Live Every Week Like It's Shark Week

Discussion in 'Marine Fish Forum' started by jlanger, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    It appears that this next year will be full of new experiences for my son; and myself.

    My son, Eric, will be starting his senior year of high school next week and he will be taking a biology independent study course. These courses usually involve the student presenting a project that they will work on throughout the year, conduct research and experiments, submit reports and whatnot.
    He's considered breeding clownfish or cardinalfish in the past but wasn't all too thrilled about doing that. During our last visit to Rhinelander, he noticed a tank full of banded bamboo shark eggs. He asked if we could set up a tank at home to hatch a shark. I mentioned that he could do that as his biology project; not thinking it was even a possibility. #parenting
    This week, he approached his instructor and she was actually on board with that idea. The school has an established aquatic lab consisting of three freshwater systems, but one of them is currently empty and could be converted to saltwater. The instructor told Eric that he needed to search out resources and additional support; that'd be me. Eric has already reached out to Kevin with LiveAquaria about sourcing equipment and livestock; and he's on board. I have reached out to a few people that I know (our own Riley, for one) asking for input and recommendations. Eric and I will be meeting with his instructor and the school to discuss his project tomorrow. Based on the amount of outside support we can garner, the school is willing to ask for grants to establish a saltwater program at the school. My son wants to be the student to bring attention to the ocean and its inhabitants to his school; and to have the program continue beyond his involvement.
    Why didn't we have opportunities like this when we were in school? We had to carry an egg around for a week and pretend it was a baby!

    Eric plans to study the marine sciences when he attends college next year. He has a definite interest in sharks and wants to pursue a career in studying them, so a project like this (while still in high school) will be a great step towards his future goals.

    And I'm excited to be along for the ride!
    Wish us luck!
     
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  2. Aaron L.

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    That's fantastic! I agree; the fanciest we ever got in biology was dissecting frogs. It's great to hear that schools are more bing forward and letting kids learn about what they are passionate for. What's the plan for the sharks after the term ends? Let us know how it goes.
     
  3. cathorn

    cathorn Senior Member
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    Best of luck to Eric ! He should be able to get a lot of help from you also, with your saltwater experience.
     
  4. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    The initial plan with the sharks was to send them back to the LiveAquaria facility once they grew large enough. This will probably still be the plan even though there may be a large vat system in place. I'm not sure the school would be interested in keeping the sharks after Eric finishes the year, but who knows for sure.

    I'll definitely be keeping a record of Eric's progress for his portfolio. I'll try to get photos as often as events take place, but it does kind of suck that we won't be able to watch the sharks at home.
     
  5. NotJacques

    NotJacques Senior Member
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    Good luck!!! Fabulous idea! Kudos to your son to take on a project of this scope, and to Dad for the encouragement...

    On a much smaller scale we did a Clownfish breeding project for my daughter's science project one time. Involved Rotifers, phytoplankton, a Vossen Larval trap, late night hatching watch...it was fun.
     
  6. Aaron L.

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    My kids are too little now, but I am counting down the years till I get to have this kind of fun with them!
     
  7. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Eric originally wanted to breed clownfish, but that's a tad more difficult to do when you are not guaranteed access every day. I also told him that it would be much more work involved than just having the pair in a tank; i.e. hatching/grow-out system, algae cultures, live food cultures, et al. I suggested that he should breed Bangaii Cardinalfish, as they would be much easier due to the male brooding the eggs and fry after they hatch. But Eric's not much into cardinalfish; boring, he says. So we're going to try hatching and raising sharks.

    I wish we could expand this project right from the start to include some other systems for other fish and/or inverts.
    I'm a huge fan of cephalopods! I kept two Octopus bimaculoides specimens in the 90's and I would love to have the opportunity to keep them again. While at MACNA, I attended Laura's talk about keeping cuttlefish and pajama squid and it reignited my interest in keeping them. I think it would be extremely cool to have a tank with a couple of cuttles in the lab to observe. And while speaking with Richard Ross, he says if I ever want to keep some Larger Pacific Striped Octopuses, he'll hook me up; AWESOME!!!

    Well... here we go.
    My son is finally up and ready to go discuss his program with the instructor.
     
  8. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Post Instructor Meeting Update.

