An Unexpected Harvest…

About 200 tadpoles!!  For a week, the frogs were making ALL kinds of noise outside the girls’ window.  This week we found tadpoles in the aquaponics system!  Wes just laughed, but yesterday the ammonia level in the system was dangerously high.  I have been very careful not to overfeed or anything that might cause ammonia problems, but facts are facts!  So this morning I suctioned the … excrement from the bottom, and suddenly realized that the tadpoles have been … excreting for almost a week now, and we have no way to remove that from the bottom of the tanks they are in!

Thus began my day.  I fed the fish, sucked out the … stuff, checked the tanks where the tadpoles were born, and found the bottom of both tanks COVERED with black ick!!  Next I found an old hose Wes had stashed in the shed for this purpose and had my first experience making a siphon alone.  It went so well that I called Ellie… and Becca to come help me.  After at least half an hour of trying, we were able to get suction through the hose… for about 5 minutes.  I don’t know what happened, but we had to start all over again.  Thankfully it went faster the second time around.  I spent the morning cleaning the bottoms of the tanks and emptying about 1/4 of the water from the system.  That’s close to 150 gallons.  Going through a small garden hose, that took a while.  Of course, I gave a math lesson, hung the laundry on the line and kept a 3-year-old occupied.  Joel and I fished out about 170 of the tadpoles and left just a few in one freshly cleaned tank.  He wants to see what kind(s) of frog they are.  Tomorrow we’ll take the 170 to the creek.

In the afternoon, between art class (“throwing” pots with the clay we got from the creek and have been preparing for a week or two), read aloud and getting the laundry off the line, we let the water in the hose heat up in the sun and added the water to the system.  We did that about 20 times so the water going into the system wouldn’t be colder than the water in the system.  We were actually able to bring the temperature up about 4 degrees, which is good for the fish.

On the bright side, we needed to change out the water pretty drastically because Wes had to treat the fish with large amounts (17 pounds) of salt last week!  We just got it done a little sooner than we’d planned!  Also, we had already finished spelling for the year, which ends up taking a lot of time for me each day.  So I was sitting around wondering WHAT to do with all my free time… well, no.  But it all worked out in the end!  Now tomorrow I have to do another ammonia test, and it BETTER be at a healthier level!  And now we know to go scare those frogs away next time!!

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