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Transcript of EcoColumn Lab
Some possible changes for this experiment could be to use a different type of fish, a different combination of decomposition material, and different plants and/or flowers and see if they effect the eco column.
Also making the ecocolumn larger could have a different effect on the plants and the fish.
Having this experiment go on for a longer period of time could also bring about different results.
The purpose of this lab was to determine if creating a man made, self-sustaining ecosystem would allow enough nutrients to let a fish live without food. Some real world connections would be all the life in the ocean today. Meaning that if a coral reef was to have their levels altered just a little bit by pollutants entering the water, then it puts the entire aquatic ecosystem in jeopardy.
Analysis of Data
The dissolved oxygen levels increased over the duration of the experiment, this could be due to an increased amount of photosynthesis (the addition of the bean plants on the top level). Ammonia is poisonous to fish if it accumulates in large amounts, because it prevents the fish from extracting energy. Interestingly, the ammonia levels did reach a rather high level on November 18 at 6ppm, but dramatically reduced to .25 ppm by the end of the experiment. This could have resulted from when we changed out half the water. This change could also be the lack of protein in the fish's diet which is a large factor in the production of ammonia.
Comet's New Life
If we set up the eco column correctly, and provide the necessary nutrients (sunlight, water, plants, decomposition materials) then the fish will survive because it will receive all that is necessary to support life.
Terrestrial ecosystems in this experiment included all the soil and decomposition layers. The first soil layer included beans that were planted in soil. The second layer was the decomposition layer and the third layer had sunflower plants.
The only aquatic ecosystem included was the miniature aquarium at the very bottom of the Ecocolumn.
Each layer contributed differently to the column. The layers with the plants helped to produce oxygen from the plants photosynthesizing. This helped to create enough oxygen for the fish to breathe in the aquarium.
Analysis of Data
January 24th, 2014
Sunflowers (originally planted)
Decomposition (dead leaves, dirt, banana peel, apple pieces, carrots, etc.)
Stanley the Snail
Comet the Male Betta fish
Gravel for aquarium
Plant for aquarium
Date D. O. Ammonia Nitrite Hardness Alkalinity pH Nitrate
10/30/2013 1ppm .5ppm 3 (Stress) 425 (Very Hard) 180 (Ideal) 7.6 200 (Stress)
11/8/2013 2ppm 3ppm 10 (Toxic) 250 (Ideal) 240 (Stress) 7.6 200 (Stress)
11/18/2013 2ppm 6ppm 10 (Toxic) 425 (Very Hard) 240 (Stress) 8.0 200 (Stress)
12/02/13 3ppm 1ppm 10 (Toxic) 425 (Very Hard) 240 (Stress) 7.6 200 (Stress)
12/13/2013 3ppm .25ppm 3 (Stress) 425 (Very Hard) 300 (Harmful) 8.4 200 (Stress)
Stanley the Snail
LOTS of bean Growth!
The increase in nitrite levels can be attributed to an increased amount of fish waste and rotting vegetation(decomposition layer). The pH level changed throughout the experiment but remained at a fairly healthy level in order to support aquatic life. This is reflected in the small variance in alkalinity levels which remained at safe enough levels. Overall, the water proved to be safe, because the fish survived. What makes our eco column different from others is that we had mold growing in the decomposition layer rather early on in the experiment. We also had very successful bean plants. This growth is what could have resulted in the prolonged life of Comet because he was getting a steady and plentiful supply of Oxygen from the photosynthesizing plants.
Some possible errors are not creating a large enough chamber for the flowers to grow and over watering the sunflowers in the beginning preventing them from growing.
Another error that could have skewed the data collection was when the water was halfway drained and changed for fresh water.