Project Kindergarten - Page 14 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #131 of 143 Old 02-14-2013, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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As far as the run-of-the-mill cheap crap you can buy in a chain shop is concerned, lol, it isn't bad! Which is why I got it in the first place. . . I didn't know anything about fish back then, driftwood wasn't even an option! Looks way nicer covered in moss. . . I've kind of become attached to the old thing - really didn't want to send it away!
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post #132 of 143 Old 02-19-2013, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
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Always good to go in after a long weekend and find that the heater has mysteriously come unplugged and the tank is sitting just under 60 degrees F. *sigh* Everyone, including the frog and the fry, seems to be okay from what I can see, so thank goodness for that! Yet another reason why keeping a tank that can't be checked on daily is not a the best idea! Good thing Platy are such tough fish, and do okay with cooler temps!
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post #133 of 143 Old 02-19-2013, 12:14 PM
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Can you label that cord with a BIG sticker... "Do NOT Unplug!". Probably the janitors over the weekend but it's worth a try.
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Every kid, regardless of what they are going through, is ONE caring adult away from being a success story. ~ Josh Shipp, Teen Behavior Expert
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post #134 of 143 Old 02-19-2013, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, Jakie... I will...

I'm sure you're right, the thing is that the powerstrip is tucked BEHIND the fish-stand. And the fish stand is against the wall - so they wouldn't even be able to sweep behind it or anything. *scratches head* I dunno - I don't get it. SOMEONE was in the cabinet, though - the bottom of my turkey baster that I use to feed the frog was missing this morning, too. I don't know that anyone would steal it, but I know EXACTLY where I put it - it has a special bin, so that I can keep it clean and apart from the rest of the fish junk. . .and the kids can't get into the cabinet, so I'm baffled - the top of the baster was still in there, lol!
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post #135 of 143 Old 02-19-2013, 03:28 PM
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Doesn't that drive you nuts? Where the heck would it go? and what could they possibly need it for? It was "Nobody". There's a story about nobody but I can't remember it. lol
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Every kid, regardless of what they are going through, is ONE caring adult away from being a success story. ~ Josh Shipp, Teen Behavior Expert
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post #136 of 143 Old 08-26-2013, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Talking A long belated update. . .

This thread is more than 188 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, if you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, please check the box below the Quick Reply box before submitting your post.

You KNOW it's bad when your very own thread tells you that it's been so long since an update you might as well give up and start a new one! >.<

Do I have anything of value to add to this particular thread??! I'm not so sure! But I have PICTURES! And STORIES! AND (most importantly) a tankful of fishies, frogs, and snails! Journals should never die while the tank lives on (I think?), and so. . .

*checks box*



Sorry for the delay guys, and thanks for all the messages asking after things with this project - y'all are so encouraging! (and patient! o.O)

Today is a super special day, a good day to breathe life into this old journal of mine. Today is the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! It was so lovely to walk into a brand new classroom, and see all of my kindy kids - now big ol' FIRST GRADERS, a foot taller and rockin' those gap-toothed grins! Kids are flighty, they forget - but after an entire summer of fun, I found myself right where I left off - surrounded by curious kiddos, asking after 'their' fish, wondering if I'll be bringing the tank back in, OR (better yet?!) if I'll be taking care of Chrystal, the red-eared slider who lives in the new classroom - along with updates and questions about home tanks, and so many hugs and kisses and stories of summer adventures! I missed those kids!

To answer their questions and yours - no. The tank is NOT going back into the school. There was always some question as to what would happen at the end of the year, I made it clear from day one that leaving it through the summer months again was not an option, nor was moving the animals back and forth - when the school year was over, they would be going to a forever home where they would be looked after properly. The Kindy teacher was pretty close to deciding to take it with her (she loves them) until a happy series of life events found her newlywed and moving cross-country, so the babies came home with me after all - we always knew they would, neh? Another teacher, and parent of one of the kindies, gave me her almost-new 29g, complete with its pretty stand (much nicer than any of the other hand-me-downs I have! O.O) and so I find myself with a live-bearer tank once again - complete with frog power - and it is all good! I really wanted to get down to one tank (yeah, right!), but I'm happy things worked out this way in the end. . . I love them, too - and now I can be sure they're getting the care they need. Bonus is that classmates can see the tank during play-dates, as a few of my daughter's friends have found out over the summer! How excited they were to see their class pets again! ^.^

