Bizarre Fish


Jamie Shaner shared this photo of one (two?) of her trout at Brady Public Schools.  Two heads are better than one, right?  Does anyone else have trout with an interesting deformity?


Also, I thought you may be interested in checking out the Ennis Fish Hatchery’s website, where our trout were spawned.  For middle- and high-school students particularly, check out the ‘Ennis Investigations in Fish Culture’ tab.  They are doing a lot of rainbow trout research!


Everyone should have swimming fry by now!  If you haven’t done it already, release the fish from their hatching baskets and let them enjoy all the space in the tank.  Feed a pinch of food 2-3 times daily.  Watch your trout after you feed. If most of the grains settle to the bottom, you are overfeeding.  (Also, don’t forget to vacuum the substrate and rinse your filter and water pump intakes weekly.) What do I mean by a pinch?  This:



I noticed that many of you signed up for the quilt project.  That is awesome!  I’m excited to see what you come up with.  Please share your progress with me.

Finally, Tori Mullins sent me some inspiration for aquarium decorating.  I thought you would enjoy this Mario-themed Lego aquarium. (And, Tori says HI!)


Changes in your Water

Hi all,

Lindsey and I have been receiving many comments about spikes in your water chemistry, particularly your Nitrite levels. We recommend 20% water changes every couple of days until levels have normalized. Remember that we want to see Nitrite levels under 1 ppm (you can see ideal levels in your Equipment and Care Manual starting on page 15). If your Nitrite levels are really high, such as 5 ppm you can also add Nite-Out per the instructions on the bottle.

It is not uncommon to see these changes, as there is a lot of biological break down from your trout hatching. Make sure that your filter is working correctly, and that you have adequate water flow through this. If you have a foam filter, make sure you wash this frequently. Daily cleaning of this may be necessary if you are having troubles. Remember you have a foam insert inside of the filter as well that should be cleaned off.

Continue to monitor your chemicals, and as always feel free to reach out if you need further guidance!



Now What?

I have had several questions about what to do now that the trout have hatched. Your trout are now considered Alevins. After the hatching you may notice white foam inside or around the aquarium. This is the result of embryonic fluid that was released from the egg during hatching. You can remove this foam with your turkey baster, or even use a spoon to scoop it out.

After the hatching is complete, this is a good time for a water change. Be careful not to handle or poke your alevins, they are still considered fragile and vulnerable. You can make observations on the yolk sac on the belly of the fish. This will start to disappear around 1-2 weeks. Once this yolk sac disappears you now have trout fry!

There is no need to feed alevins yet, they get all their nutrients from their yolk sac. Once they begin to absorb this sac and start swimming around toward the surface, then you can start feeding them. When all of your trout are in the fry stage you can unhook the basket and let it gently drop to the floor of the aquarium. The fry will swim up and out of the basket when they are strong enough. Some of them may need a little longer, but will eventually swim up and out as well!

Now is a great time to make observations on your fish. You will notice some changes to water quality as organic materials start to break down. Discuss with your class why this is happening.


Drum Roll Please….

We have a winner for our Aquarium Artwork project! This was really tough for the judges, there were so many great submissions. We utilized several fisheries biologists, as well as a team from Project WILD to pick the winner.

Congratulations to Chase County Schools!



What a fun and creative way to decorate your aquarium.

I hope everyone enjoyed this project, and we look forward to hearing more from you as the trout start to hatch!

When Will They Hatch?


Hi everyone, I hope the weekend has treated everyone well and you have all survived the ice storm! I have done some calculations on my eggs, and wanted to share my predicted hatch date with you.

Just a reminder, you will be seeing mortality with your eggs. You can look at your Equipment and Care Manual to see a great picture of what a healthy egg looks like, as well as a dead one. You will want to remove the dead ones so they don’t contaminate the healthy. A turkey baster works GREAT for this (I have had to use mine already).

If you have any questions or concerns  with any of this, feel free to contact me.

I am looking forward to hearing when your little guys will start hatching!

Happy Hatching



Eggs Delivered!

What a week! I’m so excited that everyone has received their eggs. Thank you to all for helping it go so smoothly.

Just a reminder, there will be some mortality with your eggs. Don’t panic! You will know when this has happened, as the eggs turn a milky/opaque color. (See pg. 11 in your Equipment and Care Manual). You will want to remove those eggs promptly, as they can spread fungus if left in with the healthy eggs. The turkey baster makes a wonderful tool to gently remove the dead eggs.

I have contacted the hatchery again, and will HOPEFULLY have your information soon so you can start predicting the hatch date! You will know this information as soon as I do!

As always, let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

To leave you, here are a few pictures of the eggs prior to their delivery to you. That’s what 9,000 eggs looks like. Wow!!

Let the Judging Begin!

I am so excited by all the wonderful artwork submissions we received on the tanks. So creative, fun and informative. Thanks to all who participated, I hope your class enjoyed making these as much as I have enjoyed seeing them.  The artwork will be reviewed by a panel of judges, and the winner announced by Jan 16th (I’m just thankful I won’t be the one judging them)!

Chase County Schools


St. Vincent de Paul in Seward


St. Patrick Catholic


Bayard Elementary


Hay Springs Elementary


LaVista Junior High


Rockbrook Elementary

St. James School

Let the Cycle Begin

Hi Everyone!

Many of you (I hope most of you) are well underway in your tank cycling process! Below you’ll find answers for some of the more frequently asked questions as of late.

If your tank water is cloudy…you’re doing it right! I know I have heard from a few teachers regarding this. The cloudy water is a sign of the bacterial bloom. You’ve provided the bacteria with ammonia (fish food) and they are hungry! The bloom might last anywhere from 7-21 days.

Your ammonia and nitrite levels do not need to get very high in order to provide enough nutrition for the bacteria. If you have seen them spike up around 1-2 ppm, you can stop adding food and give the bacteria a chance to do their jobs without overwhelming them.

There is no need to do any water changes until after you’ve received your eggs either, so hold off on that.

Try to take a step back and think about what’s going on in your tank, this well help everything seem a lot less scary. Most importantly, remember to have fun!