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You Need An Aquarium

Any family trying to instil some scientific curiosity in their children–or themselves–will benefit from setting up an aquarium.

Plus, you know how serious conversations are always easier in the car, because you don’t have to look at each other? I feel like watching an aquarium is the same idea. Many of the tough conversations I had with my folks–Dad, especially–were sitting in front of the 20 gallon guppy tank out in his office.

Fish are often thought of as lower-stakes pets than, say, a dog, but this may just be based on our getting less emotional about them. They are still sentient creatures, capable of suffering, so consider your ability to provide decent care for an aquarium before you adopt living creatures.

An invertebrate-only tank, like a shrimp tank, can still be a bustling hive of activity and color, without the commitment of adopting vertebrates. If you expect a youth to provide all necessary effort to keep a tank thriving, there may be benefits to starting with an invert tank.

Planned Table of Contents:

Setting Up A Tank From Scratch, Cheaply or At Cost

Intro To Tank Chemistry & Nutrient Cycling


Finally Ready for Fish

Maintenance and The Future

Supplemental Hobbies

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Aquarium Science – Setting up Freshwater Aquaria


I plan for this to be a significant focus on, so get ready. Really, every family will benefit from adding an aquarium or three, especially with kids of all ages. Let’s learn together!

I’ve bought this sponge filter for half the tanks in my house:

And I run the aquarium airline via these, and don’t have a strong preference yet:

So far, this is the single greatest nano lighting system I’ve ever used, and is great for aquariums under 10 gallons:

It’s Bluetooth-enabled, so you can use your phone to adjust the light cycle. Sunrise for 15 minutes, starting at 6 AM every day? Done! Sunrise at 7 PM for half an hour while you read bedtime books? Easy-peazy!

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Science Fiction Resources

Lots of books open


I’m organizing these resources specifically for the Science Fiction club I’m starting via Outschool, but feel free to read anything in any season

First Up:

You really oughta be on – you can search by author, award, and more!

August 2020

If we meet as soon as August 2020, we’ll discuss Flowers for Algernon

September 2020

I love Heinlein like I love food, even if some of it is, err, dated.

Let’s read some of the free stories in Expanded Universe

October 2020

It’s Halloween season! Let’s read Frankenstein!

November 2020

I’m actually surprised it took this long for us to get to Flatland, by Edwin A. Abbott

Yet Unscheduled…

The Time Machine, by HG Wells

More to Come…

Stuff I Really Wanna Read But Haven’t Found For Free

Rite of Passage, by Alexei Panshin (1968)

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card (1985)

The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton (1969)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (1st novel 1979)

Recommendations readily accepted! Comment below!