One of those days...

Before I start telling you about the terrible day we had recently.. check our this lovely sunset over the fry ponds :-)

Ok, now for the tale of last week.

You know when you have one of those days…..

We had one last Monday. I set off for work early – and I get a call from Amanda soon after I left, saying – there’s no water flowing in the growing on tanks system. Temperature had dropped 6 C, which means the tanks were without flow probably for most of the night. Oxygen was an issue and the fish in the green vortex were struggling in that regard…

Amanda was confronted with a 30 mins window, in which she had to chivvy the kids along for school, pack their school lunches, and sort out the growing on tanks’ issue. Including saving fish in one tank that were short on oxygen. So, first step.. she dropped an airstone into the green vortex to alleviate the problem there. We worked out the root cause for the loss of flow – basically, the drum screens had become blocked and needed a jet wash. We’ve been so busy the last few months that we’ve left that bit of maintenance too long… I explained how to clean them during my remaining journey, and I got a text about an hour later from Amanda saying the kids were at school, they had a lunch with them and the growing on system was running again and she’d sorted all the problems. We conferred, and decided to give the fish a day off the autofeeders to allow the filters to regenerate and with the fish probably being a bit stressed – they might be off their food, and we didn’t want uneaten food lying around the tank.

Then I get a flurry of texts a few hours later which must have been stacked up in the mobile company’s system, and came through late, and all at once – the first one said– there’s been a power cut. The water levels in all the tanks dropped (overflow through the drum filters, after loss of head when the pumps stopped). The next one said the power has gone back on. The next one said there was no flow in the males tank system. The next one said that she’d resolved that problem .. which was down to a breaker on a specific plug not returning automatically to it’s on position after the mains power came back on. The final text confirmed she’d found that problem, and everything was now running ok. Fair to say, Amanda was well chuffed. And rightfully so! She’d saved me a lot of stress, and it meant I didn’t have work to do in the poytunnel in the dark, when I returned home in the evening J

Our paths crossed at about 8.00pm; I returned back home, and Amanda was just popping out to collect the kids from swimming. Everything’s fine in the polytunnel, I checked it an hour ago she said. Feeling comforted by the amazing support – I popped into the house, had some dinner, then went out to the polytunnel for a late night check.

At that point, we’d had the final disaster of the day – the females tank was half empty!!! Water was still flowing, and the leak must have just happened… a pipe connector just after the pump had burst and pond water was being pumped out over the floor. It was pitch balck, the floor was flooded anyway with all the rain we’ve been having recently. It was a strange sight, with mist rising off the heated water in the females tank, albeit at a lower that usual level, illuminated with head torch light. I took a quick reading on the water temperature; still 21 C, the lack of a loss in temperature confirmed we’d caught the leak very soon after it happened.

My next hour or two was sorting that one out. …

In one day – all three tank systems had experienced significant failures; and each failure due to a different and unconnected reason.

Without Amanda’s actions during the day, we would have almost certainly lost a large proportion of the fish in the green vortex.

In the end, all the fish are fine. The fish in the tanks that experienced big temperature swings are also ok. But, we’ll keep a closer eye on them over the next week or two. And, I’ve taken the feeding down a little bit to alleviate pressure on the filter for the short term.

We are also thinking about what kind of maintenance regime is needed to help prevent some of these potential issues. I’ve always been too lax on my maintenance regimes on the drums, and they probably need a little more care than the current amount, which is almost nothing. We’ll start jet washing the screens every month or so as a preventative measure.

Since the day of pond issues... everything's been running really well. fish are growing, and we're finally starting to get a better view of the August #2 spawning fish now that they're around 3 inches long:

They will need thinning out soon, in order to maintain good growth rates.
We're running out of the fry crumble and as luck would have it, most of the fish in this tank are taking a 3mm pellet - which will be our main growth food over the winter. just hope the last few kg's of crumble will bring the smallest fish up to pellet eating size.

Job for this week, is to start bringing down the temperature on the females tank. I'll be taking down to ambient temperature for around Christmas time, and they'll have at least 2 months at ambient, probably 3.