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Discussion in 'Marine Fish Forum' started by jlanger, Aug 31, 2017.
I suspect that I have some equipment in my fish boneyard that I could donate. Send me a list of equipment that you still need and I will look around.
Thanks, Dustin; @cheezybuda.
Siphons and hoses.
Unused media; carbon.
Cleaning supplies, scrapers, brushes, cups, buckets.
We're slowly gathering some supplies, but I know that it would also be nice to have extras on hand in case of emergencies. So small things that we don't often think about are usually good items.
Today, I picked up the lumber and plywood to build a new stand for the 90gal.
The plan is to go into the shop tomorrow and build the stand together. It'll be early (8AM) on a Saturday morning. We'll see.
What an awesome project!!
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And we're off; sort of.
Our first order of supplies arrived; a new RODI unit along with a heater, comprehensive test kit and basic plumbing supplies. I stopped by the school on Friday to deliver the supplies to the lab and worked on setting it up. We got the tank on the new stand, new bulkheads installed and I figured out what we needed to do for the plumbing. I wish we could've gotten more accomplished, but when it's a school day with students milling around, and the class is just under an hour long, time flew by!
The next steps will be to install the RODI unit to one of the water sources, acquire a couple of water reservoirs and start making clean water and mixing saltwater. I brought in a box of salt mix for when the water is ready.
We're still looking for a lighting source (but that's not urgent) and a small controller; mostly to control the heater with a temperature probe and eventual lighting timer.
We already have sources for live rock, sand and shark eggs lined up, so it's a matter of getting the tank filled up and running.
The fundraising on GoFundMe has been crucial to get this project started. Every donation is greatly appreciated; even if it's just a buck or two. If the fundraising reaches it's goal, we've talked about having an "Open House Tour" to show everyone what their donations have created for the school's aquaculture lab. (And there just may be some new cookies revealed during the event!)
In addition to monetary donations, any unwanted equipment would be greatly appreciated. There's always a need to have extra supplies on hand; back up heaters, pumps, thermometers, refractometers and maintenance supplies. And any unwanted consumables would be appreciated; carbon, filter pads/socks/floss, RODI filters and salt mix.
"Thanks!" to everyone that has donated thus far; dollars or equipment.
Here's Eric next to the hatchery system.
This past week, we were able to get the plumbing finished on the hatchery system and ran a leak test. Other than a drip coming from the return tubing and hose barb, we're ready to start making saltwater this next week.
A huge "Thank you!" to TCMAS member Riley for donating a protein skimmer to the project. This is a huge help to maintaining a clean system and allowing the monetary donations go towards other necessary components of the project. Riley also threw in an old Brute container that will serve as one of the water change maintenance containers.
Eric and I drove over to Riley's house to pick up the donations and in doing so, we got to see his very own shark system. We were very impressed with all of it. I think Eric was more impressed with the number and size of Riley's sharks while I was impressed with the meticulous attention to detail and the quality of work Riley put into the filtration system. It was definitely inspiring on all accounts.
So this next week, Eric will start to make RODI water and begin mixing up the first batches of saltwater. He will also send out updates to a few people that have offered to donate live rock and sand.
I'm currently looking at placing the second order for supplies and I'm looking for some input.
Having some type of controller on the system to control temperature, lighting, auto top off and other functions has been agreed on as a priority. I'm debating on the different methods of control that I should pursue. I would like to have something that will ensure the safety of the system, but also be easily managed by students and the staff. When it comes to the different methods of control, there's quite the range of functions and cost. I know that an all-inclusive controller is "the best", but I'm not sure that the higher cost is worth it to the project at this time.
Here's what I am debating...
A: Reefkeeper Lite Basic:
Ability to monitor temperature and control a heater.
Timer for the lighting system; if needed.
Ability to set up an ATO via float switch or timed dosing pump.
Pros: All inclusive controller at a lower cost.
Cons: No internet connectivity for web interface/programming.
B: Apex Jr.
Ability to monitor temperature and control a heater.
Timer for the lighting system; if needed.
Ability to set up an ATO via float switch or timed dosing pump.
Pros: All inclusive controller with internet connectivity for web interface, programming and alerts.
Cons: Higher cost. And we would need to see if the school permits web access for students/staff.
C: Multiple Controllers
Use a stand alone temperature controller for monitoring temperature and controlling the heater.
Use a stand alone timer for the lighting system; if needed.
Use a stand alone Auto Top Off kit for maintaining water levels from evaporation.
Pros: Any issues with equipment is contained to each method. Costs could be lower depending on systems used.
Cons: Multiple controllers to monitor. Costs could be higher depending on systems used.
My preference is to go with one of the all-inclusive controllers.
