ExpertIconFishAquarium.bmp (70614 bytes) BE AN EXPERT: FISH

Become an ichthyologist!

1. Draw a Goldfish      5 Points
Get a goldfish In a clear plastic cup or small aquarium. 
Use a magnifying glass and and draw what you see.

Draw as many characteristics as you can see.


2. Fish Vocabulary      5 Points
Define these words associated with the study of fish.

swim bladder
lateral line


3. Fish Diagram     5 Points
Label the body parts of the fish

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4. Classes of Fish      5 Points
Fish are divided into 3 classes.  List an example of each class of fish

5. Fish Fins     5 Points
Each fin of a fish aids in maneuverability
Each fin has a particular function.
List the function of these fins.



6. Explain how the scale of a fish can be used to determine the age of the fish.     5 Points


7. Tunafish      10 Points
There are 7 tunas caught commercially for food.
Fill in the chart listing where the tuna is caught and a fact about each type of tuna.

      Where Caught   

Fact about this type of tuna


8. Going Under     5 Points
Read the article Going Under by Rusty Dornin a CNN Corespondent
Then answer the questions.

San Francisco, California (CNN) -- Fishermen have counted for generations on the cold, swirling waters off northern California to provide for their families. A new study in Fisheries magazine, however, warns that 82 species and subspecies of fish, including many that swim in the waters off North America, may face the threat of future extinction. For many species, the source of the threat is man himself. Kate Wing, a policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the time to act is now. "These are fish that people eat, that people are going to the restaurant and ordering as Pacific snapper or as grouper," Wing said.
Florida Named Hot Spot
The American Fisheries Society has worked for 10 years to identify marine fish stocks that may be at risk of extinction in North America. The society's study, printed in this month's issue of Fisheries, for the first time names specific fish considered in danger. Geographic "hot spots" are identified where assorted species are at risk, including Florida's Indian River Lagoon, the Keys and Florida Bay in the southern part of the state. Other vulnerable areas include Washington's Puget Sound and the northern Gulf of Mexico. Specific fish found to be at potential risk include the once abundant Pacific cod, the Atlantic sturgeon and numerous varieties of rockfish.
Fishermen see the Signs
It's not hard to pinpoint blame for the threat: overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction. Off the coast of Washington, herring have been overfished for years. A skyrocketing sea lion population also has put the species at risk. In Florida, agricultural pollution and degradation of wetlands have destroyed populations of grouper and other fish. Fishermen such as Dave Music began noticing a reduction in catch sizes three or four years ago in the seas around San Francisco. "It was a hundred thousand pounds a month, and now it's down to 25 thousand pounds for two months," he said.
Preserves Urged
Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federal of Fishermen, also blames the emerging threat on a failure by man to understand his impact on various specifics. "We've just simply put too many boats out there, too much pressure on stocks that we had no idea of how much fishing they could sustain," he said. Scientists said more marine preserves are needed, places where fishing would be off-limits. Wing said man needs to give some species a break. "Closing off areas means that those fish aren't even going to get caught," said Wing. "They can recover. They can sustain themselves in that area."




9. Other Names of Fish     5 Points
Name 6 fish that have the names of other animals.


10. Fish Food Web     5 Points
Create a freshwater food web that includes the northern pike, trout, and blue gill.
Draw the arrows to the animal that is doing the eating.


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11. Marine Biology Using the Classroom Aquarium     
5 Points
Identify the fish in the classroom aquarium.
Draw all identifying marks on the fish.
Color the fish their actual colors.
Use the characteristics to help you name each fish.

Use Fish Identification found at:


12. Fish Territories     15 Points
Observe swimming and resting patterns of aquarium fish.
Determine how different parts of the habitat are used.

1. Create a variety of habitats in an aquarium.
2. Use a marker on plastic sheets to divide the front of the aquarium into areas.
3. Divide the side of the aquarium into Front and Back areas

      B                 F               A1
















4. Watch one fish for 5 minutes recording the location every 15 seconds on a data sheet.
Example A2F= Area A2 Front
Data Sheets found at:
You may setup your own data sheet like the one below or use the link above.
Extend the time to 5 minutes on your data sheet

Time in Min. and Sec. Location of Fish


15 sec    
30 sec    
45 sec    
1 min    

5. Observe the same fish daily for 4 days.
6. Change one factor in the aquarium. Move something or add something new.
7. Observe the fish again for 4 days recording the locations again.
8. Examine your data.
9. Graph the data for each of the observations.
10. Draw a conclusion about the way fish use their habitat.


13. Identifying Fish      10 Points
Use the following Classifcation Key to identify these fish.

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SciFish18PicturesKey.bmp (1539810 bytes)




14. Wildlife Forever State Fish Art Contest      15 Points
Create a picture of any official state-fish. Learn about your home state's official fish, or pick a new fish and explore its characteristics, habitat and behavior through art!  You pick the designated state-fish to paint or draw.  Completed pictures must be completed by March 31, 2009.

Artwork must include:

Complete rules may be found at:


16. Fish In a Bottle Experiment      15 Points

Can I raise small fish in a closed system in a gallon bottle?

Find out what fish need to live. Be sure to get the Bibliography information from the person you interview. This aquarium can be self-sustaining. But you will have to find out what to do to start it right.

What do you think you will have to do to make your aquarium self-sustaining?

A one-gallon glass pickle jar    
Gravel - about 1 pounds
1 adult guppy
1 very small snail - you may get one with the plants, but make sure you have only one in the jar
Fish food
Aquatic plants - sagittaria, eelgrass, anacharis, elodea

1. Wash the jar well
2. Fill three-quarters full with room-temperature tap water.
    Let stand for at least two days, uncovered.
3. To clean the graves, place in a strainer and rinse with water. Do not use soap.
4. Transfer the gravel to the bottom of the jar. You should have a 2-inch layer.
5. Put the aquarium in a spot where it will get sunlight, but not direct sunlight, it is too hot.
6. Add plants and fish to the aquarium.
    Even if the plants do not have roots, push the stems into the gravel.
7. Observe your aquarium for 28 days.
    Make careful observations each day.
    Many days you may only observe that there was no change.
8. After one week seal the jar with the lid.
    Do not open it for the remaining 21 days of your experiment.

Make a data table to record your observations for the 28 days.

This is not optional. You must explain what you learned by doing this activity.
Remember that you must answer the question you asked in your original problem statement.



17. Fish Cards      10 Points
Choose 10 fish from the upper, middle, or lower Mississippi River.
Use field guides, magazines, the Internet, and library books to find a picture and information.
Front of Card

Back of Card

Using a stick and a piece of string attach the Fish Cards to your homemade fishing pole.
Display in your classroom.

Fish Haunts found at
: has 3 pages of Mississippi River fish

Critter Corner: Fish found at:

Fins, Tails, and Scales found at:

Fish as Food found at:

State Fish Art Entry Form found at:

State Fish Colored Pictures found at:

Your State Fish found at: