Funds provided by the David DeHaven Memorial Fellowship were used to purchase a 400-gallon fish farm -- a recirculating aquaculture tank with enough capacity to raise about 90 yellow perch to maturity and eating size. The purchase also included a hydoponics set-up which aids in biofiltration of the fish farm, and can be used to raise short-daylength plants like lettuce during the school year.
When first set up in the fall of 2001, the fish farm was stocked with 40 2-3 inch yellow perch. It was purposely understocked in order to reduce maintenance requirements.
The fish farm and hydroponics set-ups are being used by students enrolled in the new Environmental Science course. Three students are "fish farmers" as the focus of their semester-long project. Their goal is to grow the fish to eating size as rapidly as possible, while maintaining healthy water quality.
All Environmental Science students will be raising lettuce plants and monitoring growth rates, while tracking the relationship between growth rate and nutrient levels. Students in Regents Biology are expected to be responsible for some aspects of the care and raising of the fish and the lettuce as this equipment gets fully integrated into the BHS program.
The fish farm and hydroponics set-up provide a perfect vehicle for the integrated, hands-on instruction of biology and chemistry concepts related to nutrient and other chemical cycling.
story by George Smith
photo by Gretchen Shafer
November 17, 2001