My gut instinct tells me to go with the Apex Jr. system as I am familiar with the product. What I really like about the Apex Jr. system is the ability to monitor and program the system using Apex Fusion. Apex Fusion allows the students to visually see what is happening with the system and makes programming the equipment much easier. My only concern is the extra cost (about $80) over the Reefkeeper Lite. I have a Reefkeeper Lite on my office system, so I'm also familiar with it. The Reefkeeper Lite is capable of what the lab needs in a controller, but not having the internet connectivity and web interface makes it less user friendly; but could this could make the system more secure in an open environment.
So I'm looking for arguments on which method you would choose for the Shark Hatchery System.
depending on eric's relationship with the IT people at the school, you may have a hard time getting an apex online. while always technically possible to put the apex on the network, an upper management type might not be willing to allow such a device on their network. A minor concern yes, but certainly ask someone before investing in the apex.
oh and is there a physical network jack near the hatchery? wi-fi is very hit or miss with always-on connectivity like this.
Any updates you'd like to share?
There's been a few updates. I've updated the FB posts but forgot to add them here.
Before the end of October, we got the plumbing finished and filled the tank with saltwater.
We picked up the O-ring to get the skimmer running; Thanks, Riley!!!
LiveAquaria sent Eric a few essential items including two boxes of their new salt mix. Along with the salt and supplies, the donated a few bags of live sand and two boxes of cured Reef Ready Live Rock.
After a couple weeks of cycling and adding bacteria, the water was cycled and we were ready to add the first livestock. Eric and I attended LiveAquaria's Open House tour in hopes of getting some eggs for the system. We knew ahead of time that all of the eggs that had been in stack had hatched, but they were hoping to get more in prior to the tour. Unfortunately, no new eggs had arrived and all of the pups that hatched had been purchased. We did bring home some fish to add to the system; some cardinalfish and Rainford's Gobies. The cardinalfish didn't survive; which is a common occurrence apparently from issues during shipment from the wholesalers to facilities.
While at LiveAquaria, we purchased some more supplies including a simple Marine LED fixture with programming capabilities so we don't have to worry about the lighting. We won a box of salt mix in the raffle, so they're good on salt for a while.
In the meantime, we will be adding a controller to the system; Thanks for the donation, Ryan(RSnodgrass)! The controller will allow us to set up the ATO system with a BRS dosing pump we bought from Eric (eschulist). We also bought a larger return pump from John (patent) to see if we can increase the flow through the tank and system.
Eric has feelers out there for more sources for shark eggs but there doesn't seem to be many available at this time, so we wait.
Thanks for the recap. I look forward to seeing how things go with the shark eggs.
Regular Live Aquaria currently has bamboo shark eggs in stock. Is this one of the feeler's Eric has out? I'm assuming a budget is keeping these from being ordered?
Nice to see things are up and running.
If LiveAquaria in CA has them listed, that may mean that some are being shipped to Rhinelander where they will be acclimated/inspected and then sent on to us. Kevin had us lined up for Banded Cat Shark eggs, but those were the ones that hatched.
As a side note... I noticed that LA has Marbled Bamboo Cat Sharks in stock also. I like those too, but the larger system has not yet been converted over to saltwater yet; another holdup due to budget constraints.
Another long overdue update. (I've been really busy lately!!!)
For the boring part of the update...
The ReefKeeper Lite has been installed and is controlling multiple heaters and the top off pump. We still need to pick up a smaller container for just the top off water; using the 44gal Brute container now. Eric swapped out the Mag 7 pump with the Mag 9 pump; much better flow ion the display tank now.
Now the exciting part...
December 1st was the delivery date for the first donation of shark eggs. Kevin Kohen and LiveAquaria sent Eric a couple of boxes containing ten Banded Cat Shark eggs. The eggs were acclimated and added to the tank.
The eggs were placed along the front glass until a better method of organizing the eggs could be figured out. I took photos of each egg for identification purposes.
And here's a close up of one of the eggs.
I also took a short video that first day of one of the more active embryos.
Eric has spent the past couple of weeks documenting the weights and measurements of the egg cases. As the embryos develop, it will be interesting to see if the weights change much as the sharks grow.
I was finally able to design, build and install a magnetic "egg rack" in the display tank.
We spent this morning tying the egg cases to a removable tile that sits on the rack. This system allows the eggs to be elevated off of the sand bed, organized in their numerical order and in easy viewing for the students visiting the lab. Each egg case can easily be removed from the rack for inspection and study.
Having the eggs displayed near the front glass and closer to the lighting, we can easily view the shark embryos inside of the cases.
Here's one of the videos I took today while at the lab.
So as the project stands today, the smaller hatchery system is just about completed (build-wise) and is functioning as needed.
Here's a photo of Eric with his project.
The next [planned] step in this project is to start converting the larger 800gal system over to saltwater. When I arrived at the lab this morning, the system was already drained and they were cleaning out the filtration reservoirs. This is going to be the more demanding part of the project; lots of hard work and acquiring more resources for the conversion. If you would like to contribute to the project, please contact me and we can discuss options or I can direct you the project's GoFundMe account. Every little bit helps immensely.
