Long term biology project


New member
Hi to one and all at Reef Central,

I am a grade 12 high school student who is going to be doing a major project in Biology worth 15 percent of my grade. My father is planning a reef aquarium and our discussions made me think that topics within reef aquariums could be a source of ideas for my major project.

I will be doing the biology project over the course of the upcoming five month semester. Because of cost only one tank is feasible (budget for start up cost is $400 but my dad will use what I buy for a quarantine or refugium tank when done) but I could compare:

Different methods of filtration over time, lighting each half of the tank with different bulbs, and as well as varying the temperature of the tank and measuring how the chemistry changes.

My thought is to have a smaller tank (possibly 20 gallons) mostly because of cost. I realize the systems will be more unstable, but I will be monitoring the tank daily anyways to have reliable data.

I do not have any experience with salt water aquariums, but my neighbor has over 600g of tanks and will be a great resource. The aquariums will not be abandoned after the project is completed because my father has been wanting to switch over to salt water aquariums for several months now and will be more than happy to have them.

The first stage of the project is research to create a detailed plan for the experiment. So if there is any links which would be a good resource please comment them.

Does anyone have any suggestions for possible experiment setups? I realize I do not have any experience with salt water tanks and you all would have a much better I idea about what I could test. Any suggestions at all would greatly be appreciated.


New member
I've seen posts where people have issues with something very specific, where other people have no problem at all, like keeping chaeto (I can't, while it grows like mad for others) and xenia, which I grow like no tomorrow while others struggle with it. I'm sure there's other examples, but these are 2 common issues I've seen...maybe try to hone in on the best conditions for something troublesome to thrive?

Or, find a way to make a very common issue go away - cyano, or even other types of algae (I'm having a fight with cyano and hair algae)- these cause real issues in our tanks!

You can also adjust flow rates and depth of the item in question inside the tank - keep it on the bottom, place it in the middle, or put it up top.

Best of luck and welcome...I never thought I'd be in the science field when I was doing projects way back when, but here I am now as a research assistant in a lab :)


New member
That sounds like a great idea!
I was also thinking of trying one filtration system for a month (Berlin) and algae scrubbers for another month. I could compare how stable the chemical levels are and what the growth rates of different organisms inside the tank are under the two different methods of filtration. Then using the method of filtration that works better I could have one type of light source on one half of the tank and one type of light source on the other half of the tank and compare growth again.

gone fishin

New member
There are some very good stickies in the reef chemistry forum, you may find of interest. A lot of them were written by an actual chemist. Good luck on your project.