How's everybody doing? Nitrite concern. What a difference a few--well, ten--degrees makes! New photos. ECHO Center competition.
Lots of teachers are reporting increases in nitrite, with some even seeing their nitrate go up. Fortunately, everyone I've heard from--I always worry about the programs I haven't heard from--is saying that the trout still look good. The evidence of the appearance and behavior of the fish may be the most important indicator we have of overall tank health.
Ten days ago, John Cioffi, at St. Albans City Schools, found his nitrite was up to 1 ppm. On February 15, Rich Carter, of The Greenwood School, reported a nitrite level of 5 ppm as well as a nitrate level of 5 ppm. He had lost 11 fish so far and said his fish looked "full of life and active."
Then yesterday, Sabrina McDonough, of Shrewsbury Mountain School, reported that her nitrite had gone up to 5 ppm. She too described that, "The alevin are still active and seem healthy."
I am not worried about these descriptions. I think what we're seeing is a normal part of the nitrogen cycle. Especially in Rich's case, where the nitrate has also begun to rise, it sounds like the nitrogen cycle is progressing normally. If all goes well, Rich's nitrite should soon start to drop, and--fingers crossed--Sabrina's nitrate will begin to go up.
In these cases, we might want to add extra Nite-Out II, but it's best not to change water yet AS LONG AS THE FISH STILL LOOK AND SEEM HEALTHY.
Temperature matters--a lot!
South Burlington has two TIC tanks. This gives them the opportunity to do some neat experiments. In the video below you can see a big difference in the stages of development of (a) alevin raised at 46 degrees and (b) fry raised at 56 degrees. As you can notice, the fry in the warmer water are already feeding.
Danielle Fagan, of Proctor Elementary School, sent these pictures.
And here's a picture Sabrina McDonough sent me on 2/19 of her alevin/fry up and down the water column. I told her I thought they looked like they were ready to eat!
World Water Day Competition
The ECHO Center on Lake Champlain will host a World Water Day celebration on the afternoon of March 22. The timing of the event (4:30 to 6:30) won't allow it to serve as a field trip, but perhaps some of your students will want to get an adult to take them.
In anticipation of that event, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, which has funded nine of this year's new TIC programs, will be holding a competition in four categories:
Some neat prizes will be awarded to winners.
Below is a link to the full-size poster with additional information.
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.