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HANDS ON
Make an Aquarium

Get your hands wet!

A small aquarium in your classroom can be a mini-ecosystem for observation. Try constructing your own aquarium from the materials you have available. Some suggested ideas follow, but you can experiment with any combination of living and non-living aquatic populations.
Materials
a glass or clear plastic bowl or tank that has a cover
water
small stones or gravel
at least two small fish
at least two small aquatic plants (any plant that grows well in water)
fish food
natural shells or small clay pots

Procedure
Place the stones on the bottom of the tank.
Weight the shells (or clay pots) by putting a few stones inside them.
"Plant" the aquatic plants by securing their bottoms in the stones.
Fill the tank nearly to the top with water.
Carefully introduce the fish to their new habitat! Be sure to watch their behavior.
Cover the tank. Make sure it is near a source of light.

Each day, keep a log of observations.
Three times a week, add a flake of fish food for each fish and observe their behavior.

Conclusions
Continue observing your aquarium for at least two weeks. Emphasize that ecosystems grow and change over time. To notice growth and changes, you'll need at least two weeks.
Discuss how the fish survived (or, if necessary, didn't survive) in the covered tank.

Extension Ideas
Consider adding more varieties of fish or snails to the aquarium.
Consider placing the aquarium in a dark closet. Emphasize the aquatic ecosystems at the bottom of the ocean.


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