Compare and contract aquaponic systems: Can reclaimed material be used to create an economically viable food production system

Theme 1. Environmental protection
Session Name 1.1 Agricultural structures in Arctic regions: present functions, limitations and solutions for future sustainable connectivity in Arctic regions
Datetime Sep 07, 2018 01:55 PM - 02:15 PM (UTC +3)
Presentation Type Oral
Author(s) Nate Bickford (University of Nebraska Kearney, USA), Cody Willmore (University of Nebraska Kearney, USA), Marc Albrecht (University of Nebraska Kearney, USA)
Abstract text

Aquaponics is the combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. It is a bio-integrated system that links recirculating aquaculture with hydroponic vegetable, flower, and/or herb production. Here, we used recycled or reclaimed material to build the aquaponics systems and tested whether spent barley could be effectively used to feed the fish. The container used to house both the fish and substrate was a discarded 250-gallon (946 L) chemical container.

The first part of this project was to experimentally test the effectiveness of using reclaimed material including fish food to create an aquaponics system. Our experiment showed that when comparing reclaimed food to commercial food the two treatments there was a significant difference in NH4+, DO, fish length, fish weight, and fruit biomass.

The second part of the project was to compare a reclaimed system to a purchased system. This comparison was both in production and economics. The reclaimed system was less expensive to start and the quickest to get financially solvent. However, over a 20-year period the purchased system could bring in a higher income. There were also some differences in production.

The take home from this study is that you can build and maintain an aquaponics system from recycled material. But there will be challenges. The results indicate that the commercially produced fish feed and system aid in a higher yield. This is an especially important modern agricultural tool for Arctic countries.

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