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Lack of organisms in my water samples

 
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dragonblade



Joined: 18 Oct 2014
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:12 pm    Post subject: Lack of organisms in my water samples Reply with quote

Ive been having quite a bit of satisfaction viewing water samples with my brand new microscope. I have viewed both fresh water and sea water though so far, I have not found any organisms / moving critters. The only organic things that Ive come across appear to be bits of vegetation (which are still great to look at.) Is it pure luck when you come across organisms? Or are there some techniques involved?

Unfortunately, there are no ponds around here and being summer, a lot of the fresh water habitats have dried up. I was surprised that I didn't see any creatures in the sea water samples I collected. I was expecting to see at least some zooplankton.
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dragonblade



Joined: 18 Oct 2014
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woops, I should have read this thread first:

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=442

So I see it's best to collect plant samples along with the water. What I was doing was scooping up water through the plants (within the natural habitat) but leaving the plants behind. Ive also heard about leaving a jar of water and hay sitting on a window sill for a few days. Though should the lid be on or off?
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
Posts: 1525
Location: Texas USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep the lid off, as some protists need oxygen. Natural environment has oxygen supply, by putting the lid on, you remove oxygen supply.

Get plant sample and bottom mud sample. Squeeze out water from both samples, let precipitate, then examine that precipitation. It would be messy, but you should see many protists, even from frozen samples.
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dragonblade



Joined: 18 Oct 2014
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips. I went on a walk through the woods today in the hills and came across a rocky embankment with two holes in it. One of these holes has a substantial amount of rain water stored in it (about a quarter full.) That's really impressive because it's a really warm summer at the moment and most other fresh water bodies around here have dried up. There's also a lot of vegetation in there as well. I bet it would be full of microscopic organisms. I didn't have a container with me but I'll go back there and see if I can find it again.
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dragonblade



Joined: 18 Oct 2014
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive refined my technique and have since gotten better results by collecting vegetation as well as water. I took a water sample from a creek that was close to drying out. Water looked like it was in poor condition and I took some mud from the bottom of the creek as well. I also added wild grass and let it all sit in an open jar for a few days. I made two slides from the creek water and found a few different critters. Pretty much all of them were transparent to varying degrees. There were these very slow moving tube things with yellow in the middle with dots. And what looked like a Paramecium but I'm not 100% sure. It was less oval shaped compared to images of Paramecium that I see online. Regardless, it was very active. I could just barely make out the cilia moving around the edge of it's body.

There were also these things that were shaped like cucumbers. Most of the time, they'd move through the water very slowly but occasionally sped up. The Paramecium was moving all over the place and would occasionally bump into the cucumber-shaped things. One time, the impact was quite considerable and one of the cucumber-shaped things was knocked quite violently.

A few days later, I collected some desalinated water from the bird bath in the backyard. I came across a number of Rotifers in this water. At one stage, there were about four of them together (viewing with the 40x objective.) I could see the cilia around their mouths moving and occasionally they would draw in quite large particles into their bodies. Sometimes they would anchor themselves to bits of vegetation and other times they would freely swim around.

I'm still keen to see some marine zooplankton. There's a beach nearby so I'll grab some vegetation from the sea water and see if I have any success with that.
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