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Aquaponics—Integration of

ATTRA Hydroponics with Aquaculture


A Publication of ATTRA - National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.org

By Steve Diver Aquaponics is a bio-integrated system that links recirculating aquaculture with hydroponic vegetable,
NCAT Agriculture flower, and/or herb production. Recent advances by researchers and growers alike have turned aqua-
Specialist ponics into a working model of sustainable food production. This publication provides an introduction
©2006 NCAT to aquaponics with brief profiles of working units around the country. An extensive list of resources
point the reader to print and Web-based educational materials for further technical assistance.

Contents In aquaponics, nutrient-rich effluent from


fish tanks is used to fertigate hydroponic
Introduction ..................... 1
production beds. This is good for the
Aquaponics: Key
Elements and fish because plant roots and rhizobacteria
Considerations ................ 2 remove nutrients from the water. These
Aquaponic Systems ....... 3 nutrients—generated from fish manure,
The North Carolina State algae, and decomposing fish feed—are con-
University System .......... 4 taminants that would otherwise build up
The Speraneo System ... 5 to toxic levels in the fish tanks, but instead
The University of the serve as liquid fertilizer to hydroponically
Virgin Islands System .... 7 Aquaponic vegetable bed in Australia. grown plants. In turn, the hydroponic beds
The Freshwater Institute Photo by Joel Malcolm, Backyard Aquaponics. function as a biofilter— stripping off ammo-
System ................................ 8 www.backyardaquaponics.com
(with permission)
nia, nitrates, nitrites, and phosphorus—
The Cabbage Hill Farm
System ................................ 9 so the freshly cleansed water can then be
The New Alchemy
recirculated back into the fish tanks. The
Institute.............................. 9 Introduction nitrifying bacteria living in the gravel and in

A
Miscellaneous association with the plant roots play a criti-
Systems ............................ 11 quaponics, also known as the integra- cal role in nutrient cycling; without these
Organic Aquaculture .. 11 tion of hydroponics with aquaculture, microorganisms the whole system would
Evaluating an Aquaponic is gaining increased attention as a stop functioning.
Enterprise ........................ 12 bio-integrated food production system.
References ...................... 13
Greenhouse growers and farmers are taking
Aquaponics serves as a model of sus- note of aquaponics for several reasons:
Resources ........................ 13
tainable food production by following
Appendix......................... 19 • Hydroponic growers view fish-
Bibliography on
certain principles: manured irrigation water as a
Aquaponics .............. 19 source of organic fertilizer that
• The waste products of one biological
Dissertations............ 25 enables plants to grow well.
system serve as nutrients for a sec-
ond biological system. • Fish farmers view hydroponics as
• The integration of fish and plants a biofiltration method to facilitate
intensive recirculating aquaculture.
ATTRA—National Sustainable results in a polyculture that
Agriculture Information Service increases diversity and yields • Greenhouse growers view aquapon-
is managed by the National Cen-
ter for Appropriate Technology multiple products. ics as a way to introduce organic
(NCAT) and is funded under a hydroponic produce into the market-
grant from the United States • Water is re-used through biological place, since the only fertility input
Department of Agriculture’s
Rural Business-Cooperative Ser- filtration and recirculation. is fish feed and all of the nutrients
vice. Visit the NCAT Web site
(www.ncat.org/agri. • Loca l food product ion pro - pass through a biological process.
html) for more informa-
tion on our sustainable
vides access to healthy foods and • Food-producing greenhouses—
agriculture projects. ���� enhances the local economy. yielding two products from one
production unit—are naturally Hydroponics: Hydroponics is the produc-
appealing for niche marketing and tion of plants in a soilless medium whereby
green labeling. all of the nutrients supplied to the crop are
• Aquaponics can enable the produc- dissolved in water. Liquid hydroponic sys-
tems employ the nutrient film technique
tion of fresh vegetables and fish pro-
(NFT), floating rafts, and noncirculating
tein in arid regions and on water-
water culture. Aggregate hydroponic sys-
limited farms, since it is a water
tems employ inert, organic, and mixed
re-use system.
media contained in bag, trough, trench,
• Aquaponics is a working model of pipe, or bench setups. Aggregate media
sustainable food production wherein used in these systems include perlite, ver-
plant and animal agriculture are miculite, gravel, sand, expanded clay, peat,
integrated and recycling of nutrients and sawdust. Normally, hydroponic plants
and water filtration are linked. are fertigated (soluble fertilizers injected
• In addition to commercial appli- into irrigation water) on a periodical cycle
cation, aquaponics has become a to maintain moist roots and provide a con-
popular training aid on integrated stant supply of nutrients. These hydroponic
Related ATTRA nutrients are usually derived from synthetic
bio-systems with vocational agri-
Publications commercial fertilizers, such as calcium
culture programs and high school
nitrate, that are highly soluble in water.
Evaluating an biology classes.
Aquaculture
However, hydro-organics—based on solu-
Enterprise
The technology associated with aquapon- ble organic fertilizers such as fish hydrosyl-
ics is complex. It requires the ability to ate—is an emerging practice. Hydroponic
Agricultural Business simultaneously manage the production recipes are based on chemical formula-
Planning Templates
and marketing of two different agricultural tions that deliver precise concentrations of
and Resources
products. Until the 1980s, most attempts mineral elements. The controlled deliv-
at integrated hydroponics and aquacul- ery of nutrients, water, and environmen-
ture had limited success. However, inno- tal modifications under greenhouse condi-
vations since the 1980s have transformed tions is a major reason why hydroponics is
aquaponics technology into a viable sys- so successful.
tem of food production. Modern aquaponic Nutrients in Aquaculture Eff luent:
systems can be highly successful, but they Greenhouse growers normally control the
require intensive management and they have delivery of precise quantities of mineral
special considerations. elements to hydroponic plants. However,
This publication provides an introduction to in aquaponics, nutrients are delivered via
aquaponics, it profiles successful aquaponic aquacultural effluent. Fish effluent contains
greenhouses, and it provides extensive sufficient levels of ammonia, nitrate, nitrite,
resources. It does not attempt to describe phosphorus, potassium, and other second-
production methods in comprehensive tech- ary and micronutrients to produce hydro-
nical detail, but it does provide a summary ponic plants. Naturally, some plant species
are better adapted to this system than oth-
of key elements and considerations.
ers. The technical literature on aquaponics
provides greater detail on hydroponic nutri-
Aquaponics: Key Elements ent delivery; especially see papers cited in
and Considerations the Bibliography by James Rakocy, PhD.
A successful aquaponics enterprise requires Plants Adapted to Aquaponics: The
special training, skills, and management. selection of plant species adapted to hydro-
The following items point to key elements ponic culture in aquaponic greenhouses
and considerations to help prospective grow- is related to stocking density of fish tanks
ers evaluate the integration of hydroponics and subsequent nutrient concentration of
with aquaculture. aquacultural effluent. Lettuce, herbs, and
Page 2 ATTRA Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture
specialty greens (spinach, chives, basil, and products to forms more available to plants
watercress) have low to medium nutritional prior to delivery to hydroponic vegetable
requirements and are well adapted to aqua- beds. Other systems deliver fish effluent
ponic systems. Plants yielding fruit (toma- directly to gravel-cultured hydroponic veg-
toes, bell peppers, and cucumbers) have etable beds. The gravel functions as a “flu-
a higher nutritional demand and perform idized bed bioreactor,” removing dissolved
better in a heavily stocked, well established solids and providing habitat for nitrifying
aquaponic system. Greenhouse varieties bacteria involved in nutrient conversions.
of tomatoes are better adapted to low light, The design manuals and technical docu-
high humidity conditions in greenhouses mentation available in the Resources sec-
than field varieties. tion can help growers decide which system
is most appropriate.
Fish Species: Several warm-water and
cold-water fish species are adapted to recir- Component Ratio: Matching the volume
culating aquaculture systems, including of fish tank water to volume of hydroponic
tilapia, trout, perch, Arctic char, and bass. media is known as component ratio. Early
However, most commercial aquaponic sys- aquaponics systems were based on a ratio

