Doing Diatoms a Different Way

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Charles
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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#121 Post by Charles » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:35 pm

Thank you guys!

Rod,

The strew is about 14 drops in the middle of the slide from one end to the other. I start a few mm from the edge to a few mm from the frosted edge on the other. So it takes up about 2/3 of the slide. This collection of forms are from 12 strews. Some of the 'common' forms I leave on the strew and then save the strews for later. When I am sure they are clean of all usable diatoms, I clean and reuse the slides.

No adhesive on the storage slide. They are just sitting on the slide ready to be used. Adhesive on the slide would make it very difficult to pick them off the slide. I store the open slides flat in slide holders like these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/152145808579?_t ... EBIDX%3AIT I have to be careful when I open and close the flaps so it doesn't cause the light forms from flying around. Even a cough or heavy breath/laugh (and it has happened when my daughter comes in and tells me something funny) can send some forms flying.

I will be arranging them in all different ways: Type by local, Type by region, a group of an individual species and Exhibition...when I get good at it. It still has been a battle to keep the forms from straying when making permanent mounts. I'm still trying to find a process which is repeatable.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#122 Post by rnabholz » Sat Mar 04, 2017 1:47 pm

Thanks for the information Charles.

Oh my, those storage slides with nothing but gravity holding the frustules in place would demand a great deal of care in handling! Scanning and collection from 12 strews represents a large time commitment, it would be hard to take if it was somehow lost. The words "soul crushing" come to mind...

Really appreciate the insight into the process. Please keep bringing the updates.

Thanks

Rod

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#123 Post by zzffnn » Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:25 pm

Here is an idea for diatom storage slide, which may or may not be necessary for everyone (likely not necessary for Charles).

Use a well slide, invert another regular flat slide one it, then tape sides slightly, if necessary. Remove tape and cover slide for picking. Well slide can be flat (DIY) or convex (commercial), depending on preference.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#124 Post by Charles » Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:21 pm

zzffnn wrote:Here is an idea for diatom storage slide, which may or may not be necessary for everyone (likely not necessary for Charles).

Use a well slide, invert another regular flat slide one it, then tape sides slightly, if necessary. Remove tape and cover slide for picking. Well slide can be flat (DIY) or convex (commercial), depending on preference.
I had already explored the well slide option a long time ago, and purchased a few dozen in anticipating using that method. But, I found it too much of a hassle to refocus every time from strew slide level to the bottom of the well slide level. It takes too much time, especially selecting a diatom for mounting, when going from well slide to a coverslip on top of a slide.

Some of my diatoms are 'dirty' with fine mineral or other debris and even using the needle to dislodge the debris or sliding the diatom on the frosted end does not clean it. So now I am thinking, I could use a well slide, put a drop of water in it and deposit the dirty diatoms in it and move them around until clean. Haven't done it yet, but I am going try it.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#125 Post by Charles » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:09 pm

On second thought...This Deep Creek sample is outstanding! As noted in the first post on the Deep Creek sample, I was looking at strews made from the 'rock' portion which I was going to throw away. Looking at the regular sample, it is full of a variety of diatoms, including some which were broken and I was looking for whole forms. It took me almost three hours picking forms off of one strew slide. I may need to go back to the river to collect some more...

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#126 Post by rnabholz » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:44 am

Glad to hear of the "improvement".

I always make a number of slides from a sample for just that reason. I often find that one slide can be a dud, and the next one, taken just a moment later from the same suspension is a winner.

It is fun to find the good stuff, especially after the initial disappointment.

Rod

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#127 Post by KurtM » Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:14 pm

I agree - I consider 6 slides a bare minimum, 12 to 14 begins to give me confidence I know my sample fairly well. And every sample I've ever collected, no matter how many times scrutinized, are still capable of yielding up surprises. I surf old slides whenever I feel like looking through the microscope but don't have anything in particular going on.

Naturally, my earliest slides are most fertile for fresh discoveries...
Cheers,
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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#128 Post by Charles » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:06 am

I did a short video on picking diatoms and posted it on YouTube. Let's see if I can get it pointed there from here:
https://youtu.be/0YIsCopRwLI

The B&L even with the separate photo tube for the camera, it closes one eye tube, and for me it makes it difficult to see what I'm doing properly.

