The Kiley Salmon Saga


Throughout the past four months , Courtney Kiley, CHS science teacher, has housed 125 salmon in her classroom.

Since the salmon hatched in November,  Kiley and the fish have had their fair share of ups and (mostly) downs. 

“We’ve had about 15 deaths, which is pretty low out of 125 fish,” Kiley said.“Although I can see we’re gonna have more since there’s one literally swimming upside down right now.”

The fish have been growing at an alarmingly fast rate compared to past years that Kiley has housed fish. She generally doesn’t see the salmon reach the size they are currently at until April. 

A main concern Kiley and her fellow students have experienced was the appalling scent of the water from the fish tank. 

“[The students] complain every time they come in my classroom that the classroom smells, but there are some kids that have bonded with them and come over and check on them,” Kiley said.

Lewis Perry

Kiley believes that the smell will eventually be so unbearable that kids won’t want to come into her classroom. As the days get warmer, she thinks the smell will only get worse. The smell is due to excess nutrients, mainly nitrogen, being carried within the water. Kiley is concerned that as with higher temperatures, the water will have even more excess nutrients due to the increase in temperature. 

“When I walk in first thing in the morning I’m like ‘Oh God, it’s pretty bad.’ ut then by the end of the day, I can’t smell it. I’ve adapted or I have covid,” Kiley said.

During the snowstorm that happened recently, Kiley struggled to stay on top of the salmon’s well-being. With the unbearable weather and overall bad conditions, she couldn’t find the will to feed them. 

“I think some tough love makes them stronger, so they didn’t eat for five days,” Kiley said.“Just weeding out the weak.”

While there are plenty of losses with the salmon saga in classroom 318, it’s still important to look on the bright side. For Kiley, the best part about housing the salmon is watching them hatch. 

“I think it’s just fun to watch them hatch and then grow bigger and just talk to kids about it,” Kiley said. “It’s just a fun thing to do. They’ll make a small dent in the salmon population. I can tell you that much.”

Read the January salmon check-in here.