T
tems in North America are based on tila- of 1:1, but 1:2 is now common and tank: ilapia is a
pia. Tilapia is a warm-water species that bed ratios as high as 1:4 are employed.
warm-water
grows well in a recirculating tank culture. The variation in range depends on type of
Furthermore, tilapia is tolerant of fluctuat- hydroponic system (gravel vs. raft), fish spe- species that
ing water conditions such as pH, tempera- cies, fish density, feeding rate, plant spe- grows well in a recir-
ture, oxygen, and dissolved solids. Tilapia cies, etc. For example, the Speraneo system culating tank cul-
produces a white-fleshed meat suitable to described below is designed for one cubic ture.
local and wholesale markets. The literature foot of water to two cubic feet of grow bed
on tilapia contains extensive technical doc- media (pea gravel). Further, when shallow
umentation and cultural procedures. Bar- bed systems only three inches in depth are
ramundi and Murray cod fish species are employed for the production of specialty
raised in recirculating aquaponic systems greens such as lettuce and basil, the square
in Australia. footage of grow space will increase four
times. Depending on the system design, the
Water Quality Characteristics: Fish
component ratio can favor greater outputs of
raised in recirculating tank culture require
either hydroponic produce or fish protein.
good water quality conditions. Water qual-
A “node” is a configuration that links one
ity testing kits from aquacultural sup-
fish tank to a certain number of hydroponic
ply companies are fundamental. Critical
beds. Thus, one greenhouse may contain
water quality parameters include dissolved
a multiple number of fish tanks and asso-
oxygen, carbon dioxide, ammonia, nitrate,
ciated growing beds, each arranged in a
nitrite, pH, chlorine, and other character-
separate node.
istics. The stocking density of fish, growth
rate of fish, feeding rate and volume, and
related environmental fluctuations can elicit Male tilapia fish. AARM
rapid changes in water quality; constant - Aquaculture & Aquatic
and vigilant water quality monitoring Resources Management
Asian Institute of
is essential. Technology, Thailand.
www.aqua.ait.ac.th/
Biofiltration and Suspended Solids:
modules/xcgal/
Aquaculture effluent contains nutrients, dis-
solved solids, and waste byproducts. Some
aquaponic systems are designed with inter- Aquaponic Systems
mediate filters and cartridges to collect sus- Profiles of several aquaponic greenhouses
pended solids in fish effluent, and to facili- are highlighted below as models of com-
tate conversion of ammonia and other waste mercially viable systems. Most of these
www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 3
operations are featured in magazine articles fish can bring premium prices,
and conference proceedings. Some oper- particularly during winter months
ations offer technical assistance through in urban areas.
short courses, design manuals, and on-site • Biofilters (sand beds with vegeta-
tours. Please refer to articles in the Sug- bles) that are alternately flooded
gested Reading list, the Resources sec- and drained with nutrient-laden fish
tion, and the Bibliography for in-depth tank water are called reciprocating
descriptions and technical details. biofilters.
• Reciprocating biofilters provide
The North Carolina State uniform distribution of nutrient-
University System laden water within the filtration
In the 1980’s Mark McMurtry (former medium during the flood cycle, and
graduate student) and the late Doug Sand- improved aeration from atmospheric
ers (professor) at North Carolina State Uni- exchange during each dewatering
versity developed an aqua-vegeculture sys- with benefits to both nitrifying bac-
tem based on tilapia fish tanks sunk below teria and plant roots.

W
ater con- the greenhouse floor. Effluent from the fish • Dissolved and suspended organic
sump- tanks was trickle-irrigated onto sand-cul- materia ls accumulate rapidly
tion in
tured hydroponic vegetable beds located at in aquaculture systems and must
ground level. The nutrients in the irrigation be removed for efficient fish
an integrated aqua- water fed tomato and cucumber crops, and production.
vegeculture system the sand beds and plant roots functioned as • Previous integrated fish-vegetable
amounts to 1 per- a biofilter. After draining from the beds, systems removed suspended solids
cent of that required the water recirculated back into the fish from the water by sedimentation in
in pond culture to tanks. The only fertility input to the system clarifiers prior to plant application.
was fish feed (32 percent protein). Removal of the solid wastes resulted
produce equivalent
tilapia yields. S ome f i nd i ng s a nd h i gh l i ght s of in insufficient residual nutrients for
McMurtry’s research: good plant growth; acceptable fruit
yields had previously only been
• Benefits of integrating aquaculture achieved with substantial supple-
and vegetable production are: mentation of plant nutrients.
1. conservation of water resources • Aquaeous nitrate concentrations in
and plant nutrients recirculating aquaculture can be
2. intensive production of fish adequately regulated when fish and
protein vegetable production are linked via
reciprocating biofilters.
3. reduced operating costs relative
to either system in isolation. • Tomatoes may have also assimi-
lated nitrogen in organic amino
• Water consumption in an integrated
acid forms. In 1950 Gosh and Bur-
aqua-vegeculture system amounts to
ris (Utilization of nitrogenous com-
1 percent of that required in pond
pounds by plants. Soil Science.
culture to produce equivalent tilapia Vol. 70: 187-203) found that toma-
yields. toes utilize alanine, glutamic acid,
• Such low-water-use symbiotic sys- histidine, and leucine as effectively
tems are applicable to the needs as inorganic nitrogen sources.
of arid or semi-arid regions where • Research to determine the optimum
fish and fresh vegetables are in high ratio of fish tank to biofilter volume
demand. on fish growth rate and water qual-
• Organic vine-ripened, pesticide- ity found that stocking density of
free produce and “fresh-daily” fish and plants can vary depending
Page 4 ATTRA Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture
on desired goal. The component tank-plus-hydroponic bed setup as a “node.”
ratios of the system may be manipu- This way, each node can operate indepen-
lated to favour fish or vegetable pro- dently of one another.
duction according to local market
Some aspects of the Speraneo system were
trends or dietary needs. Fish stock-
modeled after the aquaponics research at
ing density and feeding rates are
North Carolina State University, while oth-
adjusted to optimize water quality
ers are modified. The Speraneos employ
as influenced by plant growth rate.
hydroponic vegetable beds as “fluidized
See the Bibliography on Aquaponics bed reactors,” but they use pea-grade river
in the appendix for a of list articles that gravel instead of sand. Tilapia are raised
resulted from the North Carolina research. in fish tanks, but the tanks are more con-
Aqua-vegeculture research at NCSU has veniently located above ground and tilapia
been discontinued because the technology hybrids adapted to cooler water tempera-
had evolved to the point where it is ready tures are grown. The reciprocating water
for grower application. The Department of cycle, PVC piping, and return-flow water
Horticulture and the Cooperative Extension pumping methods were designed by Tom

T
Service at NCSU provide technical assis- and Paula to match their system. he Spera-
tance to aquaponic greenhouse growers in For years, Purina® fish chow at 40 percent neo system
North Carolina. protein was the primary fertility input, sup- was practi-
plemented with tank-cultured algae. Tila-
cal, productive, and
The Speraneo System pia in the Speraneo system are raised for
7 to 12 months, then harvested at one to wildly successful.
In the early 1990s, Tom and Paula Spe-
raneo—owners of S & S Aqua Farm near one-and-a-half pounds in size. Later, Tom
West Plains, Missouri—modified the North started adding small amounts of Planters
Carolina State method by raising tilapia in 2® rock dust on top of the gravel as a trace
a 500-gallon tank, with fish effluent linked element supplement.
to gravel-cultured hydroponic vegetable S & S Aqua Farm has grown fresh basil,
beds inside an attached solar greenhouse. tomatoes, cucumbers, mixed salad greens,
Later, they expanded to a full-size commer- and an assortment of vegetable, herb, and
cial greenhouse. The Speraneo system was ornamental bedding plants in the aqua-
practical, productive, and wildly successful. ponic greenhouse. In the early 1990’s,
It became the model for dozens of commer- Tom and Paula were raising and selling
cial aquaponic greenhouses and high school basil for $12 a pound to gourmet restau-
biology programs. rants about four hours away in St. Louis,
Sadly, Tom Speraneo died in February Missouri. Following passage of the North
2004. Tom was a true pioneer in aqua- American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA),
ponics, and he was unfailingly generous however, Mexican imports of basil resulted
and helpful to others. Paula Speraneo in a market crash to $4 per pound, so they
and her family continue to run the green- dropped the St. Louis market. S & S Aqua
house and actively participate in aqua- Farm now grows a diverse variety of vege-
ponics technology transfer. The following table and herbs, selling locally at a farmers
notes describe the Speraneo system and market combined with direct sales out of
available resources. their greenhouse.
The commercia l-sca le solar g reen- Tom once calculated the farm produces 45
house at S & S Aqua Farm is 50 feet by to 70 pounds of produce for every pound of
80 feet, oriented East-West to create a tilapia, an impressive yield. However, Paula
south-facing slope. It contains six 1,200 explained this figure takes into account the
gallon fish tanks. Each tank is linked to cummulative yields of multiple vegetable
six one-foot-deep hydroponic beds filled crops raised during the 7 to 12 month time
with river gravel. Tom referred to each period required to raise fish to harvest.
www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 5
Aquaponic greenhouse
at S&S Aqua Farms, West
Plains, Missouri. Photos
by Steve Diver, NCAT.

