Here at aquaponics, we have been getting ready for an exciting new upgrade. We are building a new nursery and brood-stock system so that we can separate our breeding program from our aquaponics system. To give a little background, our aquaponics system is a fully integrated system: the nursery and the rest of our aquaponics system are connected into one single recirculating system. We use tilapia in our system because they are a resilient species of fish. One of our main goals for our aquaponics system is to increase our food security and by rearing the tilapia throughout all of the developmental stages instead of importing the fish, we further reduce our dependency on outside resources. Reducing our dependence on outside resources takes us one step closer to our ultimate goal of using our aquaponics system to increase the food security on campus.
Below see how our new nursery system will be set up:
The new design will separate the brood-stock and nursery from the main aquaponics system. The design incorporates another bio-media bed which is an essential part of an aquaponics system. The ammonia that the fish release in their feces is toxic to them, the bio-media beds filter out the ammonia as the water flows through the tanks. They contain two different types of important bacteria, one that converts the ammonia from fish waste to nitrite and a second that converts the nitrite to nitrate. Nitrates are important nutrients for the lettuce growth. Our research class has been helping every step of the way as we build the frames for our new system, complete calculations for the flow rates through the system and will continue to help us as the process continues. Their research project is focused on learning about maintaining an aquaponics system and analyzing how the new separate systems compare to the fully integrated system we currently have in place.
We are separating our main system for a variety of reasons. While tilapia is a resilient type of fish but one of the most important variables for more efficient growth rates and breeding is the temperature of the water, specifically in the breeding and nursery stages. The ideal temperature for the nursery and breeding system is 28℃ and in our current system the temperature is highly variable. Essentially the system will allow us to have more control over the breeding and nursery system which is important for the lifecycle of our fish, the more tilapia we are able to include in our system. As our tilapia output increases we are able to move towards our goal of increasing food security on campus.