Course Content and Outcome Guide for AQS 100

Course Number: AQS 100
Course Title: Introduction to Aquarium Science
Credit Hours: 3
Lecture Hours: 20
Lecture/Lab Hours: 20
Lab Hours: 0

Course Description

Examines the history of animal keeping and present day aquatic animal husbandry industries. Explores the physical, chemical and biological processes occurring in the aquarium environment. Covers the proper set up and maintenance of home aquaria.

Intended Outcomes for Course

  • Assess the physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring in the aquatic environment.
  • Create and maintain suitable aquatic habitats.
  • Properly use associated tools and equipment.
  • Identify employment venues and information resources.
  • Recognize major groupings of fishes and invertebrate species found in the aquarium industry and use appropriate criteria for their selection to aquarium systems.

Course Activities and Design

The format for this course is a combination of lecture, demonstration, and laboratory experience to provide necessary skills in how to properly establish and care for aquarium systems and their inhabitants. Laboratory instruction will be based at the OCCC Central Campus Aquarium Science building and will also include field trips to local public aquarium facilities.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Laboratory activities and skill development sessions that utilize aquarium related tools, materials and equipment.
  • Set up, establish and maintain an aquarium system with live aquatic specimens.
  • Oral presentation project utilizing information resources for a select aquatic species (fish or invertebrate) for display, research or aquaculture within the aquarium industry.
  • Scheduled quizzes and examinations to evaluate knowledge of the basic physical, chemical and biological aquarium environments, along with the associated tools, materials, equipment and resources utilized.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • History of aquatic animal keeping to present day aquatic animal husbandry.
  • Utilitarian and non-utilitarian uses within the aquarium industry.
  • The physical, chemical and biological environment of aquariums.
  • Common equipment, tools, materials and products used in aquarium science.
  • Common aquarium specimens and criteria for selection.
  • Set-up, establishment and maintenance of a living aquarium system.
  • Information resources available within the aquarium industry.
  • Career opportunities in aquarium science related organizations.
  • Safe operation and troubleshooting aquarium systems.
  • Evolution of aquatic animal husbandry over time to modern day uses of technology, technique and terminology.
  • The application of aquarium science in public displays (public aquariums and zoos), aquaculture, research and the ornamental fish trade.
  • Relationship between the physical, chemical and biological environment of an aquarium along with the processes and modes of filtration within each.
  • Application of terminology for aquarium equipment, tools, materials and products and how these items are used on aquarium systems.
  • Survey and selection of common aquarium fish and invertebrates based on compatibility, cost, care requirements and conservation status.
  • Establishment of a living aquarium system including the set-up of a tank with proper, habitat, filtration, lighting and water conditioning.
  • Safe and effective maintenance and troubleshooting of an established aquarium including record keeping, water quality/conditioning, animal care and observation, and zoonotic disease prevention.
  • Introduction to sources of information, supplies, products and services in the aquarium science industry.
  • Exploration of careers in aquarium science related facilities and organizations such as public aquariums, zoos, research facilities, aquaculture facilities, hatcheries, and the ornamental fish service and supply industry.
  • Maintenance of wild fish and aquatic invertebrates in a captive environment.
  • Diversity of fish and aquatic invertebrate species and requirements for husbandry.
  • Regulations and guidelines for obtaining and caring for fish and aquatic invertebrates.
  • Safe practices of aquarium husbandry including use of tools, equipment, materials, chemicals, and zoonosis.
  • Compatibility of aquarium inhabitants.
  • Environmental awareness and conservation of resources associated with aquariums.
  • Evaluate a safe working environment and operate equipment in a safe manner.
  • Identify, select and install items for aquarium set-up (i.e. filters, heaters, lights, aeration devices, substrates).
  • Create artificial saltwater and condition water for use in an aquarium.
  • Properly “cycle” an aquarium inoculating, maturing and maintaining a biological filter.
  • Safe and effective use and maintenance of water quality equipment (spectrophotometers, pH meters, refractometers).
  • Transfer and acclimation of live fish to an established aquarium system.
  • Maintenance of aquariums via water changes, cleaning of environment and water testing.
  • Delivery of proper foods and feeding techniques for live aquarium fish.
  • Record keeping and data collection for aquarium systems.
  • Animal observation and behavior identification.
  • Preparation and packing of live fish for shipping/transportation.
  • Resume building for a career in aquarium science.
  • Effective communication and coordination of husbandry schedules and practices with team member(s)