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.