Salt Water Aquarium Update

The whole tank. The left side in process still.

Our aquarium is beginning accommodate various types of life.

The experience has been very Montessori.  Perhaps it has been one of the best practical life works that we could have done with the boys.  It is a PROCESS – a long, long process.

The chemistry involved in maintaing a saltwater aquarium is intense. First you acquire live sand and live rock which is has algae and zooplankton in it.  Once it is in your tank and the PH is balanced, then the algae will start to grow.  It is the purple, green and rust colors on the rocks.

One must maintain the balances of ammonia and nitrates/nitrites and salt and density.  JV is on it with a vengeance.  He is keeping records of what he is finding.  The deal is that your tank takes several weeks to come into a balance of sorts.  It has to go toxic twice – once with ammonia and then with the nitrates and then some life can make it.  As the ammonia spiked we purchased two hermit crabs to help eat and poop the tank into balance.  And a week more of practice and regulation of PH and testing ensued.

The end of last week JV declared the balance in the force (you knew I was going to use that phrase) was achieved.  He took a water sample to the guys at the fish store and they agreed.  Angles sing.  Trumpets play.  Mom’s money is spent.

We acquired a feather duster tube worm, a lettuce nudibranch, and a sponge.  When the guy pulled out the tube worm he was stuck to another ugly tube.  He didn’t want to pull them apart and the ugly tube looked abandoned. (More on that later.)

This brown and white feather duster is Phylum Annelieda; Order Polychaete; Class Sedentaria; Sub Class Sabellidae; Family Anamobaea onstedii

Lettuce and Sea sponge - Lettuce: Phylum Gastropoda; Class Mollusca; Sub Class Opisthobranchia; Class Sacoglossa; Order Elysoidiea; Family Elysiida // Sponge: Phylum Poriferia; Class Demospongia; Order Spirosporida; Family Tedillidea

There we are back to talk with the guys at the fish store about the probably empty, not sure tube worm and its consequences to the testing of the tank.  We made an irrational decision.  Let’s get some corals.  Tank is balanced. We have not killed anything else yet. Let’s go for it.  We find a hunk, buy it, and bring it home.  We take a little over an hour and slowly introduce tank water to the bag as not to shock the already really shocked mushroom coral.  It still doesn’t look great.  It is the soft coral that surrounds the green tube worm.  JV is really excited because the rock contains mini tube worms.  They are very clear so the photo is hard to see.

So now back to to the ugly old probably empty tube.  The crabs began tearing away at it.  We separated the pictured tube worm from the probably empty tube. It so the crabs wouldn’t annoy it.  We decided to remove the old tube a couple of days later after not seeing life.  Being us, we weren’t 100% sure about it not having something living in it, so we got a bowl and put tank water in it and added the tube.  We then got our dissecting knife began to slice.  It felt like gushy banana peel but cut like orange peel.  As we cut it open, we removed about half the tube.  Then we began to see a different color and realized there was something in the tube.  Wow!  We put it back in the tank  and after a bit look what popped out.

We aren't sure why it is green. Can you have albino feather dusters (their "blood" is green)? Is it just young?

The white squiggly line in the middle of the photo is the tube and the fuzzy spot at the right end of it is the gills.

The small tube worm is located on the bottom right and the green guy is fully extended.



Filed under AV, Chemistry, JV, Practical Life - Elementary, Salt Water Tank

2 responses to “Salt Water Aquarium Update

  1. Wow!! I am so impressed and quite envious! We were scared out of a saltwater tank. Yours looks amazing! What a great learning experience for you all and for those of us who are watching vicariously. Please keep us updated.

  2. lapazfarm

    Wonderful! It really is an intense process, isn’t it? Lots of great learning happening, though. I can’t wait to get settled into a house here so we can get ours started.

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