Lancer Spotlight 3/10/22: Pre-Vet class builds aquariums


Alexis Simmerman

A collage image featuring four of the fish tanks created by the Pre-Vet/ Small Animal Class.

by Alexis Simmerman, Editor

Fish can be beautiful pets. Watching them swim around in a tank has a calming sensation. Because of this, Mrs. Pat Beachy treats her students each year to a special fish tank project for the Pre Vet Class where they are able to create their own fish tanks and take care of any fish they would like.

This tradition goes back 26 years to  Beachy’s first year at Linganore.

“I have had aquariums of all types in my classroom since my very first year of teaching. When I first started, I was teaching a Tech Ed course called Biotechnology. Students learned how the filtration process and biofilters worked by using large round 20-gallon rubber tubs, 15 gallon-biofilters and 5-gallon buckets for the pumps. We used goldfish, and they learned how to get them to spawn.”

“Later on, when I started teaching Pre-Vet/Small Animal Care, my students used aquariums to set up freshwater aquariums,” Beachy said.

Students are  encouraged to donate any extra aquarium equipment they may have in order to help out.  Beachy asks staff for donations, too.

“I have had many tanks (aquariums) donated over the years, but we have also purchased many and we purchase our fish,” Mrs. Beachy said.

Typically, students team up to pick an aquarium and decorate it. They are not only responsible for the gravel, ornaments, and decor, but also the cleaning, adding and testing the water, and what fish they want. 

They have to measure their tanks to determine how many fish they can have, and they have to make sure the fish they want is compatible with the tank they have. They have to put a lot of thought and planning into making the tanks livable for the fish.

“After I purchase the fish, they monitor the water quality weekly and also feed the fish as well as maintain the aquarium,” Beachy said.

Many of these fish often last into the summer, and, while the students can’t take them home, Beachy makes sure to take very good care of them.

“I take care of the fish over the summer as well as the custodians will check on the tanks and feed them some, too,”  Beachy said.

Overall, the experience is fun for all of the students, and many can’t wait to decorate their tanks and take care of their fish.