    Our meeting with Eric's instructor went rather well. She seems just as excited as were are about this project.
    When we arrived, she had a class in session (freshman started today, everyone else on Tuesday), so we toured the lab for a while. The lab consists of two systems. The large system has two large vats (1000gal each) hooked up to a commercial sized filtration system with a bead filter, biofilter, UV sterilizer and other gadgets that are currently housing tilapia that are grown and then sold. The smaller system (the one Eric gets to convert) consists of a 1000gal vat with a much simpler filtration system; sediment tray, biofilter and mechanical filter that is all run via an air pump and uplift plumbing.
    So the good news is that the system is a clean slate and is ready to be torn down as soon as needed for conversion. The bad news is it is a clean slate and much work and potential changes will need to be done for the conversion. The more immediate plan is to design a system (standard aquarium set up) that can house the shark eggs and juvenile sharks, send off Eric's proposal to various sources for support and donations and then begin the dismantling and conversion of the vat system.
    This is going to be quite the commitment for my son, so we'll see how he does; and we'll see how much I get/need to contribute.
     
  9. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    I posted this on my Facebook page, but I thought I would add it here as not everyone I know here is on Facebook.


    Jason Langer is looking for volunteers.
    19 mins ยท


    Attn: My Saltwater Aquarium Friends

    My son, Eric, has started his senior year of high school and is already pursuing his interest for an education in the Marine Sciences. He is taking an Independent Study course for the year to concentrate on his personal interest in sharks.

    Our high school has an existing freshwater aquaculture lab with multiple vat systems where they raise tilapia and blue gill each year. The school has granted Eric the permission to start a saltwater system and the opportunity to convert one of the large freshwater systems to saltwater. This will be a new venture for the school and its biology department. Eric's goal is not only to raise to sharks, but to bring attention of the entire ocean and the life that lives there to the school and student body.

    This will be an ambitious adventure for Eric that will involve a lot of time and hard work; and support. I applaude Eric for his drive and ambition and I have volunteered to support and assist him during this project.

    This is where I reach out to you and ask you to read Eric's proposal and request for assistance with his project.

    "Hi. My name is Eric Langer.

    I am currently a senior attending New Richmond High School in New Richmond, Wisconsin. I am currently working in our aquaculture lab that has been running for almost ten years.
    This year, I am working on a project for my Independent Study course involving sharks. My goal for this project is to hatch and raise some smaller species of sharks; i.e. coral banded sharks, horn sharks and/or catsharks . And I hope to grow this small project by converting an existing freshwater 800 gallon system into a saltwater system based around sharks and rays with other compatible and easy to keep fish. The ultimate plan is for these systems to continue running after I graduate, bringing saltwater aquaculture to our high school.
    As most of you know, saltwater systems aren't cheap, and getting hands on materials needed for my project as a full-time enrolled high schooler isn't the easiest thing to do.
    My goal is to set up a 75 gallon aquarium with a 20 gallon long sump. I will need the basic equipment to set up this system; i.e. tanks, filtration, heating and lighting. Other needed materials are items like salt mix, sand and live rock, water filtration equipment and materials, water conditioners, test kits and foods. A saltwater aquarium system will be new to our aquaculture lab so I will be starting from ground zero. Any donations are greatly appreciated as this will be a huge step for me as a high schooler in furthering my career in Marine Science.
    As for the 800 gallon system, I am hoping to get more information about how the school will allow me to receive donations for a protein skimmer to switch over the current 800 gallon system from freshwater to saltwater; as there are some changes that need to be made for the switch to happen. I would also like to get some feedback on the system I have to work with and what changes should be considered.
    Last, but not least, I will eventually need to acquire some shark eggs.

    Feel free to email me if you have any recommendations or questions at e.langer26@gmail.com or for a list of items needed for these projects.
    You are also free to ask any questions or leave any comments in this post.

    Thanks you for your time.
    Eric Langer"

    As Eric's dad, it's very exciting to see his enthusiasm and eagerness towards furthering his education and start a path towards a career he (and I) will enjoy.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this; and Eric's proposal.
    If you have any questions or comments that you would like to ask me, send me a PM. I am more than willing to be the liaison between you and my son.
    If you think of anyone that could possibly be of assistance to Eric's project, please share this with them.
     
  10. Riley

    Riley I contributed!
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    The other day someone posted a similar question on the facebook shark page regarding what's needed on a large system like the 800 gallon (are you two on there yet?) I can post Matt Heyde's reply if you didn't see it.

    Does the 800 gallon have any existing filtration dedicated to it as of now?

    I should have some computer time this evening, since Eric is starting with sharks, I should probably email him some thoughts on both systems.
     
