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Buying a microscope
I think the ideal type would be a stereomicroscope. Typically these have
low, variable power, in the range 4-40x, which is good for getting closeup
view of small fish, invertebrates, etc. A stereomicroscope has two
completely independent light paths, one for each eye, so you get a 3D view.
Note that not all scopes with 2 eyepieces are stereomicroscopes. Most have
angled eyepieces so you can use them vertically, looking down at the
subject, or horizontally which is nice for looking thru the front of a tank.
A zoom feature is nice, so you can continuously vary the magnification
rather than having only a few discrete settings. Unfortunately these
intruments are not cheap. Research grade scopes cost several thousand
dollars, and student level scopes that I am familiar with are in the
Peter G. Aitken