Roger Williams University – Wetlabs Research








We’re the Roger Williams Marine Laboratory, and this is where we have our aquarium science and agriculture program. It’s a fully running marine lab where we combine a lot of teaching, tools, and also research for the students. It’s 100% undergraduate run and so the students are responsible basically for taking care of all the animals and the daily maintenance of the lab.

There’s a type of biofilter, it’s called a fluidized bed filter, which is one of the more effective filters to use on an aquarium or an aquaculture system, and it’s a great teaching tool for students to teach them about nitrification and how bacteria are used to break down waste and water to detoxify that waist so the fish are maintained in a healthy environment.

When we got started with this, we build the filter from scratch in the lab with the students. The students construct the entire filter on it. They start with basically some PVC parts and some clear PVC tube and they put the filter together, and then we have to add sand in there to make that work. And the size of the sand is directly related to the performance of the filter. And so, we were looking for sand that was rated very specifically to a certain grain and that we could get different sized grains that we were looking for, and also had very high quality as far as what the other material that wasn’t in there. So we just wanted sand. We didn’t want it to a lot of organic matter or things that would cause problems in the water.

When you build these filters, the water, and the pump has to be able to make that filter fluidize and to do that you need to make sure that it doesn’t pack and clog up. And so if you use a too fine of a sand or one sand grain type, it tends to pack and clog and it takes a lot of pressure to get it to fluidized. And by using that multigrain sand of different sizes, when they sink back down after the pump shuts off, if the power was to go out or something, then they stack on top of each other at that different size and it doesn’t allow the small sand to go back through the filter. And it also allows the water to start very easily.

It’s a spectacular product. I’ve recommended their sand to a number of public aquariums and agricultural facilities that have different types of sand filters that you use, what’s called a pressurized a high rate sand filters where they’re pushing their water through it to purify the water, to filter out particles. And to be able to get sand that if it’s that type of grain, that has no organic matter in it, that’s certified as organic free. And that is exactly what we get every single time. It makes our life very easy.