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Project Kindergarten

This is a discussion on Project Kindergarten within the Freshwater Journals forums, part of the Aquarium Photography category; --> Oh my gosh! Thought of everything? PPPSSHHHH, not hardly! I HAVE considered moving the fry - depending on how everything turns out, I might. ...

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Old 10-19-2012, 08:52 AM   #21
 
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Oh my gosh! Thought of everything? PPPSSHHHH, not hardly!

I HAVE considered moving the fry - depending on how everything turns out, I might. But I have no idea yet. So much about this tank is really just wait and see, you know? Regardless of the rainbow babies, I'm sure that there WILL be new arrivals in that tank at some point that I didn't put there - time will tell, and it'll be fun to see how it all comes out in the end!
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Old 11-16-2012, 11:51 PM   #22
 
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Sheeeeeesh. . . it's been nearly a month since I updated this thread. Busy busy busy! Now maintaining SEVEN tanks, a family, and a daycare. . . yeah. Busy!

I intended to take pictures at every step of the way, but I'm terrible at remembering to take my camera in, so that didn't work out. I FINALLY remembered it yesterday, so here is a shot of the Kindergarten aquarium as it looks now:



Here's another shot - with flash:



I had to take these shots over the heads of many small children, sorry they're a bit crooked!
QUITE a change from the first shots I posted up!

The teacher and the students have been VERY excited to watch this tank grow, and it's nice to get so much positive feedback from them. The questions that the kids ask are brilliant, and I've had a great time teaching them about the creatures they're caring for. We've had two big 'Fish Days' so far, and added four fish each time, bringing them to a current total of 7 Platy and one little Juvie Molly - at least I'm pretty sure he's a Molly - this guy:



I call him Hob, he was the only one of the three surviving fish originally in the Kindy tank that I didn't re-home. I kept him in my home QT tank for around a month (where this shot was taken) until he was healthy before returning him to the school - everyone was very excited to have him back 'home' again, and he is doing great!

I purchased several used children's story books that are fishy-themed. In the mornings on Fish Days (before I get there) the teacher reads them one or two of the fish books, and gets them involved with painting pictures, making puppets, and other child-led fishy activities. Then I come in with REAL fish to add to the tank, along with a snack of Goldfish crackers, and Swedish fish, and field questions from the kiddos for an hour or so. . .

To keep the kiddo's engaged and learning, I've brought in small samples of driftwood that have broken off of a few of my larger branches, and let the kids pass them around before rinsing them and putting them into the tank. The kids have been learning about natural materials this year, wood being a big one, so they've really enjoyed watching their driftwood go from hard and dry, to floating, to waterlogged. They're doing a great job keeping an eye on it for me, and watching out for any fungal or algal 'blooms' that could be dangerous to their fishies. I also passed around a jar of duckweed, and a piece of anacharis and fanwort for the kids to get a good up-close look at before they went into the tank. I give the teacher a few tidbits about fish every week to share with the class - random things that they enjoy, like the actual names of each fin, how fish see, basic info about the lateral line, gills, scales, and some information about the plants, too. I get one helper each day to help me feed the fish, and once a week to feed the plants - all of the kid stuff has been lots of fun! The teacher is even planning a field trip to the aquarium because the class is so excited about their tank! Lots of fun. . .

Even MORE exciting to me than the enthusiasm of the kids is watching the teacher and her reaction to the tank. She has thanked me several times for opening her eyes to the ecosystem that an aquarium is, and really showing her that fish are pets and animals with distinct needs and personalities all their own, while before she really kind of regarded the tank as more of an ornament - along the lines of a potted plant or a vase of pretty flowers. I love it when she comes to me in the mornings and says things like "I was watching the fish for about an hour or so before I went home last night, and I noticed that *insert random thing here* " or "You've really are inspiring me to set up a fish-tank in my own home." She has been so amazed by the whole process, and it's wonderful to see an adult come around with the same sense of wonderment that the little ones show.

This is my first 'rescue' tank - I've started all of my others from scratch, so it's been a learning experience for me. Maintaining a tank outside of my home is not something that I really enjoy. I'm always worried about the fish, because I am unable to really observe their behavior as I do my own tanks, and I've found it fairly nerve-wracking - especially having to do everything under the watchful eyes of pretty much the entire school at this point. I knew the kindergarten would be watching me, but there have been several write-ups (some including pictures of me 'teaching' 22 youngsters in front of the tank *wince*) in the weekly school paper about the Kindergarten's tank, and even the principal asks questions about the tank's progress and thank me for my dedication. . .The blurb from this week:

Quote:
"Jes, T****'s mom, has transformed the Kindergarten's aquarium into a wondrous and dreamy environment for the eight happy fish that live there. Please stop by the classroom to visit their friendly and beautiful naturally-styled tank - it's very inspiring! She has lovingly given a lot of her time in making sure the fish have a happy and healthy home - and she's not done yet! If you have any question about fish or aquariums, she is absolutley the expert to ask, and we thank her for all of her effort and dedication in creating this beautiful tank for our school."


