Mentoring kids on aquarium keeping

PheonixKingZ

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Colin_T is preaching a masterclass for fish keeping... not that I disagree with it.

But the age range for the kids mentioned is between 5-15 years old.

That is a wide range, and I’m sure the older kids in that bracket would have no problem grasping those more complex concepts.

If it helps, Cory from aquarium co-op has a great demonstration of the nitrogen cycle involving skittles or m&m’s. Would be great for a younger audience.

@Colin_T does have some great ideas to reach a more mature young persons interest.

I would have to suggest that a candy demonstration would be a great intro for the younger end of that age bracket.
Yes, I agree with the YouTube videos, excellent idea.
 

Naterjm

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Yes, I agree with the YouTube videos, excellent idea.
Agree with SOME YouTube videos... I’ve watched a handful, a big handful.
They don’t always stack up, that’s why I mentioned the specific one.

youtube should be solely regarded as a resource to gather information, but as a part of a collective of information.
 
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eatyourpeas

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I don't think videos are going to be part of this. They are already spending way too much time in front of a screen, so I find the hands-on approach preferable. We have natural ponds, ocean, puddles on our street, and a few houses nearby have ponds (to teach filtration), so mini field trips to look and gather stuff will be so much better. Plus, we are not afraid of getting wet, after all, it is the Pacific Northwest and we are well acquainted with Wellies.

I like the simple beginnings of @Colin_T 's suggestion. My challenge is getting sunlight since we will be starting in January and we can go weeks without seeing the sun. My daughter teaches food chemistry to high school kids, so we are brainstorming ways to introduce the nitrogen cycle by observing it in nature. Like trees breathe air which contains nitrogen, but they can't "eat it" that way, so they need the roots to absorb the nitrogen that gets prepared for them by the bacteria in the soil... you get the idea. Comparing jars with nutrient rich pond water and plain tap water and observe growth of duckweed... Anyway, lots to do.

This is going to be lots of fun, I can't wait!!! :D
 

FishGuest5123

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Colin_T is preaching a masterclass for fish keeping... not that I disagree with it.

But the age range for the kids mentioned is between 5-15 years old.

That is a wide range, and I’m sure the older kids in that bracket would have no problem grasping those more complex concepts.

If it helps, Cory from aquarium co-op has a great demonstration of the nitrogen cycle involving skittles or m&m’s. Would be great for a younger audience.

@Colin_T does have some great ideas to reach a more mature young persons interest.

I would have to suggest that a candy demonstration would be a great intro for the younger end of that age bracket.
Oh yeah, that’s it! I was trying to remember where I saw an easy video on the nitrogen cycle. I loved the M&M technique!
 
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Naterjm

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I don't think videos are going to be part of this. They are already spending way too much time in front of a screen, so I find the hands-on approach preferable. We have natural ponds, ocean, puddles on our street, and a few houses nearby have ponds (to teach filtration), so mini field trips to look and gather stuff will be so much better. Plus, we are not afraid of getting wet, after all, it is the Pacific Northwest and we are well acquainted with Wellies.

I like the simple beginnings of @Colin_T 's suggestion. My challenge is getting sunlight since we will be starting in January and we can go weeks without seeing the sun. My daughter teaches food chemistry to high school kids, so we are brainstorming ways to introduce the nitrogen cycle by observing it in nature. Like trees breathe air which contains nitrogen, but they can't "eat it" that way, so they need the roots to absorb the nitrogen that gets prepared for them by the bacteria in the soil... you get the idea. Comparing jars with nutrient rich pond water and plain tap water and observe growth of duckweed... Anyway, lots to do.

This is going to be lots of fun, I can't wait!!! :D
I’m not suggesting you make them watch videos, the particular video I suggested, I suggest you apply that to hands on learning... I know every kid can use a little less screen time, which is why I love this idea.
 

Fish4dawin

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Should I get a Betta?
Whilst that sounds like a cool idea (and with so many different colours and breeds of them) shrimp would be the ideal approach. Whilst I've seen people keep bettas with shrimp, the betta might eat the shrimp. Also if you are to get a betta go for one with short fins. Whilst the ones with bigger fins might interest the kids, they are a lot more susceptible to fin rot.
 

DAnCSF

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Covid-19 continues to take a toll on some young minds. They are bored, underchallenged in school, and parents are going crazy.

I am starting a little aquarium group on our street and have interested kids from 5 to 15 years old. I am putting together a little packet for them to read and learn some of the basics, and it will be in printed form (too much screen time already!).

I would appreciate any suggestions as to going about this the right way.
:fish::fish::fish:

Covid-19 continues to take a toll on some young minds. They are bored, underchallenged in school, and parents are going crazy.

I am starting a little aquarium group on our street and have interested kids from 5 to 15 years old. I am putting together a little packet for them to read and learn some of the basics, and it will be in printed form (too much screen time already!).