Page 6 ATTRA Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture


The component ratio favors vegetables over rearing tanks, and the aquacultural efflu-
fish yields in the Speraneo system. ent is linked to floating raft hydroponics.
Basil, lettuce, okra, and other crops have
Interest in the Speraneo system resulted
been raised successfully, with outstanding
in more than 10,000 visitors to the small
quality and yields.
farm in Missouri, including school children,
farmers, researchers, and government offi- The system components include: Four fish
cials. To handle requests for assistance, the rearing tanks at 7,800 liters each, clarifi-
Speraneos compiled a resource packet and ers, filter and degassing tanks, air diffus-
design manual with technical specifications ers, sump, base addition tank, pipes and
to establish an S & S Aqua Farm-style aqua- pumps, and six 400-square foot hydroponic
ponic system. The resource packet includes troughs totaling 2,400 sq. ft. The pH is
a 10-minute video and a list of supplies. monitored daily and maintained at 7.0 to
Response from growers to a practical design 7.5 by alternately adding calcium hydroxide
manual such as this was tremendous. The and potassium hydroxide to the base addi-
Speraneo system is now in use worldwide. tion tank, which buffers the aquatic system
The resource packet, which sells for $250, and supplements calcium and potassium

J
is available through: ions at the same time. The only other sup- ames Rakocy,
S & S Aqua Farm plemental nutrient required is iron, which PhD, and asso-
[Contact: Paula Speraneo] is added in a chelated form once every
ciates at the
8386 County Rd. 8820 three weeks.
University of the
West Plains, MO 65775 Tilapia are stocked at a rate of 77 fish per Virgin Islands (UVI)
417-256-5124 cubic meter for Nile tilapia, or 154 fish per
snsaquasys@townsqr.com developed a com-
cubic meter for red tilapia and cultured for
www.townsqr.com/snsaqua/index.html 24 weeks. The production schedule is stag- mercial-scale aqua-
gered so that one tank is harvested every ponic system that
Especially see:
six weeks. After harvest, the fish tank is has run continu-
Maturing Marvel immediately restocked. The fish are fed ously for more than
by Vern Modeland three times daily with a complete, floating five years.
The Growing Edge, May-June 1998 fish pellet at 32 percent protein. Projected
www.townsqr.com/snsaqua/0905ssaf.pdf annual fish production is 4.16 metric tons
The Genius of Simplicity for Nile tilapia and 4.78 metric tons for
by John Wesely Smith red tilapia.
The Growing Edge, Winter 1993-94 In one notable experiment the UVI
www.townsqr.com/snsaqua/0502ssaf.pdf researchers compared the yields of a leafy
Bioponics—Revolution in Food Grow- herb (basil) and a fruiting vegetable (okra)
ing: Missouri Aquafarmer Discovers grown in aquaponic vs field production sys-
Huge Benefits in Trace Elements tems. Basil and okra were raised in raft
by David Yarrow hydroponics. Yields of aquaponic basil
Remineralize the Earth, December 1997 were three times greater than field-grown,
www.championtrees.org/topsoil/ while yields of aquaponic okra were 18
bioponics.htm times greater than field-grown. Based on
a market price in the U.S. Virgin Islands
of $22 per kg for fresh basil with stems,
The University of the Virgin researchers calculated gross income poten-
Islands System tial. The aquaponic method would result in
James Rakocy, PhD, and associates at the $515 per cubic meter per year or $110,210
University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) devel- per system per year. This compares to field-
oped a commercial-scale aquaponic system produced basil at $172 per cubic meter
that has run continuously for more than five per year or $36,808 per year for the same
years. Nile and red tilapia are raised in fish production area. When fish sales
www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 7
are included, the aquaponic system ista6web/pdf/676.pdf
yields $134,245. (1) PowerPoint presentation; 49 pages
http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/ista/ista6/
Like McMurtry, researcher Rakocy sees
ista6web/presentation/p676.pdf
integrated water reuse systems as a viable
solution to sustainable food production in Aquaponics: Integrated Technology
developing countries and arid regions— for Fish and Vegetable Production in
such as the Caribbean Islands—where fresh Recirculating Systems
water is scarce. James Rakocy, University of the Virgin
To provide in-depth technical support, the Islands
UVI research team offers a week-long short USDA Ministerial Conference and Expo on
course on aquaponics each year at the UVI Agricultural Science and Technology
agricultural experiment station. The UVI PowerPoint presentation; 69 slides
short course is the premier educational http://ffas.usda.gov/icd/stconf/session2/
training program available to farmers in the session%202d/02-rakocy_ j-2D%202nd_
world. In addition to aquaponics, UVI spe- files/frame.htm
cializes in greenwater tank culture, a recir-

L
ike culating aquaculture system. The Freshwater Institute System
McMurtry, The Freshwater Institute in Shepherdstown,
Rakocy has published extensive research
researcher
reports and several Extension Service bul- West Virginia—a program of The Conser-
Rakocy sees inte- letins on recirculating aquaculture and vation Fund, an environmental non-profit
grated water reuse aquaponics. See the Bibliography in the organization—specializes in aquaculture
systems as a viable appendix for citations to articles and papers research and education. Fresh spring water
by Rackocy. is an abundant resource in the Appala-
solution to sustain-
chian region. However, protection of spring
able food produc- Contact: water quality as it relates to aquaculture
tion in develop- effluent is viewed as a vital component of
James Rakocy, PhD
ing countries and University of the Virgin Islands this technology.
arid regions—such Agriculture Experiment Station For years, the institute has specialized in
as the Caribbean RR 1, Box 10,000 cold-water recirculating aquaculture systems
Islands—where Kingshill, St. Croix raising trout and arctic char. The institute
fresh water is scarce.
U.S. Virgin Islands 00850-9781 helps Appalachian farmers set up two types
340-692-4020 of aquaculture systems: (a) an indoor, high-
jrakocy@uvi.edu tech recirculating tank method and (b) an
http://rps.uvi.edu/AES/Aquaculture/ outdoor, low-tech recirculating tank method.
aqua.html Treatment of aquaculture effluent prior to
http://rps.uvi.edu/AES/Aquaculture/ its return to the natural stream flow led
aquaponics.html to collaborative research with USDA-ARS
Especially see: scientists in Kearneysville, West Virginia,
on integrated hydroponic-fish culture
Update on Tilapia and Vegetable Pro- systems. Trials at the institute’s green-
duction in the UVI Aquaponic System houses showed that nitrogen, phosphorus,
James E. Rakocy, Donald S. Bailey, R.
and other nutrients in aquaculture efflu-
Charlie Shultz and Eric S. Thoman page
ent can be effectively removed by plants
676-690. In: New Dimensions on Farmed
grown in NFT hydroponics or constructed
Tilapia: Proceedings of the Sixth Inter-
wetland systems.
national Symposium on Tilapia in Aqua-
culture, Held September 12-16, 2004 in In the mid-1990s, the institute implemented
Manila, Philippines. an aquaponic demonstration program based
Proceedings paper: 15 pages on a Sperraneo-style gravel-cultured sys-
http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/ista/ista6/ tem. Tilapia is raised as a warm-water fish
Page 8 ATTRA Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture
species. Hydroponic crops include basil, Cabbage Hill Farm designed and continues
lettuce, and wetland plants. to operate a simple recirculating aquaponic
To provide technical assistance to farmers system. Cabbage Hill Farm promotes edu-
and high school biology teachers, the insti- cation on aquaponics and hosts greenhouse
tute published a series of publications on interns. Tours are available.
recirculating aquaculture and aquaponics. Tilapia fish and leaf lettuce are the main
The Freshwater Institute Natural Gas Pow- products of the Cabbage Hill Farm system,
ered Aquaponic System—Design Manual is a though basil and watercress are also grown
37-page manual published by the institute in smaller quantities. In addition to hydro-
in 1997. Included are diagrams and pho- ponics, water passes through a constructed
tos, details on greenhouse layout and aqua-
reed bed outside the greenhouse for addi-
ponic production, parts list with suppliers
tional nutrient removal.
and cost, estimated operating expense, and
further informational resources. Aquaponics—Preserving the Future is a video
Please note the institute no longer pro- film documenting the research and dem-
onstration of aquaponics at Cabbage Hill

