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Our Wisconsin charter school uses scientific research and project-based learning as the focus of our curriculum. Project learning is based on a constructivist model of learning that engages you in real-world scholarly activity because you get to chose topics that interest you.
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Creating an Exotic Freshwater Fish Tank

Posted on January 5, 2012 by Clare N., 10th Grade

For one of my projects this year I am creating an exotic freshwater fish tank. I'm using a 30 gallon fish tank that hasn't been used in a while, so to get this project rolling, I had to get cleaning.

I started cleaning the aquarium by first taking out all the gravel using a little paper cup. While doing this I found two crawfish that seemed to have hid themselves away when the aquarium was last used, but didn't quite make it out when it was emptied. I'll spare you the details about them, but the garbage lady was not happy with me. I then washed all the old scum off of the aquarium glass, gave it a good dusting and let it soak for a while. Next I took the aquarium outside to dump out the water. I left the aquarium sitting upsidedown on the picnic tables outside for a while so that it could dry, but the water that was still inside froze instead. I repeated this process until I thought that the aquarium was clean enough. After that I got to clean the gravel which took about a day and a half. Finally, I put all the gravel back in, put in the decorations, and filled the aquarium up with water.

I needed to purchase a few things like a filter, heater, and of course the fish. I bought everything that I need for my project from Tropic Waters Pet Center. A big thank you to Tropic Waters for sponsoring my project with a generous discount! I got 6 fish: one African reed (commonly known as a rope fish), two rainbow sharks (they're really just catfish), and three different types of gourami (a pearl, gold, and opaline gourami).

I am proud to say the fish tank is ready for all to admire now. I keep a close eye on it for a number of different reasons. There is one risk I might be facing with the fish I chose. When I was talking to one of the store clerks at Tropic Waters about what fish I should choose for my aquarium, she told me that gouramis have sometimes been known to kill off all the other fish. I decided to stick with the gouramis any ways because there's only 50% chance of that happening and although 50% is still a fairly big chance the gouramis will also add a lot of color to the aquarium. I invite you to check out the aquarium-it is very colorful and lively.


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In the winter of 2011, Wildlands Charter School students began producing news stories for our website and an electronic email newsletter.

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