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1 Equipment Question and 2 Specimen Handling Questions

 
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Mitch640



Joined: 15 Aug 2010
Posts: 2137

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:02 am    Post subject: 1 Equipment Question and 2 Specimen Handling Questions Reply with quote

I have a dual gooseneck fiber optic halogen light pipe that I use for both my stereo scope and my Fluophot.

The other day I came across a site that sells fiberoptics and equipment and mentioned how the ends were dressed up to guarantee the best data and light transfer from the end of the fiber to whatever it is connected to.

So I looked at the ends of my twin lightpipe, and noticed they are covered in either fine scratches, or the ends are frosted on purpose. If I look at the single end while the two other ends are aimed a light, I can see the makeup of the bundles fine, but it's not like looking through clean glass.

Is there anything that can or should be done to polish the twin ends to keep them like new? The single end at the power supply can not be gotten to, it's swaged into place.

Now, the other questions about handling specimens, in particular cyclops and copapods. The problem is, I seem to be killing most or all of them when handling them going to or from the slide and aquarium.

I always use a well slide for these larger animals, but recently, either there is too much water in the well, and the coverslip floats around too much, or there is not enough water, and the coverslip crushes them when I put it on. Worse, when I take the coverslip off to return them to the tank, the suction of lifting the slip causes what looks like explosive decompression of the cyclops and it explodes from the inside out and leaves an unrecognizable mess of it.

Anybody got any tricks to handling them without killing them? I've kind of grown fond of them over the year they have been populating my aquarium. Embarassed
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g4lab



Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 1432

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally speaking I would not worry about your fiber optics. Fiber optics are used for digital data transmission and in those circumstances the digital LED or diode laser emitter has a limited amount of optical power available so it is desirable to collect every photon.

The same is not true when lighting our macro subjects. There is much excess light from the usual 150 watt lamp.

While efficiency is desirable, and you can polish the ends, unless you feel you are losing a significant amount of light, I wouldn't do anything about it.
You would need to make a polishing jig to make sure the surface was flat to the polishing surface and would also need to obtain the very fine abrasives needed to make things better than they are. There is a risk you could deteriorate them rather than improve them.
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Mitch640



Joined: 15 Aug 2010
Posts: 2137

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I have the abrasives, in the form of rouges. But I am not sure about the jig. I('ll probably let it ride for awhile and see how it goes. Thanks for the new ideas. Smile
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 2877
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mitch,

A small 'well' can be made on a standard slide using petroleum jelly. The cover glass sits on top of the jelly.

I have not tried this myself, but other members have mentioned the use of such an approach. Here are some examples (and an alternative) for reference.

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=22223

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2218#2218

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10871



Craig
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Mitch640



Joined: 15 Aug 2010
Posts: 2137

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Craig, I don't use the Vaseline, but have made up a number of semi permanent slides with dots of nail polish. I even made some of those with well slides. These are usually high enough for most of the critters, but even if it does not crush them, I explode them when I lift the coverslip off to put them back in the tank. I have even been careful to slide the coverslip off to a side, and I still get enough suction to pull them apart. I think the problem is, I can no longer see them without some kind of magnification. One time I thought he was safely off the slide, but then found him squished on the coverslip when I looked later. Sad
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Charles Krebs



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 5805
Location: Issaquah, WA USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mitch,

All you need is four small "dabs" of petroleum jelly ("Vaseline") in the corners of the cover slip. The advantage of petroleum jelly over a rigid "shim" or nail polish is that you can start out fairly deep so that you can be sure not to crush your subjects. Then you can gently "tap' the corners of the slip to narrow the gap until you have it as tight as you wish. (Yes... you need to have a light touch to do this effectively but it is not that difficult.)

When finished, hold the slide over a container and flush between the slide and cover with a pointed squeeze bottle. If this does not clear out all your critters, gently wedge up a corner or side of the cover slip slightly (a sharpened toothpick or a pointed tweezers works well for this) and flush again.

You need to clean your slide and cover slip after use anyway, and the petroleum jelly is surprisingly easy to clean off at that time with some hot/warm water and dish-washing soap. (No need to use anything "stronger")
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Mitch640



Joined: 15 Aug 2010
Posts: 2137

PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Charles. I think maybe I have a secret aversion to Vaseline or something. Every time I think of it, my mind veers off into something else. LOL

Anyway, last night I got out my Xacto cutting board and knives and developed a spacer shape I can easily cut from thin or thick acrylic plastic, or any other cuttable material, but the right kind of stiff plastic is used everywhere in small packaging bubbles. I had bought something last week, I forgot what was in it already, but it was really thick stuff. I just measured it, it's 0.0185 " or 0.4699 mm thick and stiff, but it cuts fairly easily with good scissors or my Xacto knives.

I tried first with my Xacto circle cutter, but making them round was very hard to do with this thick material, so I had sort of a litebulb moment, and tried to make them square. That worked very good. I made 5 of them in just a few minutes. They are just small squares, slightly less than an inch, cut from the thick stock with scissors, then I used one of my knives to cut out a square from the center, like a little window, leaving just enough material to glue to a slide, with nail polish, but the hole is small enough that a 22mm coverslip won't fall through it.

So today, I am going to glue them onto 5 plain slides to use when I want to look at cyclops and 'pods and my worms. I seem to have managed to cultivate a small colony of bristle worms, the kind that poke their heads up and wave in a sine wave fashion. Can't wait to see how they progress. Smile
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