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intorduction of midgatutor


This is my introduction to the list.

My name is Michael and I keep fish.

(and the group says "Hi, Michael")

My list address is midgatutordigests at yahoo_com.
I only use this address for mailing lists.  
My regular address is midgatutor at yahoo_com and any
personal communication should be directed there.

I live in Rural Georgia, centrally isolated just east
of the middle of nowhere.

I have a BS in biology, and an AS in natural science. 

I have been keeping fish for about 4 years now, though
most of my fish were lost during a black out last
The survivors are in a 15 gal, henceforth referred to
as "my personal tank".  They are a collection of
unremarkable tetra and a petsmart washed out

The reason that I have joined is for educational
support. I am currently a substitute teacher, I will
start next month as an aid in the behavioral problem
class, and in August I start as a Biology teacher. 

I am assembling ideas for lesson plans involving
aquaria and a "teaching collection" of plants and
fish.   I am coming to teaching though an alternative
program and will be starting education courses soon.  
I am basing my teaching style on the use of concrete
examples.  That is: things that you can actually point
to that are present in the room.  Thus I am taking my
hobby to work.

I have 3 tanks that I will be moving into my classroom
that I am currently stocking.  A 20 gal, a 35 gal, and
a 55 gal.  There will also be a 10 gal for incidental
usage under the stand for the 55.

The 20 is for cool water fish. It is currently empty.
I am looking for Bitterlings, European stone loach,
and North American natives.  I am also looking for
cool water plants for this tank, preferably North
American.  Filtration is a Whisper.  Tank is unheated
except for the heat of the other tanks.

The 35 is a planted tropical "peaceful community".  I
plan to use this tank to teach plant/animal
interaction, convergent evolution, basic biological
cycles, and habitat niches.  I currently have 4 small
tetra, 5 "Mexican livebearers" and 10 pygmy corys in
this tank, as well as 6 SAE's.  Most of the SAE's will
be moved to other tanks.  The tetra were a donation
form a South American Cichlid importer who got them as
bycatch.  One is a cardinal, the other three are
smaller and less easily identified.  I'll offer a
reward for the first student who gets me a Latin name
for them.  The livebearers are a small species the
same size as the tetra.  I got them from the same
source and cannot find an epitaph for them.  The tank
is planted with an "aquabid" package, the list of
spices for which I accidentally deleted. They seem to
be doing pretty good though. There is a piece of
driftwood. Filtration is a Penguin 330 biowheel. Tank
temp is targeted at 76 F.

I am looking for identified species of plants, small
rasbora, small tetra and perhaps Endler's livebearer
for this tank. (yes, I am begging.  Public School
Teacher's prerogative)

The 55 gal is probably the most interesting.  I am
stocking this planted tank around Rainbowfish.  They
are large enough to be seen from the back of the room,
the species can be determined by the color, and they
are peaceful.  The lesson plan almost writes itself: 
"One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish: Divergent
Evolution".  But I haven't found any yet (if anyone
would care to help correct that).

I have had more luck assembling tankmates.   For the
bottom of the tank I have some baby Juli ornatus (or
maybe yellow reganni, we forgot which tank I chose,
and at one inch I can't tell em apart).  The will be
my representative colonial cave spawner cichlid.  To
school with the rainbows I have Cypnichromis
leptosomia, a peaceful, zooplankton feeding, mid water
spawning, mouth brooding, Tanganyikan cichlid slightly
larger than a rainbowfish.  These are also 1 inch. 
Next week a shipment of 1 inch Congo tetra will be
arriving  (amazing what you can find at discount when
you beg).  These will be used as an example of an egg
scattered and a convergent example for the
rainbowfish.  I am looking for a shell dweller to
round out the parenting styles lecture.  N.
multifasciatus has been suggested as the best one for
my purposes.  I hope to find them and the rainbowfish
in the 1 inch size so that they will grow out together
as an integrated community (wishful thinking I know). 
Filtration on the tank is a Penguin 330 biowheel, and
a HOT Magnum 350 (which needs a flow diverter, second
hand).  One heater on each end with a stable temp of

My water is rather hard, as would be expected for a
county with a Calcium Carbonate mine.  The tetra in
the 35 don't seem to mind, but then, they arrived from
Columbia in a box with 40 deal altum angels, so they
aren't complaining about being in a tank with plants.

The only live food that I currently culture is an
unidentified grub that somehow invaded 2 cans of flake
food.  Pregutloaded for the very happy mutt rainbow in
my personal tank.  They are slightly smaller than a
pillbug.  This of course is not a true culture, as I
have no adult beetles. I assume they are some sort of
mealworm. The back is red in color.

I am interested learning to culture various foods.  I
do not have much interest in feeding fry, but rather
having living microscope specimens for my students. 
Of course, between microscope lessons, the fish will
be fed.

The Cypnichromis leptosomia is a zooplankton feeder,
so they would probably appreciate a break form the
flake rotation.  If I get any good at it, I may try
Sticklebacks, as they are hard to maintain on flake.

I would prefer to keep the cultures as simple as
possible.  Things that can be left alone on the
weekends, and maintained in a 2 liter bottle with an
air pump, or less.  I will be spending most of my days
keeping the class in order, and nights grading papers
and preparing lessons, so simple is better for me. 
Also if it is simple enough, culturing can become

One interesting possibility is termites.  The school
has a problem with them.

Also, does anyone have any experience in culturing FW
clams or mussels?  I would like to maintain some for a
future bitterling tank.

I also plan to offer a free test grade to students who
start aquariums and keep logs on them.   I hope to be
able to provide the plants and some livebearers for
them.  I can get gravel for free at the cement
factory.  That will just leave the tank and filter for
the students to buy at Wal-Mart.  You will probably
see me begging for old filters in August but I wont
start doing that before then.  Allot of things can
happen in 9 months.  That is why Im not submitting
proposals to corporations yet. 

Any technical or material support on these issues
would be greatly appreciated.  


This is my mailing list address.
Please send any offlist responses to
midgatutor at yahoo_com

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