Pond, lake, stream and river water (fresh water) microscopy

Damian’s views in his Lomo Biolam microscope

Damian used his renovated Lomo Biolam microscope to view the small organisms we found in our recent trip to Branston water park and cheek cells we collected from his mouth and stained with H&E staining on 2/2/2018.

Andy and Damian

Cheek cells x20 objective

Cheek cells x40 objective

X90 objective. All these images taken afocally from one side of the binoviewer on the Lomo, using hand-held Samsung S7 phone through x10 ocular and objective mentioned. There is also 1.5x multiplication effect from the binoviewer.

Therefore the magnification on image below with x90 objective = 10 x 90 x 1.5 = 1350 x. Contrast and brightness tweaked in the image editor on the Samsung S7 phone – no other processing:

The following photos are all with x10 objective, otherwise as above. They are of organisms from Branston water park:

The following picture shows Damian taking pictures through the ocular using the a ocal imaging technique of holding his camera up to the ocular.

Microscopy sample taken from edge of lake at Branston Water Park 20/2/2018 viewed 22/2/2018

Damian collected this sample 20/2/2018 when Andy & Damian went there. In the previous post, we described how we centrifuged this sample to get it ready for microscopy. In this post, we show microscopic images from the slides we produced.

  • Bresser Mikrocam 5.0 camera.
  • Zeiss IM microscope.

Andy & Rhys & Damian

Photo of large ciliated organism x20 objective bright field:

Photos x32 objective – mixture bright field and Phase Contrast images showing bacteria, diatoms, and something I don’t know!

Videos – Phase Contrast x32 objective:

Microscopy open water trawl net samples from Branston Water Park collected 20/2/2018 viewed 22/2/2018

The following images are from the sample that Damian collected 20/2/2018 on our walk to Branston Water Park viewed through the Zeiss IM microscope.

I had kept the sample fed with sugar dissolved in water over last 2 days and in sunlight and exposed to oxygen (opened top bottle).

All images with Bresser Mikrocam 5.0 5MP camera.

The black circles are bubbles.

Specimens killed with 10% formalin (20ml poured into 2 litre bottle) and then filtered with coffee filter to concentrate the specimen. Specimen mounted using water-based mountant.

I am particularly proud of the first photo. Darkfield achieved using Ph2 Phase annulus on Zeiss IM microscope with x10 objective and then I used GIMP to darken background a little (I used curves).


Darkfield image x10 objective Phase 2 annulus:

Same field as above, bright field, x10 objective:

Following images are all brightfield, x2.7 objective:


Microscopy of stream sample collected 18/2/2018 from stream between Netherstowe School in Lichfield and adjacent allottments viewed on 22/2/2018

The sample I took from the stream between Netherstowe School in Lichfield and adjacent allottments on 18/2/2018 has been kept in a jar and fed with a spoonful of sugar dissolved in warm water each day (to keep bacteria growing – these are bottom of food chain for larger predatory protozoa). I keep top open to allow oxygen in. The jars were kept next to our french doors to allow light to shine in each day.

Today I used phase contrast on the Zeiss IM microscope to view these images – so images and video below are either in bright field (without phase contrast) or Phase contrast using annulus Ph1 on the Zeiss. All images and video are using x32 long working distance objective and taken with Bresser 5MP Mikrocam camera.


Phase contrast images, x32 objective – show bacteria and a protozoal organism:

Bright field (first) and Phase contrast (Ph1) image (second) of same field to compare:

Video of sample x32 objective – this is brightfield not phase contrast:



Flat worms & things: Microscopy sample of water from Branston Water Park, Lichfield Road (A38), Burton Upon Trent DE14 3HD

We went to Branston Water Park for walk and collected two samples:

(I) Trawl sample collected using homemade plankton net

(II) Sample from around water plants near edge + some plant parts to include surface-living protozoa.