Note: Well, it didn't embed the video but the link is there.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#129 Post by zzffnn » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:29 am

Very nice work, Charles.

It seemed to me that you used static charge and let diatoms stick to needle, rather than scooping.

I tried to use titanium forceps to pick up micro meteorites (that are mostly smaller than diatoms) before and noticed how difficult it was to grip them. I lost 3 out the 4 I found that way. Rather, they just seemed to stick by static charge.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#130 Post by Charles » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:02 am

Thanks Z,

Actually, static makes the diatom stick firmer to the needle and makes it harder to drop the diatom back down. When static is present, the diatoms just jump onto the needle and they are almost impossible to get off. Static will also make other diatoms near the needle jump on when I get too close to the others as I try to put down a diatom. When static is not present, I think the 'pores' and projections on the diatom is what makes it attach to the needle.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#131 Post by rnabholz » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:32 pm

Fascinating Charles!

I have never seen it done, and while I am sure it is anything but, you make it look easy.

Please continue to make videos of your processes. You might drag me in yet.

Very cool. Thanks

Rod

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#132 Post by Charles » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:19 pm

Thank you Rod.

I tried to preview the strew slide, looking for an area where a variety of forms were located, so the video wouldn't be too long. I didn't realize the sound was on and it seems to be very sensitive, since it picked up coughs from downstairs. I'm just glad I didn't swear when I couldn't dislodge that one Diploneis and had to go back to the strew slide to get a proper position on it to drop it on the storage slide. After many hours of picking, you find where to pick up a particular diatom for easy pickup and release. When a diatom won't release, sometimes you can 'rub' it on another diatom to release it but when it is really hard to release, I take it back to the strew slide where rubbing it on the 'rocks' will release it and then I can pick another pickup point on the diatom.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#133 Post by billbillt » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:38 pm

Hi Charles,

Your video made this look easy.. I know it is not!.. Thanks for sharing...

BillT

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#134 Post by Charles » Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:10 pm

Thank you Bill. It is not hard if you have the proper tools.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#135 Post by KurtM » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:47 am

I'm on the road again, so late to the party. I'm amazed at the speed, you really move right along when it comes to culling and herding up frustules, wow! I'm very sorry you didn't swear, though - it would have added immensely to the presentation.

Man ... I wish I had a micromanipulator... :mrgreen:
Cheers,
Kurt Maurer
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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#136 Post by Charles » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:27 am

Thanks Kurt!

I'm on the look out for your micro-manipulator.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#137 Post by Charles » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:52 pm

A question was brought up on how I move the slides around on the stage. I move the two slides around by hand. I recently upgraded my B&L StereoZoom 7 with a photo tube and a 'R' stand, which came with built in transmitted lighting and also a mechanical slide holder. But I found using the mechanical slide holder was too cumbersome for me, so I took the mechanical slide holder off and just use a 3" x 6" glass plate, placed on the slide table to hold my two slides (strew slide and storage slide). Then I just move the whole 3x6 plate with the two slides on the slide table. This way I can move as fast as I want from one slide to the other and I also can angle/rotate the two slides to get to diatoms at different angles. Attached is a picture.
B&L Glass Stage Resized.jpg
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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#138 Post by KurtM » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:18 am

Thanks for that, Charles. I tried doing it that way but ran into the same old trouble: not precise enough movements.

I understand some people are actually able to arrange diatoms by hand, which is to say without any micromanipulater at all. Not me. While I'm pretty good in the manual dexterity department, I ain't that good. I can successfully dab up individual diatoms without breaking or losing them (zing!) in roughly 2 out of 3 attempts, but getting 'em back down in one piece anywhere near the target area is a much more iffy prospect. I can pick sand grains off strews before mounting, and do it quickly with minimal damage to nearby diatoms, but that's about my limit.

So is that what's going on here, you have uncommonly steady hands? Or is there some trick to it, or what?
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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#139 Post by Charles » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:13 am

Hi Kurt,

I don't consider my hand dexterity or steadiness better than anyone else. I tried the mechanical slide to move the slides around but constantly changing from x-y knobs to change directions was more cumbersome than just using your hand to move the slides into proper position. And as I mentioned above, it is also very helpful to rotating the slide to get to a diatom at a different angle and more important when mounting a diatom to get it in the right position. Also, at the 105X magnification I use with the Steroscope, moving things by hand are a lot easier than with higher magnification.

