Types of Aquaponics Designs
It is important to think about the intended use of the system. Whether it’s for personal, educational, or commercial use, your intentions will ultimately determine what kind of system is needed. You must also think about:
- Space/Scale: How much space do you have? Do you need to maximize it? How much do you intend to produce, for whom, and what purpose?
- Type of crop: You have to match the system to the crops. Temperature ranges, nutrient demands, growth rate, weight, and root zones are all important factors in design selection.
- Environment: Annual, seasonal, and daily temperatures fluctuations will directly affect productivity of the different life forms and ultimately the design of your system. Will you want to absorb or exchange heat? Is it inside or outside?
- Technical capabilities: Each design has characteristics that lend themselves to different levels of expertise. Who will be using and managing it, and how much do you need to know about food production and aquaculture techniques?
Nutrient Film Technique
- Continuous supply of water, oxygen, and nutrients
- Space efficient
- Easy to access
- Lower labor inputs
- Susceptible to clogging
- Higher possibility of water temperature fluctuation
- Not suitable for larger or flowering plants
- Grows larger crops well
- Good biofiltration
- Simple and inexpensive to implement
- Media acts as filtration
- Great for smaller scale system
- Tough to scale for large production
- Requires more cleaning
- Higher maintenance and labor
High Tech High Media Arts
Jonas Salk Elementary
Patrick Henry Highschool
Deep Water Culture (DWC)
- Commercial scalability
- Good for warmer tropical climates
- Not as susceptible to large temperature and nutrient fluctuations
- Filtration demands
- Labor demand and cost
- Space efficiency
Aquaponics Innovation Center
Twin Oaks High School
Aquaponics Innovation Center
ECOLIFE Aquaponics Programs
Our ECO-Cycle aquaponics kit engages students in food system innovation and science at a young age. Our community garden aquaponics system provides agricultural workforce development while supplying healthy sustainable produce. Lastly, our Aquaponics Innovation Center serves as a demonstration and research facility for advancing and spreading aquaponics best practices.
- Classroom: ECOLIFE has donated 658 aquaponics kits to classrooms across the nation, educating over 120,000 students. The K-12 NGSS curriculum engages students with their food systems, exposing the challenges of industrialized food systems building the educational infrastructure for a sustainable future.
- Community: We have built 10 community garden systems in schools and community centers across San Diego, spreading knowledge about sustainable agriculture and supplying produce.
- Farm: The Aquaponics Innovation Center is ECOLIFE’s 3,000 gallon small scale commercial demonstration and research system. In 8 months we have donated 1,138 lbs of produce and hosted 1910 hours of job training.