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Aquaponic Farming

Course CodeBHT319
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Study Aquaponics to learn more about optimum food production

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Produce fish, vegetables and fruit with minimal water wastage. Learn more with this great course.
In an ideal aquaponic system, the aquatic animals are fed and grow causing nutrient levels to increase in the water. The nutrient rich water is then transferred to the roots of plants. The plants will extract nutrients, lowering the nutrient levels in the water. The water can then be returned to the aquatic animals, and the cycle can start again.
 
 
ACS Student Comment: I am loving the course! I have learned so much and can't stop reading the material. My tutors give me great feedback. I believe this has been one of the most rewarding and valuable learning experiences. Not only do I look forward to doing my classes everyday I’m also learning great information for something I am truly passionate about. I believe the layout of each lesson is very helpful and I am surprised how much information I learn from just reading a few pages. I graduated from an online national high school and was so happy when I found this school. I am very satisfied with this type of education. The school has been so helpful and nice! Chloe Blum, UK - Aquaponics course

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • What is aquaponics
    • History of aquaponics
    • Why aquaponics
    • World food
    • Urban farming
    • Cost benefit analysis
    • Is aquaponics organic
    • The aquaponics system
    • Can it be used with salt water
    • Types of Systems:constant flow closed reciprocating, open, deep water, floating raft
    • Outdoor or indoor systems
    • Barrel ponics, wick, NFT, etc
    • Advantages and disadvantages of aquaponics
    • Scale of operation
  2. Aquaponic System Options
    • Recirculating systems
    • Non recirculating (open loop systems or micropnics)
    • Components of commercial fish rearing systems
    • Aquaponic sub systems
    • Deep water culture (DWC)
    • Intermittent flow (Ebb and flow)
    • Nutrient film technique (NFT)
    • Gravel bed systems
    • Barrel ponics systems
    • Equipment: commercial and backyard
    • System components
    • Tanks
    • Aeration devices
    • Solids removal: clarifiers, solids tanks, filters,screens
    • Biofilters
    • Sump and pH adjustment tank
    • Water heaters and chillers
    • Greenhouse houses and fish rearingfacilities
    • Alarm and back up systems
    • Hydroponic grow beds and types of media
    • Maintenance, water monitoring and adjustment
    • Organic vs non organic
    • Combining worms with growing beds
  3. The Science of Animal and Plant Growth
    • Plant growth factors
    • How plants grow
    • Plant structure: roots, stems, leaves, reproductive parts
    • Biochemistry and aquaponics
    • Biochemical processes in a cell
    • Photosynthesis
    • Mechanisms of nutrient uptake
    • Plant nutrients
    • Role of pH in plant growth
    • Animal science
    • Bony fish (Osteichthyes) and their biology
    • Crustaceans: crabs, lobsters, shrimp and prawns
  4. Nutrition and Controlling Growth
    • Water soluble chemical compounds: ions
    • Less water soluble chemicals
    • Complex chemical compounds
    • Understanding nutrient formulae
    • Hydroponic nutrient formulae
    • Atoms, elements and componds
    • How are chemical names written
    • What does a plant need
    • Calculating formulae
    • Mixing nutrients
    • Case study
    • Symptoms of nutrient deficiency
    • Nutrients in aquaponics
    • Variables in aquaponics: conductivity, ph control, oxygenation, beneficial bacteria in aquaponics
  5. Selecting and Managing Animal Production
    • Choosing what to farm
    • Climate
    • Water
    • Finance
    • Scale of operation
    • Other resources
    • Market
    • Availability of animals
    • Risk considerations
    • Overview of main species to grow: in Asia, South Africa, Australia, U.K., Europe, North America, South America
    • Trout: Rainbow, Brown
    • Bass
    • Tilapia
    • Catfish
    • Barramundi
    • Carp
    • Mullet
    • Sunfish
    • Eels
    • Marron
    • Other species: ornamental fish, crustaceans and molluscs, lgae
    • Sourcing fish and crustaceans
    • Fish food
    • Which type of fish food to use: pellets, live food, daphnia, brine shrimp, tubifex worms, earthworms, oil meals
    • Other food
    • Fish food production: beef heartlegumes, seafood and vegetable mix,
    • Earthworms: setting up, adding worms
