Capstone blog #5-Answering my Main Inquiry Question

My main inquiry question is: How does the health of fish in aquariums compare to the health of fish in coral reefs? All of my research and my interview, and site visit led me to my answer. My answer really surprised me, because I thought that a coral reef would probably be a better habitat for a fish, because a coral reef is a natural habitat. My answer was surprising, because I found out that an aquarium habitat actually has fewer cons than a coral reef habitat. Another thing that helped answer my main inquiry question, were my sub questions, and the answers to them.

Sub Question:

How long do captive fish (clown fish and “dory fish”)  live, in comparison to those fish in coral reefs?

Sub-Question:

What are the pros and cons of fish living in coral reefs?

Sub-Question:

What are the pros and cons of fish that are living in aquariums?

Sub-Question:

How are fish affected when they are caught from the wild, and put in aquariums?

Sub-Question:

How can aquariums ensure good health for fish that come from coral reefs?

Sub-Question:

What can we do to promote the health of fish living in each habitat?

Question 1: How long do captive fish live, in comparison to those fish in coral reefs?

Answer 1:

According to my research, most fish live longer in aquariums, than they do in coral reefs. This is because they are protected from environmental threats such as, global warming, and pollution. In aquariums, fish that come from coral reefs are protected from predators that can break through coral, or swim over the reef during the high tide. This is good because On the other hand, fish live a shorter, but better life in coral reefs. This is because when fish are in coral reefs, they have lots of space to roam, and their natural food. According to my interviewer, Tyler Moery, fish live longer in coral reefs because they’re habitats are under the control of the staff, and they can make sure that the fish are healthy, and the staff can change the water, to make sure it’s clean. Based on my research, these are my findings on this question.

 

Question 2: What are the pros and cons of living in coral reefs, for fish?

Answer 2:

One good thing about a coral reef habitat for a fish is that the fish have lots of room to move. This is good, because it ensures that the fish get enough exercise.  Another pro of a coral reef habitat, is that the fish can eat the food that they were made to eat, instead of fish food from a can. This is good because a fish’s natural food, is healthier for them than artificial fish food. One bad thing about a coral reef habitat is global warming. This is bad because if the water temperature rises, the coral breaks, which ruins a fish’s shelter, and puts the fish at risk of getting eaten by predators. My interviewer said that large currents push fsh from tropical coral reefs to cold waters where they can’t survive

 

Question 3:What are the pros and cons of living in aquariums, for fish?

Answer 3:

According to my interviewer, one pro for fish living in aquariums is that aquariums protect fish from dangers that are found in coral reefs, such as predators. This is good because it keeps the fish safe from harm.

Another pro is that fish are never in danger of starving, because the aquarium workers feed the fish regularly. One con for fish living in aquariums is that they have limited space. This is bad because it keeps the fish for getting enough exercise, which could potentially kill them over time. Another con for fish living in aquariums is that the fish are susceptible to common aquarium diseases, such as nitrate poisoning. This is bad because fish could die from these diseases.

 

Question 4: How are fish affected when they are caught from the wild, and put in aquariums?

Answer 4:

According to my interviewer, who works at the Maritime Aquarium, when fish fist come to their aquarium, the fish exhibit symptoms of stress. For example, the fish will go without eating for a few hours. This is not dangerous, but it could be if it continues for too long. This stage only lasts about 24-48 hours. My research states that when fish start to settle to their new environment, they adapt the best that they can to their new home. For example, clownfish usually use anemones as their structure, but when they are in an aquarium that doesn’t provide real anemones, the clownfish  use other clownfish for structure. This shows that fish are stressed when they first arrive at aquariums, but they settle very quickly, and can easily adapt to a new habitat, such as an aquarium.

 

Question 5:How can aquariums ensure good health for fish that come from coral reefs?

Answer 5:

Aquariums can ensure good health for their fish that come from coral reefs by recreating their habitat the best that they can. For example, to accommodate their fish that would normally find shelter from anemones, Aquarium workers can put in anemones in, so that the fish feel more at home. Another way that aquariums can ensure good health for their fish is by changing their fish tank’s water regularly. For example, the Maritime Aquarium  changes 25% of the water every week, so their fish have a very low sickness rate. Changing the water in aquariums is critical if you don’t want your fish to get a tank disease, like nitrate poisoning. Nitrate poisoning happens when people fail to change their fish’s water, this causes nitrate to build up in the tank. Even though fish can tolerate small amounts of nitrate, a large amount could kill a fish.

 

What can we do to promote the health of fish living in each habitat?

Answer 6

There are many things that us humans can do to protect the fish living in each habitat.

For example, we can learn about the environmental threats that coral reefs face. Also, we can recreate the habitats of fish that live in aquariums, but used to live in coral reefs. We can recycle to make sure that stuff that can be reused don’t end up in ocean landfills, which could harm fish.

Aquarists can research their fish, so that they know exactly how to accommodate their fish. For example they will know if their fish need anemones, or what the signs of sickness are. My interviewer, Tyler Moery, says that aquarists should try and breed the fish in captivity instead of taking them from the wild, so that they don’t mess up the ocean food chain. Overall, there are a lot of things that we can do to promote the health of fish living in each habitat.

My sub questions, gave me the tools I needed to answer my main inquiry question. I like to think of my capstone project as building a house. The site visit and interview are your tool boxes, that hold your tools. Your tools, are your sub questions, and your finished house, is the answer to your main inquiry question.

