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Friday, May 1, 2015

Nearing Release Day

Although it has been a while since we posted last, we haven't stopped caring for and observing our salmon fry! As they approach the smolt stage of their life cycle, it means it is time to release them to begin their journey towards Lake Erie. We feel very fortunate to have approximately 180 salmon to release next week. Below are some recent pictures to show how big they are now!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Water Quality

Making sure our fish have water that is clean and has just the right levels of chemicals is by far our biggest task.  The past few days, our nitrites and ammonia have been high-in the "dangerous" or "unsafe" range.  We get the water chemicals back in check, we do a water change (see last week's post on how we water change) and Friday, Saturday, and today, we also added some chemical treatments to help the levels come back into the safe ranges faster.  

The fish are behaving well, which is the first step to analyzing our water quality.

Next, we use test strips to test these chemicals:

Then, we did a water change.  The kids emptied about 10% of our water, then Mrs. Davis used a kitchen baster to suction up the solid fish waste  (poop) from the bottom of the tank.  

When we add new water, we have to add a chemical to neutralize the chorine that is is our tap water.  Chlorine kills fish.  This chemical called Prime takes care of our chlorine.  We only add about 1 mL of Prime for our new 6 gallons of water.  Today we added 2 mL to try to bring our nitrite level back down to the safe range.  We will do test strips tomorrow to see how it's doing.

After refilling the tank, we then feed the fish. Today, we moved up to the second size of fish food pellets from then DNR.

From our research and looking at our data, we think our chemical levels are part of the natural cycling process that comes with establishing a new tank.

Chart courtesy of the MI DNR Salmon In the Classroom Program.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Water Change

Now that our fish are eating food, they are also producing solid waste.  That means that our tank is now getting dirty with poop and uneaten food.  To keep the water clean, we test the water quality (watch for a post about that next week) and twice a week we change 10% of the water.  How do we do a water change?

First, we remove about six gallons of water.

Next, one of the teachers uses a suction device (baster or siphon) to remove waste from the bottom of the tank.  The water FREEZES our hands!!

Our debate today was is this uneaten food or is it fish poop? What do you think?

Finally, we connect a hose to our sink and run the hose across the room to the tank. We turn on the water until the tank is full.  We also add a chemical called Prime to the tank to kill the chorine and any ammonia that is in the water. (Mrs. Mali, Mrs. Davis, and Mr. Mike from Premier Pet Supply did some math to determine how much Prime to be right for the amount of new water and also we used math to mark the tank with a sharpie so we would know where the 10% water level is.)

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Cooking dinner...can you believe our fish will one day get this big?