One of the easiest things you can do as a science teacher to help get kids excited about aquatic life is to maintain an aquarium. We strongly recommend using a freshwater fish tank because they are much easier to maintain than a saltwater fish tank. Freshwater aquariums are also more sustainable as most of the fish in freshwater aquarium stores are bred from breeders. Many if not most saltwater fish are still pulled from reefs in the wild.
Like almost everything we do here at UntamedScience, we feel its valuable to see a video.
There are relatively few things you'll need to get your home aquarium started. The following is a list of the basics needed to start a simple 10 gallon aquarium.
We recommend starting a freshwater aquarium with an under-gravel filter instead of simply an outside filter. While both will work well to keep the water clean, an under-gravel system basically allows the tank and its bacterial flora to clean the water. Not only is it generaly a cheaper way to set up the tank, its more natural.
With an under-gravel filter we recommend cleaning once a month. Use a siphon tube to help clean the gravel. Pulling out excess nutrients will keep the tank clean and your fish healthy. We recommend pulling out no more than 1/3 of the water on any water change. Any more could risk changing the environment the fish have gotten used to.
When replacing the water, make sure not to put tap water directly into the tank. Most tap water contains chlorine and other things which are bad for the fish. You can let these chemicals naturally leave the water by letting the water stand in a bucket for a day. You can also add water treatment liquids to the water to speed up the process.