Friday, November 4, 2011

week 4 11/4/11

I am certain you have become tired of listening to my ramblings, seeing as I have become tired of listening to them as well. So, this week I will give us a respite from analog and allow you to observe for yourself some of the diverse life and interactions that occur in the microaquarium environment. 
(sorry, no sound)

Monday, October 31, 2011

week 3 11/2/11

Added to the aquarium on 10/21/2011 was one:

"Atison's Betta Food" pellet made by Ocean Nutrition, Aqua Pet Americas, 3528 West 500 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84104.

Ingredients include: Fish meal, wheat flower, soy meal, krill meal, minerals, vitamins and preservatives.

Analysis: Crude Protein 36%; Crude fat 4.5%; Crude Fiber 3.5%; Moisture 8% and Ash 15%.

This week in the microaquarium there was an explosion of protozoa activity. Some Vorticella were spotted swimming through the water medium mainly around the food pellet and dirt areas along with multiple unknown species including some that looked spider-like, some appearing ovular, some circular, and others miniscule. Growing out of the bottom muck was an incongruous mess of Cyanobacterium (green) which served as a very popular hide out for the protozoa. As to the smallest organisms in the aquarium, it is no longer the Nematoda, as was mentioned in the first blog, but rather tiny single celled ciliates, which appear to move harmoniously in streams and lines, not unlike ants, attracted to the food pellet and Cyanobacterium.

On a more recent note, it appears that the Ostracoda have indeed mastered the art of hide and seek as there were at least five sighted in the aquarium this week. However, this does not explain the disappearance of the rest of our previously double digit population. Further investigation will continue.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week2 10/25/11

Death is a natural cycle of life, but scientifically speaking death in mass is a curious observation.
This week in the microaquarium, contrary to the abundant numbers observed last week, it appeared that all but one Ostraocoda had died. It is important to note that large Ostracoda shaped vessels were found, unresponsive to light and completely immobile at the bottom of the tank. It was thereby concluded that these vessels were probably the remains of the formerly abundant Ostracoda.

On a different note, for reasons unbeknownst to the observer there was an explosion of protozoa activity in this weeks observations. One observed Protista, not present a week before, was Vortecella. This Protista anchored itself to the muddy bottom or to the plant bodies with a long thin tail like structure. It also used rotating cilia on the top of a cup shaped portion to spin water through its clear body in order to extract particles from the water medium as food. Other single celled organisms were observed though not identified.

As to the Ostracoda's mysterious and unresolved dissappearance, two conclusions may be met. 1) The Ostracoda have either mastered the highest form of hide and seek or 2) Some change or structure within the environment has caused them to become quite endangered within the aquarium.
As to the reason behind this endangerment the observer has only a few theories as of late: given that the bodies of the Ostracoda were found and not devoured, the cause of the deaths must be due to environmental changes rather than predatory activity (or hide and seek). The water levels in the tank had subsided a bit in week one and new water had been added to the tank by week two. As the observer did not add said water it is possible that the new water could have changed the environment sufficiently to harm the Ostracoda. Another theory is that the plant material, not found in the parent location for this water medium, could have been non-conducive to the Ostracoda's internal systems as they were seen feeding on both sets of plants.  

As a final observation, it is important to note that neither theory is regarded as conclusive and that further observation will continue in the weeks to come.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Pennak W Robert. Fresh water Invertebrates of the United States. Protozoa to Mollusca. 3rd ed. New
           York: John Wiley and Sons Inc; 1981.
Rainis G Kenneth, Russell J Bruce. Guide to Microlife. Danbury (CT): A Division of Grolier Publishing;
Smith G Douglas. Freshwater invertebrates of the United States. 4th ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons
           Inc; 2001.
Smith M Gilbert. Freshwater Algae of the United States. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Book
           Company; 1950.
Ultricularia Gibba L. Digital image. Plants Profile. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services.
           Web. 16 Nov. 2011. 
Ward B Henry, Whipple C George. Fresh-Water Biology. Boston (USA): FH Gilson Company; 1918.

Week 1 10/18/11 and set up


Two species of plants were inserted into the microaquarium: Amblestegium sp. Moss, and Ultricularia gibba L. Also, a small layer of mud and silt from the water source was injected into the bottom of this environment and samples of the lower, middle, and higher water levels were taken into the aquarium. Amblestegium sp. Moss is at Natural Spring at Carters Mill Rd. Knox Country TN Partial Shade experiment. N3601.168 W 83 42.832. Utricularia gibba is further noted in the following text. The water sample used for these observations came from the Fountain City Duck Pond. West of Broadway at Cedar Lane. Knox Co. Knoxville TN Full sun exposure. Spring Feed Pond N36 02.087 W83 55.967 963 ft 10/9/2011. Water levels were increased in the aquarium up to within 2 cm from the top, then the apparatus was placed in the stand and a cover was secured to the top with two dots of sticky dough.

The apical meristem of Ultricularia gibba under 40X magnification.  These aquatic plants, commonly known as the common bladderwort, are carnivorous. The plant uses attractive yellow petals to lure its prey into a lethal trap.They are commonly found on the South shore of Spain lake N35055 12.35" W088020' 47.00 on Camp Bella Air Rd. East of Sparta TN White County, and they are also grown in water tanks in the outside greenhouse at the Haslam Business Building on the UTK campus Knox County Knoxville TN.

(USDA NRS 2011)
Smith 1950: Fig 132

Smith 1950: Fig 132
At the bottom of the microaquarium lies a small layer of mud and silt in which organisms take refuge. Among these organisms lies Cladophora sp., more commonly referred to as green alga. The preceding two pictures portray a single cell of Cladophora sp. The 10X magnification (top) shows a single cell of green alga protruding from the bottom layer of silt and mud, and the 40X magnification (bottom) gives a closer view of the cell. 

Of all the other organisms in the microaquarium, Nematoda is one of the smallest. Its tubular body shape allows this organism to contort and slither frantically in the water. While other organisms were viewed in multiplicity, only one Nematoda was spotted under 40X magnification.
                                     Pennak 1989: pg 228 Fig 1

Contrary to the tiny Nemotoda, the Ostrocoda (left) varies in size from small to one of the largest organisms in the micro aquarium environment. Also, the Ostracoda is quite populous with a count of over fifteen individuals and possibly multiple species within this aquatic environment. Ostracoda, a member of the class Crustacea, appears to use hair or spindle like structures, which protrude from both the front and back of the organism, as sensory and propeller appendages.

Smith 2001: fig 8.7

A specific species of Ostracoda, Ostracoda Cypridopsis sp., was identified. The obvious striped markings present on this organism (as seen through 40X top right) distinguishes it from other Ostracoda species.  As shown in the bottom right picture, Ostracoda Cypriopsis sp. also has spindle like structures protruding from its front, tho not any (of an obvious nature) from the back.

(Russell, Rainis 1996)