C
vides direct technical assistance to farm-
ers on aquaponics. Instead, it has made Farms. The cost is $18. abbage Hill
the aquaponics design manual and related Farm pro-
Cabbage Hill Farm
publications on recirculating aquaculture 205 Crow Hill Road motes edu-
and aquaponics ava i lable a s free Mount Kisco, NY 10549 cation on aqua-
Web downloads. ponics and hosts
914-241-2658
The Freshwater Institute 914-241-8264 FAX greenhouse interns.
Shepherdstown, WV www.cabbagehillfarm.org
www.freshwaterinstitute.org
Selected Web Publications from The The New Alchemy Institute
Freshwater Institute The New Alchemy Institute in East Fal-
• Suggested Management Guidelines mouth, Massachusetts, conducted research
for An Integrated Recycle Aquacul- on integrated aquaculture systems during
ture – Hydroponic System the 1970s and 1980s. Although the insti-
tute closed in 1991, New Alchemy pub-
• The Freshwater Institute Natural
lications on greenhouse production and
Gas Powered Aquaponic System -
aquaponics provide historical insight to
Design Manual
the emerging bioshelter (ecosystem green-
• 880 Gallon Recycle Aquaculture houses) concept and are still a valuable
System Installation Guide resource for technical information. The
• Linking Hydroponics to a 880 Gal- Green Center, formed by a group of for-
lon Recycle Fish Rearing System mer New Alchemists, is again making these
• Operators Manual for 880 - Recycle publications available for sale. The Web
System site has a section featuring for-sale articles
on aquaculture and bioshelters (integrated
The Cabbage Hill Farm System systems). A selection of past articles is
Cabbage Hill Farm is a non-profit organi- available online.
zation located about 30 miles north of New Contact:
York City. The foundation is dedicated
to the preservation of rare breeds of farm The Green Center
animals, sustainable agriculture and 237 Hatchville Rd.
local food systems, and aquaponic East Falmouth, MA 02536
greenhouse production. www.vsb.cape.com/~nature/greencenter/
www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 9
Backyard Aquaponics
in Western Australia.
Photos by Joel Malcolm,
Backyard Aquaponics.
(with permission)
www.backyard
aquaponics.com

Page 10 ATTRA Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture


Especially see: In Australia, barramundi (Lates calcari-
fer) and Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii
An Integrated Fish Culture Hydro-
peelii) fish species have been adapted to
ponic Vegetable Production System recirculating aquaculture and aquaponics
by Ronald D. Zweig systems. The stocking densities for these
Aquaculture Magazine, May-June 1986. fish species is higher than tilapia, which
www.vsb.cape.com/~nature/greencenter/pdf/ in turn results in greater hydroponic sur-
zweig.pdf face under production. Several references
Summary of Fish Culture Techniques are provided on these fish species and
in Solar Aquatic Ponds aquaponic systems in the Resources and
by John Wolfe and Ron Zweig Bibliography sections.
Journal of The New Alchemists, 1977
www.vsb.cape.com/~nature/greencenter/pdf/ Organic Aquaculture
j6ponds.pdf Organic production of crops and livestock in
the United States is regulated by the Depart-
Miscellaneous Systems ment of Agriculture’s National Organic Pro-

O
gram, or NOP. The NOP is an organic
Instead of locating the fish and vegetable rganic pro-
certification and marketing program that
components in separate containers inside a duction
ensures foods and food products labeled
greenhouse, fish production can be located of crops
as “organic” meet universal standards and
in outdoor tanks or adjacent buildings. The
guidelines for organic production. Produc- and livestock in
effluent simply needs to be delivered to tion inputs used in organic production— the United States
hydroponic vegetable beds. such as feed and fertilizers—must be of nat- is regulated by the
In warm climates, hydroponic vegetable ural origin and free of synthetic materials.
Department of Agri-
beds may be located outside. As an exam- A farm plan, documentation of inputs and
production methods, and farm inspection culture’s National
ple, the Center for Regenerative Studies
at California State Polytechnic University- are required to obtain “certified organic” Organic Program, or
Pomona implemented an outdoor integrated status. This process allows farm products NOP.
bio-system that links: (a) a pond contain- to be labeled and sold as organic.
ing treated sewage wastewater stocked with Organic trout, tilapia, salmon and other fish
tilapia and carp; (b) water hyacinth—an species are raised in Europe, Australia, and
aquatic plant very efficient at sucking up Israel using production standards devel-
nutrients—covering 50 percent of the water oped by international organic certification
surface area; the plant biomass generated agencies. However, organic aquaculture
by water hyacinth is used as feedstock was not clearly defined in the NOP and the
for compost heaps; (c) nearby vegetable lack of organic aquaculture guidelines has
gardens irrigated with nutrient-laden hampered the growth of a domestic organic
pond water. aquaculture industry in the United States.
In addition to locating the fish and vegetable The ATTRA publication Evaluating an
components in separate containers, fish and Aquaculture Enterprise contains a section on
plants can be placed in the same container organic aquaculture. It states that accred-
to function as a polyculture. For exam- ited organic certifying agencies can cer-
ple, plants sit on top of floating polystyrene tify organic aquaculture operations, but the
panels with their roots hanging down into products are not allowed to carry the USDA
the water that fish swim around in. Mod- organic label.
els include the Rackocy system, solar-algae In fact, Quality Certification Services in
ponds (see literature by Zweig and Klein- Florida has certified about a dozen organic
holz), and the solar-aquatic ponds, or Liv- aquaculture operations in the U.S. and
ing Machines, made popular by John Todd abroad under a private label. AquaRanch,
at Ocean Arks International. an aquaponic greenhouse in Illinois, set
www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 11
a precedent for the aquaponics industry Vegetable Production and Integrated Pest
by obtaining organic certification for its Management for Greenhouse Crops.
hydroponic produce through Indiana Cer-
Building and equipping a commercial-sized
tified Organic. Meanwhile, AquaRanch
aquaponic greenhouse can cost $10,000
markets its greenhouse-raised tilapia as
to $30,000, depending on the system
“naturally grown.”
design and choice of components. Due to
To address the issue of organic aquacul- the highly technical nature of aquaponics
ture, the National Organic Standards Board and the expense associated with green-
(NOSB) established an Aquatic Animals house production, prospective growers are
Task Force in June 2000. In 2003, a sec- advised to thoroughly investigate production
ond group—The National Organic Aquacul- methods and market potential. A sequence
ture Working Group (NOAWG), comprised of considerations and learning opportunities
of 80 aquaculture professionals and related geared to evaluating an aquaponic green-
stakeholders—formed to provide further house enterprise are listed below.
guidance and clarification to the NOSB. 1) Aquaponic greenhouses yield two food
The 81-page white paper published by products. To evaluate greenhouse prof-