I learned a lot about the Maritime Aquarium during my interview, and site visit. I noticed that all of the coral reef fish were living in their natural shelters, anemones. I was happy to know that this aquarium was doing a good job of providing for their fish. I was also happy to know that the aquarists were putting in real corals, to help recreate a real coral reef habitat. I also learned that the Maritime aquarium rescues unhealthy fish, that are about to die, instead if capturing healthy ones.

This is an anemone in one of the coral reef section's fish tanks
This is an anemone in one of the coral reef section’s fish tanks
These are some corals
These are some corals

I was SO stressed about answering my main inquiry question! At first, I thought it was going to be really hard, but as I started writing, I realized that it was just putting what you already know from your research, into words on a google doc. I realized that answering was also like mixing all your ingredients, baking your cake, and adding your own colorful frosting. When you answer your main inquiry question, you are basically “mixing” all of your research, “baking”, your research into a solid essay, and adding your own opinion. See if you can notice this in the answer to my main inquiry question.

 

Main Inquiry Question: How does the health of fish in aquariums compare to the health of fish in coral reefs?

Answer:

What I have found, is that there are many pros [good things] and many cons [bad things], to each fish habitat, and they are both good [and bad] habitats for fish. But overall, an aquarium habitat has fewer cons and the same number of pros as the coral reef habitat, so an aquarium is a better habitat for a fish. Many elements of my capstone project, have led me to believe this. Some key elements to my project were my site visit and interview, in which I learned specifically about the Maritime Aquarium.

A coral reef habitat has many pros. One pro for a coral reef habitat, is that the fish are free to swim because they have unlimited space. This is good because they can get enough exercise, and not be confined to the limited space of an aquarium. Another pro is that the fish have their natural food. This is good   My interviewer said that the fish will have their natural shelter, such as an anemone, if they are in their coral reef homes.

A coral reef habitat also has many cons. One con is that the fish could be hunted by human hunters. This is bad because if one species of fish is hunted too much, it could become endangered, or even extinct. Another con is that corals are breaking due to global warming. According to a website article on coral reef threats, if the water temperature is not right, corals break, and many fishes habitats are diminished. This is bad because fish are exposed to predators if the corals break. In other words, if the corals break, the fish no longer have protection from predators.

An aquarium habitat also has many pros. One pro is that the habitat is controlled, so the aquarium workers can make sure to provide everything that the fish need. For example, aquarium workers can feed the fish every day, and prevent starvation, which could happen in a coral reef.  This is good because it means that the fish are safe, and won’t get sick, or die, of starvation, or other things that can occur in a not controlled environment, such as a coral reef.  Another pro is that when fish are in an aquarium, they are protected from predators. This is good because that means that they will stay alive and healthy, on the other hand, if these fish were in the wild, and the corals broke, they would not be protected.

An aquarium habitat also has many cons. One con is that the fish have limited space. This is bad because the fish won’t get enough exercise, and that could lead to a shorter lifespan for the fish. Another con is that fish in aquariums are susceptible to aquarium diseases, such as nitrate poisoning, in which a chemical called nitrate builds up in an aquarium fish tank, and even though the fish can tolerate small amounts of nitrate, large amounts, could kill them. This is bad because nitrate poisoning could kill many fish, and the aquarium would have to take even more fish from their coral reef homes,and ruin the ocean food chain.

I also learned a lot about the Maritime Aquarium, in particular, from my site visit and interview, which were both held at the Maritime Aquarium. I learned that this aquarium has good workers, or aquarists, and this aquarium does a good job of providing their fish. An example of this is that their fish use anemones, just like they would in a coral reef. This tells me that the Maritime Aquarium took the time to recreate their fishes natural habitats, and is doing a good job of accommodating their fishes needs. Another example is that my interviewer said that their aquarium rescues fish that are about to die because they are brought from tropical waters and won’t survive through the cold winter, and give them food and shelter in their aquarium, instead of capturing healthy fish from coral reefs, and reducing the fish population in the ocean, which would completely throw off the ocean ecosystem, and food chain. Also, my interviewer taught me that aquariums should not capture certain fish, like the blue tang fish, because they are endangered.

Overall, all of the elements of my capstone projects have helped me find the answer to my main inquiry. For example, my web, and print based sources helped find things about coral reefs, and aquariums in general. Also, my site visit, and interview helped me learn about, and observe the Maritime Aquarium. Overall, many elements of my capstone have helped me come to the conclusion that an aquarium is a safer habitat for a fish, than a coral reef.

If you want to learn more about my research, visit my resources, and references page. If you want to hear my interview, click here. If you want to see my final project in the works, click here. Overall, answering your main inquiry question, i a HUGE part of your capstone, and this is my process of answering my main inquiry question, and my opinions, and some elements of my capstone that helped me, such as my research, site visit, and interview.

 

 

One thought on “Capstone blog #5-Answering my Main Inquiry Question

  1. Meena, you have done a superb job answering your main inquiry question. I suggest you move your sub questions and answers into another post. Maybe make it a 5A, “The Sub Questions I Used To Answer My Main Inquiry Question” and make 5B, “The Answer to My Main Inquiry Question.” Your wonderful response to your main inquiry question deserves to stand on its own.
    I like all the links to your resources and project that is in the works. Well done, Meena!

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