Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The 'Sound of Silence'?

This morning, as I unlocked the main security door there was a dreaded sound of silence? No pumps!
A small pump on the Foam Fractionator had melted causing the circuit breakers to trip and all power to the ARC was out. No re-circulation, no aeration! Only 2 Bass had died. All efforts to restore power failed and our electrician was called in to restart the system.
Not sure of the cause of the burn-out of Pump 1 on the Foam Fractionator? The pump takes water from the sump into the skimmer? We will check warranty conditions.

Worms fed well! Plenty of scraps from Christmas lunch/dinner.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Clean, Feed and Check

Tanks 3-5
Cleaned Risers, Backwashed and Rinsed Filter, Cleaned Filter Basket added 200l of tank water to system.

All Bass well, fed on both Silver Perch and Australian Native Fish feeds.

* Foam Fractionator working well- the water is very clear/clean.
** Re-plugged in fridge.
*** Fire Extinguisher to be relocated

Friday, December 16, 2005

Clean & Feed

Tank 3 (1000l) filled from Rain Water Tank to enable re-grading of Australian Bass. Tank 4 (mixed) contains mainly small Bass while Tank 5 (mixed) contains mainly medium to large Bass.
Cleaned Risers, extended Backwash and Rinsed Filter, Cleaned Filter Basket added 300l of tank rain/water to system. Dirt/food in risers indicated over feeding?

All Bass well, fed on both Silver Perch and Australian Native Fish feeds.

* Emptied Fridge- cleaned fridge/freezer and disinfected fridge, bench spaces and LAB floor.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


The 79 Trout smoked, sealed and ready for distribution! We are investigatiing HCCAP and commercial disposal of our Trout through the school Canteen in 2006/2007?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

79 Trout Harvested Today

GREAT work Corey and Scott! 79 Trout harvested, cleaned and iced (brine) ready for smoking. A HUGE day with temps over 43 degrees. Processing was very quick and observed by our visiting Yr6 (Yr7 2006) students.

Preparing the ARC for the Summer Break!

Extremely high temperatures have hit the Central Coast (and most of NSW).

Tank 1 was drained today and Tanks 1-3 cleaned. Risers in Tanks 4-5 were cleaned, filter basket emptied/cleaned, filter backwashed (BIG backwash) and rinsed. Foam Fractionator rinsed (dirty foam in collector first sign that it is working effectively). ARC and Lab hosed out. Fridge cleaned and under bench storage organised. Tank 7 syphoned and ready for final clean-up.
Recirculation System now supporting only Tanks 4-5... containing Australian Bass.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Pest species on the menu for Australian Bass

Pest species on the menu for Australian Bass
Around 2000 Australian Bass will be released into Green Point Creek in the Gosford area in the hope that they will eradicate a large group of Asian White Cloud Mountain Minnows. NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Acting Aquatic Pests Senior Manager, Mike Holloway, said the minnows are an introduced pest species from Asia. ‘The white cloud minnow is an exotic fish that probably got into the Central Coast after someone dumped them from their aquarium or fish pond. ‘This is one of several species that could contribute to declining populations of native fish and frogs in the area,’ Mr Holloway said. Named after White Cloud Mountain in China where it was first discovered, the minnow grows to about 4cm and the females can produce up to 300 eggs at a time that hatch within two days. ‘The Bass fingerlings, which have been bred at the DPI Port Stephens Fish Hatchery, are around 40mm in length and should readily prey on the juvenile minnows. ‘We will survey the area in the coming months to determine if the Bass have done their job. ‘Keeping fish is fun but what this highlights is the threat that they pose to native fish and fragile ecosystems if they are released into our oceans and waterways. ‘The fish, plants, snails and other aquarium inhabitants should be disposed of thoughtfully and under no circumstance should they be dumped into our waterways,’ Mr Holloway said. If you notice new species in local waterways report them to DPI by calling the 24 hour hotline 02 4916 3877.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Australian ABC TV- Landline

Australian ABC TV
December 4

  • Recreational commercial fishers fight over salmon
  • Mussell Farm
  • Pearl farmer harvests first crop
  • Tough times confront commercial fishers

Friday, November 25, 2005

Solutions to water

To correct the pH of tanks 1,4,5, add enough sodium bicarbonate to bring the pH to a neutral 7 or a little over. This should not affect the Australian bass as they can tolerate water that is quite acidic to very alkaline. Trout’s optimum pH levels can range from 6 to 8, but when the water is too acidic the trout will not reproduce. Australian Bass are a hardy species of fish which can survive in acid levels ranging from 5 to 8. The species of fish that is in the most danger is probably the Rainbow trout as the water is very acidic and the fish may not want to live and reproduce.Replace 1\3 of the water with clean fresh water. This should bring the pH back down.Murray cod prefer pH levels of 6 to 8 but their optimum level is 7.

This is a comment to the blog

I'm adding this comment to the blog to get good marks!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Foam Fractionator

A protein skimmer, also known as a foam fractionator is a device used in aquaculture and saltwater aquariums to help remove undesirable contents out of the water. What exactly it pulls out is still open to debate, though a large majority of it is proteinaceous.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Water Quality Solutions

To correct the pH of tanks 1,4,5, add enough sodium bicarbonate to bring the pH to a neutral 7 or a little over as trout grow better in slightly alkaline water. This should not affect the Australian bass as they can tolerate water that is quite acidic to very alkaline.

Trout’s optimum pH levels can range from 6 to 8, but when the water is too acid the trout will not reproduce. Australian Bass are a hardy species of fish which can survive in acid levels ranging from 5 to 8. I would say that both fish survive well in neutral water.

The species of fish that is in the most danger is probably the Rainbow trout as the water is very acidic and the fish may not want to live and reproduce.

Replace 1\3 of the water with clean fresh water. This should bring the pH back down.

Murray cod prefer pH levels of 6 to 8 but their optimum level is 7.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Water Chemistry... You Decide!!!

Given the previous posting 'Water Testing' by Mudeyes on the 11/11/05 and your knowledge of water chemistry, recirculation systems and fish species...
  • What should be done to correct T1,4,5 with a recorded pH of 4.8?
  • Given that this water sustains two species; Trout and Australian Bass what are the prefered and acceptable pH range for these species? Which fish are most at danager?
  • What should be done to correct A1, A4 with a recorded pH of 7.2 and 7.1?
  • Given that the Aquarium hold both Murray Cod (A1) and Yabbies(A2). what are the prefered and acceptable pH range for these species? Are the fish in danager?

**** Please post your comments to the Blog, the winners will get frosty cans of coke!!!!!****

Friday, November 11, 2005

NBN News- Wadalba Aquaculture

Water Testing

Today's test are:

pH Temp Conductivity
Tanks 4.8 20.5 1.25

A1 7.2 21.7 1.6

A2 7.4 20.7 1.25

A4 19.8 7.1 1.81

Port Stephens Aquaculture Excursion

Port Stephens Aquaculture Excursion

Monday, December 5
8.00 Leave Wadalba
9.30 Arrive Port Stephens NSW Fisheries Research Station
Guided Tour of Station's Facilities. Opportunity to ask an expert (questions prepared in class prior to the day)
11.30 Lunch at Nelsen Bay Foreshore (BYO or shops available)
12.00 6*6 Bushmobile Dune Adventure- including Sandboarding
2.00 - 2.30 Depart for Wadalba via Kooragang Is Wind Turbine (no stopping)
3.30- 4.00 Arrive Wadalba (Bus Bay)

* Approximate Cost- $30. I will be able to confirm this amount soon? Pay your $10 deposit NOW!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Eating Continues

"Anyway, like I was saying Trout is the fruit of the sea. You can barbeque it, broil it, boil it, bake it, sauté it. There's Trout kabobs, trout Creole ... Trout gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried.
There's pineapple Trout, lemon Trout, coconut Trout, pepper Trout, Trout soup, Trout stew, Trout salad, Trout and potatoes, Trout burger, Trout sandwich ... that's, that's about it!"

