U-High’s Aquarium

Lake Williams, Reporter

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Zach Gocker is known around school as a wrestler and a runner, but what many people may not know about him is his love for fish and biology. These shared passions led Gocker to an unique independent study.

“Coach Troll and I would always talk about fish and fishing in class, I needed a science credit and thought having an independent study with Coach Troll would be fun.” senior Zach Gocker said.

Nearing the end of his junior year, Gocker found himself needing an extra credit for graduation. He had an interesting idea about an independent study to build a freshwater aquarium at the school.

“Zach came to me with this idea to build a freshwater aquarium.” Troll said, “I thought that it would be a good independent study for him because it would teach him how to take care of an aquarium and also teach him some responsibility.”

Troll wanted Gocker to conduct this project with as little outside help as possible to help him develop his organization skills and responsibility. This lead to a lot of learning from trial and error.

“When I first started, I had to siphon water into the tank. I did this by sucking water into a tube and then pouring it into the tank.” Gocker said, “I kept getting mouthfuls of nasty water, until Coach Troll saw me and showed me the right way to do it.”

After getting all of the tanks set up, Zach was finally able to introduce fish into the tanks. There were two small-mouth bass, two bluegill, and two guppies. These fish get fed three times a week.

“One of the first observations I made during this study was that the larger fish always eats first and the smaller fish wait until he is finished before feeding,” Gocker said.

Over the course of the year Gocker has continued taking care of these fish and has welcomed approximately 18 more guppies in the past month.

“A couple of Zach’s fish had babies and now he has close to 20 guppies, it was unexpected and was really interesting to have happen,” Troll said.

At six months in the aquarium now houses 24 fish.