D
ue to the NOAWG in May 2005 provides historical itability, obtain typical yields and mar-
highly tech- notes and documents on this topic as well ket prices for hydroponic vegetables and
as the currently proposed recommenda- fish, and investigate local and regional
nical nature
tions to NOSB, accessible through the Aqua markets and related point of sales.
of aquaponics and KE Government Documents collection at Retail sales directly out of your green-
the expense asso- http://govdocs.aquake.org/cgi/content/ house or roadside stand might be an
ciated with green- abstract/2005/801/8010170. ideal situation, but this will depend on
house production, To provide guidance to the large volume of your location.
prospective growers documents, reports, and organic production 2) Aquaponics is one method of hydropon-
are advised to standards surrounding the issue of organic ics, and hydroponics is one method of
thoroughly inves- aquaculture, the National Agricultural greenhouse production. Consider lower-
tigate production Library published an 80-page bibliography, cost and simpler alternatives. Bag cul-
Organic Aquaculture, through the Alterna- ture of greenhouse vegetables—raising
methods and
tive Farming Systems Information Center. plants in polyethylene grow bags filled
market potential.
Organic Aquaculture with compost-based potting mixes—is a
AFSIC Notes #5 simple and productive way to get started
Stephanie Boehmer, Mary Gold, Stephanie in greenhouse vegetable production.
Hauser, Bill Thomas, and Ann Young You may quickly find that your biggest
Alternative Farming Systems Informa- challenge is weekly marketing of fresh
tion Center, National Agricultural Library, produce rather than successful produc-
USDA tion of vegetables. This includes labor
to harvest vegetables, grading and pack-
www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/AFSIC_pubs/
ing with brand name labels, post-harvest
afnotes5.htm
handling methods to maintain superior
quality, and quick delivery of perishable
Evaluating an Aquaponic produce to established markets.
Enterprise 3) Read technical and popular literature
For general information and supplies asso- on recirculating aquaculture and aqua-
ciated with greenhouse vegetable produc- ponics to become familiar with produc-
tion, see the ATTRA resource list Green- tion methods, yields, and market prices
house Vegetable Production and Greenhouse for fresh fish and hydroponic vege-
& Hydroponic Vegetable Production Resources tables. The Web Resources listed
on the Internet. Complementary ATTRA below provide quick access to reading
publications include Organic Greenhouse material, diagrams and images, and
Page 12 ATTRA Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture
related details. The Bibliography in the Appen- saying, “Get the engine running first, then adjust the
dix provides access to in-depth research and carburetor,” can be aptly applied to aquaponic
technical data. start-up greenhouses.
4) Visit an aquaponic greenhouse to gain first-hand
observations. Take lots of pictures to document References
the system components and how they relate to 1. Rakocy, James E., Donald S. Bailey, R. Charlie
one another. Keep in mind that aquaponic growers Shultz and Eric S. Thoman. 2004. Update
are busy people with a considerable investment in on tilapia and vegetable production in the
time and resources to establish their businesses. UVI aquaponic system. p. 676-690. In: New
5) Attend a short course. There are three prominent Dimensions on Farmed Tilapia: Proceedings
aquaponic short courses in North America, offered of the Sixth International Symposium on Tila-
by University of the Virgin Islands, (2) Aquacul- pia in Aquaculture, Held September 12-16,
ture International (3) in North Carolina, and Grow 2004 in Manila, Philippines.
Power (4) in Wisconsin. Cornell University co-hosts
2. University of the Virgin Islands—Short Course on
a recirculating aquaculture short course in associa-
Aquaponics
tion with The Freshwater Institute. (5)
http://rps.uvi.edu/AES/Aquaculture/
6) Obtain one or two aquaponic training manuals to UVIShortCourse.html
acquire detailed technical specifications. The Cab-
bage Hill video ($18) can provide a quick overview 3. Aquaculture International—Short Course on
of an aquaponic system. The Desktop Aquapon- Aquaponics
ics Booklet ($15) and the Introduction to Aquapon- www.aquacultureinternational.org
ics DVD ($50) from Nelson/Pade Multimedia are 4. Grow Power—Short Course on Aquaponics
another good starting point. When you are ready www.growingpower.org
to explore a commercial system, the design man- 5. Cornell University—Short Course on Recirculating
uals from S&S Aqua Farm ($250) in Missouri
Aquaculture
and Joel Malcolm’s Backyard Aquaponics ($95)
www.aben.cornell.edu/extension/aquaculture/
in Western Australia contain in-depth techni-
shortcourse.htm
cal specifications, illustrations, and parts lists
(6–7). The Web Resources section lists additional 6. S&S Aqua Farm—Design Manual
training manuals and technical documentation. www.townsqr.com/snsaqua/
7) Hire an agricultural consultant to acquire expert index.html
advice and consultation, and to shorten the time 7. Joel Malcolm—Backyard Aquaponics
and risk involved getting started. A few consultants Design Manual
with expertise in aquaponics are listed in the Agri- Western Australia
culture Consultants section below. jmalcolm@iinet.net.au
8) Participate on the Aquaponics E-mail Discussion www.backyardaquaponics.com
Group. E-mail discussion lists have become the
modern town square. This is where practitioners, Resources
scientists, specialists, and business people all share
resources, supplies, and production methods. The E-mail Discussion Lists for
e-mail list is hosted by Paula Speraneo with S&S Aquaponics - Hydroponics - Aquaculture
Aqua Farms. The archives are publicly accessible,
and serve as a treasure trove of technical informa- Aquaponic E-Mail List
tion and farmer-to-farmer exchange. See below. Paula Speraneo of S & S Aqua Farm in
9) Lastly, avoid the “inventor’s urge” to re-invent the Missouri hosts the Aquaponics E-Mail List on the
wheel. Successful aquaponic greenhouse opera- Internet. The Aquaponics List is a prominent source
tors have already figured out the system compo- of technology transfer and resource sharing on all
nents and methods of production, based on years of aspects of aquaponics: hydroponics, aquaculture, fish
research and experience. Pick one of the existing species, supplies, practical solutions, and resources.
models and duplicate it insofar as possible. The old The e-mail archives are a key source of information.
www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 13
To subscribe, send an email request to: Phone: +61 (02) 9905 9933
aquaponics-subscribe@townsqr.com Fax: +61 (02) 9905 9030
info@hydroponics.com.au
To view Web e-mail archives, go to:
www.hydroponics.com.au
Aquaponics List—2002 Onwards
http://mid-south.net/pipermail/ Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses is a bi-
aquaponics_mid-south.net/ monthly magazine dedicated to soilless culture and
greenhouse production. Articles profile soilless
Aquaponics List—Before 2002 culture and greenhouse enterprises from around the
http://www.i55mall.com/aquaponics/ world. It also reports on new products, research and
Hydroponics and Aquaculture development, and industry news. Back issues are a
E-Mail List valuable resource. The award-winning magazine is
now online as an exact digital copy of the print
A number of e-mail lists on hydroponics and aqua- edition, using DjVu technology. Subscription: $60
culture are scattered among the Internet hosting sites Australian/year.
like YahooGroups.com, MSN.com, and
Topica.com. Aquaculture Magazine
P.O. Box 1409
Arden, NC 28704
Trade Magazines 828-687-0011
Aquaponics Journal 828-681-0601 FAX
Nelson/Pade Multimedia 877-687-0011 Toll-Free
P.O. Box 1848 comments@aquaculturemag.com
Mariposa, CA 95338 www.aquaculturemag.com
209-742-6869
info@aquaponics.com Aquaculture Magazine is the trade magazine for
www.aquaponicsjournal.com aquaculture and fish culture. It publishes a regular
issue every two months, an Annual Products Guide
Aquaponics Journal is the quarterly journal from
Nelson/Pade Multimedia. It has become a promi- each summer and The Buyers Guide and Industry
nent source for articles, reports, news, and supplies Directory each December. Subscription: $19/year;
for the aquaponics industry. Back issues are a val- back issues $5.
ueable resource, available in print or as e-files. Print Grower Talks
Subscription, $39/year; E-Subscription, $29/year. www.growertalks.com
The Growing Edge Magazine Greenhouse Management & Production
New Moon Publishing www.greenbeam.com
P.O. Box 1027
Corvallis, OR 97339-1027 Greenhouse Grower
800-888-6785 www.greenhousegrower.com
541-757-8477 Greenhouse Product News
541-757-0028 Fax www.gpnmag.com
www.growingedge.com
World Aquaculture
The Growing Edge is a bi-monthly trade magazine www.was.org/main/
on high-tech gardening systems like hydroponics, summary.asp?page=magazine
bioponics, aquaponics, and ecologically based pest
management. Past articles are an important source Aquafeed.com
of technical information on aquaponics, bioponics, http://aquafeed.com
and organic hydroponics. Subscription: $27/year;
Austasia Aquaculture
back issues $5 each.
www.austasiaaquaculture.com.au
Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses
P.O. Box 225
Narrabeen, NSW 2101 Australia
Page 14 ATTRA Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture
Aquaponic Books and Videos Gordon Creaser
5431 S. Bracken Court
Nelson/Pade Multimedia, publisher of Aquaponics
Winter Park, FL 32792
Journal, offers booklets, DVDs, videos, and educational
407-671-5075
curricula on aquaponics, hydroponics, and aquaculture.
407-671-5628 FAX
See their Web page for details. Contact: GordonCreaser06@aol.com
Nelson/Pade Multimedia www.gordoncreaser.com
P.O. Box 1848 Mark R. McMurtry
Mariposa, CA 95338 PMB 267
209-742-6869 1627 W. Main St.
info@aquaponics.com Bozeman, MT 59715-4011
www.aquaponics.com 406-580-0382
mcmurtry@3riversdbs.net
Agricultural Consultants for Nelson/Pade Multimedia
Integrated Hydroponics and [Contact: John Pade and Rebecca Nelson]
Aquaculture P.O. Box 1848
AquaRanch Industries, LLC Mariposa, CA 95338
[Contact: Myles Harston] 209-742-6869
404 D. East Lincoln St. info@aquaponics.com
P.O. Box 658 www.aquaponics.com
Flanagan, IL 61740 S&S Aqua Farms
309-208-5230 [Contact: Paula Speraneo]
815-796-2978 8386 County Rd. 8820
309-923-7479 FAX West Plains, MO 65775
info@aquaranch.com 417-256-5124
www.aquaranch.com snsaquasys@townsqr.com
www.townsqr.com/snsaqua/index.html
Fisheries Technology Associates, Inc.
[Contact: Bill Manci]
506 Wabash Street Aquaculture Associations
Fort Collins, CO 80522-3245 Aquacultural Engineering Society
970-225-0150 www.aesweb.org
info@ftai.com American Tilapia Association
www.ftai.com http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/ata.html
Future Aqua Farms Limited The Alternative Aquaculture
[Contact: Carla MacQuarrie] Association
RR2, Site 1a, Box 26 www.altaqua.com
Head of Chezzetcook, NS
Directory of Aquaculture Associations
Canada B0J 1N0
Aquaculture Network Information Center (AquaNIC)
902-827-3682
http://aquanic.org/publicat/govagen/nal/associat.htm
Carla1@ns.sympatico.ca
www.futureaquafarms.com
Aquaculture Directories and Resource
Global Aquatics USA, Inc. Collections
505 Aldino Stepney Rd.
Aberdeen, MD 21001 USA National Agricultural Library—Alternative
443-243-8840 Farming Systems Information Center
410-734-7473 FAX The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
aquatic@iximd.com (AFSIC) at the National Agricultural Library,
www.growfish.com a program of USDA-ARS, provides extensive
www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 15
aquaculture resource listings. Organic Aquaculture Recirculating Aquaculture Systems—Index
(AFSIC Notes No. 5), published in January 2005,
Aquaculture Network Information Center
is an important new publication from AFSIC that
(AquaNIC)
addresses the potential of organic aquacultural
http://aquanic.org/beginer/systems/
products; it also contains a section on
recycle.htm
recirculating aquaculture.
Regional Aquaculture Center Publications—
Aquaculture Resources
Index
www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/afsaqua.htm
Aquaculture Network Information Center (AquaNIC)
• Organic Aquaculture http://aquanic.org/publicat/usda_rac/
• Aquaculture-Related Internet Sites and Documents fact.htm