What's Your Flavour?... pan fried Trout, chips and salad, crackers with cream cheese, smoked trout and a dash of fresh dill... what's your favourite??

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Harvest Continues

The Harvest continues... The Express Advocate visited the ARC today and an article will be in a future edition. Well done to all the students who assisted.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The ARC Blog. 200 Posts! A significant Milestone

Fish Smoking

6 Trout had been in brine since Saturday. Smoked (cooked) and chilled today ready to vacuum seal Monday am.

All fish fed well. Bass really thriving- will need to be graded this week. Cleaned ARC and hosed floor. Backwashed filter- water extremely clear- biofilter working well. System appears to cope better with lower quantity of fish/water as T2 and T3 are now off line?
Mulberry's almost gone now.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Clean and Maintenance

Fish feeding well. Backwashed and topped up sump with rainwater- rainwater tank at 80%+ after rain see...
Norah Head- October
Rain- 67mm
Temp- Max 23.2
Temp- Mean 15.6
compared to Novemebr to date... 1/11/05 - 5/11/05
Rain- 2.8mm
Temp- Max 23.9
Temp- Mean 18.3


November: to date

Friday, November 04, 2005

Aquasonic Delivery

We received the Tagging Gun, Tags and the 'Bacteria for Filter Induction' today from Aquasonic.

The Tags and Tagging Gun will enable us to better track fish within the ARC + investigate fish populations, catch & release survival rates in developing and implementing a management plan for Mt Penang Gardens Pondage (Kariong).
The 'Bacteria for Filter Induction' has a short 'shelf' life and is used to develop the right bacteria to biologically remove chemicals such as Ammonia from the recirculated water system.

Tank Testing

The tanks and aquariums were tested today:


Av pH was about 5.4
Av temp 24.2 degrees
Av conductivity was 1.33

pH Temp Conductivity
A1 7.4 23.3 1.22
A2 7.8 22.9 1.16
A3 7.6 22.7 1.62

Mt Penang Parklands Management Plan

  • Mr. Keith Dedden
    General Manager
    Mt Penang Parklands
    PO Box 7120
    Kariong NSW 2250

    Dear Keith.
    Thank you for the opportunity of outlining how the Central Coast Aquaculture Foundation can assist Mt Penang Parklands in response to your email of 7 October 2005.
    We understand that you not only want specific information about fish numbers, control of algae and water testing, but also a detailed plan for the future management of the weirs and dams adjacent to Mt Penang Gardens to create a sustainable environment.
    We have asked Glenn Mullaney from the Wadalba Community School to assist us in the creation of the plan, which we hope to have completed by the middle of December. We have also had discussions with Glenn about the possibility of students assisting in the implementation of the plan, which would benefit everyone involved.

    We envisage that the plan would contain the following:
  • A drainage/contour plan, showing where ground water is entering the ponds.
  • Details of water currents within the ponds and wind patterns.
  • Flow rates between ponds.
  • Information on the ability of passage ways or drains between ponds to polish water and remove excess nutrients.
  • Effectiveness of sedimentation and possible filtration of water as methods of nutrient removal and control throughout the ponds.
  • Details of both surface and sub surface plant types.
  • Effectiveness of nitrification within the system.
  • Dam and pond levels, and water testing.
  • A history of release of fish by species, size, numbers etc.
  • A tagging process to investigate catch and release survival, growth and number of species in the ponds and weirs.

    In reference to the specific questions you raise in your email, we have the following initial answers:
  • Q: The numbers of fish and species released and in which weir:
    Fish have been released in the "cafe" pond. Paul Kelly released 80 x 100 mm Silver perch fingerlings last month. That is on top of the small Silver Perch and Yellowbelly fingerlings (40 mm) that were released previously.
  • Q: Control of Algae - with specific fish that will eat the algae:
    Our initial thinking is that if the fish eat the algae at all, the amount will be minimal and will not have an impact on the level of algae that is causing concern. Fish should probably not be considered as a solution to the algae problem.
  • Q: Control of Algae – using aquatic algicide.
    We think that an algicide would be a short term fix, and would recommend against it. As part of our report we would further research this question and come up with a natural solution to the problem.
  • Q: Control of Algae – with additional plants in all weirs to take up nutrients from water.
    There are aquatic plans that will take up nutrients and are probably our preferred remedy. We will request input form an aquatic plant specialist to determine best variety for the micro environment.
    Lilies, for example, might provide cover for fish and may reduce the temperature build up in the cafe pond and cascades which may also assist with the algae problem.
  • Q: Control of Algae – reduction of nutrients from entering the system.
    This needs to be part of a master plan and in response to more thorough research.

  • Q: Water testing.
    Glenn Mullaney has identified excessive levels of nutrients. Glen has some ideas on how to assess the situation. Our report will cover this.

    I hope this is suitable. Please let me know if you agree in principal to what we have outlined, and we will get started.


    Peter Le Gras
    Central Coast Aquaculture Foundation

Our Second Harvest 4/11/05

Harvest II- To fulfil student achievement of competencies in…

  • handling stock
  • harvesting aquacultured stock
  • Implement food safety program
  • performing routine daily tasks
  • applying safe work practices
  • aquaculture Biology

Monday, October 31, 2005


There are heaps of mulberries going off on the tree. we should sell them. Okay? Okay.

Friday, October 28, 2005

PRESS RELEASE- Trout Harvest @ Wadalba

Well the ‘Something Fishy @ Wadalba’ ‘has bourn fruit’! A spring harvest moon and increase in water temperature has resulted in an earlier than expected harvest of our Trout.
You may remember that the Trout were purchased and tenderly transported from NSW Fisheries at Ebor (near Armidale) during Easter to the Wadalba ARC (Aquaculture Research Centre). In the short 6 months we have ‘grown out’ the Trout to almost 4 times their original size. Students have managed the stock through constant water testing of pH, Conductivity and Temperature, Fed, Graded and cared for the fish to produce an outstanding crop. At a time when wild fish are becoming scarce and high fuel prices are causing many fisherman to stop their fishing, farmed fish are really producing exceptional quality eating fish from world class facilities such as Wadalba’s ARC.

Wadalba Community School’s ARC fits into an emerging field of study relating to the sustainability of our aquatic environment. At a time of pressure on both the marine
and freshwater environments, there is a recognised need to deliver sound educational programs through formal structures within state and national curricula.
The development of environmentally and economically sustainable methods of farming fish is now recognised as essential for relieving the pressure on wild fish stocks as well as on the marine and aquatic environment.

The 'ARC' provides an opportunity for the future custodians of this environment to study and appreciate its value. It gives them the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to use and protect these unique ecosystems and the ability to communicate their appreciation to the community. It provides an opportunity to instil in students an acceptable ethical code towards the use of the marine environment, increasingly demanded by the community and governments.

Special thanks to...
Central Coast Aquaculture Foundation, CIBA, WaterCo, Swimart (Charmhaven), Wyong Shire Council

ARC Visit

Duncan Gilchrist- General Manager Business Central Coast
Peter Le Gras- Managing Director LeGras: News

Executive of Central Coast Aquaculture Foundation lending their support to our Wadalba ARC development.

The NEW Backyard Chook Yard??

Converging Technologies supporting sustainable Aquaculture @ YOUR Home
We have a number of current research and development projects in place including: Breeding Porter's Creek Yabbies, Development of a Management Plan for CCAF/Mt Penang Gardens Pondage- Kariong!
We are now preparing for a 2006 project to design and build a sustainable fish production unit for home that reduces, recycles and reuses... energy, water & waste to grow fish for home consumption.

