Page:EB1911 - Volume 02.djvu/251

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
239
AQUARIUS—AQUAVIVA

rotary, and should be of gun-metal or one of the new bronze-alloys which take a patina in salt water. For the circulating pipes many materials have been tried. Vulcanite is not only expensive and brittle, but has other disadvantages; common iron pipes, coated internally with cement or asphalt or glazed internally, with all unions and joints cemented, have been used with more or less success. Probably best of all is common lead piping, the joints being served with red-lead; water should be circulated through such pipes till they become coated with insoluble carbonate, for some time before animals are put into the tanks. For small installations glass may be used, the joints being made with marine glue or other suitable cement.

In building the tanks themselves, regard must be had to their special purposes. If intended for show-tanks for popular admiration, or for the study of large animals, they must be large with a plate-glass front; for ordinary scientific work small tanks with all sides opaque are preferable from every point of view. According to their character, size and position, fixed tanks may be of brickwork, masonry or rock, coated in each case with cement; asphalting the sides offers no particular advantages, and often gives rise to great trouble and expense. All materials, and especially the cements, must be of the finest quality procurable. For smaller and movable tanks, slate slabs bolted or screwed together have some disadvantages, notably those of expense, weight and brittleness, but are often used. Better, cheaper and lighter, if less permanent, are tanks of wood bolted together, pitched internally. Glass bell-jars, useful in particular cases, should generally have their sides darkened, except when required for observation. Provision should always be made for cleaning every part of the tanks, pipes and reservoirs; all rock-work in tanks should therefore be removable. As regards the lighting of fixed tanks, it should always be directly from above. In all tanks with glass sides, whether large or small, as much light as possible should be kept from entering through the glass; otherwise, with a side-light, many animals become restless, and wear themselves out against the glass, affected by even so little light as comes through an opposite tank.

In cases where distance from the sea or other causes make it impracticable to allow the overflow from the tanks to run to waste, special precautions must be taken to keep the water pure. Chemically speaking, the chief character of the water in an aquarium circulation, when compared with that of the open sea, lies in the excessive quantity of nitrogen present in various forms, and the reduced alkalinity; these two being probably connected. The excess of nitrogen is referable to dead animals, to waste food and to the excreta of the living organisms. The first two of these sources of contamination may be reduced by care and cleanliness, and by the maintenance of a flow of water sufficient to prevent the excessive accumulation of sediment in the tanks. The following experiment shows the rapid rise of nitrogen if unchecked. A tank with a considerable fauna was isolated from the general circulation and aerated by four air-jets, except during hours 124–166 of the experiment; column I. shows per 100,000 the nitrogen estimated as ammonia, column II. the total inorganic nitrogen:—


I.         II.
 
Sea-water at source of original supply 0.001         0.003
Aquarium water in tank at commencement of experiment         0.012         0.400
After 22½ hours 0.020         · ·
 ”    75  ” 0.025         1.200
 ”    93  ” 0.019         · ·
 ”  121½  ” 0.012         · ·
 ”   141  ” 0.015         2.200
 ”   165  ” 0.025         · ·
 ”   169  ” 0.025         · ·
 ”   189  ” 0.012         · ·


During this time the alkalinity was reduced to the equivalent of 30 mg. CaCO3 per litre, ocean water having an alkalinity equivalent to 50–55 mg. per litre. It has been suggested that the organic nitrogen becomes oxidized into nitrous, then into nitric acid, which lowers the carbonate values. A great deal of reduction of this nitrogenous contamination can be effected by filtration, a method first introduced successfully at Hamburg, where a most thriving aquarium has been maintained by the local Zoological Society for many years on the circulation principle, new water being added only to compensate for waste and evaporation. The filters consist of open double boxes, the inner having a bottom of perforated slate on which rests rough gravel; on the latter is fine gravel, then coarse, and finally fine sand. Filtration may be either upwards or downwards through the inner box to the outer. Such filters, intercalated between tanks and reservoir, have been shown by analysis to stop a very large proportion of nitrogenous matter. It is doubtful whether aquarium water will not always show an excess of nitrogenous compounds, but they must be kept down in every way possible. In small tanks, well lighted, seaweeds can be got to flourish in a way that has not been found practicable in large tanks with a circulation; these, with Lamellibranchs and small Crustacea as scavengers, will be found useful in this connexion. Slight or occasional circulation should be employed here also, to remove the film of dust and other matters, which otherwise covers the surface of the water and prevents due oxygenation.

In such small tanks for domestic use the fauna must be practically limited to bottom-living animals, but for purposes of research it is often desired to keep alive larval and other surface-swimming animals (plankton). In this case a further difficulty is presented, that of helping to suspend the animals in the water, and thus to avoid the exhaustion and death which soon follow their unaided efforts to keep off the bottom; this duty is effected in nature by specific gravity, tide and surface current. In order to deal with this difficulty a simple but efficient apparatus has been devised by Mr E. T. Browne; a “plunger,” generally a glass plate or filter funnel, moves slowly up and down in a bell-jar or other small tank, with a period of rest between each stroke; the motive power is obtained through a simple bucket-and-siphon arrangement worked by the overflow from other tanks. This apparatus (first used at the Plymouth Laboratory of the Marine Biological Association in 1897, and since introduced into similar institutions), by causing slight eddies in the water, keeps the floating fauna in suspension, and has proved very successful in rearing larvae and in similar work.  (G. H. Fo.) 

AQUARIUS (the “Water-bearer” or “Cup-bearer”), in astronomy, the eleventh sign of the zodiac (q.v.), situated between Capricornus and Pisces. Its symbol is Aquarius.svg, representing part of a stream of water, probably in allusion to the fact that when the sun is in this part of the heavens (January, February) the weather is rainy. It is also a constellation mentioned by Eudoxus (4th century B.C.) and Aratus (3rd century B.C.); Ptolemy catalogued forty-five stars, Tycho Brahe forty-one, Hevelius forty-seven. ζ Aquarii is a well-defined binary, having both components of the fourth magnitude; it is probably of long period.

AQUATINT (Lat. aqua, water, and tincta, dyed), a kind of etching (q.v.) which imitates washes with a brush. There are many ways of preparing a plate for aquatint, the following being recommended by P. G. Hamerton. Have three different solutions of rosin in rectified alcohol, making them of various degrees of strength, but always thin enough to be quite fluid, the weakest solution being almost colourless. First pour the strongest solution on the plate. When it dries it will produce a granulation; and you may now bite as in ordinary etching for your darker tones, stopping out what the acid is not to operate upon, or you may use a brush charged with acid, perchloride of iron being a very good mordant for the purpose. After cleaning the plate, you proceed with the weaker solutions in the same way, the weakest giving the finest granulation for skies, distances, &c. The process requires a good deal of stopping-out, and some burnishing, scraping, &c., at last. Aquatint may be effectively used in combination with line etching, and still more harmoniously with soft ground etching in which the line imitates that of the lead pencil.

AQUAVIVA, CLAUDIO (1542–1615), fifth general of the Jesuits, the youngest son of the duke d’Altri, was born at Naples. He joined the Jesuits at Rome in 1567, and his high administrative