We receive requests for support every day. These can come from private individuals, from people in need and from non-profit organisations. In such cases fairness and the promotion of the hobby are JBL's top priorities.
Shortlisting requests is not easy, because we’d really like to help everyone. Our general manager Roland Böhme sees it this way too and likes supporting projects that will make a lot of hearts beat faster. So the request for help from the OGATA of the Karl-Arnold school received an affirmative response and its wishes fulfilled. Bernd Poßeckert, who we’ve known for years through the Online Aquaristik Magazin, acted as mediator.
Below you’ll find a report written by the OGATA group upon completion of the project. We are happy that we were once again able to help and to inspire children for aquaristics.
There has been a 300 litre aquarium in the canteen of the Karl-Arnold school in Ratingen, near Düsseldorf since 2009 and it gives the OGATA children especially (OGATA - afternoon club for children who are looked after in school after lessons) a great deal of pleasure in the afternoon hours. Its wide variety of bright coloured fish invites the children to observe, learn and also to relax. Observing the fish leads to a lot of questions, clearly showing the children’s curiosity about life in the aquarium.
Until 2015 the aquarium was lovingly looked after and maintained by the OGATA staff. But as this care was very time-consuming the question arose in summer 2015 whether to get rid of the aquarium or whether to let the parents set up an aquarium group. This group was mainly to be responsible for cleaning the tank and caring for the fish. Feeding was to remain the OGATA’s job, but it was important to find support for the maintenance of the equipment as well as for regular water changes, cleaning the panes, cutting the plants, measuring the water values etc. in order to be able to keep the aquarium for the children.
At the first OGATA parents' evening after school enrolment 2015/16 the head of the OGATA, Mrs. Yogendran, asked the parents for volunteers who could take over these tasks at regular intervals, and preferably for anyone with previous experience in the field of aquaristics. A group of five mothers were quickly found and we eagerly arranged our first viewing at the aquarium. Two of us have owned an aquarium at home and another is a biologist, whose knowledge would surely be an enrichment for the future of the aquarium.
The aquarium was in a pitiful condition at this time, however. The bottom with its small pebbles was mouldy and covered in algae, the panes were dirty and the filter system was dilapidated. The aquarium had no suitable lighting and was open at the top. The new group decided it needed a thorough overhaul. And so they met one day in the autumn holidays to completely set up the aquarium anew.
None of us had any previous experience in this area, so we used tips from the Internet and general brainstorming to set up a plan before getting to work. Within five hours the complete aquarium had been emptied, cleaned and supplied with a new, planted bottom, while about 30 fish looked on in amazement from nearby buckets. At the end of the day we were all proud of the fantastic results and we returned the fish to their new realm with a good feeling. The aquarium looked like new!
Since then the care and maintenance of the aquarium has worked very well and hand in hand with the OGATA team. The group composition changes from time to time, as does the composition of the fish. Children get older, new year groups move up – but the basic idea of the canteen aquarium remains the same.
Since this project was not supported by any official bodies, all the technical equipment we’d used had been given as private donations and a lot of it was already quite old and decrepit. One of the two external filters, for example, was only held together with duct tape - cleaning was difficult, as you can imagine. Also the arrangement of the intake and outlet was not ideally adjusted. The fish were obviously well, it was just that the maintenance of the filters was time-consuming.
By chance, an aquarist with years of experience joined the group and his tips and active work helped to optimise the existing technology a little better. Various plants also migrated from his aquariums into the school aquarium and rounded off the visual impression of an aquarium worth seeing.
He then established contact with the company JBL and JBL then kindly provided a new state-of-the-art filter for the OGATA aquarium free of charge. The JBL shipment also included a few other surprises such as water test strips etc. After the installation of the new filter the maintenance of the aquarium is much easier and can be carried out more quickly and easily. JBL deserves a big thank you! Currently, four mothers, one father and an aquarist are looking after about 40 cheery fish. We keep careful records of their regular care so that each care group always knows exactly what was done last and what needs to be done next. They usually meet at the tank every four weeks. The fish will continue to be fed by the OGATA team, who will also take care of them during the holidays. Children and adults enjoy this beautiful school aquarium every day and it is indeed an eye-catcher in the OGATA canteen!
Text: Sonja Waßmuth
You can find out more about what the school offers here: OGATA