The main 'trick' I use, is which hand controls what. My dominant hand (right hand in my case) controls the micro-manipulator with needle and my off hand (left hand) moves the glass plate with the slides around. Once I get the slide in the right position with my left hand, I can use my right hand to lower/raise the needle as well as make minute adjustments of where the needle goes by just use of a bit of force/pressure on the knob used to raise and lower the needle. To describe, use of force/pressure, although, once the micro-manipulator is in the proper position by using the different x-y-z control knobs (I initially position the tip of the needle central in my view), I only use the large knob, which controls the up and down motion of the needle, there after. But for extra fine control of where the needle goes, I can apply a small bit of pressure or force on the large knob, to move the needle 1-2mm in 360 degrees. So the left hand moves the slide to the proper 'coarse' position, but he right hand with the needle does the 'fine' adjustment of where the needle goes, but it does take some coordination between the left hand and right hand to get in proper position. I do have to be careful how much pressure I put on the knob because even though it has a heavy weighted base, I have tipped it over and ruined a whole line of diatoms I was working on.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#140 Post by KurtM » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:11 pm

Thanks for the clarification. The highest mag I can get on a stereo scope is 60x, and I'm in no mood to even think about buying yet another microscope! I'm sure I'll play around with the Leica stereo, as well as the inverted AO 1810, when/if I come up with ways to mount a manipulator to 'em. The advantages of hand movement you cite are attractive, especially the ability to rotate (of course can also use a rotating stage).

I'm hot to get a manipulator that has an up-down lever instead of a turn knob.
Cheers,
Kurt Maurer
League City, Texas
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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#141 Post by rnabholz » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:14 pm

Great information guys, watching with great interest.

Thanks,

Rod

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#142 Post by JWW » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:43 am

New here and my first post other than my introduction. Looking for some specific guidance on buying a spirit lamp with an adjustable wick via the article I was given by someone else that was on diatomsireland.com. I assume the article was talking about a Alcohol lamp? Sure would appreciate a link, brand etc., and/or specific spirit that works best from someone that actually does this. If something else is better other than a spirit lamp I'm all ears. I hate buying things that are useless and wasting money which I seem to be good at.

Thanks in advance,
-JW:

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#143 Post by 75RR » Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:50 am

Looking for some specific guidance on buying a spirit lamp with an adjustable wick via the article I was given by someone else that was on diatomsireland.com.
Can you post a link or screen shot of the article/paragraph that advises that purchase and its intended use. Is it for a home made hot-plate?
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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#144 Post by Charles » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:34 pm

Spirit lamps = alcohol burners as seen in the picture below circled in red. Mine, I just pull the wick up or down but there are models which have a wheel to adjust the wick height. I just use Menthol alcohol which can be found in hardware stores.
Spirit Lamp.jpg
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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#145 Post by JWW » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:20 pm

75RR wrote:
Can you post a link or screen shot of the article/paragraph that advises that purchase and its intended use. Is it for a home made hot-plate?
I wasn't sure if I was allowed to post the link. Here's the link, bottom of page.

https://www.diatomsireland.com/microman ... nd-holder/

-JW:
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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#146 Post by JWW » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:21 pm

Thanks Charles, I've never used one so I wasn't sure what to buy.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#147 Post by 75RR » Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:58 pm

I wasn't sure if I was allowed to post the link. Here's the link, bottom of page.

https://www.diatomsireland.com/microman ... nd-holder/

-JW:
Thanks!
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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#148 Post by Charles » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:07 pm

Did another video of selecting diatoms off a strew slide and moving to a storage slide. This sample is from Puget Sound, WA:
https://youtu.be/g-F0Id_m3Ys

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#149 Post by JWW » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:52 pm

Interesting, thanks for making the video and showing your setup.

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Re: Doing Diatoms a Different Way

#150 Post by KurtM » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:12 am

You make it look easy. But I'm not fooled -- it means you've gotten a lot of practice and you're getting good at it. So ... have you done any type or arranged slides yet?
Cheers,
Kurt Maurer
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