Coming soon to an academic journal near you: the evolution of Icterid gestural displays
I can’t believe it. I’ve just taken my first step toward becoming a scientist: my first published paper, and in Evolution no less! This manuscript is the result of a project I hopped on after the data were already collected, tasked with interpreting the results and weaving them into a biological narrative.
It’s been an absolute journey crafting this manuscript and such an honor to work on the project in the first place. I hope somebody out there will read this paper and come away with a greater appreciation for an overlooked mode of display in songbirds.
Even if you don’t have university journal access, the article will be open source for your enjoyment, critique, bored eyerolls, etc.!
Working on a certain AU since I’ve thought of some really interesting theories :3 And yesss, that’s Sans as kid. Comparing two different ages is fabulously fun! Now I SERIOUSLY GOTTA DRAG MY BUTT TO BED.
How did you start your fish tank? I'd ;like to start one up myself but I have no idea where to start... Any tips or pointers?
Hello there anon! Thank you for the ask :DD
I’ve got tons of tips and pointers for ya :3 Below I’ll explain the basics of fishkeeping, the stuff that generally applies to all freshwater fish tanks like the basic supplies you’ll need to gather and explain the nitrogen cycle! (I’m not sure about saltwater stuff, though, as I haven’t gotten into that part of the hobby…yet ;p) The species you want to keep will dictate the specifics of your tank, beyond the basics, though, so keep that in mind going forward! :)
The Basic Supplies: - Tank - Filter - Heater/Chiller (if required) - Thermometer - Substrate (optional) - Décor/Hides - Water Test Kit
Tanks: Choose a tank that is sufficient in size for the species you plan on keeping! Long tanks are almost always better than tall tanks, as fish swim side-to-side and not up-and-down :) If this is your first ever fish tank, I’d start out with a fish tank no smaller than 5 or 10 gallons, if not larger! Larger volumes of water hold a stable cycle more easily! :)
Filtration: There are three main types of filtration: mechanical/physical, biological, and chemical. Mechanical filtration is what filters out particles from the water, large or small. Biological filtration refers to the nitrifying bacteria that perform the nitrogen cycle! Chemical filtration is filtration that helps to take certain chemicals out of the water.
Types of Filters: - Hang-On-Back (HOB) filters hang on the lip of the tank. They have a ‘media basket’ where the filter media goes (usually cartridges). If you buy a filter that requires filter cartridges, I recommend replacing those with a ceramic media, sponge media, or both since you’ll have to replace the cartridge eventually and that can disrupt your cycle. Fluval AquaClear filters are a great HOB filter for larger tanks, and come with sponge (physical, biological filtration), ceramic (biological filtration), and carbon media (chemical filtration)!
- Sponge filters are great for fish and other aquatic animals that prefer (or require) low-flow! These filters are basically blocks of sponge hooked up to an air pump. The air pump forces air up through the sponge, creating a vacuum that sucks up particles (mechanical filtration) and water (biological filtration). The air is forced out the top of the sponge, creating bubbles that agitate the surface, aiding in gas exchange!
-Canister filters are like HOB filters on steroids. Instead of a ‘media basket’ you get a literal ‘media bucket’ (biological, chemical, mechanical filtration). A canister filter (also called an external filter) is placed somewhere outside the tank, and doesn’t hang on the lip like a HOB does. Its great if you don’t want to see your filter or if you need a ton of filtration for a larger tank :p Mini canister filters also exist, if you’d like one for a smaller tank :)
- Undergravel Filters are something I’ve heard pretty mixed reviews about, and I’ve never personally used one. They’re usually grated, plastic, thin hollow block filters that you put under the substrate of your aquarium (I believe gravel works best with these filters, as I assume using sand or another small-particle substrate would fall into the filter? someone please correct me if I’m wrong .-.). They may provide enough surface area for nitrifying bacteria (biological filtration) if you have a very small bioload, or if you could fill them with some type of media…these are probably the most painful to clean, though, since you’d have to take apart your entire tank…
Heaters & Chillers: Your fish may require a heater or chiller! If they do, its for good reason. Fish are ectothermic (like reptiles), meaning that they rely on their environment to help them regulate body temperature. (Humans like you and me are endothermic, meaning that we can produce our own body heat/regulate our body’s temperature.)
