Science Research Classes Run State-of-the Art Recirculating Aquaculture System
Release Date: 2/18/2009 1:55:00 PM
The Carroll County Public School System continues to be a leader in the state in innovation and technology through unique Science Research courses and curriculum. With the support of the Maryland Sea Grant Extension Program and the Center of Marine Biotechnology (COMB), a recirculating Anammox system was constructed at South Carroll High School in the summer of 2008. South Carroll High School was the first high school in the country to have this one of a kind system.
The system was tested by Science Research students and teachers and is now fully functional and operating. It houses striped bass from the Horn Point Laboratory and sturgeon from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Cedarville Hatchery. The system consists of two 450 gallon tanks, aerobic biological filtration, and an Anammox filtration loop. The system will reduce or eliminate the need for water changes and hopefully reduce the mortality of the fish in the system.
The Anammox process was originally discovered 12 years ago in the Netherlands in a waste treatment facility. In the last 2 years, COMB has taken this process and applied it to recirculating aquaculture in the hope that it would reduce or eliminate the need for water changes and reduce the costs of operating these intensive systems. In addition, it was projected that this would also be a healthier less stressful environment for fish.
Aquaculture has been at the forefront of these projects in the Science Research courses for more that 10 years. The addition of a new recirculating system promises greater opportunities for the future and allows the school system to engage students and teachers in a unique learning experience. It also offers the opportunity to educate citizens concerned with the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
The costs to the school system were significantly reduced through contributions from COMB, MD Sea Grant, and the assistance of Chris Tollini in construction of the system. Costs will further be reduced if the system successfully reduces the need for water changes, cuts the costs of replacing salts in the system, and reduces the mortality of the fish. The Science Research students at South Carroll High School now maintain the system and enter data on the Aquaculture in Action website to monitor the progress of the system.
The Anammox systems have currently been expanded to Francis Scott Key, Westminster, and Winters Mill High Schools. The impact of having 4 systems running in these schools will involve the participation of more than 150 students.