Solar Power
Solar (photovoltaic) panels convert energy in the form of light from the sun into electrical energy. Between 4 and 22 percent of the energy falling on a panel is actually converted to usable electrical energy. The rest is reflected or turned into heat. Because solar panels only work during daylight, and give the best results during sunny periods, some way is needed for providing electricity at night and on cloudy days. The most common method in Australia is to use storage batteries.
Wind Power
The school project will investigate the potential of Wind Power and compare technologies and price between Wind and Solar Power.

Vacuum Bag Sealer

A vacuum packaging system extracts air and moisture to create a commercial quality vacuum. This proven technology extends food freshness up to 5 times longer than conventional storage methods.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Smoking Fish

A brine is created usually made up of salt (2 parts) as well as brown sugar (1 Part) 2:1. Other herbs and spices can be added. Cleaned fish are soaked in the brine mixture for approx. 14-24 hours.
The fish are then lightly rinsed in fresh water and dried- although there are many suggested ways of drying we pat down the fish outside and inside with paper towel.
Coating with Oil
Cooking oil is then brushed on the outside of the fish to treat the skin- leaves a great luster.
Smok'n ...
There are lots of methods and equipment (*see image) available to smoke fish. We use wood sawdust- this time 'Rose Gum'. The process takes about 15-25 minutes.
Vacuum Sealing
We vacuum seal our finished product as it extends the shelf live by about 50%. It also makes for an impressive and appealing finished product.

Harvesting fish



It was lots of fun catching them but i didnt really want to gut it but i done it any way we didn't get to se sir kill the fish he just cut the back of the neck so they die quickly.

TANK 3 Drained

T3 was drained today. Silver Perch were transfered to Tank 6 to remove them from the recirculation system- possible pathogen? All other fish doing well.
All Yr 9 Aquaculture participated in a 'half day' in-school excursion today to work in the ARC.


25 Trout were harvested today. Management Teams netted trout from T1. Trout were humanely killed, cleaned and refrigerated.
Photo shows student cleaning Trout in the Lab area of the ARC.

Killing of farmed Fish! What is Humane?

The class investigated through Internet Searches, fishing experiences and community members Humane Methods of Killing Fish.

  • A number of methods were found including:
  • Ice Slurry/Ice method **(NOT Suggested)
  • Priest Method- (Bommyknocker)- used by many fisherman (not used by us)
  • Throwing- **(NOT Suggested)
  • Spiking: A knife is inserted behind the eyes and towards the upper edge of the operculum piercing the brain. resulting in instant death (Suggested)
  • Banging the Head on a hard surface- **(NOT Suggested)
  • Alcohol- **(NOT Suggested)
  • Decapitation- Partial Decapitation: Severs the spinal cord and cuts the major arteries resulting in instant death. (Suggested)
For more information: suggest...
Keep handling of fish prior to killing to a minimum. A skilled person should then kill the fish (including eels) by a fast, heavy blow to the head and/or spiking (using a narrow-bladed knife to penetrate and then destroy the brain).

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Tank 2 Drained

Tank 2 was completely drained today. Huge backwash, cleaned filter basket and rinsed, cleaned risers and flushed sump.
Tank 2 is isolated from the recirculation system.
Changed 50% of water in A2. Checked A7 filter working well- fed Silver Perch.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Tank pH

Tanks 1-5 have a pH of approx 6.5. Half kilo bicarb added to sump.
Av temp about 19.5 degrees

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Change in Behaviour

Expected change in behaviour as water temp hots up. Trout have been observed swimming near the surface and leaping across the Tank (T1). Swimming against the current produced by the water reentering the tank. Trout have rapidly decreased feeding.
Water temperature has increased over the last week due to the warmer daytime and mild nighttime temps. Water temp in Tanks 1-5 has increased to 20.

Tanks T3-5 are great and the increase in temp has increased the hunger and also the willingness to take commercial pellets (Silver Perch 2mm).

The Murray Cod continues to grow and has also begun to take commercial pellets (Silver Perch 2mm).

The system was backwashed (extended), rinsed and refilled with water from our rainwater tank.

Issue with Silver Perch Fingerlings- T2

A significant number of Silver Perch Fingerlings were found dead this morning (50+). It is unknown why the fish had died in such numbers? As a precaution against pathogens and attempt to reduce stress of the fish 1kg of Rock Salt (Uniodised) was added direct to T2. This will produce a bath for a period of time before the salt is dissipated throughout the recirculation system. Constant checking will occur of the condition of the water and the fish.

Corey's team fed all fish in the ARC and changed water in A7 Aquarium in the foyer. Decaying plant growth had soured the water and produced a white haze. This plant was removed.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Super Clean 17/10/05

Used brush to remove algae from Tank 1-5 walls
Flushed debris from Tanks 1-5
Cleaned risers in Tanks 1-5
Drained Sump and flush to remove debris
Cleaned Filter Basket
BIG Backwash and rinse
Replenished water from Water Tank
Cleaned Aquarium Glass sides A1-A7 (including A7 in foyer) with magnetic cleaning pad
Replaced 1/3 (33%) of aquarium water with water from 1000l IBC tank
Replaced filter 'wool' in airlift filters

Friday, October 14, 2005

Job Planner

Worm Farm:
  • In addition to the purchased Worm Farms and student project WF's we have created an outside plot with cover for our new Worm Farm. This needs to be lined with plastic, holes created at the side to drain Worm Wee, with baskets covering the base, shredded paper covering the baskets and soil/potting mix layered on top. We will arrange with K-6 to provide a daily supply of un eaten food to feed the WF.

Garden Plots:

  • 3 Plots have been built- 1 for each Stage of K-6. Classes will be introduced to the plots and asked to develop a management plan for vegies, herbs, flowers etc.
  • Jap. Pumpkins will be planted late October, early novemeber. Assistance has been offered by CIBA our partner to supply some 'special' fertilisers to assist growth
  • Super Pumpkin Seeds have been ordered.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Reuseable Food from Administration Staff Fed to Worms

Thanks to our SAO's (School Administration Officer's) a bag of fat free, healthy food including tea bags, Banana peels, Apple Cores etc. was fed to our Worm Farm today. mmmmmmmmm!
A quick tidy and clean including a backwash ready for the big super clean tomorrow. Kindergarten visited the ARC and our Mulberry Tree today- fish were hard to find? Need to remove some algae.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

AutoFeeders Adjusted

Mr Godwin adjusted the height and frequency of the AutoFeeders. The Trout 'boil' and splash causing some water to reach the feeders so they have been raised away from the water/tank surface. Orders are being placed for: an additional rainwater tank, pumps, and ultraviolet water sanitiser/steriliser etc. to complete the setup of the ARC.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Swimart Assistance- Resuscitation Posters

We are very conscious on OH&S in the ARC and around the 'farm'. OH&S always underpins every aspect of every lesson. We have already taught and display solutions to: Trip, Electrical, Slip, Hygiene, Chemical HAZARDS etc. Swimart (Charmhaven) has assisted by supplying wall posters for resuscitation relating to drowning. NOW we don't swim with the Trout however we have a significant number of visitors to the ARC and there is a risk, although very small of someone falling into one of the Aquaculture Tanks?
"Kids Alive, do the five;
Fence the pool, shut the gate;
Teach your kids to swim, it's great!
Supervise, watch your mate —
And learn how to resuscitate."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Lime for Worm Farm

Added Lime to balance pH of Worm Farms
Fed Worms with household scraps
Fed all fish. New Australian Bass and Silver Perch doing well.
Fed Silver Perch in A7 (Foyer)
Backwashed filter and topped up sump.

All well.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

100 Australian Bass to T4

Collected 100 Australian Bass from Mt Penang CCAF to grow out and then return to Mount Panang Gardens, All survived quick trip. Acclimatised to T4 and fed.

