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FinFish Aquaculture Curriculum — Summary

A curriculum which includes aquaculture can meet Massachusetts curriculum standards for science, technology/engineering and mathematics; download an MSWord overview of how aquaculture can be integrated into the K-12 classroom.

Unit 1: Getting Started: Building the Hatchery  

Teacher Overview:
This section focuses on the understanding of aquaculture and the different types of systems that are used to culture aquatic species. Recirculating systems are the main concentration because of their broad application and compatibility with environmental regulations. The major components of a recirculating system will be discussed as well as a design and construction of a functioning table size model system. Included are steps on how to select a species to culture in your classroom and where to look for sources of eggs.

Check out an animation of a tabletop recirculating system!

Activity #1 What species of marine fish can we culture in our classroom?
Activity #2 Where can you hatch a fish?


Unit 2: Getting Your Hatchery System Up And Running: Instructions On Maintaining Your Hatchery System  

Teacher Overview:
This section provides guidance on setting up and maintaining the constructed tabletop hatchery system after it has been constructed. The main focus is conditioning the system and the importance of distinct culture methods for different developmental periods.

Activity #3 How do we condition the tank to prepare for fish eggs?
Activity #4 What do you do when the eggs arrive?


Unit 3: What Do Larval Fish Eat Anyway? How Do I Raise Food For My Larvae To Eat?  

Teacher Overview:
This section explains that rotifers and Artemia are zooplankton and that they can be cultured and fed to the larvae. Procedures on how to culture the live zooplankton (rotifers and Artemia) are included. The main highlights are how to build a live feed culture system, how to maintain cultured live animals and how to determine population sizes.

Activity #5 How many rotifers do I need?
Activity # 6 Rotifer production
Activity # 7 Maintenance and harvesting of rotifers
Activity #8 Artemia production


Unit 4: Watching Your Fish Grow and Change: The Developmental Process Of Marine Fish  

Teacher Overview:
The goal of this section is to use marine finfish as an example of developmental biology. A brief summary of the developmental patterns of marine finfish is included. The process on how to track the growth and survival of the larvae in the hatching system is also incorporated.

Activity #9 What are the stages in the development of a fish?
Activity #10 How long until the fish hatch?
Activity # 11 How do we monitor larval growth and development?


Unit 5: Taking Care of Your Fish  

Teacher Overview:
This section gives guidelines on how one is to determine the health of the larvae. Observation of the larvae is one of the most important aspects of hatchery work. Because the larvae are transparent at this stage, it is easy to identify various developmental focus points. Activity #12 How do I hatch, feed and care for my fish larvae?

Activity #13 What do I do when the fish no longer need rotifers or Artemia?
Activity #14 Are the fish eating?


Unit 6: How’s The Water? Monitoring Water Quality  

Teacher Overview:
The quality of the tank’s ecosystem is based on good water quality. The health and survival of the fish are dependent on the maintenance procedures described above. Monitoring of fish survival, growth and behavior are means for identifying the quality of the water. To prevent possible die offs and other impacts on survivability (highbacterial loading), the importance monitoring of the nitrogen cycle and bacterial populations to the culture system cannot be overstated. The water quality parameters and their acceptable limits are outlined below as are monitoring procedures.

Activity #15 Where did the water come from?
Activity #16 Monitoring your system

 Related Links:

Classroom Overview
Profiles of Participating Schools