Research

Research

Aquaponics

Clownfish

Coral

Sharks

Water Quality Studies

By: Darilis Gonzalez, Pam Sanchez, Gerardo Vargas

What is Aquaponics?

A system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown in a system with or without soil, which in turn purify the water.

Fish waste is the key element; the toxic ammonia in fish waste is converted by bacteria to its final product: nitrate is harmful to fish at high levels, but serves as an excellent plant fertilizer.

When farming fish and growing plants in one system, it is important to be mindful of what both the plants and the fish need and how they can work together.

The history of aquaponics:

The history of aquaponics dates back to ancient times. Most notably in South America and Asia but not limited to those continents.

The Aztec created a system called chinampas composed of artificial islands where they raised fish and grew their crops. They collected the fish waste and fertilized their crops with it. The crops they grew included maize and squash.

In south east Asia, mainly south China and Thailand, they cultivated rice and fishes in paddy fields and the fishes kept the water fields clean and free of parasites and illness in addition to provide fertilizer for the rice plant.

Modern Aquaponics

Aquaponics as we know it has been modernized and simplified with the aid of technological advances and research. Several colleges in just America have incredible aquaculture research programs with impressive aquaponics systems

Nowadays, aquaponics can be seen in several different kinds of systems. Some of the most popular or most common are the gravity feed system, constant flow system, and drip feed system. All are convenient and efficient; what sets them apart is the how they utilize space.

Gravity Feed Aquaponics System:

A system in which the fish tank has a drain at the bottom. Fish waste can collect at the bottom of the tank and water is pumped periodically to grow beds. One end of the grow beds will be slightly elevated so the water will flow to the lower end. The water, after being filtered, is cleaned and circulated back into the fish tank.

Drip Feed Aquaponics System:

In a drip feed system, the fish tank water is pumped to manifolds, or a chamber, next to the plants. Small holes are drilled into the manifolds and tubes are inserted for the water to pump through. The water then drips through the holes in the grow bed.
By: Viekson Van Wie, Sara Emmer, Savanna Quale, Yali Baldemira, Sam Dannheisser

Why breed clownfish and other species of marine fish?

Breeding clownfish helps to take the pressure off of the wild fish populations. Statistics show that in the Philippines alone, up to 98% of marine fish that will eventually end up in the aquarium trade, will die within the first year. Only 25% of the global trade comes from fish bred in captivity, while the majority are captured from the wild. It has been estimated that clownfish make up 43% of the global marine ornamental trade. An result of raising our own clownfish is that the amount of fish required to be removed from natural habitats will be reduced, thus decreasing the loss of fish life in tropical areas.

How do we breed clownfish?

The Stars to Starfish interns pair off the clownfish in twenty gallon tanks. Once the fish reach sexual maturity, the interns insert a flower pot into the tanks which acts as a shelter and provides a safe place for the fish to lay eggs. After the eggs have been laid, the flower pot is removed and placed in a separate hatchery tank. After 6 – 8 days, the eggs will hatch into larva (clownfish fry). During this period, the fry are fed live rotifers, which are microscopic animals. After 5 – 10 days, the rotifers are exchanged for a small, dry fish meal called Otohime. Proportionally as the fish grow and mature, the food size and amount increases. On approximately day nine, they start looking like clownfish. They turn orange and develop their first stripe! After a year in the hatchling tank, the clownfish are paired off and the process is repeated.

How how has breeding affected the species as a whole?

Clownfish sustainability isn’t necessarily just breeding clownfish, organizations have taken it further into creating new hybrid clownfish. Thus, increasing the longevity of the species in total. On September 27, 2013, the ORA (Ocean Reefs & Aquariums) announced the first ever intentional clownfish hybrid; the ORA Blood Orange Clownfish. This mixed species is the result of a female Goldstripe Maroon clownfish (Premnas bisculeatus) and an Ocellarish clownfish (Amphiprion occelaris). Since the discovery, more hybrids have been created.

How does media affect clownfish Sustainablility?

Clownfish are some of the most popular saltwater fish in the world thanks to the hit Pixar movie “Finding Nemo” and due to this popularity, they have become increasingly expensive in aquarium stores everywhere. To add to this rarity, the majority of clownfish are actually harvested from the wild population, and this has contributed to the reduction of the clownfish population as well as irreversible damage to the ecosystem and to coral reefs.
By: Camila Montoya, Ashlie Wells, Madison Buscemi, Brianna Provino, Emily Murray

Threats to Corals, the “Rainforest of the Sea”

Change of ocean chemistry, warmer seas, siltation, water pollution, sedimentation, coastal development, damage from vessels, destructive fishing practices (cyanide fishing, overfishing and blast fishing), coral mining, careless tourism, and collection by the curio and aquarium trade

The Status of Coral Reefs Around the World, 2004 declared that:

20% of the world’s coral reefs have been effectively destroyed and show no immediate prospects of recovery;

Approximately 40% of the 16% of the world’s reefs that were seriously damaged in 1998 are either recovering well or have recovered;

The report predicts that 24% of the world’s reefs are under imminent risk of collapse through human pressures; and a further 26% are under a longer term threat of collapse;

The Fragging Procedure, step-by-step:

Step 1:

After severing the targeted section off of the mother colony, we used Gel Super Glue to attach it to a ceramic coral mount.

Step 2:

Place the fragged corals back into the tank; position the coral in an appropriate location with regard to lightning and water movement. Provide and maintain ideal fish water conditions to ensure healthy growth.

How does Propagation Relate to Sustainability?

Propagation, also known as fragging, is used for commercial purposes and coral reef restoration . Coral propagation is a cost effective way to have more corals, but more importantly, it helps relieve the stress caused on reefs harvested from the ocean.

Hatching a shark from an egg case

Plankton Tow

Turbidity

Temperature Check and Water Quality Testing

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