This has been the most exciting two weeks so far in the duration of this project. This is because all of my materials arrived, so I was able to start to assemble my experiment. This also meant that all of my knowledge about my experiment and my procedure because I needed to properly compile all of my materials and place everything with intention and purpose.
The first thing that happened was assembling the filters and make sure that all of the other electronics were functioning properly before it came time to put everything together. After all of the minor things were assembled, I drove to an aquarium supply store to pick up the two tanks from William’s Greenbank Aquarium. This meant that I was able to meet someone who was in the field that I was studying, which is going to be very important when I start my job search to have a large networking ability. This also gave me an opportunity to see the set up that the owner had been using for his corals. This was good to see what was working for him and what wasn’t.
After I brought the tanks back to Westtown, I was able to start planning and work out any kinks or flaws in the process. The first problem was that the water source that we used for the original tank filling process was from the Science Center. This meant that there was an extremely toxic (to corals) level of copper in the water. This was very worrying because it is not very easy to take copper out of water. However, after leaving the filters running in one of the tanks for two days, the carbon dusting in the filter cartridges was able to remove the copper COMPLETELY. This meant that we were able to continue with our experiment setup. You can see the difference between the tank that had the filter running in the following photo.
The next thing that needs to happen is getting and perfecting the salinity and ammonia in the water. Once we have four-six weeks of stable water, we are going to be able to purchase and insert corals. However, many things still need to happen, such as filling in the tanks with substrate, setting up a platform to mount the corals, assembling the light fixtures, perfecting the lighting settings, and monitoring the overall cleanliness of the two tanks.