Friday, October 07, 2005

'Perchy' headlines Sun Weekly and Central Coast Community Chest Dam Fishing

See Perchy 'run'? Perchy was a guest at the ARC during Term 3. He has been returned to Mt Penang Gardens for the Central Coast Community Chest Dam Fishing. See Perchy Swim?
An Australian Bass was also tagged today and released. Photos to come of 'Count Bass'.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Silver Perch Added to T3

20 Silver Perch were added to T3. These fish will be 'grown out' and used to restock Mt Penang Gardens.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Blow'n Away

With the high day time temps (10 above normal) the dead fish have successfully been blow'n by flies. Maggots were scraped off and feed to the Bass, mmmmm they love 'em!!!
A basket was rigged above the 1000l Australian Bass Tank (T5) and loaded with some blow'n fish so that maggots could drop in. All seems to be working fine. No smell at the moment?... I have got the flu???
Students in Aquaculture Technology will study the life cycle of various 'fish feed' including the FLY!? :-)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Trap for maggots!

Seeded a trap for maggots today to supplement the Australian Bass food. The worm farm will, over time be capable of supplying enough worms for the Bass however in the interim we need other feed sources. We used a number of dead fish, from the freezer, collected over this year- creating an enclosure to prevent rodents/birds etc. from access while allowing flies to 'blow' the fish. The heat of the last few days and the forecast of more heat should accelerate the production of maggots.
Maggots are useful as decomposers because they help to break down rotting biomass such as plant and animal remains and return nutrients to the soil. Maggots also have useful applications in medicine, where they are used to clean open wounds by consuming dead tissue, and in forensic entomology, where the age of maggots feeding on corpses is used to determine the post-mortem interval (the time that has elapsed since death).
* A 90cm Red Bellied Black Snake was spotted near the gate to the farm- very healthy looking! Maybe that's why we haven't seen any mice???

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Water Test 1/10/05

Tank T/s 1-5 T6 A1 A2 A3 A4 A7 RainT Tap
pH 6.90 7.50 7.00 7.00 7.60 7.20 6.3 7.40 7.90
Conductivity Salinity 1.32 0.25 1.5 1.60 .33 1.36 0.48 0 0.24
Water Temperature 17.20 15.60 21.4 20.7 17.0 17.6 20.6 15.70 17.10
Air Temperature 15.30 15.30 15.4 15.40 15.40 15.40 13.7 21.00 21.00

Garden Plots and External Worm Farm Constructed

Newly constructed garden plots will extend our Aquacuture to Horticulture. Plots will be managed by Stages 1-3. The composting Worm Farm will enable production of potting mix, worm wee, fertiliser etc.

Big Clean 1/10/05

Closed off T1, T2 & T5
Moved 100l of water to T6
Drained T3 & T4 to dump, brushed and hosed clean. Closed T3 & T4. Filled with tap water to allow water to 'age'.
Backwashed Filter, cleaned Filter Basket and flushed Sump.
Brushed T5, cleaned all risers.
Closed holes in Biofilter return 'T' piece/s to balance spray to both B1 & B2
Balanced water flow in T1, T2 and T5.

Refreshed 20% of water in A1 & A2 with Tank Water.
Did complete water test ... results to follow.

Added 1 * Silver Perch fingerling to A2 (20C) to test theory on slow growth due to cold water?

Fish fed well. AutoFeed working well.
Tidy, removed rubbish.

Trout Season Opens 1/10/05

The October holiday weekend marks the start of the state’s annual trout season.
Trout streams in NSW will open from Saturday 1 October, 2005 remaining open until the end of the June 2006 long weekend.
The season will re-open following the annual breeding season when trout travel up rivers and streams to breed. Cool temperatures and good rains at the right time have helped create excellent stream conditions in many areas previously affected by drought - and that’s good news for our trout fishery.
This is an important industry in regional NSW. Trout fishing in the Snowy Mountains injects $70 million into the state’s economy, and creates up to 700 jobs in the region.
The 2005-06 fish stocking season has already begun with the release of approximately 450,000 rainbow trout fry and 25,000 brown trout yearlings, into the rivers and streams of the New England and Monaro regions in conjunction with local Trout Acclimatisation Societies.
These initial releases mark the first of many with an additional 3.5 million trout and salmon to be released over the coming months.
Regulations vary in different waterways so anglers should check local daily bag and possession limits and fishing techniques with their nearest NSW DPI Fisheries office. Anglers over 16 yrs also need to have a current NSW recreational fishing licence.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Fence Repaired- thanks Dave

Summary of Weather Conditions for September

Norah Head
Total Rainfall: 54mm
Temperature MEAN: Low 12.3 Max 20.2
* September

* October

Yard Maintenance

Lawns mowed- looks great! Thanks Dave
Fence panel 'kicked in'???

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Clean and Maintenance 29/9/05

Constructed rope protection to draw net towards centre of tank to prevent Trout from escaping.
Backwashed, corrected water flow.
AutoFeeder working well. All fish fed well. Worms to Australian Bass, Murray Cod

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

AutoFeed Activated

Mr Godwin has completed the digital timing to enable the trout to be fed over a 24 hr period. :-)Photos to come...

1 Trout Jumped- Dead :-(
1 Silver Perch A7- Dead :-(

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Clean and Feed

T3 & T4 have been isolated from the recirculation system; brushed clean, riser removed and recirculation stopped awaiting arrival of new fish. Tanks have found a balance in height aligned with the height of gravity drain pipes to sump.
The LAB has been cleaned and all fish fed well. Australian Bass and Murray Cod are feeding well on garden worms from our Worm Farm/s.

*Added 250g of Salt to Sump to restore salinity/conductivity.
2 Fish Dead A3 :-(. Fish were added from home aquarium on 23/9/05

Ordered & RFQ for Equipment

Ordered Tagging Gun, Replacement Needle and Tags + Probiotic Bacteria Sources for BioFilter/s from Aquasonic.

Probiotic Bacteria Disease Prevention Treatment. Chemical Free. Copper Free. Drug Free.
Helps Control White Spot, Aeromonas spp., Vibrio spp., Velvet and Fungus infections.
ProBio-Plus is a new concept in disease prevention, containing natural probiotic bacteria,
which help beneficial microbes control water quality. Probiotic bacteria are sometimes called
"protector" bacteria. Probiotic bacteria create a hostile environment for harmful pathogenic
bacteria, which cause disease. They do this by competing for the same food sources.

Requested quotes for:
  • Ultraviolet Water Purification
  • Foam Fractionator
Will advise decision soon.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Born FREE! Tagging our Silver Perch

Our Silver Perch is returning back to MPG Fish (Kariong) for the Central Coast Community Chest- Fishathon. 'Perchy' will be the top prize for the weekend! We were going to call him 'Parrot' because he hangs around perches??? No animals were harmed in this tagging exercise.

The data will assist us in developing a Management Plan for the Mount Panang Gardens and information on movement patterns, growth rates, and seasonal variations. As scientists or anglers, we need answers. Without them, we will never manage our fisheries successfully.

*** Photos to be published in local paper. We will scan and add to the Blog.

  • Use a water soaked cloth/cloth glove when handling the fish so it won't remove the fish's protective slime. Don't hold the fish by the gills or eyes.
    The less you handle the fish, the better the chances of the fish surviving.
  • Have tag applicator loaded and in a handy spot before you start.
  • Lay the fish on the right side to tag and measure.
  • Insert the tag as close to the dorsal fin as possible. Anchor the tag between the vertebrae and dorsal fin spines. The tag should be inserted so the streamer slants toward the tail of the fish. Tug lightly on the streamer to insure a snug fit.
  • Record all information on our data sheets provided (length, date, time, location, etc.) Also record any observations of the fish health or the general procedure.
    To release the fish gently place in water, supporting mid section and tail until it swims away. An exhausted fish can be resuscitated by gently moving it back and forth in the water, forcing water through its gills.
  • Periodically clean tagging and venting tools with alcohol or bleach.

