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This is so cool! Is this one a rotifer??



Can anyone identify any of them?

I just did a microscopy lab for school and that looks just like a rotifer. couldn't say more than that though.

what was that other creature a mite??
 

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You should look through fecal samples and take pics like this. Pretty cool post!
 

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You should look through fecal samples and take pics like this. Pretty cool post!
LOL! Fecal samples, ummmm nooo thanks. Haha! But yeah, this is super exciting stuff. I think I will look at some more things and post more pics. Probably of some moss I collected recently for my paludarium. I did a co2 gassing on the moss and there are probably some good specimens in there to examine as well
 

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My girlfriend just got a very nice microscope and I've been looking at my viv flora too. I'd like to post photos but unfortunately the camera that came with it is rather crappy -- I haven't figured out how to take anything worthwhile yet.

I've seen LOTS of rotifers, and lots of whatever is in the first photo in your second post. I've seen a few paramecia, which was great because they were always my favorite as a kid learning biology. I only find those in stagnant water.

You have a lot of critters in your tanks that I haven't seen. Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places. I've been surprised by how little life I've found -- though that might be a good thing.

I'm sure you've figured this out already, but just taking water samples almost never yields anything. Best to grab tiny chunk of dead plant matter because that's the sort of place they congregate.
 

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Thats awesome! Makes me want to break out my microscope. I got a little pocket microscope which is awesome for looking at things like springtails and whatnot, but not for looking at microorganisms
 

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hey flying squirrel, i'm hoping to get a few more details as to what type of equipment your using, an also your capturing technique w/ the tripod.

very awesome pics :D thanks!
 

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hey flying squirrel, i'm hoping to get a few more details as to what type of equipment your using, an also your capturing technique w/ the tripod.

very awesome pics :D thanks!
Sure thing. I hope the following info helps a lot of people that are interested in trying something like this...

Camera used


Microscope used (nothing fancy, but still good quality. I think my dad bought it from some kind of surplus catalog. I think it's a student microscope) DO NOT USE CRAPPY TOY MICROSCOPES!


Slide panning rail setup (probably not the official name for it :p ) This is indispensible in my opinion. Clamp the slide in. Move the slide to one side. Slowly turn the knobs so you go up, then to the side, then down, then to the side, then up...basically you are doing an organized search pattern to cover the entire sample, instead of randomly looking around like taking a stab in the dark.


Light that goes under the microscope stage and shines up into the slide. This one is pretty sketchy and can get really hot (has an incandescent bulb). I think the newer ones have led's or something.



Slides and other equipment. Flat slides and well slides (has depressions in it).



Good quality tripod. DO NOT USE CHEAP TRIPOD!



Good quality ballhead.



Set up was basically like so:

Set up the microscope, and get all your supplies ready.
Attach camera to tripod with ballhead
Gather specimens/samples
Prepare specimens or samples on the slide
I found that turning the primary lights off in my room allowed me to see in the microscope more effectively and reduced glare on the camera lens
Use microscope to find a static specimen (i.e. anything not moving) I will not cover basic microscope usage as it is too much to cover, but I will say start with a lower power magnification to locate the specimens, and start close to the slide and focus away, so you don't crush the slide.
When inanimate specimen is focused, carefully position the tripod so the camera is looking directly into the eyepiece of the microscope. It must be exactly parallel to the microscope's line of sight, AND the back of the camera (sensor) must be exactly perpendicular to the line of sight. It's hard to explain, but the positioning is very important, and NOT easy to get right. You will have to fiddle and fuss with it for a while. You also will need to experiment with the distance that the lens needs to be from the eyepiece. I was able to use the zoom on my camera and then position it, so I got more magnification over what the objective had. Don't use digital zoom, only optical.
Once I get things positioned, I let the camera do autofocus. (Be careful that zooming and focusing doesn't make the camera lens extend forward and hit the microscope)
After I got the camera set up and focused, I used the LCD screen on the back of the camera to view everything, 100% of the time. You can just keep the screen turned on and watch it as you move the slide around. Sometimes I'd pull the camera away and use the microscope eyepiece for while if I was having trouble finding things or if I changed the objective.
With inanimate specimens I used the camera shutter.
With animate specimens or while searching with the rails, I often used the camera's video capture. A lot of nice shots were single frames sampled from video footage. I also plan to edit the videos together into a montage at some point (in another universe when I have enough time to do it :D )

Overall it was a pain in the neck (literally and figuratively), took a lot of experimenting and fidgeting, and also hours and hours of time searching through tons of samples. But it was FUN!

Sample gathering tips:

For my paludarium (or any body of water really)

Grabbing a bunch of crud off the bottom of the water area yields the highest population of specimens. After you suction it up with an eyedropper and place it in a collection vial or bottle, let it settle for 10 minutes. Then squeeze air out of an eyedropper, and carefully insert the eyedropper down to the bottom and gently suction up a small sample.
I also scraped the glass underwater with a razor blade and wiped all the goo onto the slide as another method of sampling.
Try crazy ideas or things that might yield no results, or might pay off. Like I mentioned, I sampled water out of a bromeliad and was surprised it had its own ecosystem of fauna.
You might wet some moss and then squeeze it out and look at the water. Or sample from a wet area of mud in your tank, or mix some soil with water and sample that. Just get creative and you never know what you'll find.

I am probably forgetting some tips or steps or stuff, but that should get you going pretty well.

Good luck and have fun! Post pics!

p.s. BTW, ignore the horrible bed sheets in the pics. I'm staying at my bro's house and that's all he has extra :p
 

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That looks like the same microscope i have haha. Then again I haven't actually taken it out of the attic in like 5 years :/
 
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