Aquariums and fish tanks have filters that help keep their water oxygenated, so when researchers noticed that fish in Upper Klamath Lake in Oregon were struggling due to low oxygen levels, they built a lake-sized aquarium filter. The filters, which are the size of small garages, were built by the Oregon Institute of Technology and are floating solar rafts with compressors that force air bubbles down into the water.
Shortnose and Lost River suckers have populated the Klamath Lake area for millennia, but these fish populations are struggling due to poor water quality and a warming climate. Offspring born in late summer, when water oxygen levels are at their lowest, rarely survive to adulthood. However, researchers say water quality around the filters has improved, and they hope this will help the viability of fish populations in the area.
These rafts cannot improve water quality in the entire 100 square mile lake, but ameliorating pockets of water is a great first step for saving these endangered fish.