NANFA-- Exhibit idea

Denkhaus, Robert (DenkhaR_at_Ci.Fort-Worth.TX.US)
Sat, 2 Dec 2000 11:28:13 -0600

Now that winter has set in here in North Central Texas and our visitation
has slowed to include only those who are willing to venture out into the
bitter cold of the 50 degree days, it is time for me to begin planning for
new projects and I would appreciate any and all advice, comments,
suggestions, criticisms, etc. on an idea that I have been mulling over for
quite some time.

I would like to create a multi-faceted exhibit for inside our interpretive
center that seeks to achieve two primary objectives:

1. Exhibits a number of native fish and other aquatic species in one or
more community tank system(s), and
2. Is an example of the ability of a wetland system to cleanse water.

In my mental image, I see one or more tanks housing an appropriate number of
individuals and species of fish native to this region. Aquascaping would of
course be as natural as possible. This tank or series of tanks would be
fairly typical of any attempt to exhibit native fish species and would
achieve objective #1, above.

The tough part, and the part that I really am seeking advice on, is
achieving objective #2. In my vision, I see the tanks not having any
regular filtration. Water is drawn from the tanks and directed to a created
wetland system which could be located indoors or out (I can run water
through an existing hole in an exterior wall if necessary). The wetlands
would be stocked with appropriate native plants, invertebrates and other
critters. Water would then be drawn from the wetland and pumped back into
the tank(s). I realize that this has some inherent potential problems, i.e.
shared water chemistry and the like, but I think that our visitors would be
intrigued by learning that the wetlands were the only filter used.

In my ultimate, and admittedly unrealistic, vision, there would even be a
tank in which contaminants could be added to simulate an accidental spill or
even continuous non-point pollution. Water would be cleansed by the wetland
and pumped back into the tanks. (Just dreaming but you have to admit that
such an exhibit would be excellent for showing the value of wetlands)

Sorry for the inadequate description but it's just an idea right now.
Anyway, feel free to provide advice and encouragement or to blast the entire

Rob Denkhaus
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

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