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In Charge Of A Baby Salmon Tank!


jen626

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Silly me, when my daughter's class decided they were going to raise some salmon eggs and then release baby salmon into the wild, I volunteered to clean and maintain the tank. :blink:

Her school has a thing going with the Fish and Wildlife Department, and they provide the salmon eggs, then the kids release the babies into a nearby steam once they are ready.

The fish live in a 55 gallon tank, with a canister filter, air pump, ugf and refrigeration unit to keep the water VERY COLD. They started as eggs and are now about 1 1/2 inches, about 200 of them! They swim and jump every where now.

I have been "in charge" of the tank maintenance for about 2 weeks, and the very first day things started going wrong. They had me meet with the guy who has run the tank the last two years, and he showed me how the refrigeration thing worked, how the filter worked etc. I told him I knew (all too well) how to change the water and vacuum gravel. He is not a fish expert, but has done this two or three years, and just doesn;t have the time this year. I *did* teach him one thing though after watching him rinse the filter pad in tap water! He said that totally made sense and was glad I spoke up. Thanks to you guys I know that stuff now! No worries on the cycle though, with the ugf and IMO, too much gravel, there is a great cycle, the filter hasn't been working properly anyway, it was missing a part.

So the guy helped me with the water change, and that went ok. We had some dead fish though who had swum into the ugf filter tubes, and very sadly, :cry1 got caught in the plastic grid and could not get out. I said I could bring nylons in the morning to cover up the grid so they wouldn't do that anymore. So, I came in the next morning to put on the nylons, and disaster! :yikes

There was a gigantic puddle of water under the table the tank is on, water was dripping INTO the surge protector, the compressor for the refrigeration unit was sopping wet...I don't know how we avoided a fire or at very least an electrical short. So, I unplugged everything, cleaned up the water and tried to figure out where the water was leaking from. It was coming from where the power cord is attached to the filter, no idea why, then dripping down the cord. I knew that they had run the tank w/o the filter before, so I decided to leave it unplugged, placed a bucket unde the dripping area, and taped the surge protector to the bottom of the table where it would stay dry no matter what. Then I discovered some more fish had become stuck in the ugf tube :( and appeared dead. I pulled the top off and some still had some life in them, so I broke open the plastic (which was almost impossible) and saved four of them. Then i covered everything with nylons so it wouldn't happen again. Keep in mind that it is 5:30 at night, they have locked up the school with me in it, my tired daughter is with me wanting dinner and wanting to go home and the 5 month old I was babysitting was screaming...I was trying to save these fish darn it! So I plugged everything else back in, left the filter unplugged and left a message for the guy that helped me the first time.

So I go back to check at 6:30 this morning, thankfully the school hadn't burned down. The refrigeration unit had completely iced over, there was 3 inches of ice all the way around it. I have no idea how to fix that, although Allison's teacher told me it has happened before. The filter had stopped leaking after being shut off, so thankfully no more water mess.

The positive news is that the fish seemed fine through all this, and the nylons worked, no more stuck fish! And they ARE pretty cute.

And of course, since I was in my pj bottoms and flip flops, hair a mess, (remember 6:30 am I snuck out to check the fish while my fiance was still home with my kiddo), I saw like 10 people I knew, including the principal!

Oh, for the love of fish. :heart

P.S. Do I win a prize for the longest, most boring post ever?

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Well your post wasn't boring at all...But you do get the prize for dedication!

Good grief that's alot to take on but it sounds like you're doing a great job. With those leaks you seen though and parts not working correctly, just remember to check for wet electrical equipment every time before you get started! We don't want you getting hurt! :ignore

Your idea of the pantyhose sounds great and I'm sure the fish will appreciate it too. :exactly

Well done Jen...let us know how the project goes (what grade is this for btw?). :)

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I will take some pics with my cell phone on Monday...I hadn't thought of that! They won't be great quality, but I'll try! Great idea Nichole!

This is for a 5th grade class. And on the electrical equipment, I was terrified of getting shocked when the water was everywhere...I unplugged everything in the room, just in case! I will definitely check everytime (good advice Ginger!), and now everything has proper drip loops and the power strip is taped under the table so water can't get into it anymore. Phew!

