Saturday, January 28, 2012


 It was homecoming week at our little island school. When you are too small for a football team, basketball season becomes the season of the traditional highschool homecoming events.

Of course there was a parade.
 Recycling is HUGE in Cedar Key. I didn't get a picture, but just in front of this recycling "float" was a pod of people dressed in plastic bags.
Recycling and energy conservation is ingrained, even in the kids. More than once I have had them get on to me because I left the lights on in the aquaculture lab.

 Of course, we do have some problems out here ... giant seagulls for instance.
 The water tower osprey probably had the best seat in the house for parade watching. The parade was short, fun, and full of flying candy as all parades should be.

Last night was the big game, homecoming king and queen coronation, and dance.
Good stuff.

Even though, it still resembles a construction site in some ways, we have been making good progress in the aquaculture lab.
We have the giant freshwater prawn (the black one) tank up and running, so I will be ordering Macrobrachium rosenbergii postlarvae this week.
The grey barrel holds dechlorinated tapwater for tank top-offs.

The rectangular mark on the floor with the vertical wood panel is where an old wooden aquarium stand had been for years before I got here. It was "tired" to say the least and was falling apart.
It needed to go, but an electrical outlet was attached to it with stripped, rusted screws.
So I took it apart piece by piece, leaving the upright panel you see until I could get back and make it right.

Last Sunday, I loaded up my trailer with a bunch of tools and lumber, and built a tough, rigid power station to replace the wobbly rotten version. I also did some other carpentry and construction that will show up in later posts ...

This is what I built.
I will probably add a slightly larger top to it so a large air pump can be securely mounted there.

Each kid in the marine science class will be managing their own large aquarium and growing the species of their choice.
We are lucky to have a good assortment of 50-60 gallon tanks, but the accessories are expensive, so we have been scrounging those up ... you know, the pumps, the filters, the gravel.

The photo above and below shows how we siphon tanks.
The siphon is started using the small black hose.
Then the drain end of the small hose is inserted into the larger black hose.

The drain end hangs out the lab door and onto the ground nearby.
Works like a charm and we don't have to use any sloppy, sloshy bucket brigade.

This small moray eel inhabits one student's tank. The PVC pipe in the picture is it's "cave".

There was a tremendous amount of cleaning and redesigning to do when I got here. That started last summer and took way more time than I expected.

(I teach 5 sciences, not just marine, so don't picture me doing this kind of stuff all day)


Anyway ...

We have lots to do still, but finally the kid's tanks are up and running and they are choosing their species.
A couple will be growing baby red drum (redfish) provided by the FWC hatchery.
One will be growing freshwater tropicals that are on an FFA aquaculture contest list, so she and her team can study the real things instead of just pictures.
Some will be growing local species that we will capture. I would like them to try and breed some gulf killifish, since these have excellent live bait potential for our local bait shops.

We will all be growing the prawns as a class project and we might work that into some aquaponics.

I can feel this thing gelling and I'm totally loving it.


Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

Nice! Have you ever heard of It's a community of people that offers things they don't use for free. You can post for items you need too. You would probably get quite a few of the accessories that you need if you post. Gainesville and St Augustine have their own groups. I'll post on mine if you'd like. I might still have a small pump. I'll look.


Anonymous said...

PS...I think that I mentioned this before. In Green Cove the homecoming parade goes right by my house (I'm not even on a main road). The first time I heard the fire trucks and horns it scared the blazes out of me. I was so surprised when I went to check out the sirens to see a parade! They have floats, the band and the whole nine yards! It's fun.


threecollie said...

I WANT to be in your class!!!!

tai haku said...

That little moray is gorgeous. Can't wait to see more pics when the tanks are up and running. I'm toying with a little native marine tank right now too...

Anonymous said...

I agree with threecollie I want to be in your class too. Or atleast live near you so I could volunteer in your class and send my son to your school. Love what you do we need more teachers like you! Lori Marietta Ohio

Caroline said...

I want to sit next to threecollie in the front row!
Our "aquaculture" is the betta (Spike) on my desk and a 10 gallon tank of surplus guppies from my home aquarium. The kids keep a close eye on them. Baby guppies in the tank were a cause for great concern on the cannibalism front for a while. Mothers gave birth and promptly died, also a curiousity. Art classes custom design backgrounds for me. I have everything from Sponge Bob to heavy metal to Bob Marley to quilt patterns.

Deb said...

Vinny would LOVE your class. (I would too) Our school finally added a natural resources class this year, and he really enjoyed it (especially when his mom was guest speaker!)

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

Me again. I found an air pump.

Check your emal.......p

Ava said...

wow! I want to be in class too! That is awesome!

Aunty Belle said...

me too! now ya have a full class of adult late bloomer : )

What fortunate students to have FC as teacher of all thangs bright an beautiful.

Fantastic parade. But..wait, no football team? Has it always been so? In the dark ages din't the G'ville Purple Hurricanes play CK?

Dani said...

You are AWESOME!

Miz S said...

What Dani said.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks for the parade tale and your generosity! Got email, will respond.

Thanks! Please take a seat next to Lori.

What is native for you? You are the travelingest person on the planet!
LOL! Native Britfish?

Lori, Ava, 3C,Caroline and Aunty will be study group number one. I think we should include Deb as group leader since she is a working fish scientist.
I predict honor roll status for all of you.
Caroline, even a few fish can teach all kinds of life and science lessons. Good job!
Deb, I bet Vinny is a bit of a fish expert himself, with you as fish Mom.
Lori, we love volunteers!

Aunty, I'll have to ask. I don't know alot of the school history yet.
I know just who to ask tomorrow.

Floridacracker said...

Dani and Miz S,
You snuck in there while I was composing the adult class roster.
I have added you to the class.
Thanks for the kind words, I shall endeavor to reach awesomeness.
Not there yet.

Island Rider said...

I bet if I had you as a science teacher, I would have grown up to a biologist instead of a historian.

Florida Vacation Rentals said...

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tai haku said...

FC - native Britfish indeed if I can summon up the willpower to get my feet cold rockpooling!

Wren said...

Lucky kids, to have such an involved teacher. I bet they have a blast in your class, and you're creating the next generation of tree huggers - how cool is that?

Thunder said...

Cool stuff! Keep in mind that if you ever need a pair of hands on a weekend, that I'm pretty much available! ;-)