Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 5

Welcome back Microblogarium readers! Today we continue our observations in Week 5 of the experiment.

Today's observations began with some new macrofauna (macro in my microaquarium, anyway :D), Annelids! I don't know where these guys have been hiding, but today they were all over the place!

Along with the many annelids, there were quite a few Paramecium hanging out.

These guys are unique for the green parts are chloroplasts they have acquired (Patterson 1996).

A rotifer was also spotted, but pictures were tough to get, he was in the soil for much of the observation.

A new find is Raphidiophrys.

This little protozoa was floating around near some paramesium and the annelids.

During observation, several vorticella were still present in the same area.

While I trying to capture Raphidiophrys on camera, he floated into the opening of vorticella, and was snatched up!

Finally, I spotted another diatom. It wasn't Surirella, from week one. This rod shaped diatom is difficult to identify.

Check back next week for my final observation!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Week 3

Hello Microblogarium readers! It is currently week 4 of our experiment, but I am posting observations from Thursday, October 31st today. I was in sunny, warm, Tampa, Florida for the end of last week and the beginning of this one, sorry to keep you waiting!

Lets get right into it: Today we saw an explosion of activity after the addition of the beta food tablet. The food tablet was added on October 28th. The following information about the tablet is from Mcfarland, 2013:

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

Upon my first view through the microscope I was assaulted with a view of TONS of what appeared to be small, unicellular organisms. Mcfarland identified them as Colpidium:

Swimming through the sea of Colpidium we found a very nice rotifer.
He was moving by gripping with the 'toes' you see extended out behind him. He would grab with them and scrunch like an inch worm then push himself forward. (Donner 1956).

And now an update from week 1's blog post!

Remember this guy? He was finally identified as a diatom algae known as Surirella (Lund, 1995)! Unfortunately, he might not have made it. He has not been observed since week one. Sorry big guy!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Donner, J.  1956. Rotifers. Great Britain: Butler & Tanner Ltd.

Lund-Canter H, Lund JWG. 1995. Freshwater Algae: their microscopic world explored. Bristol (England): Biopress Ltd.

McFarland, Kenneth [Internet] Botany 111 Fall 2013. [cited 2013 October 28]. Available from

Patterson, DJ. 1996. Free Living Freshwater Protozoa; A Color Guide. London (UK): Wolfe Publishing Ltd.

Sacramento Splash [Internet]. [SACS] Crustaceans; 2013 [cited 2013 October 28]. Available from:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 2

It is week two of my microaquarium project and things are getting interesting.

The first creature to be spotted this week is a paramesium.

This little guy is called a ciliate, because of the hair like follicles that surround the organism and allow it to move about. The green dots scattered about his body are chloroplasts that he has picked up along his way (McFarland 2013).

Next up is Vorticella.

This single celled organism is also a ciliate, though the only cilia it has are in a wreath around its mouth parts. These cilia function as feeders rather than in a transport capacity (Patterson 1996). The stalk extending from the main body anchors Vorticella but can also be detached when the organism wants to move about. Any disturbance to my microaquarium caused this little guy to collapse and essentially disappear! (McFarland 2013)

A very nice diagram of Vorticella from Free Living Freshwater Protozoa shows the position of the cilia and the stalk.

And finally, we have my favorite creature to be spotted so far; the seed shrimp!

That picture looks a little like I spotted a UFO... Lets see if we can get a closer look...

Ahh, there we go! The seed shrimp is a very interesting creature. From the class Ostracada, it is a relative of the common crustacean, the sea shrimp. They both have hard shells that enclose a softer body. In this guy's case, his shell is shaped like a seed, hence the name seed shrimp. Around the opening it looks like once again we are going to see cilia, but in fact those are leg like appendages complete with tiny claws for scavenging food (SACS 2013). One final picture to get a really good look at those appendages:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 1

In the first week of our microaquarium project we set the initial conditions for our experiments. For my microaquarium I chose to use a water source from a pool below the spring in Fountain City Park (#12) west of Broadway at Hotel Ave in Knoxville, Tennessee. Full coordinate data is N36 02.253 W83 55.986 990ft. The water was collected on 10/9/2013 and placed in the aquarium on  10/15/2013 (Mcfarland, 2013)

To the basic aquarium two plants were added. The first was Utricularia gibba.
As the card states, this is a carnivorous plant. There are black nodules on the plant that traps and digests water fauna.

Also added to the aquarium was Fontinalis sp moss.
This gave the microaquarium its final look.
During the initial observation several small organisms were spotted. One, a rotifer, was too quick to snap a picture and identify! But this guy was a little slower moving:

He's pretty neat. Stay tuned for identification!
UPDATED: Identified as a diatom algae Surirella. See week 3 for more details!