Saturday, March 24, 2012

Delaware State University Aquaculture Tour

      This post is going to be a little bit off topic.  Most of you do not know that I am a tropical fish nut, killifish in particular.  I am a member of the Keystone Killy Group, that meets generally once a month at a host member's house.  Once in awhile we take a special trip.  A couple of months ago we were looking for a location for our March meeting, as a possible visit to a Maryland aquaculture site fell through.  I thought that Delaware had an active site in Lewes, but was asked to contact Dr. Dennis McIntosh at the Delaware State University in Dover, Delaware.  After a few emails, we had a meeting set up for Saturday, March 17th.  We invited the members of the Chesapeake Area Killifish Association to join us.

Dr. McIntosh on left, and most of our group
      If I remember correctly, the facility is located on thirteen acres, and includes 34 in ground ponds of about an 1/8th of an acre apiece.  Behind the group is a maintenance shed and general work space.  Off to the left of the picture is a very impressive Wetlab.  The green spot behind Dr. McIntosh is one of the empty ponds.

      This picture shows several of the ponds, most of which use aerators.  Species being studied are tilapia, trout, and baitfish.  In the far right you can see the University football stadium, and beyond that is US 13.  Who would have known that all of these ponds were tucked away at the back of the campus?  The little orange strips above the pond are used to discourage egrets and herons from landing on the ponds hoping to steal a free lunch.

      This is a better shot at an empty pond.  The ponds are at a higher altitude than a large retention pond not seen here.  Each pond has a stand pipe that can be rotated to drain the pond by gravity feed.  So when they harvest, they "pull the plug" and simply pick up the fish.  The Wetlab is in the center back ground.

Dr. McIntosh talking about the lab
Rearing tanks

      Unfortunately the Wetlab had been hit with a disease, and they were just getting back online from the disinfection process.  Tanks had water, but the fish are not yet in place.
      I had a great day touring the facility, and certainly want to thank Dr. McIntosh for volunteering his Saturday afternoon with a bunch of fish nuts.  I hope to go back again in the summer when the lab is in full swing.
      To learn more about killifish, please visit the American Killifish Association website at:

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