I can see clearly now the algae has gone! Glass Clean

Used Magnetic cleaner to clean all glass Aquariums... A1, A2, A3, A4, A7
Prepared A2 ready for new fish.
Fish fed well.
A7 Silver Perch feeding GREAT! Corey is looking after this Aquarium and the fish. We think the Perch may have eaten the Yabbies?
Silver Perch transported to MPG Fish for Central Coast Community Chest. Bye Bye 'Perchy'.
Backwashed system.
Tanks T3 & T4 no fish... empty and clean ready for next shipment.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Full Clean and Maintenance 25/9/05

Cleaned (Brushed) & Rinsed: Risers & Filter Basket
Removed debris and excess food from bottom of Tanks 1-5
Backwashed Filter (big), Rinsed and Repeated
Removed riser from T3 (all Trout have been transfered to T1 see earlier Blog entry) Brushed Cleaned inside of T3... removed T3 from Recirculation System until needed.
Changed 30% of water in Aquarium 1 & 2
Changed 30% of water in A7 (Foyer). Used water from T6.
Tidied ARC and LAB
Feed all fish including Silver Perch A7
Purchased Worms for WF1 (Worm Farm 1) & WF2 (Worm Farm 2)
Rainwater Tank just over 33% full... need rain.
Moved building materials from ARC to ARC Grounds.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Quick Clean and Feed 24/9/05

Quick Backwash and Rinse
Topped up water in Sump

* All fish doing well.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Tanks 1-5 pH

The pH of the tanks is 5.5 (average across 1 - T5). 1kg of bi-carb added to the sump.
Average temperature is 16.7 degrees & conductivity 1.36.
It has been a very warm Winter and 'hot' Spring.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Classwork 22/9/05

Complete all 'N' gradings
Complete brochures
Continue with mini projects (Blog) etc
Calculate times for autofeeder/s to deliver set quantity of feed per 24 hrs period

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Water Testing 20/9/05

Today's water testing:

Temp pH Conductivity
15.9 6.2 1.35

8 20.1 1.46

8 20.1 1.56

7.7 15.8 1.36

Monday, September 19, 2005

Maintenance 19/9/05


  • Transfered remaining Trout to T1
  • Collected samples of AutoAquafeeder to compare against initial sample weight
  • Fitted plastic baskets under benches to prevent water damage
  • Removed all pots and potting mix to science 'glsshouse' to pot herbs for summer sale
  • Removed rubbish from against neigbours fence line outside gate
  • fed live worms to Australian Bass

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Rainfall Summary for Norah Head

Rainfall Summary for Norah Head September...
6.... 1.8mm
9.... 0.2mm
10.. 0.2mm
11.. 0.2mm
17.. 14.2mm
TOTAL 40.6mm

* Wadalba can experience vastly different recordings- we are reconfiguring our PC based Weather Station.

Weather Report

Automatic Weather Station Name: Norah Head
Date Time(AEST) 4.40pm 17/9/05
Temp(deg C): 16.6
Rain since 9am(mm): 0

Clean and Feed 17/9/05

All fish fed well. Murray Cod starting to show significant growth. Hoping to move to 'real' worms for Australian Bass soon, fed with Blood Worm, they need good quality live food to really push them on.

Wadalba Community School ARC to assist in TAGGING of fish for MPG Fish, Community Chest Fishout Day. Our Industry Partnership is significant in a WIN WIN WIN relationship.

Backwashed sump, topped with Tank water. Very small amount of rain added small increase in rainwater tank.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A7 Water Test

A7 (Located in Foyer to School) contains 12 Silver Perch

pH: 7.2
Temp: 21.0
Conductivity: .63

Maintenance & Classwork 16/9/05

Weight of Trout Pellets/Food
- a single release with Autofeed produced approx. 6.4g of pellets (we will need to obtain multiple readings and average out the weight to better determine flow).
A plastic container of Trout pellets weighs approx. 358.5g
* Measured with a Triple Beam Balance (see diagram)

Filled AutoFeeder with Trout Pellets
Filled feed containers in fridge.
Fed Australian Bass/Murray Cod Blood Worms (Midge Larvae) it!
Fed Porter's Creek Yabbies A4 (will move some to A7 to help clean excess food)
Fed Silver Perch fingerlings
Work on DTP brochures continued.
Fed and tested water of A7 (school foyer) Silver Perch feeding well. Water Test results to follow.
Changed water in A1, A2

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Maintenance and Installation of 'AutoFeed'

Initially an AutoFeed was placed over T1 & T2. The T2 feeder has been moved to T1 to support Trout growth. Automatic Feeders will, in the future provide feed to T1, T2 & T3.
Backwashed Filter and Checked Flow through Biofilter.
Water is clearing as Biofilter assists in cleaning.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

New Worm Farm

A 'Can of Worms' Worm Farm was added to the ARC. Many native fish eg. Murray Cod, Australian Bass and Yellowbelly etc. are difficult to move from natural 'live' feed to commercial pellets. The Worm Farms purchased, and others build by students will supply food to our native fish. Worms Farms and Household Composting will hopefully generate income to support Aquaculture at our school.

Water Testing 14/9/05

The pH of the Tanks 1-5 is 6.7.
No addition of bi-carb.

Today's water testing:
Temp pH Conductivity
A1 20.4 8.6 1.5
A2 14.4 8.2 < 0.01
A4 14.6 8.3 1.3
*A7 xx xx xx
T1-5 15.7 6.7 1.36

* A7 cludy filter needs clean all Silver Perch doing well.
** Water Exchange (50%) required in A1, A2, A4 to lower pH, Salt Level (indicated by conductivity). Need to prepare A2 for fish.

Visit to Wadalba by the NSW Board of Vocational Education and Training

Members of NSW BVET were keen to see Wadalba Community School’s unique and innovative programs, and to talk to students, staff and Plan-It-Youth Mentors. Photos coming soon...
BVET Board members
Mr Bert Evans, AO, Chairman
Dr Paolo Totaro, AM
Mrs Kay Sharp, AM
Mr Kevin Power
Ms Linda Simon

In attendance
Mr David Collins
Mr David Michaels
Mr Steven Norden
Mr Richard Cooke
Mr Lance Godwin
Mr Glenn Mullaney

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Routine Clean

No more feeding for remainder of week!

Rinsed Risers. Backwashed Filter, Cleaned Filter Basket, Drained and Rinsed Sump.
Scrubbed T2-5 with new yard broome to remove algae.
Increased flow through biofilter/s to remove debris.
Transfered 1 * Australian Bass to Aquarium 2 (A2) showing signs of distress.
Tidied ARC and Lab

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Central Coast Aquaculture Foundation

Wadalba Community School is a member of the CCAF and fully supports their Mission Statement, Objectives and Goals.

The Central Coast Aquaculture Foundation was set up under the direction of industry to facilitate cluster groups similar to the hydroponics industry as a major area of potential employment growth in our region.
To achieve the required aquaculture industry growth, the Business Central Coast, in consultation with the region’s existing aquaculture industry players, NSW Fisheries, Councils & Indigenous People, has set up a steering committee to develop a sustainable strategy for Aquaculture on the Central Coast.
Mission Statement: To develop, promote & protect a sustainable aquaculture industry for the benefit of all stakeholders & the environment.

  • Increase public awareness of the rapidly declining aquatic life and develop methods to overcome these issues.
  • Encourage the development of native fish species hatcheries for restocking public waterways.
  • To generate new business and jobs in Aquaculture Industry on the Central Coast.
  • To develop training opportunities.

The goal of the Central Coast Aquaculture Foundation is:

  • To increase Job Opportunities and Production through the Aquaculture Industry for the Central Coast.

