|Baby Picture |
17 Feb 2012
Our Aquaculture Lab out at Cedar Key School is morphing into a REAL aquaculture learning center finally.
The kids and I have carpentered, plumbed, cleaned, and toted to get to this point.
The point being ... we have life!
Even though there are tools on the counter and parts of it still look a little like a remodel job at the midpoint, we have begun raising aquatic critters.
Two students are raising red drum, aka "redfish", fingerlings. The picture above is part of our "before" records so that we can track the growth over time.
We also weighed the little redpups, but I don't have that info with me at the moment.
One student is raising freshwater tropicals that just happen to be items on the FFA Aquaculture Contest. This is way she can support her fellow FFA members while still learning hands on aquaculture with me.
Another student is setup to raise clownfish and we have a major clownfish producer here in Florida that is going to help us out with some culls that need a good home.
One student is up and running and just needs to make up her mind on her aquacrop ... before her teacher does.
Sometimes it's hard to make a choice.
As a group and across several classes, we will once again be raising Macrobrachium rosenbergii, the giant freshwater prawn. The 300 gallon nursery tank is bubbling and just awaiting their arrival.
A recent grant means we can expand the prawn operation and use aquaponics to filter the water as well as grow wetland plants for restoration projects. That is my goal anyway.
I am finalizing my grant shopping list now. I plan to recycle this grant money into the local economy since it is coming from tax money. That way I don't waste precious grant dollars on shipping costs from out of state companies.
Example: A single polyethylene aquaculture tank bought from an aquaculture supply company has a $230.00 freight cost. That's not the cost of the tank, only the cost to get it shipped.
For that shipping cost alone, I can buy a poly livestock water tank from the local farm supply store. I get more bang for my educational bucks and the tax supported grant funds go back to the local folks who paid the property taxes in the first place.
I call that win-win.
Back to the kids ...
One young lady is raising a "Honey Comb" moray and would like to raise a few other types of fish in the same tank, so her challenge is the obvious one.
She has already bonded with her moray in a way that makes me smile every time I see her talking to it through the glass.
I understand fish love.