Preschool Classroom Aquarium
My daughters preschool got a 10 gallon aquarium a couple weeks ago. They've been loosing fish left and right. I offered my insights into aquarium cycling and maintenance, and they basically put me in charge of the tank. It's a 10 gallon tank, the filter it had was a joke, I think it was similar to a Whisper 10i. They had two gold fish in it. I tested it for ammonia and the reading was crazy high, no surprise. Unfortunately, that was on last Friday and I didn't have a chance to get back to the tank before today. Only one goldfish is left and he's not looking so good.
This weekend I bought an Aquaclear 20, seeded it with media from my filter and hung it on the front of my tank over the weekend. I did a huge water change this morning and put the Aquaclear on there. How long do you think it'll take for the tank to cycle? I was going to test it this afternoon.
The goldfish was getting pushed around by the water current from the Aquaclear, I turned down the flow all the way. Do you think it'll recover? I know the goldfish is not the right fish for that tank. I'm hoping to replace it with some tetras. I thought I'd try to add them in a couple steps. Maybe 5 Neon Tetras once it's cycled, then 5 Cardinal Tetras a week later, and maybe a Dwarf Gourami a week later.
I need to make a sign for the tank telling parents what not to do with the aquarium. I'm not sure how to phrase it in such a way that it doesn't sounds mean. "DO NOT TOUCH! NO ADDING FISH! NO FEEDING FISH!" The teachers have told me that parents just bring goldfish in and dump them in the tank. I also need a sheet that tells the teachers what they (or the students) can do, like how often and how much they can feed. How often to change the water, etc.
stingrayg4 could probably help you greatly with this. His wife has a preschool class with several tanks that he helps to maintain. Here is a link to his thread about it and that shows his tanks.
40 gallon FW -1 male halfmoon betta named Max, 2 GBR's (Peter and Lois) who better clean up their act, 11neon tetras (damn GBR's killed one), 12 black neon tetras, 2 assassin snails, and 1 albino BN pleco named Tiberius.
You've got the right idea. I wouldn't mix the neons and cardinals though. I'd get all of the same.
10 neons in that tank would look great with a little greenery, maybe a snail or two and possible some red cherry shrimp.
The other possibility would be 6 neons and 1 dwarf gourami. that's pushing the capacity for a 10 gallon.
A single betta would also be nice with some snails. - this would actually be your easiest option because it's easy to write a note that states: feed the betta 6 pellets only 1 time per day. Feed the snails 1 veggie wafer every other day. Eliminates the big pinch vs little pinch vs way too much of a pinch of flakes that could kill the fish.
Then put a sign up sheet by the tank and the kids could take their turn feeding.
As for notes to the parents: I'd simply state something like : thanks for the prior donations of fish but please do not send anymore fish of any kind to school with your child. The aquarium is now fully stocked and can not handle any more fish.
30 g FW planted:corys, ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, nerites & mystery snails
15 g FW planted: crown tail betta, neons, snails
90 g FW semi planted: Blood Parrots, severum, Jurupari, EBJD, congos, kribs, clown pleco, snails
90 Gal Journal: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=93939
Fishless cycling: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640
Cycling with fish: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=36492
Talk to the Preschool about appropriate stocking.
Either they get a larger tank and have goldfish, or they stock for the 10 Gallon. If they have a larger tank, that may actually be a bit better longer term as they are a bit more forgiving as far as how the water maintenance goes. In either case the stocking should be their choice (with guidance) so that it has the best hope of success.
Advise them to buy one of those weekly/monthly pill boxes, and to start out, show them what a good feeding amount looks like. Then have them fill the boxes going forward. Then either they can continue to feed the allotted amount, or have a child do it if appropriate. (This has the added benefit of that if you are doing regular maintenances, you can "check their work" at a quick glance to see if they are still feeding appropriately, and then they in turn can check the work of someone they delegate the task to.)
I'd write two sheets. One that is about the Routine Maintenance. Have the teacher either do this, or work with a parent volunteer. (This would be the water changes and gravel vacs side of things - Add in the prep of the weekly feedings if they are going to delegate that) The second is a note home to the parents, like fishmommie suggested. If they are looking for parent volunteers, then they could include something about how a parent can talk to the teacher about helping out.
+1 to Trillianne's ideas! I never understand why classrooms are going to keep aquariums if they're not going to do it right. You're not teaching the kids anything besides how to kill a fish! It's much more educational to do it correctly!
I have more (and better) conversations with fish, dogs, and myself than I do with actual people.
Myself, the fish, and the dogs all agree.
Thanks for all the advice, so helpful! I already talked to the school about stocking. That's sort of what started this whole thing. They basically agree with getting tetras or something similar instead of the goldfish.
I tested the water today and the ammonia is down to nothing, nitrites are about 2 ppm and I'm seeing some nitrates as well. So it seems like we're on our way to being cycled. The goldfish is still alive but very lethargic, but he almost seemed better than this morning. He was hanging out at the top of the tank near the filter output. This morning when it got near the filter output it was just pushing him around. I put the smallest amount of flake food in near him and he completely ignored it. Will see how he's doing tomorrow morning.
Last edited by hyp0r; 02-18-2014 at 10:04 PM.
Ouch, those nitrites need to come down stat, too. They are way more toxic than nitrate. The level .5ppm is suggested, so do a 75% water change as soon as you can.
I hope the poor thing lives, but he definitely needs to get out of that tank before he gets stunted.
20 gallon with a male betta, neons, glowlights, and red cherry shrimp. (work in progess) Recently added a few LIVE plants and driftwood, Woooohoooo!
since it is a preschool tank, the kids are probably going to tap the tank and turn lights off and on so i would get a hardy fish like a platy or a molly. probably all males.
otherwise do some water changes to get that nitrite down. at-least .5.
maybe even return the gold-fish?
good job though
i hear some people say, "i kept a goldfish in a bowl and it lived for a year."
they don't know how lucky they were and all goldfish live at least 15 years in proper conditions.
that is equal to saying my human lived in his closet for 5 years!
I had an aquarium in my preschool classroom up until christmas break. There were a few that tapped the glass but the lights were never messed with. I did struggle with people trying to give me their fish though. I love the beta with a few snails idea i might use this for next year.
I also didn't have the children feed the fish. I kept the tank in our library so it was one of the quieter areas of the classroom.
I had issues with teachers as well trying to put their fish in my tank for various reasons and actually got into a little trouble when i put my foot down and said keep your fish in your tank. In preschool you get points for having a pet and since fish are suspected to be the easiest to care for and don't have salmonella there you go.