Aquaponics is a sustainable method of raising both fish and vegetables. This type of indoor farming, grows substantially more food with less water, land and labor than traditional agriculture. Aquaponics is a resilient farming system that provides growers, consumers, and the environment with better health and nutrition properties.
This form of agriculture combines raising fish in tanks (recirculating aquaculture) with soilless plant culture (hydroponics). In aquaponics, the nutrient-rich water from raising fish provides a natural fertilizer for the plants and the plants help to purify the water for the fish. Aquaponics can be used to sustainably raise fresh fish and vegetables for a family, to feed a community or to generate profit in a commercial farming venture, year ‘round, in any climate.
In combining both hydroponic and aquaculture systems, aquaponics capitalizes on their benefits, and eliminates the drawbacks of each. Aquaponics is a great example of year ’round, indoor farming. It can be done anywhere, providing fresh local food that is free of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. It is safe, easy and fresh!
Aquaponics is a completely natural process that mimics lakes, ponds, rivers and waterways on Earth. The only input into an aquaponics system is fish food. The fish eat the food and excrete waste, which is converted by beneficial bacteria to nutrients that the plants use to grow. In consuming these nutrients, the plants help to purify the water. Without the use of herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals in the aquaponics system, the fish and plants are healthier and safer to grow and eat with this method.
Benefits of Aquaponics
Low Carbon Footprint
Uses Less Water
Produces More Food
The Learning Laboratory helps students get the real hands-on experience to understand how the Aquaponics system works together with the STEM concepts learned in the classroom. Class experiments and testing are done daily to maintain water quality, temperatures, fish health, and planting new produce vegetation in the system for Research and Development.
During the initial pilot program at Brookstown Middle, there were some mishaps when transporting the Mississippi grown catfish fingerlings. Resulting in a call to the LSU Veterinary School where Dr. John Hawke and Dr. Kris Darnall responded with a diagnosis and recommended treatment for the recovery of two surviving catfish, students named Jack (short of Jacqueline) and Jill, since both were female fish.
With the doctors’ help, the students decided to create a fish-oriented intensive care unit, or FICU, where the sick catfish would be nursed back to health on an antibiotic regimen provided by the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. The Veterinary School has since committed to provide all the catfish fingerlings going forward for the Aquaponics program.