Wadalba Community School can support this through the provision of:

  • exemplar commercial aquaculture setup
  • Best practice policy and procedures in Aquaculture
  • Research and Innovation in Aquaculture
  • Stimulating achievement of Seafood Industry Competencies by students and the community through links with TAFE delivered courses.

A7 (Aquarium 7) Stocked with Silver Perch

Silver Perch, from Graham Norling (Crystal) added to A7. Fish transported from Taree. On display in Office Foyer.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Water Testing

Friday 9 Sept.
pH below 5.0
One kg of bicarb added to sump.

Water Testing

The pH of the tanks was under 5.0
One kg of bicarb was added to the sump.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Aquarium 7 (School/Office Entry)

Aquarium 7 (A7) located in foyer exchanged 50% of water with ARC recirculation water.
Used discarded water for trees adjacent to school entry.
Cleaned glass, vacuumed bottom of tank ready for fish on Saturday.
Light source adjusted to be on between 7.00am and 3.00pm.

Tracking Down Gambusia, Mosquitofish

Have you seen this fish species. We are mapping the distribution of this noxious/introduced FROG and FISH KILLER! If you have seen this pest (fish) please let us know.

What is Gambusia, Mosquitofish

Gambusia holbrooki Girard, 1859
The Eastern Gambusia can be recognised by its dorsally flattened head, small, upturned mouth, large eyes, rounded tail and single dorsal fin.
It is green to brown on the back, grey with a bluish sheen on the sides and silvery-white on the belly.
Adult females are much larger than males. The female grows to 60 mm in length and often has a black mark on the side of the belly above the vent. Males grow to 35 mm and have a large gonopodium. This structure (clearly visible in both images) is formed by the thickened anal fin rays, and is used for sperm transfer to the female.
The Eastern Gambusia is native to the rivers of south-eastern America, but was introduced into Australia in the 1920s. Its reputation as a mosquito eater is responsible for one of its common names, Mosquitofish. In Australia, however the Eastern Gambusia appears no more effective at controlling mosquito populations than native fishes.
Its wide range of food items include ants, flies, aquatic bugs and beetles.
This species is now widespread in fresh coastal and inland waters of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. It is also recorded from coastal drainages of Queensland and parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Construction Complete 8/9/05

Thanks to the Yr9 Construction 'Crew' the boardwalk is now complete.

* Trout Transfer almost complete from Tank 3 to Tank 1.
** New 1000l tank cleaned, positioned and filled awaiting new fish
*** Signage positioned on Tank 6

Yard cleaned and rubbish removed
Netting around T1 secured.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Full Clean and Maintenance 7/9/05

Rinsed Risers
Removed debris and excess food from bottom of Tanks 1-5
Backwashed/Rinsed Filter
Rinsed/Cleaned Sump
Rinsed Filter Basket
Rinsed new shade cloth for biofilter
Cleaned/Rinsed Biofilter material from Biofilter 3
Added Oyster Shells and new shade cloth to Biofilter 1 and 2

Changed 30% of water in Aquarium 1
Tidied ARC and LAB
Labelled Aquarium 5 & 6
Labelled Tank 7

Rainwater Tank is half full after weekend rain... see Bureau of Meteorology for details.

** Construction Class almost finished boardwalk to protect plumbing behind tanks. Thanks Guys!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Fish Fed by John, Nick, Corey & Jermaine

Fish Fed by John, Nick, Corey & Jermaine. Tanks 1 & 2 look dirty- food on bottom of tanks.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Weather Report Monday 5/9/05

Automatic Weather Station Name: Norah Head
Date Time(AEST) Sunday 5/9/05
Temp(deg C): 10.2 Min 15.8 Max
Rain (mm): 9.6

Fish Fed by John & Mitchell

Mr Godwin Fed fish in morning. Fish fed in afternoon. The fish look fine.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Weather Report Sunday 4/9/05

Automatic Weather Station Name: Norah Head
Date Time(AEST) Sunday 4/9/05
Temp(deg C): 10.8 Min 14.3 Max
Rain (mm): 14.4

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Quick Clean- Syphoned T2 (Tank 2)

Fish fed well. Dust & Crumble used to feed Silver Perch fingerlings in T2 has created some overfeeding waste which needed to be syphoned off.
Backwashed recirculation system to new reservoir- need to note quality of water from backwash as debris settles in reservoir.

Boiling Oyster Shells

Boiling Oyster shells ready for the Biofilter. (Thanks to Karen for putting up with the smell?)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Water Test 31/8/05

Tank pH Temp Cond
A1 8.4 21.4 1.17
A2 8.1 17.3 1.36
A4 7.9 17.4 1.07

T1 6.2 17.2 1.27
T2 6.1 17 1.27
T3 5.9 17.1 1.32
T4 5.9 16.9 1.27
T5 5.8 17.1 1.32

Results indicate...
* Change 50% of water to correct excessive pH in A1, A2, A4
** the need for the addition of Bi-Carb Soda to sump, re-circulation system T1-T5

Clean & Maintenance 31/8/05

All fish well. Cleaned ARC floor. Rinses Sump and risers. Backwashed. Will need major FULL clean by end of week. Fish feeding well.

Added 500gm Salt, 100gm Bi-Carb Soda to sump

New Reservoir for Hydroponics

Thanks to Mr Godwin who plumbed the 1000l tank to store backwashed water from our ARC recirculation system to be reused in hydroponics.

Monday, August 29, 2005


The Silver Perch quarentined died. It was frozen to examine later. No other fish appear to have problems.
1 * Dead jumping Trout (thanks to Daniel for the email report)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Feed and Check 27/8/05

Fish fed well.
Silver Perch (adult) moved to Aquarium 3- isolated from others (quarantine) due to possible fin rot. Added salt to A3 provide high salt content salt bath to attempt cure.
Added 1kg of Salt to recirculation system through sump to combat any possibility of transfer (if fin rot is confirmed).

Friday, August 26, 2005

Check and Adjust Water Flow 26/8/05

Continued concern over Silver Perch (Adult) showing continued signs of 'fin rot'?. Sluggish, exposed flesh on Tail Fin (Caudal) & Anal Fin.
Adjusted water flow to individual tanks. Removed added ornaments to Aquarium 1?? Checked Murray Cod OK however looked stressed. Fed Australian Bass and Murray Cod (Blood Worm and Brine Shrimp). Will need to quarantine Silver Perch if condition worsens.
Image from
Swept floor to remove spilt food and debris to minimise rodents etc. Moved new aquarium to LAB to prepare for establishment of Marine Tank (brackish water) with Bream, Flathead, Mullet etc. as part of Yr9 MAT Mini- Projects.

John, Nick, Corey- Fed all.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Water Test 25/8/05

Team (2) - Water Test

Team (1) - Measuring Weight/Mass of a Take-a-way plastic container of....
Trout Pellets- 378g
Dust & Crumble- 182g
Australian Native Pellets- 657g
Silver Perch Pellets- 110g
* Will need to re-measure when all containers have equal quantity.

** General Observations- Large Silver Perch showing odd behavior and damage to fins.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Clean 24/8/05

Rinsed Risers
Removed debris and excess food from bottom of Tanks 1-5
Backwashed Filter
Changed 30% of water in Aquarium 1
Topped up (50%) of Water in Aquarium 2 (unused at this time)
Tidied ARC and LAB
* great work by our general assistant in cutting grass, wipper snippering the ARC grounds and removing trusses.
** Rainwater Tank is DOWN to ONLY 1/3 (33%) of capacity
*** Construction Class is working on building a walkway to protect plumbing behind tanks. Thanks Guys
**** Mr Godwin has invented an automatic Fish Feeder and almost completed installation. This will ensure that our fish are fed JUST the right amount at JUST the right time. This will dramatically increase growth espicially in the Trout.