You can see that a lot has changed. But I don't even know where I left off here, except that it was February. . . things finally settled down in the final months of the school year, but there were a few dramatic incidents that came first - we lost the last of those fish who had been sick as the final remnants of the mysterious illness worked its way out of the system, Sunny quietley passed at the end of March, here in a home QT (he seemed okay until the very end - all bent spines aside), an Anubias spontaneously combusted during spring break at about the same time as the teacher beat in the swords with the driftwood whilst attempting to feed the frogs, the light died, and water quality in the school tap got even worse. . . but overall the end of the semester was positive as the tank finally matured and took on a life of its own, and we had a great time building and learning from it together.

I had a fantastic group of kids and two amazingly supportive teachers to work with, along with an ideal school for a project like this. The teachers worked tank time into the routine every morning, as well as shifting schedules to allow a full hour or two here and there for our super special tank days, and together we found so many ways to incorporate the lessons we could find there into their daily learning, we did so many fun things!

The Kindy tank inspired LOADS of fantastic art projects. I had a blast drawing coloring pages based on it and its inhabitants, and helped kids draw their own fish when they asked - which was a few kids every morning. The teacher dug out a poster of fish sculptures that can be found around town here (part of a city-wide campaign to raise awareness and money to clean up local waterways). And Fishy Popsicle stick puppets and sculptures made from everything from aluminum foil to masking tape popped up all over the classroom. During the last couple weeks of school, the kids got all whispery and giggly about something. . . they were working on a top-secret project, and very excited about it. Every one of them had drawn a picture for me, and the teacher put the all together into a book, which they gave me on the last day of school (I cried!). It's so adorable - click the image if you want to see the kindergarten cuteness!

We went on rock hunts around campus, and the tank was a fantastic learning tool when the kids started planting seedlings for their spring gardens. We added a lot of plants at that point, and the kids were thrilled to watch mosses attaching to the rocks they had scrubbed so carefully, and the rubber bands coming off rhizomes newly attached to driftwood. A Java having babies was a source of amazement, the Banana plants I took in were a hit (even though they aren't doing so well now), and frogbit root systems went a long way in helping them to see what goes on under the dirt. By the end of the year, most of the kids were able to feed the frogs with a turkey baster, and a couple of Sakura's pink ramshorn snails found their way into the tank during the very last week of classes to thrill the girly girls beyond belief. I also had fun thinking up random silly fishy themed things - the favorite was cups of blue jello with Swedish fish 'swimming' in the gelatin. Kids are easy to please!

I don't have a lot of experience with tanks, and this was easily the most difficult one I've ever dealt with. It was a disaster when I found it to begin with, and I've learned a lot from bringing it back to health. First experience with Old Tank Syndrome, re-homing/rehabilitating the previous residents, truly crappy tap water, Ich (among other pathogens), maintaining a tank outside of my home (and through school vacations and snow-days o.O), failing plants. . . to ME, it was a bit of a nightmare for a while there, and trying to balance the bad with the good and keeping things positive for the kiddos was even more of a challenge. . . if I were asked to do it again, I'm not sure what I'd say! I feel guilty for putting the animals through it. As a fishkeeper, it is my firm opinion that a classroom filled with 5-year old children is a terrible place for a tank for so many reasons. . . but . . .

. . .from the perspective of the parents, teachers, and kids - it was the prettiest tank they had ever seen, they were proud of it, and inspired. And as a parent myself, it was such a joy to work with the kids, to show them the wonders of a world they don't usually get to interact with, and to see the excitement in their eyes every morning. . . some were more into it than others, but not one child lost interest. Those who had tanks of their own brought what they learned home, and tried to apply it there - every parent in that class with a tank came to me at some point over the school year to ask questions about their own setups, and others just to say how much their kids had been talking about their kindy fish at home. Several new tanks were started - properly! With seeded media and proper stocking, and staff from elsewhere in the school sought me out with general questions. Bonus? I had a hand in saving hundreds of goldfish from being given away at the Spring Fling! So all things taken into consideration, I *think* I'd do it again if asked, though I wouldn't seek it out. . . I've learned enough that I think I could do a better job if there were a next time. And if I walked into another 'rescue situation' would insist on being given time to fully rebuild the tank properly - and keep extremely light stocking. . . still hoping it doesn't come up, though - cuz' I'd really rather not!

