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The Aquaponics Partnership Program - Anacostia Aquaponic · PDF file2. The Aquaponics Partnership Program Aquaponics offers a highly efficient way to locally produce fresh vegetables,

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  • The Aquaponics Partnership Program

    Working Together to Expand Aquaponics Food Production in the Washington, DC Area

    1. What is Aquaponics?2. Growing with Aquaponics3. Partnership Program Details 4. Examples of Aquaponics Systems5. Examples of Anacostia Aquaponics work

    Contents of this Document

    The Program: In order to improve our craft, we are designing, installing, and helping to operate aquaponic systems for only the cost of materials. All you need is a passion for urban agriculture; a commitment to maintain your system properly; and a willingness to let us feature your system for educational purposes.

  • 1. What is Aquaponics?

    Aquaponics is a method of growing fish and plants in a recirculating, soil-less system that mimics the natural biological cycle.

    The Aquaponics Cycle Fish eat and

    produce waste

    Bacteria convert fish waste into a form plants can absorb

    Plants filter the water for the fish

    Aquaponics is a closed-loop system, so the fish and plants are given the minimum amount they need to grow and there is no waste emitted.

    Aquaponics uses LESS THAN 10% of the water compared to soil agriculture. Aquaponics does not require soil and arable land, so it can be practiced

    locally in dense urban areas like Washington, DC. Because plants are grown in water, they can be grown more densely than in

    soil and even in vertical applications. Edible fish can be used for an efficient and local source of animal protein. Aquaponics does not use antibiotics, pesticides, or synthetic fertilizers.

    Aquaponics Efficiency

    A New Way ForwardOur modern food system is plagued by intense water usage; fertilizer runoff; carbon emissions; pesticide use; antibiotic use; and soil erosion and compaction. Furthermore, population estimates indicate that Washington, DC will have hundreds of thousands more mouths to feed in the decades to come! We simply cannot produce enough food for everybody using our current production methods without irreparably damaging our environment, our health, and even our economy. Aquaponics offers a promising way forward to provide local fresh vegetables, fruits, and fish with minimal environmental impact.

  • 2. Growing With Aquaponics

    The Fish Fish should be fed daily, but they can go

    a week without food if needed. Fish should be observed to make sure

    they are healthy. If they are gulping for air or sluggish it could be a clue to poor conditions that need to be addressed.

    Enough fish need to be stocked in the system to adequately feed the plants.

    Tilapia, Catfish, Blue Gill, Goldfish, Trout, Koi, and other fish have all been grown successfully with aquaponics.

    The Plants There are three methods to grow plants in an aquaponics system, each with its

    own characteristics. Deep Water Raft Culture Plants are grown on floating rafts with roots

    submerged in the water below. Nutrient Film Technique - plants are grown in long narrow channels with a

    thin film of water running inside. Media Beds Plants are grown in containers with media such as gravel or

    clay pellets to support the roots. The media bed is periodically flooded and drained with water from the fish tanks.

    No matter which system is used, an aquaponics grower will need to propagate seedlings and keep enough plants in the system to ensure the water is filtered for the fish.

    Just like in soil, plants need to be observed periodically for proper growth. Leafy greens and herbs are the easiest crops to grow in aquaponics. Fruiting crops

    like tomatoes and cucumbers also grow well but require a system with more fish for adequate nutrition.

    The Water Water is the lifeblood of an aquaponics system. Water quality should be checked

    periodically, and supplements may be required to adjust the pH up or down, or to increase lacking nutrients.

    A constant electricity source is required to power the water pump that recirculates the system and the aerator pumps that feed oxygen into the water.

  • 2. The Aquaponics Partnership Program

    Aquaponics offers a highly efficient way to locally produce fresh vegetables, fruits, and fish in an urban environment. Aquaponics is flourishing across the country and the world, and it can flourish here in Washington, DC too. But we need your help!

    Here are the details of the Aquaponics Partnership Program: If you have an interest in participating, contact and we will find a time to discuss options for your aquaponics system, and the pros and cons of each.

    If you decide to participate, we will design and construct the system for you at the cost of materials alone.

    Because the industry is relatively new, there is minimal standardization. We may ask for your help, your patience, or your ideas along the way.

    Once the system is constructed, we will work together to manage the system to optimize plant and fish growth. We will periodically check with you to make sure the system is running well and to monitor your production. You must commit to taking the necessary steps to maintain your system properly.

    This will be a two-way street, we will learn from each-other to advance aquaponics production in Washington, DC. We ask that you be willing to let us feature your system for educational and promotional purposes.

  • 3. Examples of Aquaponics Systems

    Aquaponics systems can be constructed in an infinite number of ways. They can include multiple fish tanks of different types; multiple plant troughs of different types; various types of filters; and be plumbed in different configurations. And there are pros and cons of each different arrangement. These are just a few examples:

    Indoor stacked system with a grow light

    Barrelponics using recycled food-grade blue barrels

    Chop and Flip system witha recycled food-grade IBC Tote

    Bright Agrotechs vertical system


    Systems employing multiple used IBC totes and barrels designed by the United Nations Nutrient Film Technique


    tsonhas bucket / garden,

    Deep Water Culture trough system

    Small aquarium system

    These are just a few examples of possible aquaponics systems. If you are interested in any of these systems, or others, please contact us.

  • 5. Examples of Anacostia Aquaponics Work

    An indoor living room system with a 30 gallon fish tank and 2 square feet of grow space

    A 600 gallon system at JO Wilson Elementary School in Northeast DC

    A 2 square foot grow bed cycled with a 50 gallon backyard fish pond in Anacostia

    Anacostia Aquaponics has 3 systems operational as of October, 2016.

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