Microscope? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2020, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Question Microscope?

So this is a bit of an unusual question, but does anyone here know microscopes? I'm thinking I'd like to get a not too expensive microscope with which to examine the very smallest inhabitants of my tank.


Thinking about this one:


https://www.amscope.com/student-micr...overslips.html


or this one:


https://www.amscope.com/special-micr...icroscope.html


The darkfield capability is appealing. But I'd rather have a decent brightfield microscope than a mediocre brightfield/darkfield microscope. And you can't really get 2000x magnification with a light microscrope, so I find that claim slightly offputting.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2020, 10:27 PM
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Unless you are wanting to see the fine detail of small, unicellular algae, you really don't need magnification over 200X. Diatoms are clearly seen at this magnification, for example.

It is very nice to be able to display an image on a computer screen, and to save the image for later.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2020, 10:39 PM
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I had one of these and loaned it out and never got it back. Probably going to snag another next time I order from the evil Amazon. While it's not in the realm of a $500 digital or compound light microscope, I was very impressed for twenty bucks. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06WD843ZM/
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-06-2020, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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I'd like to be able to see bacteria.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgbudge View Post
I'd like to be able to see bacteria.
Unless the bacteria are pigmented, you will need darkfield to view them. They are just too transparent for brightfield (staining them is an option, however).
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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I'm familiar with methylene blue, eosin, Gram stain, and such. But, yeah, the ability to see bacteria in darkfield is definitely a selling point.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 08:56 AM
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I work with light (widefield, bright, dark, DIC, phase, scanning/spinning disc confocal, super resolution) and electron microscopes for a living (but applying them to biological problems).

For algae, as mentioned a high magnification is not particularly required.

For bacteria, you'll ideally want 1000x (10x ocular, 100x objective). Staining will be required, but with a dark field capable microscope, you can skip that extra step.

That being said, larger considerations are the numerical aperture of the lenses, and whether you want a water or an oil immersion lens for the higher magnification objectives.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 12:20 PM
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I've been toying with this idea as well. I've been hoping to find a microscope with the ability to send an image to my laptop so I can build up a library for reference and to be able to share. It seems that the microscopes with this feature have opted for low-resolution image sensors. Have you come across anything promising?
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not immediately interested in photography, so I went with the darkfield microscope previously linked, and ordered slides/coverslips and a selection of biological stains. The higher magnification lenses are oil immersion, which I'm fine with.

I'll report back how I like it.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
I work with light (widefield, bright, dark, DIC, phase, scanning/spinning disc confocal, super resolution) and electron microscopes for a living (but applying them to biological problems).

For algae, as mentioned a high magnification is not particularly required.

For bacteria, you'll ideally want 1000x (10x ocular, 100x objective). Staining will be required, but with a dark field capable microscope, you can skip that extra step.

That being said, larger considerations are the numerical aperture of the lenses, and whether you want a water or an oil immersion lens for the higher magnification objectives.

you are making me jealous..I've played w/ scopes since I was 12..
Crazy fun at times..

Setting up Kohler illumination on a DIY scale was quite challenging.. but worth it..
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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I'm kind of recapturing my childhood here. I had a (fairly lousy) microscope as a kid: It arrived with one objective already cracked (but, oddly, still usable), one objective that had obvious astigmatism, and a high power lens that really needed to be oil immersion but wasn't. Had hours of fun with it anyway. Looking forward to doing that at a much higher level. (Enough that I don't mind my wife making slight fun of me.)
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-07-2020, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by kgbudge View Post
I'm kind of recapturing my childhood here. I had a (fairly lousy) microscope as a kid: It arrived with one objective already cracked (but, oddly, still usable), one objective that had obvious astigmatism, and a high power lens that really needed to be oil immersion but wasn't. Had hours of fun with it anyway. Looking forward to doing that at a much higher level. (Enough that I don't mind my wife making slight fun of me.)
Found this nice reference source for all things microscopy.. Sadly also sitting at my dream microscope.. Well more like my dream scope..

https://bolioptics.com/100x-400x-inv...SABEgI2m_D_BwE

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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-08-2020, 03:29 AM
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Microscope bodies are still fairly affordable (in the range of 3-5k, for a decent one).

It's the objectives that are scary. I've seen a high NA (1.3 or 1.4?) 100x oil immersion that was a Plan-APOChromat, around 15,000 dollars

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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-09-2020, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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The Amazon tracker says the scope and slides are out for delivery today. Practically bouncing in my chair with excitement. Alas, tonight is my barbershop music rehearsal so I won't get home until 8:30.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-10-2020, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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Scope and slides arrived. I spent an hour looking at some filter scum. A rotifer, two nematodes, a gastrotrich, a couple of colpoda, and a large pink blepharisma that my wife (the professional biologist in the family) had to identify. And of course lots of algae, including a few lovely freshwater diatoms. Zoomed in on one narrow strand of green algae (I think) that looked like a hollow tube studded with green cells or chloroplasts. And what looked like a dead mite of some kind.

Oh, I know, I'm geeking out here.

Dark field works nicely. Did not try the oil immersion lens, or at least not with oil. Overall impression is that this is a serious microscope worth every dollar I paid for it. Would recommend to fellow geeks sharing my interest in amateur microscopy.

I feel almost like Ralphie with his Red Ryder B-B gun.
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