Because of Giving Tuesday, the Wilmington College biology department was able to obtain a unique opportunity: an impressive fish tank that serves as both a learning opportunity and a fascinating attraction.
“The fish tank has multiple purposes. One is to engage students and generate interest in biology by presenting them with organisms they may never encounter otherwise. We will also use the aquarium for several classes—we can take samples and observe numerous microscopic organisms that live on and around the corals,” said Elliott Zieman, an assistant professor of biology.
Currently, the fish tank has a wide variety of life in it that the students can learn about. Inside of the aquarium are two clown fish, four blue chromis, two watchmen gobies, one starry blenny, one pistol shrimp, one arrow crab, and a condylactis anemone. All of these fish are easy to care for and are reef compatible. Additionally, these animals are still relatively small, even at maximum growth—this ensures that all of the fish have enough room to remain healthy.
“We will be adding more as time goes on. Right now, we started with smaller, hardier fish to ensure the system is stable,” said Zieman.
Elena Suggs, a biology major, is excited to have the aquarium on campus: “This is a great way for students to learn about marine ecosystems without having to leave the school. Plus, it is just fun to look at.”
Zieman and the other biology professors are interested in developing a Marine Biology Club. They are looking for interested students to join. Students do not need to be a biology major to join.
“The goals of the club will be to familiarize students with marine biology and specifically with maintaining a marine system. Students will be involved in the care and maintenance of the aquarium to gain hands-on experience with this type of setup.” said Zieman.
The aquarium is 125 gallons with an additional 30-gallon filtration tank. The maintenance schedule is simple; daily, there is feeding, checking the water level, and emptying the filter, if needed. Then, three times a week the algae are cleaned off the glass and the salt deposits are wiped down. Weekly, the water chemistry is tested, and then monthly, 10 percent of the water is changed, the sand is siphoned, and the filtration equipment is cleaned.