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Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:38 pm
by Judobadger
I have a saltwater reef aquarium and I need a microscope to diagnose what type of dinoflagellate my tank is afflicted with. I also have 4 children and would love to spark their interest in science with a microscope, but I am am concerned that most of the "amazon" scopes I see are junk. Can someone point me towards a good budget beginner scope capable of viewing dinoflagellates is some detail?

I would like to stay under $200, but if there is no advantage to spending more than $100 I don't want to waste money. I know that the big 4 cost much more, but my use is pretty simple I just don't want to buy complete junk.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:30 pm
by PeteM
When you have enough posts to send a message on this forum, I can send a copy of a guide to microscope brands and models. It could help you look up various $200 scopes you might find locally or cheap on Ebay. In that price range, you might find a good condition American Optical Series 10 or 150. The Japanese-made microscopes branded Fisher "MicroMaster" were pretty good. There are dozens of decent alternatives, but it kind of depends on what shows up locally.

$100 won't get much more than a toy in a new Chinese scope. I'd be frustrated with a new $200 Chinese scope for various reasons covered elsewhere in the forum.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 5:53 pm
by Judobadger
I am not sure what to look for, but here are some ebay listings I found:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Fisher-12-561- ... 48085!US!3

https://www.ebay.com/itm/EAGLE-Model-BM ... 48085!US!3

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nikon-SC-Binoc ... 48085!US!3

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Spencer-Americ ... 48085!US!3

To my untrained eye the last two look the most promising... What do you think any gems there?

I also found on craigslist a Micromaster for 50 and an American Optical 160 for 95.
https://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/for/ ... 54637.html

https://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/ele/ ... 49973.html

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:25 pm
by Judobadger

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:40 pm
by BramHuntingNematodes
Go ahead and order this scope today and if you like it take it from there:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Beck-Kassel-CB ... SwR9BfHzHm

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:49 pm
by Judobadger
Quick question I don't see if there is any magnification on the eyepiece. Will this have the magnification necessary to distinguish between types? My only reference is a fellow aquarist who said 400 x is enough for what I need to do.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:01 pm
by PeteM
Judobadger wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 7:25 pm
I also see refurbished or new old stock microscopes at microscopecentral.com.


https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bristoline-Mic ... SwkldfGakG
Microscope Central needs to make a profit on each scope -- and they end up about 2x more expensive than you might find locally or on Ebay.

As for Ebay listings, I'd aim for a binocular scope, maybe trinocular, if you have up to $200 to spend on a good used scope.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:15 pm
by Judobadger
I would much rather spend a few hundred on something decent. I have an appreciation for quality even if I my needs are basic.

Unfortunately the dinoflagellates in my aquarium are toxic and their treatment depends a lot on what type. So my time to research is limited. I really need to sort out a few good option today or tomorrow. I am just trying to avoid buying a throw away microscope.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:01 pm
by DonSchaeffer
I regard the Amscope M500 microscope series to be fine. The optics are good. I recommend switching the 100x oil immersion objective for a 60 x plan objective. The microscope has a workable condenser and there are many ways you can adapt it to make it much better. I also recommend getting a mechanical stage. The total cost should be within your $200 limit.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:42 pm
by BramHuntingNematodes
Judobadger wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 8:15 pm
I would much rather spend a few hundred on something decent. I have an appreciation for quality even if I my needs are basic.

Unfortunately the dinoflagellates in my aquarium are toxic and their treatment depends a lot on what type. So my time to research is limited. I really need to sort out a few good option today or tomorrow. I am just trying to avoid buying a throw away microscope.
Don't throw away a cbs those are nice little instruments made by a respectable family outfit in years gone by

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:44 pm
by Judobadger
Don't throw away a cbs those are nice little instruments made by a respectable family outfit in years gone by
I actually was referring to some of the super cheap scopes I have seen on amazon. I didn't mean the one you linked. :D

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:09 pm
by Judobadger
I regard the Amscope M500 microscope series to be fine. The optics are good. I recommend switching the 100x oil immersion objective for a 60 x plan objective. The microscope has a workable condenser and there are many ways you can adapt it to make it much better. I also recommend getting a mechanical stage. The total cost should be within your $200 limit.
Is it worth it to get a 10x and 20x eyepiece? Same question for LED vs tungsten for illumination.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:59 pm
by Judobadger
What do you all think of the OMAX 40X-2500X LED?

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:58 am
by DonSchaeffer
I would buy the mechanical stage right away. Controlling the slides without the mechanical stage is virtually impossible. The stage that fits the microscope is very easy to install. You can wait to purchase the 60x objective. The M500 comes with 4 objectives: 4x, 10x, 40x, and a 100x oil immersion objective. You will almost certainly not find the oil immersion objective useful. However, the 40x objective gives you plenty of power for most things. I replaced the oil immersion objective with a 60x plan objective. The 60x objective gives you a noticeable boost in power to see detail. But you can wait for that.

The Amscope m500 is not the greatest instrument in the world, but it is quite serviceable. It comes with a tungsten lamp--it gets a little warm but I found that it works just fine. I have been using an led flashlight mounted in such a way that I can move it back and forth in front of the tungsten light source--either replacing it or supplementing it with side light. I also have a light-conducting cable mounted through the filter holder that takes some light from the tungsten bulb and provides a small sideways illumination.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:05 am
by DonSchaeffer
I don't use eyepieces at all. I use my eyepiece camera all the time and view via my computer. The microscope comes with two eyepieces.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 8:11 pm
by Judobadger
Well lets see what happens...they accepted an offer for 125.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:21 am
by Judobadger
I am a little concerned about the image I see in the microscope. Can someone point me in the right direction to sort out whats wrong or what I am doing wrong?

I have an amscope 100 I am returning to Amazon here is a comparison between the two.

Bristoline

https://flic.kr/p/2jyon8a

Amscope
https://www.flickr.com/photos/189879684 ... res/a8MUyT

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:41 am
by BramHuntingNematodes
That's looking pretty decent already, am confident you made the right decision. Probably going to want to start with bf first, keep all the sliders in the open position, do the whole kohler lighting exercise with the condenser rack, play around with the condenser iris a little bit. A good scope will be fiddly at first.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:59 am
by Judobadger
is there a reason its so yellow?

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 5:18 am
by Zuul
Halogen vs LED. The Bristoline may not have a blue filter installed, either. That would improve the color. Just because the LED is “whiter” doesn’t mean it’s showing the true color better, though. Inexpensive LEDs actually render color pretty poorly.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 4:34 pm
by DonSchaeffer
The only limitations to the AmScope 100 stem from the lack of a real condenser and a filter holder. Doing things even marginally fancy require some extraordinary measures. Your pictures look good in my opinion. They just lack pizzaz. You need to find a way of using sidelight illumination and light-stop filters. The more advanced AmScopes will have those features.

Re: Microscope for Saltwater aquarium and dinoflagellates

Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:54 pm
by DonSchaeffer
The M500 uses an incandescent lamp. I arranges an LED light over the lamp housing so I don't use thr incandescent light very often. Yes the mechanical stage moves the slide around horizontal and vertical by turning dials. You have to get the one made for this microscope. It's not expensive.