The students in Environmental Science and Marine Science are actively participating in an exciting program! This is the second year Ocean Academy has had the pleasure of participating in “Trout in the Classroom”. Last year, the students enjoyed watching the life cycle of trout firsthand and releasing them in a local stream.
The art class created a mural depicting the trout’s natural environment to enhance the fish tank. In early October, the trout eggs arrived and were placed in the tank. The tank is insulated to help keep the temperature at 52 degrees Fahrenheit; the same temperature as the hatchery. There is a special opening in the top of the tank for viewing, as eggs do not tolerate light well.
After the eggs hatched, the alevins swam joyfully in the tank for about a month. Slowly their yolk sacks were digested and the fish grew before our eyes! Sadly, but typically, all of the fish were lost. Trout are difficult to maintain, Ocean Academy was the ninth and last participating school in the program to lose all their fish.
Volunteers from trout unlimited delivered new fish, now fingerlings, from the state trout hatchery. The fingerlings are 6 months old; the expected survival rate in our tank is about 5%, the same for fingerlings in the wild. We are expecting to release again in May.
“WOW! Once again we have Trout; they are so energetic and feisty! Beautifully elegant in the water and yet so weird. This is cool, because we get to learn about them hands-on. In addition the water has to be monitored very closely because if the ammonia test results in green colored water, then there is too much nitrogen in the water. Which could lead to the fish population dying. We also get to feed the Trout, which shows us how they have to fight for the food. Survival of the fittest some will die and some will live. This is the Trout cycle.” MM – OA student.