• Directory of Aquaculture Related Associations and • Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
Trade Organizations • North Central Regional Aquaculture Center
• Directory of State Aquaculture Coordinators and • Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center
Contacts
• Southern Regional Aquaculture Center
• Automated Searches on General Aquaculture
Topics • Western Regional Aquaculture Center

AFSIC, NAL, USDA-ARS Aqua KE


10301 Baltimore Ave., Room 132 http://govdocs.aquake.org
Beltsville, MD 20705-2351 Aqua Ke, or Aquaculture Knowledge Environment,
301-504-6559 is a database and documents library featuring full-
301-504-6409 Fax text access to aquaculture articles and government
afsic@nal.usda.gov reports. The library is organized by themes for brows-
www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/index.html ing of aquacultue topics. The database provides
The Aquaculture Center—Educational Resources keyword, author, and title search capacity for hun-
Virginia Tech University dreds of scientific journals via a portal to Stanford
www.fw.vt.edu/fisheries/Aquaculture_ University’s HighWire Press database.
Center/educational_resources.htm Environmentally Friendly Aquaculture Digital
Virginia Tech offers aquaculture eduational cur- Library
ricula, fact sheets, and PowerPoint presentations, National Sea Grant Library
including a section on recirculating aquaculture. http://nsgd.gso.uri.edu/aquadig.html
Proceedings of the Recirculating Aquaculture Con- The National Sea Grant Library (NSGL) contains a
ference held in Roanoke, VA, in 1996, 1998, 2000, complete collection of Sea Grant funded work. The
2002, and 2004 are available in CD-ROM, and NSGL maintains a bibliographical database con-
hard copies (except for 1996); inquire with Ms. Terry taining over 36,000 records that can be searched by
Rakestraw (aqua@vt.edu) in the Food Science & author-keyword or browsed by topic. Selected items
Technology Department. include proceedings from recirculating aquaculture
Aquaculture Network Information Center conferences and related documents. The Environ-
(AquaNIC) mentally Friendly Aquaculture Digital Library is
http://aquanic.org/index.htm a topic-oriented portal to NSGL, organized by
subject category.
AquaNIC is the gateway to the world’s electronic
resources for aquaculture information. Especially see
the extensive resource listing on recirculating aqua-
culture systems, and the complete listing of publica-
tions from the Regional Aquaculture Centers.