Corey & Jermaine- Fed all. Fed 'guppy' Gambusia, Mosquitofish to Australian Bass.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Water Test 23/8/05

Air Temperature ARC- 14.3
Temp. pH Conductivity
AQ 1 18.2 7.1 1.2 (Murray Cod)
AQ 4 10.9 6.6 1.07 (Porter's Creek Yabbies)

TANK 1-5 13.3 6.6 1.07 (Trout, Silver Perch, Australian Bass)

John, Nick, Corey, Saxon- No Blood Worms- Fed all. Wood pile gone, yard looks great, mowed today.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Clean 19/8/05

Cleaned Sump, did not flush and rinse. Backwashed system. Stored all food away from rodents to keep safe and dry. Created 'dust & crumble' using coffee grinder for Silver Perch fingerlings. Dropped off new waste paper baskets for oysters (biofilter) photos soon.

Need a major clean- still over feeding probably due to increased temperatures Trout eating less?
Tidied up ARC removed rubbish.


Another 500g of bicarb was added today. pH is still around 6.0

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Chemical Adjustment 17/8/05

We only use 2 chemicals in the Aquaculture Recirculation System- Salt and Bi-Carb Soda.
500g of Bi-Carb Soda was added today. This, as indicated in previous postings is used to correct pH by increasing pH to our prefered operating levels of 6-7 pH. The Bi-Carb also has a buffering affect in minimising pH swing, hardness/calcium content of the water etc. The Bi-Carb and ALL chemicals (Salt) are added to the Sump so that it is gently/slowly combined with the recirculated water.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Silver Perch (not interested in 'guppies')

A week ago some 'guppies' were introduced into T4 (large Silver Perch) tank to entice feeding. So far the Silver Perch have ignored the 'guppies'? Are Silver Perch Omni, Herb or Carnivores?
Research and come back with comments.

Maintenance and Clean 16/8/05

Cleaned all 'risers'
Created vortex/whirlpool to move sediment to centre of individual Tanks and flushed.
Backwashed filter, cleaned primary filter basket, drained and rinsed sump.
Refilled Sump with Tank water, 250g of salt and restarted recirculation system
Change approx 1/3 of A1
Hosed floor
* Need to add 500g of Bicarb Soda

Monday, August 15, 2005

Future Focus

We intend to expand the ARC to cater for greater numbers of fish. We have applied for several grants and are about to submit applications for another 2. Details will be added to the Blog soon.

Spring is fast approaching and we MUST get our garden plots built and ready to sow. Plots will be allocated to Stages eg. Stage 1, 2, 3, Classes and subject areas.
The ARC will be establishing a Stawberry, Tomato and Lettuce hydroponic farm to reuse recirculated ARC water as well as a Pumpkin patch including 'Giant Pumpkins (Atlantic Giant Pumpkin).

Crops and animal will enable a revenue 'stream' and comlimentary crops/food for the ARC. It is hoped that we can establish an interschool pumpkin growing comp.

Worms, chooks etc. are on their way.

Water Test 15/8/05

Tank/Aquarium Temp. pH Conduct.

A1 17.8 8.0 0.92
A2 11.0 7.7 1.41
A4 11.2 7.5 0.82

T1 12.6 4.8 0.97
T2 12.6 4.7 1.0
T3 12.6 4.6 1.02
T4 12.5 4.4 1.02
T5 12.6 4.4 0.92

* Tank 1-5 are seriously low in pH, with the water too acid. We have purchased some plastic covered metal mesh waste baskets which will contain Oyster Shells. The baskets will be located in the BioFilters and as acidic water passes over the shells the carbonate will be dissolved which will raise the pH and buffer the water against rapid pH swings. In the mean time we will add slowly 500 g of Bicarb Soda and retest.
** Aquariums will need at least 1/3 of the water exchanged to balance and refresh the water.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Completed Netting of T1

Hopefully the new net will stop our jumping Trout. Mr Heise and the whole class came up and fed the fish. New A4 tank with Yabbies and guppies doing great. Large Silver Perch in T4 seem to prefer a much reduced flow of water from the recirculation system...

* Lost another 'jumping' Trout

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Extending the 'farm'

A recirculation aquaculture system produces nutrient rich water as waste.
We are looking to create a companion hydroponic garden to use the nutrient rich water to grow strawberries, lettuce and tomatoes.
To substitute commercial pelletised feed and support the diet of native species we are developing a worm farm to provide a natural food source.
The school produces a significant amount of waste (garbage) each and every school day. This includes: - paper which we will investigate to shred and compost - food scraps which can also be composted AND used to feed chooks. A local egg producer is closing in Jan/Feb 2006 and we have approached them to supply us with birds and equipment. This can be used as a revenue source for the ARC
We aim to develop a herbal tea concoction that will combine nutrient rich recirculation water and 'secrete ingredients to produce a microbiotic liquid fertiliser to grow pumpkins, also as a revenue source AND maybe to grow some extraordinary sized pumpkins to compete with other schools and communities. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Mulberry Tree

After a very short month of no leaves the tree has sprouted new growth ready for new fruit. Adding value to the ARC.

* Irrigation: Although somewhat drought-resistant, mulberries need to be watered in dry seasons. If the roots become too dry during drought, the fruit is likely to drop before it has fully ripened.
* Fertilization: Mulberries generally thrive with minimal fertilization. An annual application of a balanced fertilizer such as 10:10:10 NPK will maintain satisfactory growth.

Clean and Net Construction

Purchased some polypipe to form a hoop to suspend netting around Tank 1 to prevent Trout from jumping. Began construction.
Cleaned all 'risers'
Placed 'sock' filter over inlet pipes to sump.
Created vortex/whirlpool to move sediment to centre of individual Tanks and flushed.
Backwashed, cleaned primary filter, drained and rinsed sump.
Added Tank water and restarted recirculation system.
Fed fish with John and Corey. Corey brought in small Yabbies and created Yabbie Tank in A4. Also some guppies(to be identified- maybe Mosquito Fish). John and Corey will get more Yabbies and will try to catch some Eels.
Hosed floor
Emptied garbage bin to school bin
* Lost another 'jumping' Trout

Monday, August 08, 2005

Maintenance and Classwork 8/8/05

We NEED rain...
Water Test including town tap water to check levels in case we need to use town water. We pride ourselves in supporting ZERO Town Water usage however it has been almost 5 weeks since our last significant rain. The tanks is well under half. Approach. 4000l. If we were to use Town water we would need to leave the water 'sit' for a least 10 days to allow chemicals to dissipate.

Water Temperature
tank1 tank2 tank3 tank4 tank5
13.0 13.0 13.0 13.4 13.0
aquarium1 aquarium2
17.5 11.0 (turned heater off- no fish)

tank1 tank2 tank3 tank4 tank5
6.5 6.5 6.5 6.5 7.4

ms (salt content)
tank1 tank2 tank3 tank4 tank5
0.87 0.87 0.87 0.87 0.87
aquarium1 aquarium2
1.00 1.41

tap:0.24 ???? What is this reading- we would expect approx 7.0 for pH and 0.0 for ms

Cut more squares of shade cloth to expand the capacity of the biofilter
Cleaned 'first rinse' device
Tested automatic feeder- GREAT!

