Friday, September 3, 2010

TNACI Husbandry Systems

At the TNACI facility, in Cohutta, Georgia, we have a very different system to supply the animals in our care with clean water than what is used at the Tennessee Aquarium or the ACF. Unlike the water recirculating systems at the Aquarium that reuse the same water with the help of complex filtration systems, our systems are known as flow-thru systems. That means that water is only passes through our tanks one time before it leaves our tanks and flows down a drain. We are able to do this because the facility at Cohutta that we share with the University of Georgia was built next to a spring that provides the whole facility with a constant supply of clean, cool, clear water ideal for keeping sturgeon healthy and happy. We “borrow” the water passing through the facility only briefly before it leaves our tanks and flows into a creek adjoining the property which eventually flows into the Conasauga River. Water is supplied to our tanks from the spring by gravity, and we only minimally filter the water to remove large objects (like sticks, twigs, snails, crayfish) before it enters into our tanks. This system has a few advantages, like being inexpensive, low-maintenance, and easy to maintain. We don’t rely on electricity to power any pumps, so if the power goes out, our fish still receive clean, flowing water without relying on backup power generators. One drawback to this system is the lack of control of temperature. In the winter time, water temperatures in our tanks can drop into the low 40s. The fish do fine, but they barely grow at all when the temperatures drop.


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