We are go for fishiness

We are now testing the capabilities of our fully armed and operational homebrew fish facility in the lab. Pumps are humming, water is flowing, we are evaluating all joins for leakage, and it’s looking good. Tomorrow we put in a small bank of tanks and start the water cycle. Next week, fish!

That is all.


  1. says

    We’ve found that concentrations of about 5% are still compatible with fish life. It’s a horrible twisted form of life, but they do still live.

  2. Louis says

    But but but how will you fund all this without page clicks, Amazon money and sweet sweet manufactured feminist outrage?

    Won’t someone PLEASE think of the students?


  3. says

    #7: Probably. But FAS is a specific teratological suite of symptoms, and they don’t line up exactly with the defects generated in fish. What we know is that fish embryos are sensitive to alcohol (but less so than human fetuses!) and you can generate gross morphological deformities with alcohol.

  4. sadaq says

    And now begins the breeding of a massive mutant zebra fish army! BWA HA HA HA!!

  5. says

    This thread is worthless without pics. Semi-serious about that, pics of it operational would be awesome.

    My nephew wants to build a self-contained hydroponics based eco-system as his 4H project. I think it’s slightly ambitious for an 8-year-old, but apparently, it’s merely the first step for his goal to be the hydroponics and life-support engineer for the spacecraft running the Earth/Mars route.

  6. Ray, rude-ass yankee says

    I think you need some ill-tempered mutant sea bass to put the frickin lasers on.

  7. shouldbeworking says

    If you start to feel the lss of Amazon’s money, you could branch out into PZed’s Bait and Sushi bar.

  8. A. R says

    I just finished my semi-annual lab cleanup. It was scary. I wonder if drunken fish are happier than sober fish…

  9. yazikus says


    It was scary.

    Do tell? I know you work with viruses and things, and wonder what your lab would look like.

  10. A. R says

    yazikus: The lab I cleaned was a “cold” lab, that is, there are no active infectious agents. I’m not allowed to get the “hot” labs messy. The OSHA dude gets pissy with me when I do that. I spend quite a bit of my time working in the cold lab doing molecular work, and it can be quite a mess what with the syringes, and E. coli culture stuff. Of course, there’s always the terror of unlabeled bottles and weird sticky stuff in the drawers. Oh, and the suspicious dark red line that ran the circumference of the inside of my microcentrifuge…

  11. moarscienceplz says

    I’m not allowed to get the “hot” labs messy. The OSHA dude gets pissy with me when I do that.

    Yet another instance of the heavy jackboots of government suppressing man’s glorious quest for knowledge. I weep. If only they’d allow the infallible magic of free markets to run unfettered I’m sure that all those who are tempted to keep messy labs would somehow realize the inefficiency of doing so and they would surely stop before too many people succumbed to a ebola/bubonic plague hybrid.

  12. A. R says

    An Ebola/Smallpox hybrid already exists thanks to the Russians. It’s called Ebolapox…

  13. says

    @A.R. @25: Is there a reliable citation on that one? I hadn’t heard of it before, and all Google is giving me is conspiracy theorists. And how would such a hybrid be constructed?

  14. A. R says

    michaelbusch: The best source we have is Ken Alibek, the former head of the Soviet bioweapons program who defected during the collapse of the Soviet Union. The actual engineering is rather simple if you have a background in molecular virology, but I would prefer not to go into it here.

  15. says

    PZ i replied on twitter. I can explain in more detail, especially if i know what type and ph of water, temp you want, and dimensions of tank in metric (makes the math easier.)

    I’m between projects if your university wants a part time aquarist to help set up, seed, add species, maintain and protect the totally awesome completely enclosed and possibly self sustaining eco-system you want in a lab environment…

    Not kidding!

  16. yazikus says


    Of course, there’s always the terror of unlabeled bottles and weird sticky stuff in the drawers.

    Thanks for the description, I love hearing about this kind of stuff. I’m personally always suspicious of weird sticky stuff anywhere. Today the shopping cart I grabbed was weirdly sticky. Gross. I wiped it down and chose another. I hadn’t heard about the Ebolapox either. Lovely.

  17. says

    This is actually a fairly easy setup to cycle. 150L of water in a circulating system; we’ll start with a dozen fish, monitor ammonia and nitrites, etc. It’s such a slow ramp up that I’ve never had problems with it before.

  18. says

    Okay, at least i offered. bear in mind:
    Fish get injured at anything over 1ppm ammonia. Tanks with fish in them should have 0ppm ammonia.

    To experience a similar feeling, inhale a whiff of chlorine gas. just a tiny little sniffle.