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A fun activity that the PAC makes possible

  • Writer's pictureJames Bay PAC

Salmon Tank in Ms. Bottineau's Class

Updated: Jan 14, 2023

Through fundraising efforts, the PAC was able to provide Ms. Bottineau's kindergarten classroom with funds to grow salmon and learn all about the growth cycle. This is her story.

The Stream to Sea program is an education program sponsored through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Government Canada. The following page provides more information about the programs which aims to “help students become aquatic stewards”.


The Cart – This is a picture of the cart purchased from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the Stream to Sea classroom program. The cart comes with the tank, the chiller and all other components (filter, gravel, rocks, disinfectant, tubing, thermometer, small, basket, filter pads and pellets, dip net, Styrofoam jacket) to successfully incubate the salmon eggs to the fry stage. The tank and all of its components need to be disinfected and assembled prior to the delivery of the salmon eggs.

The tank, filter and chiller need to run for two weeks prior to the egg delivery to ensure the it is running correctly.


The Cart – This picture is a picture of the tank with the front Styrofoam jacket removed. The Styrofoam jacket helps to regulate the temperature of the tank water which needs to reflect the temperature of the river that the salmon fry will be released. The water temperature directly impacts the development of the salmon eggs. During the egg and alevin stage in the life cycle of the salmon the Styrofoam jacket stays on the jacket for all but 15 minutes during the school day.

During the fry stage the front Styrofoam panel is gradually removed for longer periods in the day to help the salmon become acclimatized to the day/night cycle.


Salmon Eggs in a basket that float on the top one third of the water in the tank. The eggs were delivered the last week of January. As the sponsor teacher I need to monitor the tank for 15 minutes each day with the front styrofoam jacket off. I monitor the water temperature and record it each day, I monitor the health of the eggs (if one dies I have to remove it immediately and skim the top of the water for a toxic foam that may develop). I do this during the alevin stage as well.


Alevin Stage – When the eggs hatch they are able to get through the holes in the basket and will spend this stage at the bottom of the stage hiding the big rocks. The alevin are the reddish clump at the front of the tank at the bottom. The eggs hatched to the alevin stage around the end of February.


Fry Stage – This photo is at the beginning of the fry stage. The fry are not fully developed as fry yet so they spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank among the rocks.


Fry stage fully developed – This is a photo of the fry becoming fully developed. When 75% of the fry become fully developed and are swimming up around the tank, they are ready to be fed and then must be released to the river with 10 days of the start of feeding. This stage began around April 7th.


Classroom Presentation – I offered presentations to all the classes. 8 out of 9 divisions have come 2 to 3 times for 15 to 20 minute presentations at different stages throughout the development of the salmon. I chose to place the tank in my classroom because of the daily responsibilities that I have as the sponsor teacher of this program and it wasn’t possible to find another appropriate spot. I had consulted with Ms. St. Denis about a spot in the library where the tank could be viewed by all, was quiet and would not be bumped but Ms. Denis said that there was a requisition in to build shelves in that spot. As the timing of the construction was unknown I thought it a risk to place the tank that spot. Once the tank is up and running it cannot be move.

I started feeding the fry on April 12th. Our field trip to put them in Colquitz River located at the south end of Beaver Lake occurs on Wednesday, April 20th. Ms. Pharis’s grade two class will be attending this field trip with us. The cost of the bus for the field trip is covered by a Go Grant that I applied for last year.

After the field trip, I will empty, clean, and disinfect the tank and all of its components and find a safe place to store it until next year.

Thank you again to the PAC for purchasing the cart. It really is an important program and I have really enjoyed introducing it to many of the students at JBCS.



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