After a couple of days, I decided to hand off the tank to my partner Daniel Morrow as we are both going to be using aiptasia as our species in question. While there we noticed the water was cold so we took some of the water from the tank and warmed it in the stove and poured it back in. We have now been advised not to do this. To help ensure the longevity of our colony we went to White Coral store again to find adequate supplies.
We purchased a pH test kit, a thermometer for the side of the tank, a refractometer to test the salinity, 2 air pumps and a green pipe to keep the water from being still, brine shrimp or artemia eggs to assist in feeding the aiptasia, and finally, sea salt to create artificial seawater (may have to use a new seawater for experiments since it comes with bacteria which could be a confounding variable)
With this being said, for the tanks, we are using clear bottles (especially for the brine shrimp hatchery,) clear food containers, and a clear tank that was gifted. To heat the tanks we are now going to use the ambient room temperature alongside the setting next to a radiator to provide additional heat. After reading these instructions (1) and (2) we will try to keep our tanks around 77 degrees Fahrenheit if possible.
Once the supplies were obtained we added the pumps to the tanks and set up the brine shrimp hatchery.
We have already started to separate the aiptasia from the rocks to isolate them in their own tank. There were some issues with separating the aiptasia so Daniel used tweezers to pluck out some and pipettes for others. The bigger aiptasia have a bit more suction to the rock making it difficult to detach them so Daniel may try to use a turkey baster to suck them. Once the aiptasia grows a bit more we will feed the brine shrimp and then cut up the aiptasia so that they can grow and become a larger colony. Once we have this larger colony we should be back in school around February 1st, 2021 to start conducting our experiments.
I think I am getting closer to figuring out my research question. Ideally, I would have 3 groups, the first group is aiptasia living off of brine shrimp, the second group is aiptasia living off of the symbiosis with the dinoflagellates AKA only food is light, and then a mixture of light and brine shrimp to see how growth factors are affected. This was inspired by the paper Aiptasia as a Model Reveal Symbiont Selection paper conducted at the Guse Lab as it states “Likewise, how long-term hosting of foreign organisms affects host and symbiont cell physiologies, including gene expression, nutrient transfer, cell organization, and cell division, is largely unclear.”