Continued development of Badge Maker PowerPoint Presentation
Term review/s- Bookwork, Network Folder, eMail- Unfinished Work N's

Feed 8/8/05

To ensure maximum growth and care students will feed and check the ARC Period/s 1 & 6. Thanks to John, Nicolas, Jermaine and Corey and for their help.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Fish Feed and Clean

Fish continue to feed well, even the Trout even though air temps have exceeded expected and average daily temps. Asisted by John, Nicolas and Corey. These students will take responsibility for morning feeding (P1). This will enable us to 'ramp up' the feeding of the Trout- just 3 months to harvest!
Cleaned and rinsed 'risers', swept and hosed ARC. Backwashed filter, cleaned primary filter basket and topped up sump. Used the sock filter to catch uneaten food and 'fish poo' when cleaning risers. Worked well, still need to ensure that socks will not come loose in the sump and block the filter!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Total Clean 3/8/05

Full Clean and Maintenance.
Flushed and rinsed all Tanks
Drained sump, flushed and refilled
Remove and cleaned all Risers
Backwashed and Rinsed Filter
Swept and hosed ARC floor
Morning Feed of fish

* with help from John and Joel

Friday, July 29, 2005

Water Test 29/7/05

pH 6.6
Conductivity .82
Water Temp 14.3
Air temp 13.2

Class Activities 29/7/05

After beginning work in the computer learning space student management teams were allocated jobs in the ARC...
* continue and finalise Grading of Trout
* construction of biofilter socks
* feeding- Trout, Silver Perch fingerlings, Australian Bass
* Water Testing (tests to be published later)
* Mini Projects have been developed for management teams including... Worm Farm, Brine Shrimp, Salt Water Aquarium and Yabbie Growing.

** Lost another 'jumping' Trout

Thursday, July 28, 2005

'Jumping Trout' Batman! Stage 3 students feed Trout and observe Trout Grading.

Class Activities 28/7/05

Yr9 were joined in the ARC by Stage 3 students (yrs 5-6) today to grade Trout and feed fish.
Trout had previously been graded to ensure that each Trout had feeding access to grow at the maximum rate. 3 tanks had been set aside to enable large, medium and small gradings. Today Trout that had been graded as medium (T4) and living in a polyculture with 2 very large Silver Perch were graded to T1 (Large) and T3 (Medium).
All students enjoyed the interaction and learned a lot from each other. Jack (Yr6) took some photos see above.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Wyong Shire Councillors visit the ARC

Wyong Councillors Visit ARC

An enthusiastic ‘caravan’ of councillors from Wyong Shire visited the ARC today to get first hand experience of the exciting learning and research venture which is known as the ARC. Councillors were impressed with the underpinning environmental philosophy that the ARC has been built on:
A complete recirculation, commercial standard Aquaculture learning and research centre that uses only rainwater and advanced filtering techniques to ensure NO wastage of water occurs
Research and development of sustainable food production
Effective and efficient use of a small, intensive allocation of land to achieve maximum growth of both native and introduced species
OH&S teaching and learning
Industry partnerships with: Central Coast Aquaculture Foundation, Swimart, WaterCo, Wyong Shire Council, CIBA and MPG Fish Kariong.

Total Clean 27/7/05

Full Clean and Maintenance.
Flushed and rinsed all Tanks
Drained sump, flushed and refilled
Remove and cleaned all Risers
Backwashed and Rinsed Filter
Swept and hosed ARC floor

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Feed and Check

All fish fed well.
Swept Floor
Checked recirculation system, adjusted flow
1 * trout jumper
Used car to roll out/flatten drive way

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Quick Clean of Risers
Drained & Flushed Sump
Refilled, Backwashed and Rinsed.
Filled Sump
Covered some outlet holes with gaffer tape to test reduction of spray onto floor.
Added 250g of Bi-carb Soda and 500g of Salt
Swept Floor
Dead...1 * micky mouse, 1 * jumping trout, 3 * Silver Perch Fingerlings
Used car to compress new driveway
Fish Fed Well

Monday, July 18, 2005

New Driveway, Paths and Parking Area completed

Aim and Learning Outcomes Semester II

Semester II

Learning Outcomes
  • Assesses the potential of aquaculture to sustain wild fish stocks and the aquatic environment
  • Explains why aquaculture provides an economically sustainable source of food
  • Identifies, describes and evaluates the ethical, social and sustainability issues related to the marine environment
  • Demonstrates safe and responsible use of a range of materials, equipment and techniques in different aquaculture, marine and maritime situations
  • Identifies and describes a range of aquaculture, marine and maritime vocations and leisure pursuits
  • Collects and organises data by experimenting and accurately reading instruments, signals and charts and communicates this information

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Future Jobs (Updated)

*** Please add your 'comments' to this list*** (members only)

Complete making filter socks for Biofilter. **(started see photo) Got some more shadecloth.
Seal extremity holes in return to tank PVC pipes to reduce splashing. (Try electrical tape first?)
Build second biofilter **(need more fruit bags, shade cloth etc.) increase flow of water to second biofilter.
Got a big pot to boil up some oyster shells to remoc=ve remains ready for Bio-Filter
Foam Fractionator **(investigating Internet)
DONE! Clean Algae off walls/floor of T1 test to see if filter will take algae out of the water.
Clean out T7 (blue rectangular tank in Lab)
Move 1000l CIBA tank to outside to collect and hold waste water for use in hydroponics.
Setup 1000l CIBA tank inside as additional tank T6.
Move graded trout from T4 to T1 (Students to do first week back)
Do complete water test... including hardness (calcium), Ammonia, Nitrate etc.
DONE! Although need more electrical and wet/slippery signs. Complete signage eg. OH&S in ARC and Lab **(need pins)
Companion Farming- Worm Farming, Poultry- Chook Farm. Investigate with Wyong Shire Council, Commercial etc. **(investigated plans- student project management teams to build)
Bins from Wyong Shire Council for storage and rubbish

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Construction Work on the driveway, paths and parking area at the ARC

Sump Debris- excess feed and faeces (sump internal photo shows drained sump, inlet pipe, debris and shut off switch)

Maintenance 16/7/05

Rinsed primary filter, drained and flushed Sump to remove excess food and debris. (see photos)
Backwashed and then refilled sump approx. 600l of rainwater from tank.
Scrubbed Algae in T2 walls only.
Exchanged 2/3 of A3 for fresh tank water.
Cleaned and replaced filters in A1, A2, & A3.
Swept floor.
Australian Bass fed well on 'new' Silver Perch feed however still consumed all 3 cubes of Blood Worm.
Silver Perch fingerlings fed on 'new' Silver Perch 2mm feed.

** Work continued on driveway and paths to & from ARC (see photos)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Water Test 15/7/05

pH 6.4
Conductivity .68
Water Temp 14.3
Air temp 14.5

** Added to Sump- 400 g of Bi-carb Soda.
Cleaned Risers and Scrubbed Algae from walls and floor in T1, T3, T4, T5.
Added water to A1, A2
** Work commenced on driveway, paths and car park areas. Levelled and formwork in place.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Silver Perch Starter Pellets* Details as per HACCP requirements

Silver Perch Starter Feed

Silver Perch Starter Pellets Arrive

1 * 25kg bag of Silver Perch StarterFeed Pellets 2mm received today.

This feed will enable us to provide exact feed requirements for the 400 Silver Perch Fingerlings.
Compare the Analysis of the feed eg. Protein, Fat, Fibre to the *Trout* Grower Feed delivered earlier. See photos of label and bag for more detail.
Protein 37%
Fat 10%
Fibre 4%
Digestible Energy 13.5MJ/kg
Ingredients: Fish Meal, Meat Meal, Poultry Meal, Maize Gluten, Soyabean Meal, Peas, Wheat, Fish Oil, Methionine, Lynsine, Vitamins & Minerals.
Bag No. 2881
* Details as per HACCP requirements

Water Test 14/7/05

pH 6.3
Conductivity .68
Water Temp 14.2
Air temp 12.8

** Added to Sump- 100 g of Bi-carb Soda.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Water Test 12/7/05

pH 6.4
Conductivity .63
Water Temp 14.2
Air temp 12.7

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Quick Maintenance 9/7/05

Backwashed Filter, rinsed primary filter basket, topped up Sump. Fish fed well. Made a few more bio-socks.

Friday, July 08, 2005

2* 25kg bags of Trout Grower Feed

HACCP Identity Label