Thursday, September 2, 2010

There's Plenty of Fish in the River




On August 20th our trout were released into the Smith River. The day was sunny with lots of participants attending. The trout have now grown large enough to survive in the Smith River and happily greated the cool waters as they were set free. Take a peek at some of the photos as VMNH and friends sent them on their way.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Into the Water We Go





This week, MHC After 3 students took to the Smith River to compare the water quality to that of the museum's tanks. At the beginning of the week, kids tested the VMNH trout tanks. They noticed that the pH levels in the adult waters (6) was lower than the juveniles (7). Nitrate levels were high. On Wednesday morning, the kids loaded up onto the bus and headed to the Smith River to do some water quality testing with Brian Williams of DRBA. They searched the river for macroinvertebrates and splashed around to their heart's content. After discovering lots of "good" macroinvertebrates, they gathered their samples to compare to the museum's tanks. The ph of the river was around 8 with nitrate levels between 0-10, along with a cool temperature of 58.7 degrees Farenheit. Each student gave their own thoughts on the comparison of the two water sources. While the pH of the river was slightly high, nitrates levels were lower. This is a good sign for the release of our trout!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tanks and Tribulations


As spring in winding down, the trout have been winding up. They are very active in their homes. MHCA3 has been diligently monitoring water chemistry levels of nitrate and pH. The MHCA3 kids have been exploring what the healthy levels of nitrate and a neutral pH are. They even let staff know when levels look too high in nitrate. As school lets out, MHCA3 will be taking a brief hiatus from us. A home school group has adopted the tanks and began monitoring in December. They will continue as the year goes on. Stay tuned for a release date!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's in the Water

Our fingerlings have been busy growing this past month and swimming to their heart's content. We will be updating our water quality monitoring onto the blog. This will enable us to share our data with other tank sites and to let everyone see some of the work that goes into making sure our trout make it to the Smith River. You can find the data at this website: http://www.vmnh.net/documents/trout.htm

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Free at Last



Over the past few weeks, the alevin have developed into small fry. They have finished feeding on their yolk sacs and have been given starter food. Today, the small fry were allowed to swim over the basket and into the tank. They hurriedly left the confines of their previous home and explored their new environment. Of the original 488 eggs, 215 are currently surviving. As time moves along, we’ll watch the trout grow until they reach about 5.7 cm. They will continue to be fed the food and roam the cool waters of the tank.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Eggs are in!!



On December 7, the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) received its first batch of brown trout eggs. The estimated 488 trout eggs resembled translucent pink marbles with eyes. The new additions were approximately two weeks old and loaded into the safety basket inside the tank. Brian Williams of Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) delivered the eggs from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) Hatchery in Wytheville, VA.

Currently, the eggs have hatched and are now referred to as "alevins." Alevins resemble a small tadpole with a bulging yolk sac. They have a tail that allows them to move freely inside the safety basket. In the wild, eggs have a 1% survival rate. In our tanks, along with those in classrooms, the eggs have a 25% survival rate. Streams in the wild contain predators and hazards to developing trout eggs. The tanks provide an environment free of the outside challenges that trout eggs encounter. Also, water quality is monitored and regulated in the tanks, unlike streams in the outdoors. The alevin trout will remain in the safety basket, nourished by the remaining yolk sac. In 2-3 weeks, the alevins will have used up their yolk sac and rise to the top of the safety basket. Eventually, they will swim over the basket and into the expanse of the tank.