The kids love the fish, but for safety they do not do much of the maintenance other than taking turns helping the teacher feed them. I am not even sure what they eat, since they keep the food locked up, (smart!). I'll have to find out! They were so sad about the dead fish...I was glad I could solve that from happening again. The tank is in the main office so everyone can see it...so all the kids stop in and say hi to the fish everyday and watch their progress.

I have participated in the release of the salmon a few times, my daughter is in a wheelchair so I have to drive her around the long way to get to the creek, so I have come to watch the past two or three years. The 5th graders for the last 6 years or so have done this project. The whole school comes out to watch them be released into the wild. Pretty cool!

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:lol: Hey Jen,twas not even close to be being boring. You know how sometimes when a person is really scared,and yet they begin to laugh out of control like?

As I read this,I sat here laughing in a scared way thinking,OMG,that would be me,and just my luck too! :blink::lol:

I think that you did a great job.You were quick thinking on your feet,and I'm so proud that you even thought to know about Drip Loops! You are learning fast! :yeah:

It sounds like a wonderful program,and probably would have been something that I would have volunteered for myself.I am glad that you saved it all from being even a bigger disaster. You go Girl!

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Jen it does sound like such an awesome project. I have a 5th grader too...but they haven't done anything like this. I think it's wonderful that the whole school gets to go out and watch the release! I know they just love it! :heart I can't wait to see the pics!! :photo:

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Yeah, the 5th graders where I live are really advanced for their age...LOL! Totally kidding!

I think one of the 5th grade teachers who has been there forever thought of the idea and got the "tradition" started. She is an awesome science teacher, I actually had her when I went to school there! That teacher is teaching 6th grade this year, but my daughter's teacher said he would take it on. They are pretty low maintenance compared to my gf with their *%$# every 3 day water changes! And don't even get me started on the fussiness of our new betta, Chauncey Huffcat! The salmon are easy by comparison! I'll bet they don't spit out food they don't happen to like on a particular day...(yes, Mr. Betta, that was aimed toward you!)

I actually learned about drip loops a long time ago, although I don't remember why? That would've made this situation a lot safer if they had been set up that way in the first place. I wonder if I can get them to install a GFI outlet? :lol: I felt pretty crazed when I first found the leaky water and stuff, but you are right Devs, what can you do but laugh?

And Kissy, they actually did caterpillars to butterflies in 2nd grade at her school! They also do long division in 3rd grade and geometry in 4th! I have to read the book to help her with her math homework, and I went all the way to calculus in school! :yikes It ain't like it used to be...lol, makes me sound old!

P.S. Sorry for the !!! overload...I have been drinking Mt. Dew all day.

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P.S. Sorry for the !!! overload...I have been drinking Mt. Dew all day.

:ignore I am a Mt. Dew addict!!! Is that why I've noticed I tend to use !!! alot?

Sometimes I make myself take some out of a post!!! :rofl

I so know what you mean about the difference is school and learning these days. It's making me feel quite ancient myself. I get so tired of my kids asking questions on something that makes me feel so clueless. :blink: Shoot, I was pretty smart while I was in school. ;)

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Um excuse me. What is Mt Dew? Is it water? :)

Jen, B4 I follow that link just wanted to say your story could go in the local newspaper or equiv...(well, if you edit the pjamas bit!! :D )..it's fantastic that they have someone who knows about fish like you helping out- what a stroke of luck for those baby salmon who are sure to get the best start in life now after all the troubles..and what a good education for the kids releasing them later on.

Would love to see a few pics of baby salmon, for some silly reason I imagine them pink but I know they must be silver. :lol::goodluck:goodjob

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Um excuse me. What is Mt Dew? Is it water? :)

499130[/snapback]

Mt. Dew is a soda. Its kind of a yellowish green color and its super loaded with sugar and caffeine. I can't stand to drink it because of all the sugar but my brothers brink it like its water :lol:

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GREAT INFO!! I can't wait for pics!

And I too DO THE DEW!!

(Diet Mtn Dew is my VICE.......ALL the KICK & none of the SUGAR!!LOL!!) :krazy:

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LOL guys! Mt. Dew doesnt do a thing for me, but that new Vault stuff had me bouncing off the walls.

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