Page 16 ATTRA Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture


Aquaponic Resources on the Web A 10-page reprint article, originally published in
Journal of Agricultural Mechanization (1997). It
Selected Publications from Southern describes a low cost (less than $600) recirculating
Regional Aquaculture Center (SRAC) aquaculture-hydroponic system suitable for use in
laboratory settings, including a materials list with
Recirculating Aquaculture Tank Production Sys- approximate cost of materials to set up a 350-gallon
tems: Integrating Fish and Plant Culture aquaponic unit.
SRAC Publication No. 454
http://srac.tamu.edu/tmppdfs/ The Freshwater Institute Publications Index
6807933-454fs.pdf Shepherdstown, West Virginia
www.conservationfund.org/conservation/freshwater/
Recirculating Aquaculture Tank index.html
Production Systems: An Overview of Critical
Considerations • Suggested Management Guidelines for An Inte-
SRAC Publication No. 451 grated Recycle Aquaculture – Hydroponic System
http://srac.tamu.edu/tmppdfs/ • The Freshwater Institute Natural Gas Powered
6807933-451fs.pdf Aquaponic System - Design Manual
Recirculating Aquaculture Tank Production Sys- • 880 Gallon Recycle Aquaculture System
tems: Management of Recirculating Systems Installation Guide
SRAC Publication No. 452
http://srac.tamu.edu/tmppdfs/ • Linking Hydroponics to a 880 Gallon Recycle Fish
Rearing System
6807933-452fs.pdf
• Operators Manual for 880 - Recycle System
Recirculating Aquaculture Tank
Production Systems: Component Options Aquaculture on Cat Beach
SRAC Publication No. 453 HTML
http://srac.tamu.edu/tmppdfs/ www.itv.se/rainbow/english/index.html
6807933-453fs.pdf DOC
www.itv.se/rainbow/bilder/education_
Tank Culture of Tilapia
short.doc
SRAC Publication No. 282
http://srac.tamu.edu/tmppdfs/ A 10-page booklet with directions on establishing a
6807933-282fs.pdf small aquaponic system, including a parts list. The
HTML version contains additional photos that illus-
Selected Aquaponic Training trate system components and greenhouse production.
Materials and Design Manuals OneSeedling.com
S&S Aqua Farm www.oneseedling.com
www.townsqr.com/snsaqua/index.html Paul and Bonnie Range, homesteaders in Texas,
Design manual with specifications offer two aquaponic manuals: Small Unit Aqua-
ponics Manual and Simplified Aquaponics Manual
Backyard Aquaponics for $20 each.
www.backyardaquaponics.com
Barrel-Ponic (aka Aquaponics in a Barrel)
Design manual with specifications By Travis W. Hughey
A Prototype Recirculating Aquaculture- www.aces.edu/dept/fisheries/education/documents/
Hydroponic System barrel-ponics.pdf
By Donald Johnson and George Wardlow
University of Arkansas, Department of Agricultural General Aquaponic Resources on the Web
and Extension Education The Essence of Aquaponics—Index to
AgriScience Project Aquaponics Mail Group Topics
www.uark.edu/depts/aeedhp/agscience/aquart2.pdf www.itv.se/rainbow/mailgroup/index.html
www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 17
The Essence of Aquaponics Web site of Pekka Nygard Integrated Systems of Agriculture and
and Stefan Goës in Sweden provides an index to Aquaculture
key topics (aquaponics, fish, fish feed, plants, plant Aquaculture in the Classroom, University of Arizona
nutrition, water, biofilters, greenhouses, mainte- http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/extension/Classroom/
nance, economics, links, literature) posted on the Aquaponics.htm
Aquaponics Mail Group (see e-mail resources above).
Aquaponics Library Aquaculture on the Web
http://aquaponicslibrary.20megsfree.com/Index.htm Greenhouse Tilapia Production in
Louisiana
Enhancing Student Interests in the Agricultural
Louisiana State University
Sciences through Aquaponics
www.lsuagcenter.com/en/crops_livestock/aquaculture/
by G.W. Wardlow and D.M. Johnson
tilapia/Greenhouse+Tilapia+
University of Arkansas, Department of Agricultural
Production+in+Louisiana.htm
and Extension Education
www.uark.edu/depts/aeedhp/agscience/aquart.pdf Recirculating Aquaculture Systems -- Teacher’s
Resource Web Site
Aquaponics - The Theory Behind
Auburn University
Integration
www.aces.edu/dept/fisheries/education/
by Wilson Lennard
recirculatingaquaculture.php
Gippsland Aquaculture Industry Network
www.growfish.com.au/ The Urban Aquaculture Manual
content.asp?ContentId=1060 by Jonathan Woods
www.webofcreation.org/BuildingGrounds/aqua/
ADM - Turning Waste into Growth
TOC.html
Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses, May-June
2000 Regional Aquaculture Centers sponsored
www.hydroponics.com.au/back_issues/issue52.html
by the Extension Service
Tailormade Aquaponics
Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center
Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses, November-
(NRAC)
December 1998
www.nrac.umd.edu
www.hydroponics.com.au/back_issues/issue43.html
North Central Regional Aquaculture Center
Aquaponics Simplified
(NCRAC)
Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses,
www.ncrac.org
July-August 2005
www.hydroponics.com.au/back_issues/issue83.html Southern Regional Aquaculture Center (SRAC)
www.msstate.edu/dept/srac/
Young’s Greenhouses, Texas
Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses, Western Regional Aquaculture Center (WRAC)
January-February 2000 www.fish.washington.edu/wrac/
www.hydroponics.com.au/back_issues/issue50.html
Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture
Aquaponics Proves Profitable in Australia www.ctsa.org
Aquaponics Journal, First Quarter, 2002.
Aquaculture Network Information Center
www.aquaponicsjournal.com/
www.aquanic.org
articleaustralia.htm
Fisheries Publications at Texas A&M
Developing an Aquaponic System
http://agpublications.tamu.edu/pubs/efish/
Aquaponics Journal, July-August 1999
www.bagelhole.org/?page=250 Southern Regional Aquaculture Center Publica-
tions at Texas A&M
Vertical Aquaponics
http://srac.tamu.edu
by Tom Osher
www.bagelhole.org/?page=288
Page 18 ATTRA Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture
Scientific Journals on Aquaculture Wastewater- Fed Aquaculture Systems: Status
Aquaculture (Elsevier journal) and Prospects
www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00448486 by Peter Edwards
Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources Management Pro-
Aquacultural Engineering (Elsevier journal) gram, Asian Institute of Technology
www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01448609 www.aqua-information.ait.ac.th/aarmpage/Documents/
Aquaculture International (Springer journal) Readings3New.pdf
www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100128 World Fish Center
Aquaculture Research (Blackwell journal) www.worldfishcenter.org
www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/are Ecological Engineering (Elsevier journal)
www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09258574
Integrated Bio-Systems on the Web Ecological engineering has been defined as the
Internet Conference on Integrated Bio-Systems design of ecosystems for the mutual benefit of
in Zero Emissions Applications humans and nature. Specific topics covered in the
www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/ journal include: ecotechnology; synthetic ecology;
Demonstrating Ecological Engineering for bioengineering; sustainable agroecology; habitat
Wastewater Treatment in a Nordic Climate reconstruction; restoration ecology; ecosystem
using Aquaculture Principles in a Green- conservation; ecosystem rehabilitation; stream
house Mesocosm and river restoration; wetland restoration and
by Bjorn Guterstam and Lasse Forsberg construction; reclamation ecology; non-renewable
Internet Conference on Integrated Bio-Systems in resource conservation.
Zero Emissions Applications Wastewater-fed Aquaculture in Temperate
www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/bjorn/paper.htm Climates - Nutrient recycling with Daphnia
and Fish
The design of living technologies for waste
4th International Conference on Ecological Engineer-
treatment
ing for Wastewater Treatment, June 1999, Aas Norway
by John Todd and Beth Josephson
www.hortikultur.ch/pub/files/15.pdf
Internet Conference on Integrated Bio-Systems in
Zero Emissions Applications
www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/todd/paper.htm Appendix
Internet Conference on Material Flow Analysis Bibliography on Aquaponics
of Integrated Bio-Systems The following bibliography contains selected literature
www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/ic-mfa/ citations on aquaponics and integrated hydroponics-
Study of Agriculture-Aquaculture Ecological aquaculture published in trade magazines and sci-
Economic System With Nutrient Flow Analy- entific journals. Collectively, these articles provide
sis (Surface Aquaponics) an instant library on aquaponics. They are provided
by Song Xiangfu, et al. here as an important time saver to those seeking tech-
Internet Conference on Material Flow Analysis of nical and popular information on this topic. Univer-
Integrated Bio-Systems sity libraries carry scientific journals (e.g., Aquacul-
www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/ic-mfa/song/ ture International, Aquacultural Engineering) and trade
paperv2.html magazines (Aquaculture, Greenhouse Management
and Production), and they offer on-site photocoping
Phytoremediation of Aquaculture Effluents services to library visitors. Inter-Library Loan is a
by Paul Adler service available through most local libraries, and can
Internet Conference on Material Flow Analysis of provide photocopies of articles for a small fee.
Integrated Bio-Systems
Please note The Growing Edge, Aquaponics Journal,
www.ias.unu.edu/proceedings/icibs/ic-mfa/adler/
and Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses are the most
index.html
relevant trade magazines for aquaponics, recirculating
aquaculture, hydroponics, and related topics,
www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 19
including farmer profiles. However, they are relatively The Speraneo System
new and less widely distributed in university libraries.
Durham, Deni. 1992. Low-tech polycultural yields,
For a complete list of articles and back issues
high profit. Small Farm Today. June.
available through these trade magazines, see the
p. 23–25.
publisher’s Web sites:
Modeland, Vern. 1993. Aquafarming on a budget.
The Growing Edge
BackHome. Summer. p. 28–31.
www.growingedge.com/magazine/compindex.html
Modeland, Vern. 1998. The Ozarks’ S&S aqua farm.
Aquaponics Journal
www.aquaponicsjournal.com/BackIssues.htm The Ozarks Mountaineer. June-July.
p. 42–44.
Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses
www.hydroponics.com.au/back_issues.html Modeland, Vern. 1998. Maturing marvel: S&S Aqua
Farm. The Growing Edge. Vol. 9, No. 5 (May-
June). p. 35–38.
North Carolina State University
McMurtry, M.R., et al. 1990. Sand culture of vegeta- Rich, Doug. 1998. Closed system opens markets.
bles using recirculating aquacultural effluents. The High Plains Journal. Vol. 115, No. 34.
