Cover those filter intakes!!!
Seeing the photo below of Samantha Kayhart's fish at Mount Abraham Union High School reminded me how important it is to put netting over the filter intake.
Look at all those loose fish to the right of Sam's breeder basket! Last year one of our teachers had almost all her fish sucked into the filter.
Yesterday Lisa Marks reported/asked:
I wanted to let you know that tonight we will be presenting a slide show and little talk to the school board, which also consists of people that provided the grant for us.
I have a couple of questions: Do we need to still calculate the DI now that the DI has reached 100 and the fish are all eating? When can we take the front panel off of the tank?
Here's how I responded:
You can stop calculating DI.
The principal reason to keep the tank covered by the foam is energy conservation. Covering the tank can also reduce the risk of algae growth (depending on the lighting conditions in the room). I advise that you take the top and front off for at least a few hours each day if not all day and then put them back on at the end of the day. That's as long as you don't notice algae growth.
It's great that Lisa's third graders will be presenting to the Ludlow school board. What a great opportunity to develop public speaking skills! Lisa has promised to send some pictures of that event.
A quick question. We have a noticeable spike in our ammonia levels. Up to like 4.0. Should I be worried? the fish are quite active, and I did read that sometimes with high ammonia levels they can be gasping for air and acting erratic. Do I need a complete water change? Thanks.
Poultney Elementary School
Here's my response:
Thanks for asking, Keith. I'd take my cues from the fish. As long as they look and act good, I'd hold off doing any water changes.
There are two compounds that are measured by the ammonia test, ammonia and ammonium. The latter is not harmful.
Keep me posted.
Below you'll find a link to the "Water chemistry and trout health" folder in the TIC resources collection. Once there, read the articles titled "What ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels are okay?" and "Article about relationship among ammonia. pH, and temperature."
On March 1, Guy Merolle reported something a bit surprising. The Castleton Village School TIC tank has elevated nitrate levels. Hmm? Normally that happens late in the tank-cycling (nitrogen cycle) process after ammonia levels have gone up and down and then nitrite levels have gone up and down too. Their fish look good though (picture below). So I'm assuming there's not a serious problem.
I got this happy update a couple of days ago from Kaitlin Cioffi-Grote.
We had some excitement at Poultney High School on Friday. We had lost several eggs at the beginning of January from the breeder basket because of the larger netting. We swapped nets after for the finer ones that come with the net breeders so we wouldn't lose any more of the eggs. We just thought that the eggs were lost to the filter and gone forever. Turns out that is not true, we had filled our tank with river bottom rocks so that it mimics the rivers that the trout live in naturally. Guess it was a good thing, we had the river rocks because we have started finding our lost trout eggs. The young trout are doing well hiding in-between the rocks safe from the pull of the filter. We have started feeding so we are working on slowing recovering our lost trout and placing them back into the net breeder so they learn how to feed!
Here's the picture Kaitlin sent me of their fry poking out of the gravel.
Check out the Trout Video page. There are several great videos there, and I just added a new one that shows how Trout Unlimited volunteers and Fish and Wildlife personnel work to improve brook trout habitat.
Joe Mark, Lead Facilitator, Vermont Trout in the Classroom
In June 2012, I retired after 40 years in higher education, having spent the last 32 years of my career as dean at Castleton. One of the first things I volunteered to do in retirement was to work with Jim Mirenda to help the Dorset School, where his kids and my Vermont grandkids attend, start a TIC program. Gradually that commitment grew into my current role, which is both demanding and highly rewarding.