While it's flattering and all, I haven't been keeping fish for very long, and I'm so far from being anything like the "expert to ask" that they insist I am. So, yeah - fielding lots of random fish-related questions from parents and staff, as well as being begged to take in this or that unwanted goldfish for the school tank. . . Luckily the questions have all be very basic, clean-water and cycling-related stuff - but goodness! I was NOT expecting all of this when I asked if the kindergarten needed help with their tank!


(This is a picture of Mr.Red - one of the FAVORITE fish of the classroom... this shot was taken while he was in my home QT tank.)


A few of the random obstacles I've come across while caring for this tank. . .

I had a group of Platy picked out for the school that I was able to keep in a QT tank in my home for 2.5 weeks before our first Fish Day - not long enough, I know, but it was all the time I had. They came to me from the shop looking a bit rough - nipped fins and 'expected' stuff like that. Everyone was healing well and seemed fine until 3 days before it was time for them to move I started seeing signs of Ich (which I've actually never had in any of my tanks before). Luckily I recognized it quickly enough to treat before it really got bad. Unwilling to move these sick fish, but unable to 'get out of' Fish Day, I ran to a DIFFERENT shop and got 4 NEW fish for the class tank. Sure enough, a few days later, they also started showing symptoms of Ich, so I ended up having to treat the fish outside of my home anyway - luckily they all came through okay. But the end result was a lot of extra stress on ME to get these fish through without being able to watch them, and that the fish were in the tank before the plants were. The plants went into fishless QT for a month, and I gave them plants from my Molly tank (which has never had Ich) after treatment was complete. . .

Random weirdness. . . I noticed on the day before the the heater had come detached from the wall - the suction cup was old and brittle. The next day I came in with a new suction cup for it and found that it had been re-attached to the tank wall. When I went to double-check the temperature, I found that my thermometer had vanished. Neither the teacher nor the assistant have any idea what could have happened! WHO'S hands were in MY tank, and WHY would they steal my heater?! It only cost $2, but STILL! I replaced it with one of the sinking types, and it remains where it belongs. . .

The day after the first batch of 4 fish (plus the new thermometer) were introduced to the tank, one fish was missing - a Swordtail (the other three were Platy). It had been in the tank LESS than 24 hours, but a full tank sweep showed no trace of the fish ANYWHERE. Testing showed no ammonia. He was not anywhere outside of the tank, either. . . very odd vanishings! Perhaps someone needed a thermometer for their own Swordtail tank, and noticed the out-of-place fish in there? *shrugs* They better leave that Molly alone!

The school is old, all of the faucets in the school - both hot and cold - run the same temperature. For a solid month, the temperature out of tap was around 72f, so I started bringing a bucket of warmer water to get the temp right for my water changes. . .two weeks ago the temps suddenly changed to 84f out of tap!!! *sigh*

In general, trying not to make a mess during water changes, while hauling buckets of water across the classroom, and filling a tank that's around shoulder height without a step-stool has been pretty entertaining. . .

All in all things are going well! I've had no cycling problems whatsoever and for the moment, everything seems fine. I hope the fish (and their plants!) continue to thrive in their temporary home, but I'm REALLY looking forward to the end of the semester and bringing these guys home with ME where I can take proper care of them. Not a fan of maintaining a tank that can't be properly observed!

Last edited by Chesh; 11-16-2012 at 11:54 PM..
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:21 AM   #23
 
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Your hard work has paid off, the tank looks great! Nice job!
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:43 AM   #24
 
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Pretty fishies. Gorgeous tank too. lol I say again, you did a great job. And you may just raise up some more good fish caretakers! We need more. :3 So many fish, so few people...even less tanks. lol

Whereas you may not be an expert on fishie matters, you remain a great person to ask advice from and say as much when you don't know. =) You make it fun and easy, and you're easy to talk to, and you get excited about fish as much as any fish loving caretaker, I think that's why people think you're an expert! =p

I am no expert myself, but I do know mollies pretty well! Platies too, although I seem to have a good knack with mollies and some rather bad luck with platies(I lost my Panda platy today to unknown causes. My water parameters are all normal aside from the nitrates always being at 20ppm since that's what my tap water is at, heck if I know why).
I still think your little buddy is one of those less common lighter gold dust mollies like this one: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...sqZMkeUOcCy9PP
But who knows! Maybe others will agree or have better ideas and examples for you that are more deffinate. =p Regardless of his type though, I do agree with you in thinking he's a molly because of his shape, I've never seen a platy that shape, but I have seen a few come sorta close. lol
Oh, but my red tiger platy has been breeding with my gold molly, I wonder if they're actually produce babies. lol Maybe they can actually have healthy kids and that's what you have there? Haha. I wont hold my breath though, you know how that goes for me when I expect babies...using my Creamsicle as an example. ^^;

