Last Father's Day, my Mom bought my Dad a new microscope. From a drawer in my office, I was able to resurrect some slides, pipettes, and other related paraphernalia. I also found a wooden box, filled i with prepared microscope slides I had made and used when I taught biology. They were all common things, textbook things, like Hydra and Cyclops, that are used all the time by biology instructors. But to Dad, they were anything but commonplace.

"All my life, Fve read about these varmints, but this is the first time I've actually seen them," he told me. He had collected his own pond water and looked at the usual household specimens, but he was now getting his first look at these creatures from a biological culture lab.

Dad was 83 at the time. For over 35 years, it had never occurred to me that he hadn't had a chance to make these kinds of observations. After all, it was I who had gone away to school. He had had no education beyond high school. As a boy, he was an avid amateur scientist, with a chemistry lab in the basement and the microscope his father had given him. He had just turned 17 by October of 1929 when the stock market crashed, and with it any hopes he had of going to college and studying science. Now we sat, he and

I, engrossed as we had been on the day so long ago when he had given me my first microscope, This time, I lectured while he peered into the eyepiece, enthralled — another ol life's pathways come full circle.

There are intriguing similarities between aquarium ecosystems and controlled terrestrial environments. A garden pond, for example, when properly executed becomes simply a very large planted freshwater aquarium. Vascular plants remove wastes and help to minimize algae growth; fishes feed on insects and plant matter, grow fat, and spawn, producing larvae that feed on microinvertebrates. The processes of biological filtration, denitrification, and assimilation are played out here as they are in the aquarium.

Controlled terrestrial environments, from the terrarium, or "Wardian case," to greenhouses, conservatories, and landscaped "natural" gardens, all exhibit features that coincide with circumstances found in aquariums. Encasement in a glass box is one reason why parasite infestations that seem insignificant in vast ocean ranges can be devastating in the aquarium. The parasites, like their hosts, are confined to an unnaturally circumscribed environment. The open sea, to a microorganism, is boundless and infinite in scope. In a relatively tiny aquarium, even one containing hundreds of gallons of water, parasite numbers can reach plague proportions quickly. Similarly, plants confined to a greenhouse may suffer infestations of insects that are seldom a serious problem for plants grown in the open. And just as the aquarist must

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The word aquarium originates from the ancient Latin language, aqua meaning water and the suffix rium meaning place or building. Aquariums are beautiful and look good anywhere! Home aquariums are becoming more and more popular, it is a hobby that many people are flocking too and fish shops are on the rise. Fish are generally easy to keep although do they need quite a bit of attention. Puppies and kittens were the typical pet but now fish are becoming more and more frequent in house holds. In recent years fish shops have noticed a great increase in the rise of people wanting to purchase aquariums and fish, the boom has been great for local shops as the fish industry hasnt been such a great industry before now.

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