So basically, aside from literally everything dying, the one thing that I really hoped wouldn’t happen over break did happen…
The pump somehow got flipped over, such that the water-sucky part ended up face down in the substrate; because of this, water flow was greatly reduced, and as a result, there wasn’t enough pressure to start the siphoning effect in the growbeds. Basically, the entire circulation system stagnated.
For such a serious issue, we actually got off pretty lightly. We lost two of the goldfish (there are six left), and all of the spinach kind of withered up and died. Way more water had evaporated than I expected, and the remaining half-tank of water was yellow and cloudy. Also, there appeared to be an algae bloom in the right growbed (it received the most sunlight), likely caused by the stagnant circulation. Everything else seemed to be okay.
The systems been up and running for a little over a week now, and everything seems to be getting back on track. I’ll take pH and ammonia readings later today just to make sure that nothing is disastrously wrong, and hopefully we’ll be able to continue developing the system throughout this week (more fishies!).
On a side note, I was initially really worried that the red composting worms would have drowned in the growbeds because of the broken siphon, but after some digging around, I managed to find at least a few of the lil’ wrigglers still happily alive.
I gave my first big presentation on March 23rd, just two days after we got back from break, in the NEST. For how little I prepared, I think it went pretty well! I got a lot of positive feedback, which is awesome – it’s definitely really gratifying to see how much people take interest in the project.
Future presentations: I’m still a little behind on setting these up, mostly because I want to make sure the physical system is OK first. I’ve reached out to EcoAction about giving a presentation soon, and hopefully I’ll be able to use that as a platform to speak at more clubs (ECOs, EAT). I’m also planning to reach out to Mr. Holley and the biology department about presenting in certain classes (Biology 100, 500, 580; Science 420). I want to make sure I have a well developed presentation that will be relevant at the various academic levels before locking anything in.