How to catch micro-organisms!

You can find micro-organisms everywhere!!! But can you see them? And can you catch them?

Bacteria and viruses are the most common, but typically require special dyes and very powerful microscopes in order to see. And they aren't the most interesting to look at either, you can only see their overall shape (rod, sphere, or spiral shaped) or organization (singular, groups, or chained).

The most interesting kinds of micro-organisms to look at, in my opinion, are bigger eukaryotic or multi-cellular ones. I like them because they can have very unique features and they're see thru, so you can see their internal organs working! And although these guys are a bit more rare, you can easily find them in sources of water like a river or the ocean.

However, if you were to just take any old drop of water, unless it's pretty scummy, you'll only be looking at empty water. This is why we're building a net to catch them!

With this net you can take a quart of water (18,920 drops) or more, and use a filter to get rid of all the water while keeping everything bigger than a micron in there. This lets you see everything all at once, making it a lot easier to find amazing microorganisms! Don't worry it's Super-simple!

Step 1: Gather your materials!

How to catch micro-organisms!

You will need:

- A net with very small holes. The smaller the holes the smaller the things you can catch. If your catching larger plankton and stuff, you can actually use women's sheer and will probably be able to look at these guys under a magnifying glass. But if you want to see very small things like what I show here, you'll want a net in the micron range. Here's a link where you can pick them up: Store In the end, it's up to you to experiment with what you use for your net =)

- A 2 liter soda bottle (If you want to filter water more quickly, use a bottle with a wider-mouth).

- Sharp scissors or knife

Step 2: Drill a hole into the cap

How to catch micro-organisms!

Like the title says

Step 3: Assemble!

How to catch micro-organisms!
How to catch micro-organisms!

Place the filter over the top of the end, then screw the cap back on. This should be good enough to seal it, but if you want to, at this step add a bit of silicon adhesive around the inside bottom edge of the cap. So that you can lightly screw the cap back on, which seals it with the silicone adhesive rather than by tightening it, which can potentially cause tears (leading to a microorganism prison escape)!

Step 4: Cut it in half

How to catch micro-organisms!
How to catch micro-organisms!
How to catch micro-organisms!

Now just cut the soda bottle in half and flip the top part back into the bottom.

The bigger the top half, the more water you can filter at a time, but make sure you can still reach the filter where all your microorganisms are going to be collected.

Step 5: Add drainage hole

How to catch micro-organisms!

This is where the run-off water will escape from.

Step 6: Filter and collect your micro-zoo!

How to catch micro-organisms!
How to catch micro-organisms!
How to catch micro-organisms!
How to catch micro-organisms!
How to catch micro-organisms!

Now just pour your pondwater, riverwater, seawater, or whatever liquid into the filter and give it time. It might take a while, but every drop of water that goes through here is one less empty drop of water to look at.

By the way, did you know there are more kinds of microorganisms than there are kinds of animals?! If you kept on looking, you'd honestly never stop finding new things. So what are you waiting for, get out there and explore! And if you find something cool, feel free to shoot it over to: @catalystframe

PS: You will most likely need a microscope to be able to see these guys. If you don't already have one or are looking to upgrade, I recently made a new type of microscope that I think blows everything else out of the water. If you want to check it out, all the information is at: Project page Thanks!

 
 

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