Go Fish: Saltwater Tanks Teaching Responsibility

Students in fourth, fifth, and sixth grade were given the opportunity during the second trimester to participate in a saltwater tank elective course. Led by P.E. teacher, “Coach” Taylor Harnden, the students have created and are maintaining a beautiful 125 gallon saltwater tank in Mrs. Fackler’s science classroom.

As a recently discovered hobby, Coach Harnden felt it would be an interesting and valuable elective course to bring to the school. “I’ve learned a lot from a community of friends I’ve recently connected with in a saltwater group. They’ve been very supportive of my efforts to help educate children in this hobby and donated our 125 gallon tank, power heads, filters, and lights so we could have a successful tank in the classroom.”

The students began by building the rockscape and plumbing the tank’s interior.  After the addition of water and fish, they now test the water, clean the tank, and add new elements as they continue to learn about the many aspects of saltwater tanks.

“I like doing the testing,” said fifth grader, Will H. “We take samples of water, mix in some chemicals, and wait for color results that tell us the PH, nitrates, magnesium, and alkalinity.”

The students also know they are responsible for the living things inside the tank. Currently, there are 15 fish, several snails and crabs, as well as a sea anemone (that will eat some fish) and many types of coral.  They feed the fish seaweed, shrimp, and fish flakes, and have learned about the different species - how they interact, their behavior, and preferences.

All are welcome to visit the classroom to observe the sea life in action and to learn a little about saltwater tanks.