researcher testing the water quality

The Importance of Water Testing

Published / by analyticag

The Amazing World of Fish

Did you know that there are about 32,000 different kinds of fish in the world today? That’s a lot of fish! In today’s world, people rely a lot on fish. Both freshwater and salt water fish are eaten by humans all over the world and have been for thousands of years. Scientists believe that the oldest fishhook ever found dates back to approximately 42,000 years ago. Not only do people eat fish, but parts of fish are found in some household products like lipstick. Many families even love keeping fish as pets. Fish are used for a lot of things, so they must be pretty important!

Fun Fish Facts

Fish are vertebrates, which means they have a backbone. But unlike most animals, fish don’t breathe with lungs. They take in oxygen from the water through their gills. Fish, like reptiles and amphibians, are cold-blooded. This means that they can’t control their body temperature. Most fish lay eggs to hatch into baby fish, but some fish, like the Great White Shark, give birth to live babies. Fish do not have vocal cords like people do, instead they have to communicate with each other through various noises that they can make with their body, such as rattling their bones, hissing, whistling, gnashing their teeth, and grunting.

Fish can do a lot of pretty impressive things. Fish jaws are not attached to the skull, so many fishes can shoot their mouths forward away from their faces to catch food or insects. Instead of tasting with their tongues, fish have taste buds all over their body to taste what’s around them. Sharks are the only species of fish that have eyelids, but they don’t need to blink because the water cleans their eyes. The fastest fish in the world is the sailfish. In fact, a sailfish can swim as fast as a car traveling on a highway. The slowest fish in the world is a seahorse. It moves so slow that when you watch one, you can hardly tell it’s moving.

Peculiar Fish

Fish are pretty cool in general, but there are some impressive and unusual fish in the world. Below is a countdown of some of the world’s most bizarre fish and the things that make them so special.

  1. The Fangtooth Fish can only grow to be a few inches long, but it has teeth roughly the same size as human’s. No wonder it got the name “Fangtooth”!
  2. The Mudskipper can spend most of its life out of water by walking on its fins. It can accomplish this by carrying a water supply and breathing through the pores of its skin.
  3. Catfish have over 27,000 taste buds whereas most people only have around 7,000.
  4. Seahorses can camouflage themselves to match the color of their surroundings. They can also move their eyes to look in two different directions at the same time. They are the only type of fish that swims upright.
  5. The Giant Whale Shark is the largest fish on earth. They can grow to be up to 60 feet long, that’s the length of two school buses! The Giant Whale Shark weighs over 25 tons and its diet consists of mostly tiny plankton. They have over 4,000 teeth, but their teeth are only 3mm long.
  6. The smallest types of fish are the freshwater Pygmy and Luzon gobies and the saltwater Marshal Islands goby that live in East Asia. They can only get as big as half an inch, about as large as a grain of rice.
  7. Lungfish can survive out of the water for several years. It surrounds itself in its own mucus and burrows deep under ground. The Lungfish gets air through its lung that has a built-in breathing tube that leads up to the surface. The Lungfish has a lung and gills.
  8. Electric eels and electric rays contain enough electricity in their bodies to kill a horse.
  9. Flying fish normally can glide 160 feet over the length of the ocean, but some have been known to launch themselves as far as 660 feet and can attain heights of up to 19 feet in the air.
  10. Last but not least, the Hagfish. Hagfish are some of the slimiest creatures in the world. The Atlantic Hagfish makes enough slime in one minute to fill an entire bucket. The amount of slime that Hagfish produce make them virtually inedible. Gross!

Scientists have only explored 1% of the ocean depths and many believe that there are millions more fish that have never been found. Imagine how many more spectacular fish have yet to be discovered!

closeup of a refreshing glass of water

How to Measure and Improve Water Quality

Published / by analyticag

Nobody considers the importance of water quality until the water coming out of the pipes is brown or has a foul odor. For far too many people this is an everyday reality. So how do we keep our water clean and make sure it stays clean? Here are some tips and tricks to measure and improve your water quality.

Measuring Water Quality

Measuring the quality of the water that comes out of your pipes is the responsibility of the company or city that provides your water. These tests and their results should be made available to you in an annual water quality report. If the quality testing reveals contaminants that could cause illness, the water company must immediately notify the consumers. Unfortunately, just because the quality test that is performed at the water plant comes out clean, doesn’t mean your water can’t become contaminated once it leaves the plant. That is why field and home testing is so important. Many water companies perform field tests to ensure the water delivery system is functioning properly, but you should be testing your water at home as well. There are many good quality and affordable water testing devices on the market that will help you measure the water quality in your home.

