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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Apologies to the Imp

My First Aquaponics Setup - a Windowfarm

[In the previous post, an autistic daughter plopped one of her goldfish into the big tank. We despaired for its life.}

I've been scanning the surface of the tank to see if anything floated to the surface. No luck. Then I tried randomly netting the murky depths in hopes of bagging the fish. Again no luck.

Is there an inverse to spontaneous generation? You know, when something disappears without physical explanation?

Tonight I was looking for an old youtube video of mine, when I remembered:

The first time I set up each aquaponic windowfarm, the fish tank was cloudy.

For a 5 gallon tank, it only took two goldfish a day to clear the water. The fish created waste, the gravel began growing good bacteria that feed on the waste, the water got clear.

The water got clear.

All my goldfish have survived this process at least once before. Maybe, just maybe, the goldfish my daughter dumped into the drink was still OK.

In fact, maybe I could help things along by adding the water/waste from one of the two aquaponics fish tanks. Like the one that stopped flowing in early fall. All the plants were dead before the lack of water was noticed, but the fish had survived without the water-cleaning effect of the plants.

Come to think of it, maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing to add a second goldfish to the big tank, to speed things along.

My autistic daughter was still awake when I decided to take one of the remaining three goldfish. She watched me trying to snag the short-tailed fish - they look ordinary, but speed around and eat like the next meal may never come. Great metabolism, I was thinking.

We don't have a net, so I was trying to catch the fish with a tube my daughter had used the day before. Several attempts later, I was ready to give up.

"Let me," my daughter asked. Reluctant, I handed her the tube.

In one swift move, my daughter had the fish. And it wasn't just luck - she used a very unusual and gentle technique. I was impressed--and humbled.

After taking time to gradually transition the fish to the new water, I released it.

In a minute I saw the fish again. And then I saw the golden glint was two fishes. I watched for far too long, and the pair of fish kept showing up together, linked as though by a chain.

They both seemed healthy and, I don't know, fond of each other. Go figure.

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