Third times a charm, or so THEY say. Who do they think they are anyway? My third go around has not started promising.
I got an e-mail from my professor saying that most of the fish had died. His best guess was that it was an aeration problem. Great. So all I had left in the tank were three overstressed and smallish females. There was no way I was going to get great results from them.
So I spent the first part of this morning driving down to the CERC to pick up more fathead minnows. At 10:00 I introduced TWO females from the new batch right off. I checked the O2 levels. They are lower than last time. Significantly. That worries me. I wonder if there is something in the air in the lab that is causing O2 in the apparatus to be low and 02 in the tanks to be low. That wold explain all the fish deaths.
I am waiting again. I have until 2:00 this afternoon before it becomes a problem to do this with my schedule. After that, I am going to have to go for round 4 on the Thursday before finals week. Joy. In the meantime I am going to try to identify some dead fish in jars. If nothing happens, this play-by-ply will be very dull.
11:17am- I really hate the smell of fish preserved in alcohol in the morning. Stupid darters. They are SO hard to identify. You know, as much as I would hate to put this off, if nothing happens today, I will be able to enjoy my birthday. But then I would have to postpone this so that would be doing it into the Monday of Finals week. That is not a very happy thought.
-iTunes: "Friend is a 4 Letter Word-CAKE-Fashion Nugget
12:54 pm-4 of the 5 brand new males that I got this morning are dead. What on earth is going on here? I'm 75% sure that we can rule out an aeration problem. But I don't know what is. So I get to bale out most of the water in the tank and we will put new water in. In the meantime I am Still, still, STILL having no luck with these fish. I plan on e-mailing the guy we got the fish from and ask what suggestions he has. Okay. Gotta go bale water.
-iTunes-"Can't Stop the World"- Gavin Rossdale-Wanderlust
1:46pm-I've been kicked out. Out of the classroom that is next to the lab room where the fish are. There is a class meeting in there and I guess they can't share space. There is new water in the tank. We'll see if the fish survive. The male and one of the females are getting frisky. My professor says that this is a good sign. But they have 15 minutes to decide whether they are just fooling around or they are going to get serious. I REALLY can't go much past 2:00. If I go to 2:00, based on the development schedule, I will already be late for work on Saturday. If I go to 3:00 I will be even MORE late for work. Not a good thing. Anyway, of COURSE that would wait until the last minute to get it into their heard to spawn. I want to rip my hair out.
On top of all that, I am stuck in this noisy room. It is a small cramped lab room that is kept at constant temp. and the air kept clean. So there is this really loud fan coming from the very low ceiling. I am not pleased. Thank goodness I still get internet in this room or I think I would cry.
iTunes-I'm not playing it right now because they kicked me out and I turned it off.
2:01pm- There is still nothing going on other than the male keeps bashing the females head with his own head. Looks painful. I guess it's good that he has a fathead. Anyway, is it horrible of me that I want to just separate them, wait 20 minutes and then go to my professor and tell him it didn't work? Yes, that WOULD be dishonest. That is why I am not going to do that. However, if by 2:30 they STILL have not produced any eggs, I am going to tell him that even though things LOOKED promising, I can't wait around forever. Seriously. I could just call work and say that I won't be there on Saturday. But then what if all this head butting comes to nothing? What if she decides that his head butting is not good enough for her? Then I would have told work I would be absent for nothing.
2:06pm-Oooooookkkkkaaaaayyyyy, now she left. What did I say? He doesn't have the little bumps on his head that make all the other guys cool. He's cleaning the spawning surface like a good little male and trying to chase her back in. But I think she's not going for it.
2:16pm-Still not in the spawning area anymore. He keeps pushing her in there. Is it because I'm here? I'm sitting where they can't really see me and something tells me that fish don't really care about privacy. I'm going to go eat some of my lunch. You fish have 15 more minutes to do your thing or you can forget it!
2:21pm-There is something not right about eating food in the same place you are doing lab work. Not that I'm dealing with pathogens or anything. It's just...unsanitary, I guess? Doesn't matter. I'm hungry.
I have to wonder. I pray over these fish every day (crazy, I know). But I know that if anyone can help them spawn it's God. I can't help but wonder that there is some learning experience in this or some strange reason why now is not a good time. Maybe I am supposed to be showing my professor the perseverance that I have and then I can get a good recommendation from him when I want a job or to go to grad school. Who knows. Maybe my patience is just being tested. I don't know. Or maybe I don't have enough faith. All I know is I keep prepping myself for 5 days of unhappiness and then nothing happens. So I have this constant knot in my stomach.
...what if the fish DO lay their eggs and it comes time to separate them. I do the rubbing in a circle thing and them I accidentally kill them all. I've read the procedures on how to separate fish eggs but that is very different from the application process. I will have waited all this time for fish eggs and then I ruin it. I can just see that happening. Or maybe, I'm doing the nitrogen wrong and the experiment it botched. Any number of things can go wrong and I just have o remind myself not to worry about it because I STILL don't have eggs.
Okay, it is now 2:30. I am calling it quits for the day.
You are all probably sick of these play-by plays. Let mew know if you are and I will not do one for any of the following experiment days.
I can't believe it didn't work. I was so sure about today. I guess the bad omen of fish dying should have been my tip off.
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