Andy & Damian

Damian uses my homemade Plankton net to collect sample from Branston Water Park lake (I used a filter for an air conditioning system for the net – to give the required pore size which is measured in microns! Those protozoa are very small):

Creating centrifuged pellet from sample from around water plants next to edge lake:

Video of live microscopy of centrigue pellet from Branston Park lake water sample using x32 objective:

I am very proud of this video – definitely one worth watching!! Look out for the two layers of cilia on the one organism and the vortex-producing mouthparts in another clip, sucking in small organisms as food like a Dyson vacuum cleaner!

This first video is a compilation of highlights from the second video that follows afterwards:

Full video – shows a greater range of organisms and behaviour than the highlights video above –  if you are having difficulty accessing the embedded video below the URL for direct link to the video on YouTube is https://youtu.be/SKpROQCVp0A)


Photos from live microscopy of centrifuge pellet x32 objective:

Two flatworms:


I am having some difficulty identifying this. I can get it down to three types of genera but can’t be more specific. Note the two layers of cilia (hair-like projections):

The following looks like algae but is motile – the video shows two of them moving like liners on the sea:

I am not quite sure whether this organism is the same as the ciliated organism above or not. This one is free swimming whereas the other was (I think) attached at one end to some debris:

Is this following the same as above? This one sucked in debris and small organisms like a Dyson vacuum cleaner as I watched. It is on the video but was more impressive at the eyepiece, as the little doomed organisms could more easily be seem being sucked at high speed into the mouthparts (right side of organism in middle of cilia below):


Brightfield microscopy of stream sample next to Netherstowe School, Lichfield collected 18/2/2018 observed 20/2/2018 using Zeiss IM microscope

I prepared a brightfield live sample (unstained) of the water I collected from the stream between Netherstowe School in Lichfield and the allotments next door to the school on 18/2/2018 today 20/2/2018 and viewed this using my Zeiss IM microscope (transmitted light).

Bresser Mikrocam 5.0 camera


All following photos & video using x32 long working distance objective – some protozoa and bacteria visible:

Microscopy of sample of water from stream between Netherstowe School and allotments in Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK, 17/2/2018

I collected the sample today and used the centrifuge to spin down the contents into a pellet which I viewed on a slide. Nothing very exciting!….Perhaps the video of the centrifuge has a role in helping people fall asleep though?


x2.7 objective:

x32 objective:

x32 objective – something is moving – shows I did not fully heat the slide to completely fix it – I did this over hob on oven so not as reliable as using specialist equipment to heat slide in consistent fashion:

Using centrifuge to create pellet from sample – the pellet forms at the bottom of the centrifuge tube and is the compressed microscopic contents of the fluid in the tube – great way to discard excess fluid from sample without losing solid sample contents:

Second first light for Damian’s LOMO Biolam microscope

Following renovation – excellent results!

Commercial stained slides of fungi (Aspergillus and Saprolegnia) & pond water organism (Desmid) – Bresser Mikrocam 9.0 camera using 23mm eyepiece adapter in eyepiece of binoviewer on LOMO Biolam microscope (binoviewer adds 1.5x magnification to this microscope).

Andy & Damian

10x objective – calibration slide – each division = 0.01mm:

Aspergillus – 20x objective (Aspergillus is a genus consisting of a few hundred mould species found in various climates worldwide. Aspergillus was first catalogued in 1729 by the Italian priest and biologist Pier Antonio Micheli. Viewing the fungi under a microscope, Micheli was reminded of the shape of an aspergillum, from Latin spargere, and named the genus accordingly [Wikipedia]):

Saprolegnia – 10x objective – see fruiting body and mycellum below (Saprolegnia is a genus of water moulds often called “cotton moulds” because of the characteristic white or grey fibrous patches they form [Wikipedia]):

Desmid x40 objective (a single-celled freshwater alga which appears to be composed of two rigid cells with a shared nucleus. The presence of desmids is usually an indicator of unpolluted water [Wikipedia]):