1. Welcome to the shiny new site! Please have a look around and let us know how its working for you. Please note that all returning members will need to reset your passwords to login again. Click on "forgot password" to reset your password. Thanks
    Dismiss Notice

2012 Project #3: Little Fish

Discussion in 'MASC Science Fair Competition' started by hurrafreak, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. hurrafreak

    hurrafreak Orca M.A.S.C Club Member

    Little Fish, please post:

    What your project will be
    How/where you will research this

    Any other relevant information or questions you feel the judges will need to know or answer. Any posts that don't come from judges or entrants will be deleted.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2012
  2. little_fish

    little_fish Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    Project: Test the effect of varied diet of food when compared to a diet of just brine shrimp, which is commonly sold at LFS as the sole food source for saltwater fish.

    Experiment setup:
    1. one 14 gal tank, divided into two sections by egg crating or bird netting. A solid barrier between the two sides will be inserted down the center at feeding times.
    2. Live rock and hermits crabs with an assortment of snails will serve as the CUC. Macro algae may also be used.
    3. Water changes will be performed as needed, keeping nitrate level below 20 ppm
    4. Amount of flow to be determined, but aimed at a turned over of 25x per hour.
    5. Lighting will be stock tank hood
    6. Tank will be heated with standard heater with the temperature to be maintained at 78 +/- 1 degF

    Experiment Subjects:
    Two clowns from the same hatching and kept in the same environment will be chosen for the experiment. Preference will be given to an orange & white variety. They will be selected at an age that should experience rapid growth. One on each side of the barrier.

    Method:
    The clowns will (hopefully) be feed twice a day. One clown will only be fed brine shrimp (brand to be selected) the other will be feed Elite's mixed food blend. They will be allowed to eat as much as they wish and then the leftovers will be removed 15 minutes later.
    Once a week the clowns will be removed and weighed. If its possible they will also be measured and their color assed. Weekly photographs will also be taken.

    Research:
    I have a few books here, but due to time constraints I will be mostly limited to what I can find on the internet. I would like to find the nutrient content of the brine shrimp and Elite's mixed food blend, if its not published, I might look into sending a sample off to a lab to be analyzed.



    Comments, questions, concerns? What have I not thought about yet?
     
  3. spracklcat

    spracklcat Copepod

    So far this is a nice simple experiment, well thought out. Your variable is clear, goal is clear, etc. The only thing I might change is to use three fish per feeding regimen rather than one. When you work in biological systems (as opposed to chemical ones) you need to plan for a certain amount of variability in the way your organism behaves, so it is always best to average out your results over several replicates. Triplicate is standard, but even two fish per condition is better than one.
     
  4. little_fish

    little_fish Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    If I divide the tank up enough to keep 6 clowns each fish is only going to have 2 x 10 in space to live in. Will they be fine in that size area for 4 months?
     
  5. spracklcat

    spracklcat Copepod

    I think it would be ok for you to keep 2 sets of three, as long as you are feeding each time enough that you have leftovers--this way you know each fish has eaten what it wants. Be careful to look for behavioral problems though--make sure no one is beating up on anyone else. Give them shelter. It's not ideal, but it will work.
     
  6. little_fish

    little_fish Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    According to advice from Zooid (why is his post not showing up?) I should only do 2 sets. But I think I can configure the tank so that I can 3 sets (so 6 fish total) with more room for each fish.
     
  7. hurrafreak

    hurrafreak Orca M.A.S.C Club Member

    Have to make sure that this is kept only to judges and entrants so it doesn't get convuluted.
     
  8. little_fish

    little_fish Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    Ah, well if any extraneous person has a comment or an idea, you can pm them to me so I can see :)
     
  9. spracklcat

    spracklcat Copepod

    Why only two sets?
     
  10. little_fish

    little_fish Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    due to size constraints, but I think I can get 3 in there.
     
  11. little_fish

    little_fish Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    Ok, so I spent the afternoon playing with tank, and I can only fit two sets of clown in there. While I know this isnt ideal, any smaller space for the clowns would be unethical and cruel. The only thing I can think of is to put a pair of clown in one of the compartments, but then the interaction of the pair could also effect the growth of the two clowns. I have asked Zooid and Ummfish to comment on that.

    Hopefully I will be picking up the clowns next week to start the experiment.

    By what date do we need to finish our experiment?
     
  12. mpedersen

    mpedersen Copepod

    Let me jump in here and suggest this. First you need to establish the actual tank - you can do a fishless cycle while discussing this project further.

    Second, allow me to be blunt and show you an image of how clownfish are stocked in rearing systems:

    [​IMG]

    The reality is that regular partial water changes (i.e. weekly 25-50%) and appropriate filtration are all that is required....it is not uncommon to have 5-10 clownfish juveniles per GALLON of water in a growout system as a breeder. There is nothing unethical about it.

    The next thing to consider is that Christine is right on track when she talks about raising the sample size. What you will find if you simply divide the fish into 2 sets of 2 is that you'll wind up with a single dominant and submissive fish in each group. This will cause one fish to grow much faster than another.

    My advice is to seek out a person who is breeding clownfish in the area. Hopefully this person can make available to you a decent group (perhaps a dozen) 3-4 month old Ocellaris clownfish (they should be at the 1" size at that point). You'll be able to conduct a trial without any issues, and if you have 6 fish on each side of the divider, you'll have a much more meaningful result. I don't know how much time you have to work with personally, but I do know that such an experiment is going to show more noticable results the longer you're able to run it.