When I get my 55 gallon tank in, I hope you don't mind me taking a few pages out of your book. ^^; Looking through your threads and at your tanks and photos, I am hopeful I can make a tank that would rival at least a couple of yours! I rather think my current tanks are blooming well. Here's my examples, randomly put really, but they turned out pretty good in my opinion:
Big Tank:


Little Tank:


As you can see, I still have a few Kuhli loaches. I cannot for the life of me find them all. I started with eight...I've since re-homed twenty three of them. I still see atleast four in there, but they pop up whenever I re-home some. So they did indeed breed quite a bit in my tank. lol

What am I gonna call my Big Tank when I get a Bigger Tank? lol Hopefully it'll come out looking really good. x)
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Last edited by Sylverclaws; 11-17-2012 at 05:02 AM..
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:10 AM   #25
 
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Well, I think you're doing a wonderful thing. It has been fun reading your updates and seeing how your feelings and the overall dynamics have evolved. You could wind up becoming the school district's Superintendent of Aquarium Education and Facilities.
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Old 11-17-2012, 07:32 AM   #26
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fish monger View Post
You could wind up becoming the school district's Superintendent of Aquarium Education and Facilities.
BWAHAHA! I SERIOUSLY doubt such a position exists, or the tank wouldn't have looked the way it did in the first place, but if so, may I decline the position?! I just. . . get too attached to the fish as pets to be okay with caring for them out of sight. At least in this case I know they'll be coming home with me eventually, though I'm half-hoping that the teacher decides to keep the tank running and actually care for it in properly over the summer months. . . I doubt this will happen, though.

Thanks, Sylver - I hope they all remember what they're learning - kids and adults both! I've gotten a LOT of feedback from the parents of the kids about how excited they've been when they get home from school - babbling about fish, lol! A few miffed parents have come to me asking about WHY their children won't let them turn the tank lights on or off without the room lights being on in their home tanks, and I *think* that this has already had a *tiny* trickle down effect on how some of the tanks at home are being cared for. . . I HOPE the changes are permanent, and that the kids don't lose their interest when Kindergarden is over.

Your tanks are getting greener every time I see them! I'm sure you'll do a fantastic job with BIGGEST tank - though I doubt you'll stop there. I love your loaches. . . it's sad that they had to go away - but from the looks of things, they're not going to let you rehome ALL of them, lol!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian Fish View Post
Your hard work has paid off, the tank looks great! Nice job!
Thank you, dear. . . hopefully things go more smoothly from here on - I KNOW I'll be on pins and needles with this tank until summer comes. . . I wish I could find a way to separate myself from the tank, but I just CAN'T seem to do it! If I'm taking care of a tank, it's MINE. LOL! I can't help it!
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:09 AM   #27
 
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Very nice, and very clean looking!

Wish my water was crystal clear looking like that.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:21 AM   #28
 
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Thanks, Geo! How IS that giant tank of yours coming along? Did I get unsubscribed from your thread - I haven't heard anything for a bit. . .?

I prefer a sandbed, personally, but the teacher and I decided on gravel so that when they rebuild it next semester, someone else will be able to maintain it easily - pretty much everything EXCEPT the gravel will be coming back home with me - it's all my stuff! I suspect that the gravel is helping with water clarity, as the mulm sinks down into it, rather than settling on top as it does in my sandy tanks. . .

I haven't really DONE a planted gravel tank yet, I switched to sand in MY tanks as soon as I could. Verdict is still out on how it's going to continue, but so far the plants are doing well - they've only been in for a couple of weeks, so *crosses fingers* I decided to stick mostly to stem plants that did well growing in MY 29g tank, and added floating duckweed to help with any toxin issues that should happen to pop up on weekends and snow days, when I'm not around - so far so good. The kids LOVE the duckweed - when it hits the filter flow, they say it looks like confetti - there's a PARTY in the tank! Of course it gets all tangled up in the Fanwort, but *shrugs* Nobody but me seems to mind that, and it's worth it to keep the conditions safe. . .
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:33 AM   #29
 
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I haven't made any updates ... because nothing has changed ;) I don't have plans to add anything more to the tank, plants or fish. I might consider some Marble Hatchetfish if I ever find any, but that would be it.

So for now, it's just weekly maintenance and enjoyment..

I think my water is less than clear because there is very, very little flow in the tank. I try to keep the surface calm because otherwise the surface plants all get bunched up on one side.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:52 AM   #30
 
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No change in a happy tank is a good thing! Happy to hear things are going well over there. Hatchetfish would be amazing - but that tank is wonderful as it is, too!

Flow in the tank is something I've been struggling with in my 55g, too (need to update over there, hrm) If I have surface agitation, the floaters end up all pushed over, but if I turn it too low - what's the point in having a filter?! I'm also really leery about the oxygen needs of the fish, so I get nervous when it's turned low. In my Betta tank and my Frog tank, the floaters are GORGEOUS because the filters are so low. . . I want the best of BOTH worlds for my 55!!! Dilemma. . . I'll figure it out. . . maybe?
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