What interesting things I can look for to observe under the microscope?

Do you have any microscopy questions, which you are afraid to ask? This is your place.
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Jonnyvine
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What interesting things I can look for to observe under the microscope?

#1 Post by Jonnyvine » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:18 am

We live in a place with a back garden and I was wondering what interesting things I can look for to observe under the microscope.

Has anyone got any ideas or recommendations? :)

apochronaut
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Re: What interesting things I can look for to observe under the microscope?

#2 Post by apochronaut » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:07 pm

Anywhere there is water that has been standing for a while. One thing you can do is put some small transparent containers out in the sun, those plastic ones that carry deli products are good, or glass bottles. Add a bit of old leaves and or vegetable peels in them, and a tiny amount of sugar to start and if the sun gets hot, don't let them overheat because it will kill the culture. Loosely cover them. They will turn green in short order and be quite full of life. It is still around freezing here and we have had some light lake effect snow over the past few weeks, so it seems very wintery still. I have a plastic tray, I set out water in, for the bees.I came across that tray, the other day. It had about 2" of water in it, with lots of snow crystals floating in it and a thin skin of ice. It also had a noticeable growth of algae on the plastic ...quite thick in places. The water was icy but the inhabitants were happy.
The water under plants is verdant, scrapings from the under side of decomposing leaves is verdant. Areas where eave troughs drain, sometimes have a bit of back water and a community. Any moss or lichen on tree trunks, especially during extended humid or misty days and nights is a civilization! .Do you have a composter? Drainage from that. Areas around and under bud scales of perennials, just as they are emerging in spring and sections of dormant buds themselves. Lichens on rocks.

If you have a back yard, you have lots of microbiology out there. Pretty much, scrapings from anything outside, will yield something; even crystals , if you are interested in those.

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Jonnyvine
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Re: What interesting things I can look for to observe under the microscope?

#3 Post by Jonnyvine » Fri Mar 16, 2018 9:58 pm

Thank you for your long and thorough answer.

I will gladly take your advice. :)

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Aenima
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Re: What interesting things I can look for to observe under the microscope?

#4 Post by Aenima » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:59 pm

Agree. I too find moss to be a good source of water critters. I pull up a few chunks of moss from the ground and put it in a small container with a splash of rainwater- bring it indoors and maybe add a splash of bottled mineral water (hoping to avoid tap water chemicals)
Then i just take a drop with a pipette at various time intervals, as i've noticed certain things are increasing or decreasing depending on how soon you take a sample. I keep using the container indoors throughout the week. It keeps me stocked up on creatures for ages especially rotifers (mostly i think 'Bdelloids'?. :)

On a side note, i am finding a few too many dead tardigrades - not sure why they are dying, perhaps the water needs to remain oxygenated for some of the critters wellbeing?

or maybe something else is killing them?


Hope you manage to find some interesting stuff in your garden :)

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Re: What interesting things I can look for to observe under the microscope?

#5 Post by Hobbyst46 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:06 am

Mineral water contains chemicals. The composition of this water may be very different from that of surface water and the water we drink. I would not give the creatures mineral water but cooled boiled tap water.
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Aenima
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Re: What interesting things I can look for to observe under the microscope?

#6 Post by Aenima » Thu Mar 22, 2018 1:01 am

Hobbyst46 wrote:Mineral water contains chemicals. The composition of this water may be very different from that of surface water and the water we drink. I would not give the creatures mineral water but cooled boiled tap water.
ah - ironically i had assumed that the mineral water would be the best option, so this is handy to know, thank you. :)

I used to use a fishtank aerator to provide bubbles/oxygen to a tank - i was thinking it might help the longevity of whatever is in the water samples?
Maybe also an option for indoor ecosystems?


At some point i do want to set up a small vivarium or glass container for easier access to good water samples, still looking into the best approach :)

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Re: What interesting things I can look for to observe under the microscope?

#7 Post by Hobbyst46 » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:14 am

I used to use a fishtank aerator to provide bubbles/oxygen to a tank - i was thinking it might help the longevity of whatever is in the water samples?
Maybe also an option for indoor ecosystems?
Look in this forum for posts where very nice tanks are shown by experienced members and experts. For example, search using the keywords "microcosm" or "balanced" or "ecosystem".

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Jonnyvine
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Re: What interesting things I can look for to observe under the microscope?

#8 Post by Jonnyvine » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:52 am

Thank you all.

Keep those good ideas coming. :P

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