From left to right: Students Ashley Weddel, Samantha Veigulis, Ashton Kate Veal, and Megan Fleming. All very excited for the new animals!

The Long Island Aquarium, in association with Reefgen and Fluid Dynamics International, sent two boxes of aquacultured goods to the Des Moines Central Campus Aquarium Science Class last week. Some information on Central Campus’ class: This high school program teaches students how to care for all types of aquatic creatures. They learn things like how to grow coral, culture rotifers, breed shrimp, and rear clownfish. This school in land-locked Iowa is a place where these students can learn how to plumb systems, test water quality, and perform regular aquarist duties. I personally attended this class for both my junior and senior years of high school. This class and its teacher Kirk Embree are the reason I am in this field today. They have produced several professional aquarists and I am sure we will see dozen more to come.

Student Megan Fleming with one of the classes new Lightning Maroons.

The class received the shipment on Wednesday morning. Kirk wanted the package to arrive before the school year ended so everyone in the class would gain experience in unpacking a fish shipment. He gives a whole lecture on the Do’s and Don’ts of shipping fish. Apparently the students had some critiques for my packing skills. However, it sounds like I at least got a passing grade.

Student Raquela Baltazar adding the new additions to a tank.

The first box contained some coral gems from our 20,000-gallon reef tank and some rarities from Reefgen. Some beautiful Acropora frags along with some other varieties coral. The second box contained several pairs of Lightning Maroon Clownfish, Neon Gobies, and Bangaii Cardinalfish that were all aquacultured at the aquarium. The students were very excited to receive the animals and are looking forward to working with them. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to have attended this class and am still able to be involved in its progression. If you would like to know more about the program or make a donation, you can email Kirk at:

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