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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, you are a middle school student and you are looking at a 50 gal. reef tank and a 50 gal fish only tank (is it FOWL) or some other acronymn. I hate being a teacher sometimes because everyone looks at your spelling!! Okay, back to the subject. We will start with the fish only tank first. What would you stock it with to show the following:
1. eye candy (cool to look at)
2. unique
3. shows symbiotic relationships (like clown and anemone)
4. hardy
5. eats non live food if possible!!!
6. active during the day
7. active or showing cool manners (like chromis schooling)

The reef tank.
5o gal.
VHO lighting
skimmer
powerheads, etc.

Some of the same requirements as above. In this tank I would also like as many as the lower phylums of the animal kingdom representative as possible. Hopefully what did not fit here I could put in the fish tank. I will represent the mammal phylum. and I have plenty of reptiles, amphib. and birds available.

My goal is to show them as many living examples of animal phylums as possible.

I have been around animals enough that I know I have to have a plan and stick to it. Thanks in advance for all the great help.
 
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for the symbiotic relationship a globy and pistlo shrimp!
eye candy anthias
as far as the live foods go i have never fed live foods all are activly eating frozen brine/krill/and now ocean plankton
 

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If you keep out some of the more preditory fish you will have lots of worms and bugs! If you leave out angels you will have plenty of sponges! If I were you I would buy tons of Live Rock and then let the rock take the tank for a couple of months... this would alow the "kids" to observe new life comming from the rocks and they could maybe make a list of things as they come out... I just set up a new 20 gal after 2 years with my 60gal and I just loved seeing all the things that came out on the rocks... I had corals, sponges (red, black, yellow, white branching) tunicates (seasquirts) pods, clams and oysters, bristle worms, peanutworms, a couple of unidentified worms, a few types of calerpa and other algaes, feather worms in a few different colors... well you get the idea. I know that if I'd had the chance as a kid I would have just loved it!!! (of course I was a nerd:D ) But as far a lower life forms go I think live rock would be your best bet, with some chromis in there instead of anthias (they can be hard to keep) and maybe a royal gramma, some gobies (like the shrimp gobies) and a fire fish (they are pretty and easy) And how about a couple of cleaner shrimp! (mine love to clean my hands whenever I have to scrape the sides) And maybe a linikea (ok did I spell that right) starfish (those decorator crabs are cool... but they can be real nasty to fish, stars and shrimp) how bout a seaurchin? Then a few easy softy corals and bam, a scientific wonder for the "kids".... sorry I always wanted to do something like this...
 

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Nemo's Chamber Boy
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one interesting spin would be to set up the reef as a geographically specific tank. in it you would include only things that would actually coexist together, instead of just picking stuff form all over the world and putting it together. i am not biologist, but i have a feeling that things that have adapted to live together probably build better communities for study.

for a good reference check out natural reef aquariums tfh publishing by tullock. if you go to the meeting i can bring mine for you to flip through. it breaks down entire reef communities, corals, inverts, and fish, that all work well together. for example, florida reefs, hawaii, indo-pacific, as well as specific zones like deep reefs, fore reefs, etc.

would give another layer of science to the project trying to get specific things together eh?

of course as a reef keeper, you should probably just buy the book yourself as it is a great reference :p
 

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TRT Staff The Mominator
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After doing a couple of small SW tanks with my kids' schools, one thing to keep in mind is that the tank is going to have periods where it will have to be left to it's own devices. Will your school allow you in to care for the tank over Christmas and Spring breaks? (That is assuming you'll have the tank set up that long.) Here, the teachers are not allowed in the schools during the breaks (costs too much money :rolleyes: ) so the classroom animals are either returned to the Living Lab or are "adopted out" over the breaks. You can't easily do that with a fish tank.

Even for long weekends you are going to need to set up an auto top-off device to keep your salinity stable and you'll need a very reliable heater as schools don't waste money on heating the building over breaks; I'd suggest an Ebo-Jaeger. You'll also need timers for the lights.

Letting live rock mature in your tank is truly amazing; my kids were absolutely fascinated by it and I still find critters every so often that make me say "What the heck is that??"

On the subject of fish, Anthias need to be fed more often than many SW fish so I don't think they'd be a good choice. You're also more than likely not going to see much schooling behavior in a 50 gallon tank, you're more likely to see squabbling, especially with Chromis.

Clownfish will host with just about anything if they are of a mind to want a host; everything from powerheads, lol, to large Hawaiin Feather Dusters. Soft branching corals like Colts, or the variety of leather corals or even fuzzy/hairy shrooms would be a good starting point as well as good beginner corals.

Agreed on the shrimp/goby pair. The shrimp will dig and maintain the burrow, the fish is the "guide dog" for the shrimp. They'd do fine in crushed coral as long as it's not too large in size.

Cleaner shrimp are good; kids can see the commensual relationship between the shrimp and the fish they clean; besides, they are hermaphrodites and their larvae will provide free fish and coral food.

I could go on and on about fish selection in small tanks, lol; I love picking fish but you're best bet would be to get a copy of Scott Michael's PocketGuide to Marine Fishes-indispensable when fish shopping, IMO.

Alice
 
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good call on the book alice, true with the feeding of anthia alice, both my folks were treaschers and i know the hours they put in 630-5. i figured feeding of frozen 2 times a day would be suffecient. but you are right more squabling going on than schooling in a 50 gal tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You guys rock!!!! I like all these ideas. It sounds like I need to set up a whole bunch of tanks. My school district is incredibly cool and I even have the night custodian feed for me on the days we have vacation. (if I can't get in to feed them) My boss is incredibly supportive. (she helped me write the grant!!) I will be at the BBQ so I hope I don't ask to many questions! If I brought puffer fish sushi would it be a major foopah!!! Just kidding!:p
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nice tank Dale. Hope to see you at the BBQ. If not I will email you with questions. I always have alot of them!!!! Also let me know when you will be 'pruning the tank'!
 

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Thanks Mr.S. I dont think I can make it to the BBQ this time, I am exhausted from going to JROTC camp with my daughter. I can fix you up with a cup or two of live sand, and macro algae for sure. May have some xenia ready for picking pretty soon. Let me know if that will help any.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That sounds great. I will let you know after the BBQ what grandios plans I have for the tanks I am setting up at school
 
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