  11. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    We've joined the Shark and Sting Ray Aquarists group on Facebook. I recall seeing a post about a large system, but I haven't had much time to follow up on it yet.
    I actually didn't think that we would be concerned with the large system right away, as getting the hatchery system was a top priority. But as soon as I posted my son's request on Facebook, the replies started pouring in. So now, it looks like we'll be trying to get both systems up and running together.

    I took some photos of the existing system when I visited the lab; I'll post those later.
    The existing system is one of the pre-packaged systems offer by Aquatic Eco-Systems. It's a 1000gal vat (filled to 800gal) with a bottom drain that feeds a sediment tray, a bio-tower and a mechanical filter tower and it's air driven; a large air pump is hooked up to a manifold that feeds multiple airlift tubes. The only other piece of equipment is a drop in heater. So there's not much to work with (for now), but it's a place to start.

    The show of support that we've been offered already is promising, but we've only just begun.
     
  12. Riley

    Riley I contributed!
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    That's awesome you got a good response so far. This post is more for Eric, but you can read it too, Jason :)

    Now that you described the large system, you guys should stop by my place if you're ever in the area. I think the two of you would get a lot of ideas. My system is similar to AES prepackaged multi-tank aquaculture systems they sell (the one with the three large tanks, bead filter, uv, biofilter). The only air powered anything I have is the skimmer and biofilter, no air lifts, everything is pump driven. You'll be able to visualize what you may want to modify, keep, change, ect.

    For the 75 I'm sure you've got a ton of great suggestions from people which is awesome, and if it were me, I would go minimal on the live rock in the display, keeping some caves but still have plenty of unobstructed swimming room around perimeter and throughout. Small hatched sharks are too easily lost with too much rock and will need to be fed multiple times a day - hence why the display will need to be more "open", but still give the sharks cover to feel secure. As they grow, this will also give them more room to swim about. They sleep during the day, but do get quite active at night. To supplement the biological filtration because of the heavier feeding, the Cermedia blocks could be one choice. This could be one of the instances where a wet/dry with good mechanical pre-filtration would be appropriate. Better yet would be a moving bed bio reactor like Bashsea makes, the one with the media similar to k1 Kaldnes. It's self-cleaning so you don't get the over build up of bacterial mulm and trapped particles like you do with bioballs. You'll also want good mechnical filtration to catch waste before it reaches the nitrogen cycle. And of course the tank will have the other usual equipment. With you helping, Jason, I know this will be an awesome hatchery/grow-out system.

    If your doing horns in addition to bamboos and catsharks, I wouldn't set the tank temp higher than 75. Horn sharks come from cooler waters than bamboos and catsharks, but it is still possible to setup a temp range for all (what's the lower side for one is the higher side for the other). The eggs dont "have" to be clipped to the side of the tank per say, but it does make them cool to watch them grow that way. They will need to be clipped in a way that it doesn't block the opening - on the side of the bamboo egg, on the top tendrils for the catshark egg, ect. Also, never force hatching, they will come out on there own. They may not feed right away - they will still have a stump from the yoke sack that they will use up. Food should still be offered. PE mysis is a good first food to try.

    Your project sounds awesome and so does your school.
     
    #12 Riley, Sep 14, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  13. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Thanks, Riley.

    Here's some of the pics of the existing system I took a couple of weeks ago.

    The smaller system that will be converted.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's the filtration systems.
    The tub has two drains; one drain feeds the sediment tray and the other drain goes to the mechanical filter and bio-tower.
    What you cannot see is that there's a drop in heater in the main tub; one of those long "L"-shaped ones with the heating element sitting just off the floor of the tub.

    [​IMG]

    The heart of this system; an air pump.
    The pump is connected to a manifold that has eight lines going to various lift tubes to move the water. If I recall correctly, two lines are for returns, two lines are for circulation, two lines for the sediment tray, one line for the bio-tower and one for the mechanic filter.

    [​IMG]

    It's a primitive system for a saltwater system that we're used to, that's for sure.
    It's definitely going to be an ambitious project to convert this to saltwater, but I think there's a lot of potential with what we have.

    In the background of the third photo, you can see the other system; which must be the one Riley described. This one has two tubs hooked up the the bead filter with a nicer bio-tower, in-line UV system and other gadgets. I'm guessing the third tub was bogarted for the smaller system and additional (cheaper) filtration components were purchased to run it.
     
  14. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    So... not only is my son working on a saltwater related project, my daughter is also.
    For her AP Bio class, she needed to bring in a plant/animal to identify, so she's bringing in this little fella.

    [​IMG]

    I just thought it was a cool picture showing the bristles of the bristle worm.
     