Applied Agricultural Research. Vol. 5, No. 4. August 24. p. 1–A.
(Fall). p. 280–284. Smith, John Wesley. 1993. The genius of simplicity.
McMurtry, Mark Richard. 1992. Integrated Aqua- The Growing Edge. Vol. 5, No. 2. (Fall).
culture-Olericulture System as Influenced by p. 40–44, 70.
Component Ratio. PhD. Dissertation, North Thompson, Nina. 1993. Fish + plants = food. Mis-
Carolina State University. UMI, Ann Harbor, souri Conservationist. August. p. 28.
MI. 78 p.
Yarrow, David. 1998. A food production revolution:
McMurtry, M.R., D.C. Sanders, and P.V. Nelson. Missouri aquafarmers discover huge benefits
1993. Mineral nutrient concentration and in trace elements integrated with hydroponics.
uptake by tomato irrigated with recirculating Remineralize the Earth. Spring-Fall, No. 12-
aquaculture water as influenced by quantity of 13. p. 38–43.
fish waste products supplied. Journal of Plant
Nutrition. Vol. 16, No. 3. p. 407–409.
The Rakocy System and Related Papers
McMurtry, M.R., et al. 1993. Yield of tomato irri- Rakocy, J., R.C. Shultz, D.S. Bailey, E.S. and
gated with recirculating aquacultural water. Thoman. 2004. Aquaponic production of
Journal of Production Agriculture. Vol. 6, No. tilapia and basil: comparing a batch and stag-
3. (July-September). p. 428–432. gered cropping system. Acta Horticulturae.
McMurtry, M.R., D.C. Sanders, and R.G. Hodson. Vol. 648. p. 63–69.
1997. Effects of biofilter/culture tank volume www.actahort.org/books/648/648_8.htm
ratios on productivity of a recirculating fish/ Rakocy, James E., Donald S. Bailey, R. Charlie Shultz
vegetable co-culture system. Journal and Eric S. Thoman. 2004. Update on tila-
of Applied Aquaculture. Vol. 7, No. 4. pia and vegetable production in the UVI aqua-
p. 33–51. ponic system. p. 676–690. In: New Dimen-
McMurtry, M.R., D.C. Sanders, J.D. Cure, R.G. Hod- sions on Farmed Tilapia: Proceedings of the
son, B.C. Haning, and P.C.S. Amand. 1997. Sixth International Symposium on Tilapia in
Efficiency of water use of an integrated fish/ Aquaculture, Manila, Philippines.
vegetable co-culture system. Journal of the http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/ista/ista6/
World Aquaculture Society. Vol. 28, No. 4. ista6web/pdf/676.pdf
p. 420–428.
Rakocy, James E., Donald S. Bailey, Eric. S. Thoman
Sanders, Doug, and Mark McMurtry. 1988. Fish and R. Charlie Shultz. 2004. Intensive tank
increase greenhouse profits. American Veg- culture of tilapia with a suspended, bacterial-
etable Grower. February. p. 32–33. based, treatment process. p. 584–596. In:
Page 20 ATTRA Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture
New Dimensions on Farmed Tilapia: Proceed- Rakocy, J.E., J.A. Hargreaves, and D.S. Bailey.
ings of the Sixth International Symposium on 1993. Nutrient accumulation in a
Tilapia in Aquaculture. recirculating aquaculture system integrated
http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua/ista/ista6/ with hydroponic vegetable gardening, p. 148–
ista6web/pdf/584.pdf 158. In: J.K. Wang (ed.) Techniques for Mod-
ern Aquaculture, Proceedings Aquacultural
Rakocy, J.E., D.S. Bailey, J.M. Martin and R.C.
Engineering Conference. American Society
Shultz. 2003. Tilapia production systems for
for Agricultural Engineers, St. Joseph, MI.
the Lesser Antilles and other resource-limited,
tropical areas. In: Report of the Subregional Rakocy, James E., Thomas M. Losordo, and Michael
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Report No. 704 Southern Region Aquaculture Center, Missis-
www.fao.org/DOCREP/006/Y4921E/ sippi State University. 6 p.
y4921e00.HTM
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plant production with recirculating system prospects. Virgin Islands Perspectives, Univer-
aquaculture: Some factors to consider. p. sity of the Virgin Islands Agricultural Experi-
392–394. In: Proceedings of Second Interna- ment Station, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
tional Conference on Recirculating Aquacul- Vol. 1, No. 1. (Winter/Spring 1987).
ture, Held July 16-19, Roanoke, VA. p. 19–23.
http://nsgl.gso.uri.edu/searchguide.html
Rakocy, James E. 1984. A recirculating system for
Rackocy, James. 1999. The status of aquaponics, tilapia culture and vegetable hydroponics in
Part I. Aquaculture Magazine. July-August. the Caribbean. Presented at the Auburn Fish-
p. 83–88. eries and Aquaculture Symposium, September
20–22, 1984, Auburn University, Alabama.
Rackocy, James. 1999. The status of aquaponics,
30 p.
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October. p. 64–70. Rakocy, James E. 1989. Vegetable hydroponics and
fish culture: A productive interface. World
Rakocy, J.E., D.S. Bailey, K.A. Shultz and W.M. Cole.
Aquaculture. September. p. 42–47.
1997. Evaluation of a commercial-scale aqua-
ponic unit for the production of tilapia and Bailey, D.S., J.E. Rakocy, W.M. Cole and K.A. Shultz.
lettuce. p. 357–372. In: Tilapia Aquacul- 1997. Economic analysis of a commercial-
ture: Proceedings from the Fourth Interna- scale aquaponic system for the production of
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Orlando, FL. Aquaculture: Proceedings from the Fourth
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8659(1978)107<92:UOHTMQ>2.0.CO;2 Nutrient cycle and sludge production during
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p. 19–27.
effect of water velocity and nutrient concen-
tration on plant nutrient uptake; A literature Rivera, Gregg, and Bruce Isaacs. 1990. Final
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from Aquaculture Expo VIII and Aquaculture Submitted to: New York State Department of
in the Mid-Atlantic Conference. Agriculture & Markets, Agricultural Research
and Development Grants Program. 15 p.
McClintic, Dennis. 1994. Double-duty greenhouse.
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Tomato Production Using Fish Pond Water. Seawright, D.E. 1993. A method for investigating
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Wang (ed.) Techniques for Modern Aquacul- aquaponic systems are listed below. The thesis by
ture. American Society for Agricultural Engi- Carla MacQuarrie contains a detailed description of
neers, St. Joseph, MI. an aquaponics facility, including parts and pumping
equipment, for example. There are numerous other
Sneed, K. 1975. Fish farming and hydroponics.
titles in hydroponics, aquaculture, recirculating
Aqua-culture and the Fish Farmer. Vol. 2, No.
aquaculture, tilapia, tank culture, and wastewater
1. p. 11, 18–20.
effluent for those who wish to explore further. Contact:
Spencer, Robert. 1990. Wastewater recycling for fish
UMI ProQuest Digital Dissertations
farmers. BioCycle. April. p. 73–74, 76.
300 North Zeeb Road
Sutton, R.J. and W.M. Lewis. 1982. Further obser- P.O. Box 1346
vations on a fish production system that incor- Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1346
porates hydroponically grown plants. Progres- 734-761-4700
sive Fish Culturist. Vol. 44, No. 1. p. 55–59. 800-521-0600
info@il.proquest.com
Thomas, Luther. 1992. Going for gold. The
wwwlib.umi.com/dissertations/
Growing Edge. Vol. 3, No. 4. (Summer).
p. 23–29, 40. Faucette, Raymond Frank, Jr. 1997. Evaluation of a
Recirculating Aquaculture-Hydroponics Sys-
University of California-Los Angeles. 1975. Waste
tem. PhD Dissertation, Oklahoma State Uni-
nutrient recycling using hydroponic and aqua-
versity. UMI, Ann Harbor, MI. 69 p.
cultural methods. Institute of Evolutionary
and Environmental Biology, Environmental Head, William. 1986. An Assessment of a Closed
Science and Engineering, University of Califor- Greenhouse Aquaculture and Hydroponic Sys-
nia-Los Angeles. 177 p. tem (Tilapia Diets). PhD. Dissertation, Oregon
State University. UMI, Ann Harbor, MI.
Watten, Barnaby J., and Robert L. Busch. 1984.
127 p.
Tropical production of tilapia (Sarotherodon
aurea) and tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) Khan, Masud A. 1996. Utilization of Aquaculture
in a small-scale recirculating water system. Effluent to Supplement Water and Nutrient Use
Aquaculture. Vol. 41, No. 3. (October). of Turfgrasses and Native Plants (Ephedra viri-
p. 271–283. dis, Artemesia tridentata, Atriplex canescens,
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ Ceratoides lanata, Chrysothamnus nauseosus,
0044-8486(84)90290-4 and Cercocarpus montanus). PhD Dissertation,
New Mexico State University. UMI, Ann Har-
Youth, Howard. 1992. Farming in a fish tank. World
bor, MI. 218 p.
Watch. May-June. p. 5–7.
King, Chad Eric. 2005. Integrated Agriculture and
Dissertations Aquaculture for Sustainable Food Production.
PhD Dissertation, The University of Arizona.
Dissertations (PhD) and theses (Masters degree) on
UMI, Ann Harbor, MI. 87 p.
integrated aquaculture-hydroponic systems can pro-
vide critical access to research data and literature MacQuarrie, Carla Dawn. 2002. Computational
reviews. For example, the Speraneos in Missouri and Model of an Integrated Aquaculture-
Gordon Watkins in Arkansas used Mark McMurtry’s Hydroponic System. MS Thesis, Daltech-
dissertation from North Carolina State University as Dalhousie University. UMI, Ann Harbor, MI.
a guide in the design of their systems. The UMI Pro- 127 p.
Quest Digital Dissertations database (see below) pro-
McMurtry, Mark Richard. 1992. Integrated Aqua-
vides public Web access to titles and abstracts, via
culture-Olericulture System as Influenced by
keyword and author search. Print copies are avail-
Component Ratio. PhD Dissertation, North
able for sale, ranging from $38 to $47 for unbound
Carolina State University. UMI, Ann Harbor,
or softcover editions. Land-grant university librar-
MI. 78 p.
ies—through fee-based subscription—provide full-
text access to recent documents via the ProQuest Dis- Rakocy, James Edward. 1980. Evaluation of a
sertations and Theses database. Selected titles on Closed Recirculating System for Tilapia
www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 25
Culture. PhD Disseration, Auburn University.
UMI, Ann Harbor, MI. 129 p.
Seawright, Damon Eurgene. 1995. Integrated Aqua-
culture-Hydroponic Systems: Nutrient Dynam-
ics and Designer Diet Development. PhD
Dissertation, University of Mexico. UMI, Ann
Harbor, MI. 274 p.
Singh, Sahdev. 1996. A Computer Simulation Model
for Wastewater Management in an Integrated
(Fish Production-Hydroponics) System. PhD
Dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
State University. UMI, Ann Harbor, MI.
150 p.

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Notes

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Aquaponics—Integration of Hydroponics with
Aquaculture
By Steve Diver
NCAT Agriculture Specialist
©2006 NCAT
Paul Driscoll, Editor
Cynthia Arnold, Production
This publication is available on the Web at:
www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/aquaponic.html
and
www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/aquaponic.pdf
IP163
Slot 54
Version 090606

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