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Aquaponics

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Title: Aquaponics


1
Aquaponics
  • Dr. Todd P. West
  • Davis College of Agriculture
  • Dr. Karen Buzby
  • College of Engineering
  • and Mineral Resources

2
Aquaponics What is it?
  • Aquaponics is a bio-integrated system that links
    recirculating aquaculture with hydroponic
    vegetable, flower, and/or herb production.
  • Recent advances by researchers and growers alike
    have turned aquaponics into a working model of
    sustainable food production.

3
Aquaponics Sustainable Food Production Model
  • The waste products of one biological system serve
    as nutrients for a second biological system.
  • The integration of fish and plants results in a
    polyculture that increases diversity and yields
    multiple products.
  • Water can be re-used through biological
    filtration and recirculation.
  • Local food production provides access to healthy
    foods and enhances the local economy.

4
Aquaponics Why is it important?
  • Potential to increase farm income through
    production diversification.
  • Production of organic hydroponic produce or
    ornamental plants into the marketplace.
  • Potential to assist aquaculture producers in
    managing fish effluent.

5
Aquaponics Goals
  • To evaluate both plant production and nutrient
    removal capabilities of prospective crops.
  • To determine if plants can be grown for
    value-added production.
  • Need to identify operational conditions that
    maximize plant production, nutrient removal and
    marketability.

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7
Plant Growing Box Design
  • Each box is constructed of plywood lined with
    EPDM.
  • 3 channels per box.
  • Each channel is 15 wide x 8 long. Depth is 6.
  • Influent to each channel is independently
    controlled by a ball valve.

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16
Greenhouse Experiments
  • Fish Effluent Velocity (High Low) vs. Plant
    Density (High and Low)
  • Evaluation of cool and warm season food crops
    during winter, spring and summer
  • Cool season crops were watercress and lettuce
  • Warm season crops were basil and dill
  • All were grown at low velocity and high density
    to maximize nutrient uptake

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19
Fish Culture System Comparison
Flow-through System
  • Collaborative experiment with UMD DSU using
    ornamental plants.

WVU
Recirculating Fish Culture
Bait Fish Pond
UMD
DSU
20
  • Iris and hibiscus grown at WVU and DSU, Spartina
    and hibiscus grown at UMD.
  • Higher nutrient concentrations and warmer
    temperatures in the recirculating system promoted
    higher growth.

Flow-through System
Bait Fish Pond
Recirculating Fish Culture
21
  • Plants grown outside at UMD and DSU suffered
    extensive insect damage rendering them unsalable
    for ornamental sales.
  • Plants grown at the WVU Aquaponics Facility
    suffered no insect damage increasing salability.

22
Plant Growth 6 week period WVU Aquaponic
Facility
23
  • Growth comparison of iris and hibiscus grown in
    the WVU Greenhouse and the WVU Aquaponics
    Facility
  • Greenhouse grown plants are much larger but
    required daily watering and received fertilizer.
  • Aquaponics grown plants received no inputs.

Aquaculture Facility
Greenhouse
24
Current Work
  • Extensive germination trials of ornamentals and
    food crops

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26
Lessons Learned
  • Crops may be grown all year.
  • Unlike conventional greenhouse production
    systems, aquaponics requires little to no
    maintenance.
  • Light limitation within the fish building reduced
    production.

27
  • Yield was better at higher water velocities.
  • Yield was unaffected by plant density at the
    densities we used.
  • Warm season crops such as tomato, basil or
    cucumber are not productive within this system.

28
Aquaponics Inputs
  • Protected growing facility
  • Plant source (typically seed or small plants from
    other growers)
  • Water source from fish production
  • Limited labor and plant production training

29
Aquaponics Outcomes
  • Potential to increase farm income through
    production diversification.
  • Local food production providing access to healthy
    foods to enhance local economy.
  • Potential to assist aquaculture producers in
    managing fish effluent.

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