Improving Water Quality

Everyday people do things without thinking or simply out of habit. Those habits can cause the quality of the water to decrease dramatically and it can be very expensive to fix. Here are some things you can do at home to improve the quality of the water in your area:

  1. Never flush medicine down the toilet.
    There are lots of chemicals in medicines that can hurt the fish and wildlife, so flushing is a bad idea. The best way to get rid of your unused medicines is through a law enforcement take back program. Just give your local police department a call to find out when they are hosting their next prescription drug take back drive.
  2. Don’t put anything in the storm drain.
    We have all seen the neighbor try and sweep the raked leaves into the storm drain. To many it may seem as though it’s just the actions of a lazy neighbor, but the truth is this behavior can not only clog the drain it can also cause harm to the local waterways. Storm drains are simply openings along the street curb to allow rain water to run off and be carried out into waterways, such as streams or rivers. By dumping yard waste into these drains a few different catastrophes can happen. The waterways can become contaminated by the chemicals used to treat lawns, the drains can become clogged which leads to flooding, and algae overgrowth becomes a real threat to the wildlife that depend on these waterways.
  3. Follow Disposal Instructions
    Just as you shouldn’t put waste down the storm drain, you don’t want to put it down your sink drain either. By pouring unused chemicals, oils, or paints down the drain you are risking the contamination of water that makes it’s way to local waterways. Contamination of these waterways endanger all living things in and around the water. If you aren’t sure how to get rid of chemicals in your home, call the city. Most municipalities have chemical disposal sites where you can drop off the items you need to get rid of and they will do the rest.
  4. Recycle
    When most people think about recycling, they don’t consider the impact trash has on our waterways. By not properly disposing of trash, and recycling to reduce the amount of trash in landfills, more and more contaminants end up polluting the rivers and streams. This pollution not only harms the wildlife that depend on the water for it’s survival, but it also costs millions of dollars to clean and restore. It’s not just the wildlife that suffer. While the water companies are spending time and money to restore the water, humans suffer as their access to clean water resources dwindle.

In a world where water is increasingly becoming a scarce resource, maintaining water quality is more important than ever. All too often people forget that ours is an ecosystem designed to be interdependent. Keeping the water clean and embracing our environmental responsibilities is just one way that we can provide healthy and clean water for generations to come.

Cartoon Fish and Fishing Hook

Negative Influences on Water Quality

Published / by analyticag

Fun Facts About Fish

What has 20,000 more taste buds than you do? A mud grubbing catfish! Imagine the flavors down there at the bottom! The catfish is one of 32,000 fish species, many with incredible behaviors and physical characteristics.

Have you ever told somebody exactly how you feel without using words? Maybe by smiling, or clapping your hands? Fish communicate by using parts of their bodies to make sounds. They are able to make low frequency moans, booms, and whistles. Fish must have a lot to say!

Communication helps fish to thrive in a dangerous environment where every creature needs to find dinner. Amazing strategies abound. Some fish confuse predators by forming schools, or groups of up to a million fish, tiny hairs in pores on the fish’s side help guide their intricate movements by sensing the smallest change in water pressure. The school moves as one, often in an expanding circular pattern which confuses and frustrates predators looking for an all you can eat seafood buffet.

Other fish survive by doing something shocking! If some hapless shark or other hungry fish tries to snack on an electric eel, they are going to get a surprise. The electric eel can produce enough electricity to kill a horse. That would be a very spicy last bite. The most poisonous fish in the world is the rock fish, whose sting can cause shock, and even death if not treated quickly.

Other fish survive by hiding, or blending in to their environment. The leafy sea dragon is a fish who manages to look exactly like a plant. Others have perfected the art of bluffing to scare off predators. The fangtooth fish has a set of teeth about the same size as yours, somehow grown from a two inch body. Even a hungry fish doesn’t want to face a swimming set of teeth. The porcupine fish can inflate itself into a 35 inch ball of spikes by swallowing water. Imagine how hungry you would have to be to take a bite out of a giant ball of spikes! The batfish takes a very simple and calm approach when in danger, they play dead, floating on the surface of the water like a leaf. If things are getting to dangerous down below, the mudskipper can spend most of its time out of water, carrying a water supply in its gills. They can also use their gills to propel along the mud.

Along with these survival techniques, fish have adapted in subtler ways to their environment. If you have ever tried to grab a fish from a net, you probably had to try two or three times to get a good grip because they are so slimy. That slime you felt is secreted from cells in their skin to make it harder for parasites to attach and to reduce water turbulence, allowing fish to swim faster. Some fish also secret toxins to deter predators. Think of your least favorite food you have ever tried. You never forget it, and you will never eat it again.

How long can you go without blinking? If you try long enough, your eyes will water and everything will become blurry. Believe it or not, fish never blink. It would be hard to blink without eyelids! But blinking is not needed in water, and since fish have relatively good vision, keeping both eyes permanently open helps them avoid danger and find food. The lack of eyelids doesn’t keep fish from sleeping. Some fish sleep up to ten hours at night, and they definitely need their shut eye, or open eye. If you leave the lights on all the time in an aquarium, the fish will eventually be floating at the top, so remember to give them a good night’s rest.