To explore different variables that may affect fish.
If fish could talk, what would they tell you? Would they tell you the food is terrible? Or complain that the water is too cold, or warm, or if the sunlight is too bright? Would they judge your music choice? Unfortunately fish cannot directly talk to you about their preferences, so it is up to us to investigate.
There are many different types of fish. There are two main types of fish: fresh water and salt water. This is very interesting. What about their body that makes them fit to live only in fresh water or salt water? Can they survive in polluted water?
You can study this through a Science Fair Project! All you have to do is control a few variables and examen the response. The most effective way to go about doing this would be to have complicated medical monitoring devices, but that's not the only way. Most of the research involving animal subjects are accompanied by detaileded observation of their behavior. So, you can keep a close detailed observation log of their food consumption, color, size, activity and other things that you notice and think are important. Compare the recorded observations with those that you observe.
Another more quantitative approach is to assign numerical value to the variables you are observing. To do this you would have to make a list, like survey questions, and then rate characteristics on a scale from 1-10 (you can choose your own scale). This approach is probably more difficult to set up but easier to use in the long run. After you have taken all of your observations down, then numerically plot the data and find correlations using our Line Fitting Guide.
By simply studying the fish in your tank, you can apply the results more broadly to the effect of pollution to the ecosystem of fish.
Personalizing your project
- Pick your control variable. (What are you going to keep constant the entire time?) Is it going to be water temperature? Types of food? Light? You choose anything that you think might affect fish.
- Do different species respond differently to the control variable you have set?
- What is the “family tree” of fish and how do you think they evolved to be the way they are?
- What kind of anatomy differences enable fish to live in salt water or fresh water?
Things to Consider
- You will be handling live fish. Be aware of ethics code for using animal subject. Please read through the Safety page.
- This project requires many days to get sufficient data. Make sure you plan in advance.
Google Key words
To do more research on fish, try typing these words into a Google search.
- Water Pollution
- Controlled variable
- Aquarium maintenance
- Introductory Biology Text books
- Introductory Zoology Text books