Very cool to see that many eggs in the system. That was awesome of Kevin Kohen and Live Aquaria to do. I hope they do well. That's a nice way to present the eggs so the students can watch them develop too. In your video, while a little hard to see, the egg to the left of the one you are focusing on looks like it might be hung from the wrong end to where the shark wouldn't be able to get out when it hatches (second from the left in the group photo). Might be worth double checking, though I'm sure it's fine and was just the angle to the camera. How large are the yokes yet? I hope it works out the Eric is around to see at least one of them hatch.
One last update before the new year.
We stopped by the high school lab Saturday night to check on things as we had been gone for the previous three days. It's good thing that we did. With the extremely cold temperatures and lack of activity at the school from the holiday break, the hatchery system was running a little low on water in the sump and the water temperature had dropped about five degrees. After some basic maintenance and adding a second heater (directly in the display), everything seems back to normal.
We stopped back in today (Sunday) just to make sure everything was status quo. The temperature was back up to normal and the water level in the sump was dropping again. There is a BRS top-off pump set up on the controller, but it must not have a long enough timed cycle to keep up with the current rate of evaporation. A simple change of the timer and we'll see how it looks tomorrow.
The shark eggs are doing well; all ten of them appear healthy and active. I spent some time today scraping more of the algae off of the egg cases so that we have a better view inside of the cases. It was interesting to see the different stages of development amongst the embryos. A few of them have grown quite large and have small yolks remaining while there are a few that are quite early in their development. The larger embryos are probably in the 4"-5" range while the smallest are maybe 2" at best. The larger embryos have their distinct colored banding while the younger embryos still have a solid white coloration.
Here's the latest pictures and some clips of the shark eggs.
A lot of the attention has been on Egg #8; the largest and most developed.
This was the positioning Saturday night before removing some of the algae off of the egg case. The head is pointed down and the body and tail wrap up and around the remaining space inside of the egg case. The yolk sac can clearly be seen to the right of the head.
Here's the same egg the next morning after cleaning up the egg case.
The embryo has flipped position and now has its snout tucked into the top right corner with the body and tail wrapping around the yolk sac.
Here's a video clip of Egg #8 showing the embryo pumping water through its gills.
I also took a video of a pair of the smaller embryos (Egg #4 and Egg #5) to show the earlier stages of development, but a two minute video was reduced to about eight seconds after the camera decided to auto-focus on the background once the eggs shifted in the current.
You can still see how active these tiny embryos are in the shortened clip.
Egg #4 (left) has the embryo laying on top of the yolk sac with its tail wrapping back towards the head on the left side.
Egg #5 (right) has the embryo coming up over the yolk sac so you can see the embryo bobbing up and down as it breathes.
Here's the class picture of the ten eggs after getting all cleaned up.
Even the lone surviving fish made the picture; an aquacultured Rainford's Goby to the far left of the rock work.
As for the other half of the project...
Here's the large vat system as it currently appears.
The system has been completely drained and is being cleaned prior to converting it over to saltwater. At this time, this part of the lab project is awaiting more assistance before it can continue. This is a 1000gal tub that typically runs at 800gal capacity; which requires a large volume of salt mix. Any donations made to the project at this time will go towards acquiring enough salt to get this system operational.
We went back to the lab today just to check everything out again; and take better videos.
For these clips, I turned the water pump off so that the eggs didn't move around unless the embryos caused them to stir.
Here's a better clip showing the two smaller embryos and how active they are inside the egg cases.
Here's three of the eggs that show the different stages of development. The largest embryo (left), one of the smaller embryos (center) and one that's right in between. You can see the different activity levels in the three distinct stages.
And here's a clip of Egg #6. This is the same egg that was first shown back in early December. The embryo has grown quite a bit but still finds a way to move about inside the egg case.
A quick update...
Everything has been running smoothly on the 90gal hatchery system at the lab. After cleaning up the egg cases, many of the students have commented on how cool it is to watch the embryos inside. Most of the students that I talk with have their predictions as to which one will hatch first; and they all ask the question of when will they hatch. Since all of the embryos still have yolk sacs visible, it will still be some time yet before any of the sharks hatch.
What was really interesting to see was the change in development with two of the embryos over the past eleven days.
The first video in the previous post shows Eggs# 4 and #5. These were two very active little embryos that lacked any coloration. The following clip shows those two embryos (along with Egg #3) and you can see that the banding has developed on Egg #4 and is just starting to show up on Egg #5 across the forehead.
While at the school on Friday, two officers from the Wi-DNR were touring the lab which accommodates both aquaculture and agriculture projects. While talking with the officers about the shark hatchery project, one of them mentioned to me that we could submit a request to the Wi-DNR for a grant that supports aquaculture programs in the state. This could be a great help in getting the large vat system converted over to saltwater and allowing the project to continue once the sharks hatch. Eric will be writing up a request and submitting that soon.
Good luck Eric