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UVI Aquaponic System Agricultural Experiment Station, St.

Croix, USVI

AQUAPONICS
Rearing tanks

System Design
Base addition Degassing tank

An integrated agriculture system combining Aquaculture the production of aquatic animals and Hydro ponics the production of vegetables without soil In a recirculating system
Sump uFish

provide most nutrients required by plants use nutrients to produce a valuable by -product uHydroponic component serves as a biofilter uIntegrated systems require less water quality monitoring than individual systems uHydroponic plants extend water use and reduce discharge to the environment uCost savings increase profit potential
uPlants

Clarifier Filter tanks uFour uTwo

Hydroponic tanks

Principles
uOptimum

feeding rate, 60-100 g/m 2 plant area/day prevents nutrient accumulation or deficiency uSlow removal of solids increases mineralization uFrequency of filter tank cleaning controls nitrate levels through denitrification

Raft Hydroponics
uAdvantages:

fish rearing tanks, 7.8 m 3 each cylindro-conical clarifiers, 3.8 m 3 each uFour filter tanks, 0.7 m 3 each uOne degassing tank, 0.7 m 3 uSix hydroponic tanks, 11.3 m 3 each uOne sump, 0.6 m 3 uOne base addition tank, 0.2 m 3 uTwo air blowers, 1 hp and 1.5 hp uOne water pump, 1/2 hp uTotal plant growing area, 214 m 2 uTotal water volume, 110 m 3 uLand area - 0.05 ha

no tank size limitation, no root clogging, maximum exposure of roots to water, sheets shade and cool water, plants not affected when water pump stops, easy to harvest uDisadvantages: roots vulnerable to damage by zooplankton, snails and other organisms (use tetras to control zooplankton and red ear sunfish to control snails)

Wastewater Treatment
Fish feces are settled out of the water and collected 3 times each day from clarifier or removed by filter tanks, which are cleaned once or twice per week. Mineralization of remaining solids makes nutrients available to plants. Degassing sparges detrimental gasses produced in anearobic zones. Plant roots purify the water by taking up nitrogen, excreted by the fish, along with 12 other essential nutrients that are available in their waste.

Tilapia Production
Estimated production: 5 mt annually 540 kg every 6 weeks Stocking rate: Niles, 77 fish/m 3 , 600/tank reared to 900 g each Reds, 154 fish/m 3 , 1,200/tank reared to 450 g each

Vegetable Production
Abundant nitrogen in the system water enhances production of leafy green vegetables like lettuce and collards. Managing nitrate levels enhances production of fruiting crops like tomatoes and cucumbers.

Future Research
Vegetable varieties resistance to Pythium seasonal/heat resistance high value crops medicinal herbs ethnic/cultural crops flowers yield data (economic potential) spacing culture techniques pest control Nutrient management all vegetable feed net tank cleaning frequency supplementation foliar application water application nutrient conservation Solids removal techniques Ratio studies (feed to plant growing area)

For more information contact Dr. James Rakocy, Aquaculture Program Leader. Phone: 340-692-4020. Email: jrakocy@uvi.edu