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Planted tank for biology lessons
I've been lurking for quite a while and have learned a great deal. Thanks to you all!
I'm now working on a project with which I hope some of you can help. I'm writing an educational plan that would cover middle school through lower high school biology content. The students involved are (at present) a couple of gifted homeschooled students. The benefit of writing for homeschooled students is that they are in the "classroom" 24/7, so it is possible to plan long-term projects and projects with nonstandard schedules (such as monitoring water chemistry over the course of a day).
I would like to use a planted aquarium as the basis for most of the hands-on/lab work. I believe that a planted aquarium population can contain representatives of many different phyla which the students can study while learning about classification and diversity in the natural world. Most of the typical plant biology topics (photosynthesis, reproduction, plant cells, nutrients) could be covered using aquatic plants, I imagine. Similarly for animal biology. Our tanks typically have helpful bacteria, single-celled algae and other representatives of the living world.
Many topics in ecology could be covered using a planted tank as an example; nitrogen (and other) cycles, adaptations to habitat, ...
And then there's water chemistry....
You are probably wondering what my point is, so I'll get to it (finally). Does anyone know of educational materials based on a planted aquarium that are suited to middle-school/lower-high-school level or do I have to start from scratch? Most of what I've seen is elementary level. Can someone point me toward literature that discusses a planted aquarium as an ecosystem? I need to know if there are ways I can realistically keep hydra, planaria, daphnia, and other nonstandard aquarium residents in a planted aquarium and not have them either disappear or get completely out of control. Has anyone looked at C-Ferns (http://cfern.bio.utk.edu)? As far as I can tell it's a variety of Ceratopteris richardii, so it should live happily in a planted tank once our propagation studies are done, should it not?
As you can see, I'm full of questions. Is anyone willing to help me out with this?
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