A fish that is too cold will become lethargic, stressed, and may refuse to eat. Temperature affects bodily processes as well, such as digestion, circulation, and metabolism regulation. Temperatures that are colder will slow down these bodily processes and warmer temperatures will usually do the opposite. Because improper temperature is stressful for any fish, they will experience a suppressed immune system as well, and will be more susceptible to illnesses as a result :/ Some fish require heaters/higher temperatures to function properly (Bettas, tetras, other tropical fish). Some fish require no heater, or the addition of chiller, to function properly (goldfish, minnows, danios).
As a general rule of thumb, heaters should be 5-10 watts per gallon. Adjustable heaters are always more reliable than non-adjustable heaters. Adjustable heaters also usually have thermostats, so they turn on and off automatically to ensure that the aquarium’s temperature stays constant(ish). Usually you don’t need a chiller unless you’re keeping a temperate- or cold-water species and where you live it doesn’t get below the high 70s all year.
Thermometer: Yes it’s necessary! You need to be able to monitor what temperature your tank is, whether you have a heater, chiller, or neither :) Even if you have an adjustable heater with a thermostat, it may not be accurate to +/-1 degree. Avoid those strip-sticker thermometers. They’re not very accurate :/ You can buy glass ones at Walmart for about 1.50$ though! :p
Substrate: There are lots of different substrates to choose from! Gravel, sand, plant substrate (like fluorite), or no substrate at all! Some substrates are ‘inert’ (don’t affect pH or other parameters) some substrates are ‘active’ (affect pH or other parameters). Some aquatic species have a very specific range of pH/KH/GH, like shrimp, and may require substrates that help you achieve that range of values. Some species require certain substrates for their health and safety, like corydoras, which require sand (or barebottom) as gravel and other rough substrates can cut up their tummies or injure their barbels. If the species you keep doesn’t require any special substrate, then choose whatever substrate you like best! It’s your tank! Have fun with it! :)
Décor: One of the funnest (idc if funnest isn’t a word *3*) part of setting up an aquarium is decorating it!! Some fish have delicate fins (like bettas) that require either live or silk (material, non-plastic) plants and décor devoid of sharp edges. Hides are also important. Providing adequate caves and cover for your fish to hide in/feel safe in/explore is the functional aspect of décor. Make sure you’re meeting your animal’s needs :) Other than making sure that your décor is safe and functional for the creatures you plan to keep, go full ham!! Crazy color gravel with wacky colors and glow in the dark caves or an aquascaped, planted tank with driftwood and rocks! :D
Water Test Kit: In order for you to maintain the health of your fish, you’ll need to know what your water parameters are :) You should at least test for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, and pH. You may need to test for other things like copper, KH, or GH depending on the species you’re keeping. A liquid test kit (like the API Freshwater Master Kit) is easy to read and very accurate :) (plus you get to use test tubes n stuff…like the lil fish scientist you are *3*)
The Nitrogen Cycle!
*ALL* fish (yes that includes bettas…and all animals for that matter) produce waste. Because all aquatic animals produce waste, they require (biological) filtration of some sort to process that waste.
Fish produce waste in the form of ammonia. Ammonia is toxic above 0ppm (parts per million). So you’ve got all this ammonia floating around in the water, right? and you’ve got water running through your filter…so these bacteria start growing all over your fish tank, wherever there’s water flow, but we want to concentrate on the bacteria that are growing in your filter media. This bacteria will be processing the waste that your fish or aquatic animal produces :)
So your fish produced some waste, and it’s floating around in the water as ammonia. The first bacteria (#1) that grows will ‘eat’ the ammonia and then ‘poop’ out nitrites.
Nitrites are also toxic to aquatic animals above 0ppm though :/ so then another bactiera (#2) grows and it ‘eats’ these nitrites that are floating around in the water and ‘poops’ out nitrates.
If you have live plants, they will use some of the ammonia, nitrite, and/or nitrates in the water as nutrients :) Some plants will use more than others, as some plants are heavy root feeders, some are floaters, and some prefer to be somewhere in the water column. (note: live plants SHOULD NOT totally replace water changes! water changes are still necessary even for planted tanks :3)
To recap: Fish waste (ammonia) -> bacteria #1 -> nitrite -> bacteria #2 -> nitrate -> water change
If you have any other questions, Anon, please send me a message or another ask!! :)
If anyone would like to add onto this, or if corrections need to be made, please reblog/comment/let me know! :)
Play day! Jimjim is building a tribble fort, Bonesy is being buried alive and Spocko is studying the tribble like a good lil’ scientist. And Amanda is enjoying herself immensely.
Sarek: t’hy’la I left for one hour and suddenly our home is invaded by furry extraterrestrials. How.