  15. cypho

    cypho I contributed!
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    Here is my low-budget, use what you've got, solution.
    • You have a giant air pump, and a giant plastic cylinder. Add some wood airstones and you have a huge protein skimmer. All you are missing is some sort of foam collection system - not strictly necessary, but the teachers would probably appreciate not having a big pile of nasty foam on the floor every morning. A lid with a pipe out the top that runs down to a floor drain would probably do the trick.

    • Put a few ebay grow lights over the sediment tray and toss in some gravel and caulerpa. And you've got an algae filter.

    • Plumb the skimmer and algae filter to drain into the the tall square container. That will be the sump. Since you used the air for the skimmer, use a water pump in here to get the water back into the tank. Also add some live rock rubble in mesh bags tied to a rope. Periodically tug on the rope to shake the detritus out of the rock bags to keep them from becoming a detritus haven.

    It's not fancy, but it will keep the water clean enough and will cost less than the salt you'll need to fill the system. The school year is pretty short and this would let you have water in the system by the end of next week.

    As donations and funding come in you can upgrade to some fancier equipment down the road. Or better yet team up with the shop class to manufacture your own upgrades. Nothing is more educational than learning how a piece of equipment works well enough to design and build one yourself.
     
  16. Riley

    Riley I contributed!
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    The smaller system is technically good to go as is, as crude as it may be. Just add salt. This is the system I had pictured in my head when you described it, Jason, and so is the one in the 3rd photo background. Thanks for posting pics for all of us. The moving bed biofilter is already an efficient means of nitrification (the cylinder tub on the front right in the 3rd photo) so you don't really "need" and algae filter or rock rubble. You do have a good point William, they could make the skimmer. I bet they know someone who's name rhymes with Jason that has access to a cnc to cut out whatever parts they would need out of type 1 pvc, acrylic, or polycarbonate.

    However it is set up, I do hope you post pictures of the conversion.

    Another thing I just thought of. Have you ever been behind the scenes at Sealife MN? They have a similar size round tank with a brute trash can plumbed to it with an external circulation pump. The trash can is filled with biomedia and they use the system for quarantine. It's a super simple system that can be done for cheap, and they keep larger size animals alive with it.
     
    #16 Riley, Sep 15, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
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  17. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    Update.

    Over the weekend, we were able to procure a used 90gal display tank, a 30BR sump and a Mag 7 return pump from a TCMAS member's classified listing. The stand was shorter than desired so I passed on it; I also passed due to not having enough room in the truck to bring it all home. Why? Because while I was visiting Angie (Yes, that Angie.) and discussing her new tank build (And yes, another slow build forthcoming.), she offered to donate her old 57gal system; display tank, stand and sump. Thanks, Angie!!! So not only did we get a great deal on one system, I ended up coming home with two! :D
    Eric brought the 90gal system to school already to start cleaning it up. Once the tanks are cleaned up, it'll be time for him learn how to be a plumber. And this weekend, we will build a new stand; nothing fancy, just a typical 2x lumber build. :confused:
    As of now, there's only enough available space for the one system, so we're waiting to see if we can use the 57gal system. If some space opens up, Eric is thinking about using the tank for some other saltwater fish to keep for studies; possibly anglerfish or dwarf lionfish (he likes the predators). If the system cannot be used, we'll return it to Angie.

    The better news of the week is that the school officially approved Eric's proposal and he can start collecting equipment and donations.
    Eric was permitted to start a GoFundMe account to help raise funds to purchase needed equipment and supplies. Please take a moment to visit his page and consider helping him out.

    Eric Langer - Shark Hatchery Lab

    If you have anything that you would like to donate to the lab, please let me know. The sooner Eric can get the necessary equipment, the sooner he can get some shark eggs; which he already has two suppliers waiting for the system to be ready. As funding comes in, Eric will start ordering the basic equipment needed to get the system up and running; plumbing, pumps, lights, heaters, filtration media and salt mix. If you have anything laying around in boxes that you think could be of value to the lab, let me know.

    I, personally, would like to thank everyone that takes a moment to contribute to Eric's project; whether by donating or contributing in this thread. Any and all assistance is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  18. acharpenter

    acharpenter Senior Member
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    Sureeeeeeeeeeeeeee - still gotta take some swings at me!!!!
     
  19. OP
    jlanger

    jlanger "The North Remembers"
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    No, not swings... just poking the bear.
    And maybe, just maybe, by throwing chum in the water I can get @marty9876 to rise from the deep for quick appearance.
     
  20. marty9876

    marty9876 Banned
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    [​IMG]
     

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