll need a plan for fry. You want fairly low maintenance, it'll be all up to you, no matter how much "help" you get. Keep an eye on feeding if you let kids do it, they tend to over do it.
 
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dougall

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Mar 29, 2005
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No problem.. feel free to ask if there is anything else, or there are more questions.

Or there is anyhelp needed with setup.

Will the aquarium be a part of school, or more just a decoration?

Mist folks I have heardaprak on the subject have mentioned that the science overall has been interesting to many, the testing of the water, breeding of fish, hatching of eggs, growing of live plants, there's lots in there.. I expect the endgame might be how the tank is used or broken down at the end of the school year, if breeding guppies the number of fish needing homes might be significant.

I'm sure if you have a good idea of the direction you will take, reaching to some of the national/international groups will yield you a bunch of information and likely assistance too.(AGA, ACA, MASNA, NANFA, AKA, ALA etc)
 
Apr 2, 2002
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My fish club had a project last summer which involved getting youngsters interested in the hobby. It was not a classroom, but it involved kids, if I recall correctly were 9-12 years old. it was done in cooperation with a regional 4H club. It was all hands on for the kids (and a bunch of their parents). We supplied them all with tanks, heaters cycled filters, substrate, live plants and decor and they got their tanks set up and kept them going. It was pretty successful. At the end of the program there was a 4H fair and the kids had a booth with a big display tank that dealt with keeping fish.

What made this project a success was that the kids were very involved with doing the actual work and maintenance. They had excellet teachers re what to do from a team of club members. It is amazing how interest kids can become when they are very involved in a hands on way with this sort of thing. But as observed above, they do need supervision to insure they do not accidentally kill fish.

I wish you good luck with the project as anything that may bring younger people into the hobby is a good thing.
 
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fishorama

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That sounds like very cool project TTA! But different from a long term classroom tank with less adults & less experienced adult help. Sorry dougall, I didn't read your links yet, oops.

Dopey, I'd think you need to decide on a few focal points. A balanced aquatic environment, yep. Tank cycling as a beginning. Measuring & keeping track of changes of parameters, maybe graphing them? Reproduction, maybe even genetics? Biotope? Behaviors in groups dynamics, species interactions? Breeding fish &/or growing plants to sell in an economics study? (most hobbies don't pay, lol, but it might buy some fish food.)

I don't have kids, so I'm not sure of age appropriate ideas, but from what I hear from my neighbor kids (10+ & 8+), they can grasp all kinds of ideas, including basic physics & expand on them! Maybe let them help decide what they'd like to study & help with. There's more to aquaria than feeding pretty fish! In some ways 2 smaller comparison tanks might be better, if you want or can go there, it could expand the parameters & make it more interesting & involve more kids. Just my thoughts for tonight...
 
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