I would appreciate any suggestions as to going about this the right way.
:fish::fish::fish:
Eatyourpeas - you got a great idea and think it's awesome that you want to engage your community. At the risk of raining on your parade, this CV situation is gonna make things really difficult to engage your community. All the replies have been really great and constructive, and a challenge is to distill it and implement given CV and SIP. A short simple pamphlet can be a start. But if I may, think back on how you got started, was it just reading or actually seeing and doing. In pre CV times you could have started up this project with maybe an open house showing off your fish room/tanks, a block part etc... and getting the families engaged etc.... But reallity sez that is gonna be difficult or an outright no-go due to CV restrictions. But there is always an alternative.....May I suggest an simple YouTube/video that you only invite your neighborhood families to watch. This invitation can be in your pamphlet that you hand out. It's gonna be important to get the parents involved since there will be $$$ involved, not to mention the whole pet care and responsibility angle. Again my apologies for raining on your parade but felt it's important to present angles than you may have not considered. Please feel free to start up a chat if you are interested in hearing my views on your project, which I agree with, and willing to help you with advice. cheers..
 

DAnCSF

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Hey eatyopurpeas...you got the best resource in your daughter...she's a teacher! She has all the experience you can possible use and lean on in getting your community/kids engaged. Also since you are in the NW why not contact NOAA/NMFS and see what they can offer. After all they are a natural resources agency and most of them are teleworking anyway. Maybe they can help maybe they can't but it's worth a shot....cheers
 

PheonixKingZ

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Whilst that sounds like a cool idea (and with so many different colours and breeds of them) shrimp would be the ideal approach. Whilst I've seen people keep bettas with shrimp, the betta might eat the shrimp. Also if you are to get a betta go for one with short fins. Whilst the ones with bigger fins might interest the kids, they are a lot more susceptible to fin rot.
It all depends on the temperament of the Betta and how the tank is setup. Let's say the tank is setup very newbie, no live plants and not a lot of cover. There is a great chance the Betta will eat the shrimp, because they simply have to place to hide. The Betta I have now (Ace) is in a 10g densely planted tank. If he sees a shrimp swimming around, he will try to chase it, but the shrimp will always dart away real quick, without him even getting close. Some Bettas are totally chill, and can be kept with shrimp even when in an open tank.
 

Colin_T

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I like the simple beginnings of @Colin_T 's suggestion. My challenge is getting sunlight since we will be starting in January and we can go weeks without seeing the sun.
Start with infusoria then because they don't need light. But make sure you aerate the culture or it will stink the house out. And work with micro and grindal worms because they don't need light and live in potting mix or porridge.

You could also start algae cultures indoors and grow them under artificial lighting.
 
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eatyourpeas

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Hey eatyopurpeas...you got the best resource in your daughter...she's a teacher! She has all the experience you can possible use and lean on in getting your community/kids engaged. Also since you are in the NW why not contact NOAA/NMFS and see what they can offer. After all they are a natural resources agency and most of them are teleworking anyway. Maybe they can help maybe they can't but it's worth a shot....cheers
Haha... She is an engineer, but runs a free class in food chemistry for under-privileged high schoolers to get them excited about science. I have three teachers on our street and one has already offered to help.
 
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eatyourpeas

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I am really excited and grateful for everyone's advice, so please do not stop. I will post an update as this project takes shape. So far, response has been encouraging.

It has been raining all day so I am going back to see what kind of goodies I can find in the dirt.
🐌🪱🐞🐜🪰🦟🪳🪲🦗🕷️🐍🦀🍂🍄
 

Naughts

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Kids tend towards kinesthetic (doing) and visual (seeing) learning, not so much auditory (listening). The little ones won't be good readers and the bigger ones will switch off if presented with a sea of text.
So the practical experiments and projects are going to work but the pamphlet will need to have a lot of pictorial information to attract them. For fish, I would go for colourful guppies as they can see the lifecycle and share the free offspring.

In Corey's m&m's video he was too tight to buy another colour of sweets so the ammonia was also the beneficial bacteria. Confusing. Don't be like Corey! ;)
 
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mcordelia

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I'm so excited for you for this project!!!! I definitely think you have an added challenge with the covid situation, but as long as all the events are outside and you try and put things in place for social distancing: "this is your spot, until I say go you have to stay in your circle, and when I call freeze you have to get back into your spot as soon as possible", as well as contact tracing for if/when the dreaded happens: "today, your group is Suzie and Sam. You are going to do the experiment together, and I don't want to see any of you going into another group today. Next week you get a new group"

The older kids are going to be better about wearing masks etc, but your whole agree group is old enough to wear masks and I would advise that you begin and end each session by doling out squirts of hand sanitizer, and I think all of that will go a long way.

You're doing valuable work helping out what could potentially turn into a "lost generation" depending on how societal recovery from the covid situation goes, so major major MAJOR kudos to you.

Here's an idea: why don't you put up a Kickstarter or gofundme for your club, and hopefully folks in the neighborhood (as well as here!!) Will help you pay for supplies :)
 
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