So that's about it, in a bookish nutshell. . . the tank was broken down and brought home on the 19th of June (I think? My notebook is upstairs!) I took it apart piece by piece, and moved it all to my home (along with 50% old water), and rebuilt it as close to exactly the way it was in-school as possible - then took the pictures posted here when the water cleared. The poor animals looked SO confused when I returned them to what was exactly, but not at all, their original environment, and both they, and the tank, settled in immediately - paramaters stayed stable through the move. The only changes I've made so far is to add Freckles (my ADF who was in my 55g Becoming), pull the frog house out (you couldn't see it from the front anymore, anyway), and add more of the pretty pink snails. It's already time for an update - the plants have grown since then, babies have been born! Hmm, now that it's in my home, I can even get a video to share!
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post #137 of 143 Old 08-26-2013, 09:29 PM
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post #138 of 143 Old 08-27-2013, 04:25 PM
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Jes! You have really done a wonderful job with the tank and the kids. You are a treasure to that school! Your patience and tenacity has spread a love of fishkeeping to countless families. Who knows what you have started in those young minds! Maybe we'll get the next great marine biologist from your class!!


Sitting by the koi pond

writings on fish and fishkeeping

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post #139 of 143 Old 08-27-2013, 11:45 PM
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Ahh, as always, I am jealous of your beautiful tanks and hard work.

I love those frogs!!! As you may know, my froggy went to a new home with some nicer females. lol

Ah, that blue and red platy you have, one of my accidents came out somewhat like that. They're so neat. =)

I'm glad all the fish got a good home, the tank too. =P I'm happy to see all the new photos, and that the kids are still excited about it all. It's perfect, may well have kept a bunch of kids from making poor choices with their tanks by giving them some proper teaching. You may not be an expert, but you don't need to be one to teach others how to make a proper, healthy tank. I'd call you an expert, or very close(all experts still have learning to do too ya know!), if not on ALL tank stuff, but a lot, and on teaching about it. You know you've sure helped me out of a lot of snags, and I've been keeping fish longer. I just needed someone to teach me -proper- ways of doing it, even if I still flub here and there and get over-stocked with livebearer babies...of which I have about two dozen GORGEOUS gold dust mixes who I am sure will be snatched up quickly. =P I just call them Shades, most of my kids came out gold with a black shading to most of them instead of spots or solid black, and my pandas.... Want some? ^_~ Oh yes, I just KNOW you want more livebearers(yes, sarcasm). LOL
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Turning on the Aquarium lamp in the morning is MY cup of coffee.
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post #140 of 143 Old 08-28-2013, 01:05 AM Thread Starter
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BEK!!! YAY! I'm glad you like it! You're as cute as the kindy kids with your caps! ^.^ *hugs*

Iz! How do I even reply to that!?? You win sweetest comment ever award, hands down! *blushes*
It isn't nearly as epic as all that! Just one lil' fish tank in one lil' Kindergarten - now past *sniffsniff*

I hope they do retain some of what they learned, and that their enthusiasm for nature follows them into adulthood. There were a few out of the bunch who were especially fascinated, they asked questions that I never would have expected, and even asked to stay in the classroom through recess a few times because they wanted to 'help' me do water changes! Time will tell on that one. . .

Thanks again for being willing to write me a goldy care guide to send home when it looked like they were going to give them as prizes anyway.

Sylver, lol. I'm only a beginner in this huge underwater world, but I'm glad that I knew enough to help you out when you needed it! The Pandas!!! I still have one in there, remember Tux? She left a tiny legacy behind ^.^ And yes - that blue and orange hi-fin male, he's stunning - one of the first Platy that was introduced to the tank, he's a hi-fin cross. Platy breed like rainbows! You were right about the Blue Mickey Mouses, too - they seem to be the toughest of them all, I'm glad, because they're my favorite (shhh, don't tell)!
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