Thanks to the new PHS greenhouse addition, our agriculture possibilities have been greatly expanded. Mr. Jaeckels Biotechnical Engineering classes has been hard at work for the past couple weeks in a collaborative effort to create an aquaponics system.
Aquaponics is the combination of both hydroponics (the process of growing plants without the usage of soil) and aquaculture (the contained growth and farming of aquatic organisms). By constructing a system that allows these two processes to co-operate, they will in turn support each other and allow a cycle to be formed.
Our system works like this: identical layers constructed of PVC piping are layered at equal intervals in an open PVC shell, and are covered in a layer of bird netting and snow fence. These layers provide living space for our freshwater prawns (the organism of choice for the project), and catch excess food that has settled from the surface of the water. These layered “shelves” were then laid in our tanks and covered in water.
This project provides knowledge of Aquaponics to the students, and is a great learning experience through the hands on work we have done constructing our completed tanks. It allowed for innovation and creativity by the students.
*Eventually, there will be a single layer of mold-resistant foam covering the surface of each tank, and will be fit with holes equivalent to the diameter of our plants.