    I look at this and don't see how 3 sets makes sense unless you were testing food. Thus, 2 sets (food a and food b) makes more sense. I do wonder about the actual "control", as this is just a case of which food performs better. Now, more tanks with more fish to increase sample sizes would increase the validity of the data you collect. All said, 6 fish on each side is better than 3, and 3 is better than 2, and 2 is better than one. You have to remember that genetically, there are fish that will simply grow faster...having nothing to do with the food. James Fatheree's book on Giant Clams shows a really good demonstration of this, where all clams, all siblings, reared together under the same conditions, exhibit a distribution of growth rates. Since your fish are not genetically identical, you could quite easily end up with a "super fast grower" on the brine shrimp side, and a runt on the "premium food" side.

    Another concern - feeding to saturation throws in another variable - fish A may simply be able to consume more than fish B. Or Food A is more palatable than Food B. What are you going to do to counteract that?
     
  13. little_fish

    little_fish Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    This issue has already been solved. There will be four clowns for each food group. And the tank was set up a few weeks ago. I will hopefully be picking up the clowns this weekend.

    Also the clowns will be given a week to adjust to their food group, if one doesnt seem to eat or there is a problem, then it will be exchanged.

    Also in charting their growth, I was going to look at the change in their body weight as percent, that would normalize how much eat fish can eat and their actual size.
     
  14. spracklcat

    spracklcat Copepod

    Sounds good!
     
  15. little_fish

    little_fish Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    Ok, so picture time!

    Here is the tank setup. The eggcrate is covered by a really fine mesh to keep them separated.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And here are the fish!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. little_fish

    little_fish Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Fish are in the following compartments
    7,8 - in the filter compartment
    5,6 - to the right of the filter compartment
    1,2 - below the filter compartment
    3,4 - far right from the filter compartment

    The official experiment will be begin Thursday with the first weigh in. The time between now and then will be to let everyone adjust to the tank and feeding style.

    To account for the fact each fish will grow a little different just because of its genetics, its dominant or submissive favor, etc the percent change in body weight will be calculated and used to compare each fish's growth.

    % change = (new body weight - old body weight) / old body weight

    Growth will be measured with a jeweler's scale that measure to 0.1 grams. Weekly photos will also be taken to asses coloring and so I can keep track of their changing markings.

    Depending on what the results show, after a period of some months, the diets will be switched to hopefully show a switch in trends as well.
     
  17. hurrafreak

    hurrafreak Orca M.A.S.C Club Member

    I've had multiple people ask me about timelines for their projects. Here is the timeline copied from the original science fair thread. All project need to be finished by the meeting that takes place in June. This gives the judges a few weeks to collaborate on who they think will be the winner, plus gives the sponsors time to book everything for the winner. I will copy this in all of the science fair project threads.
    TIMELINE!

    1. There would be a 2 month period for people to submit to the judges what their experiment will be about. This will also include a detailed report about how they plan on researching and doing the experiment. This should end at the end of January.

    ------------------The judges would then give them ideas/comments on what they are presented with, at the end of the period. Basically, to guide/coach them to do things that will make their projects successfull. This is probably the biggest and best change. Last year, the special judges were not there to help coach you along the process, and thus were not able to give a concise opinion about what they were looking for. This process would immediately began after #1 and would take about 1 month. This should take us to the end of February

    2. There would then be another 4 month period for you to actually get the experiment done. This would also give you the opportunity to create your formal project, as well as your formal project packet, including pictures, reports, etc. This should take us to the end of June.

    ------------------The judges would then judge all of the final projects and pick the winner. The winner will NOT be announced until all of the RHM and MACNA details are worked out.
     
  18. hurrafreak

    hurrafreak Orca M.A.S.C Club Member

    The end of February signifies the end of the judges "coaching" process. Please do not wait until then to get your experiments going. SO, what this means is if you have any question, or comments about your project that you would like to get an opinion on from the judges, it needs to be soon! The judges have asked a lot of questions, hopefully you all are answering them, and taking their opinions/comments into consideration as they ultimately will be sending you to MACNA 2012 with $500 CASH in your hand!!

    I also have had a few requests from the judges so I'm her to oblige.

    Please come up with an "elevator pitch" for your project. Basically what that means is that they would like to see 1-3 sentences on what your project is, and why (nice idea Rich :) ). Short and sweet.

    Also let's try and see if you can get started on your official format.

    Objective
    Hypothesis
    Experiment
    Variable
    Results
    Conclusion

    I understand that some of those things won't be able to be filled out until the conclusion of the project, but it may be nice to fill it out with what you do have at the moment. (thanks Christine :) )
     
  19. melev

    melev Copepod

    I don't understand why you have four compartments rather than only two.
     
  20. little_fish

    little_fish Prawn M.A.S.C Club Member

    So that there would be pairs instead of a quartet. Out of each pair, one will clearly grow bigger than the others, and this was to allow the larger ones to be compared to the larger ones on the other food.

    However, they are true precs and there is very little difference between the males and females. Not enough growth difference for me to see in this experiment. Also they seem to be more comfortable in groups of 4. I keep finding little jail breakers in the morning. Im not sure how they are jail breaking, so more fine-tuning of the tank will happen this week. Im considering removing the extra barriers.

    Also I will be waiting an additional week before starting the experiment, they are getting the hang of the feeding routine, but I want them to be solid before starting.
     

Share This Page