    • Compost: understanding, making, conditions for compost production
    • Fish health
    • Common pests and diseasesin aquaponics
    • Penaeid shrimp diseases
    • Fish diseases
    • Salinity and system health
  6. Setting up an Aquaculture System
    • Choosing the right sized system
    • Selecting the right components
    • Setting up the system
    • Getting started
    • Threats to the system
    • Using a greenhouse
    • Greenhouses: passive systems, active systems
    • Active solaqr heating
    • Greenhouse management
    • Controlling the growing environment
    • Light control
    • Air temperature control
    • Root temperature control
    • Relative humidity and vapour pressure deficit
    • Controlling humidity
    • Carbon dioxide and oxygen
    • Computer controls
  7. Aquaponic Plant Culture
    • Selecting media for aquaponic plant culture
    • Types of media Growing seedlings
    • Seed sources
    • Sowing seed
    • Seed propagating media
    • Sowing seed direct
    • Vegetables in aquaponics
    • Herbs
    • Successional planting
    • Flow charting a cropControlling plant growth: stopping, spacing, disbudding, trimming, training
    • Pollination
    • Pest, disease and other crop problems: overview, identification
    • Pest, disease and disorder control in aquaponics
  8. Applications and Opportunities
    • Aquaponics for profit
    • Economic thresholds
    • Harvest and post harvest management of fish
    • Harvest and post harvest management of vegetables and herbs
    • Harvested crop physiology: fruit ripening, respiration, when to harvesy
    • How to prepare salad mixes from harvested vegetables: chlorine levels in water for washing produce, preventing bruising and rots, packaging
    • CA and MA storage
    • Chilling damage and storage temperature
    • Harvesting and grading vegetables
    • Fruit grading systems
    • Marketing
  9. Managing an Aquaponics Venture -including a PBL
    • Case study: University of the Virgin Islands system
    • Case study: North Carolina State University system
    • Case study: Speraneo system
    • What is an aquaponic trial?
    • Running an aquaponic trial
    • Research methodology
    • PBL Project: Create and present a plan with specific strategies for improving the crop production of an aquaponics system in terms of amount and quality of produce harvested based on a clear understanding of the system’s requirements and its location (greenhouse or open air; temperate, subtropical, or tropical climate).
  10. Troubleshooting
    • Water supply problems
    • pH problems
    • Algae growth
    • Dirty, cloudy water
    • Water imbalances; high levels of ammonia or nitrite
    • Imbalances in gases
    • Fish troubleshooting
    • Controlling salinity and nutrients without damaging fish
    • Plant troubleshooting
    • Diseases
    • Pythium in aquaponics
    • Pests
    • Environmental physiological disorders
    • Nutrition problems in aquaponics
    • Deficiency symptoms
    • Correcting nutrient problems in aquaponics
    • Fruit set management: pollinationfloral initiation, fruit growth
    • Flower and fruit development problems
    • Fish eating plant roots
    • Power losses
    • Clogging with sediment
    • Fish to plant imbalances
    • Pathogenic contamination issues

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


THE AQUAPONICS SYSTEM


Aquaponic systems can vary greatly in size. They can be as small as an indoor fish tank or a large scale commercial aquaponics system. The type and size of aquaponics system you choose will affect the components and features that you will need to run it. Generally, the main components of any aquaponics system are:
  • Grow beds
  • Fish Tank
  • Fingerlings Tank
  • Water Pump
  • Air Pump

To ensure that a system is functioning at an optimal rate the water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, salinity, ammonia and nitrite need to be within appropriate levels. 

  • Water temperature – this is vital to the survival of fish. Temperature fluctuations outside of the normal range for fish species can induce shock in fish and possibly lead to death. The climate of your region will influence the heating and cooling you will need.
  • pH – measure of how acidic or basic the water is. The pH level is usually higher at the beginning of a cycle and then gradually decreases once a system has cycled completely. In general the pH should be between 6.8 and 7.2.
  • Dissolved Oxygen – dissolved oxygen is required by all fish to survive. The water properties and stocking densities will affect its ability to hold oxygen. For example, warmer water will hold less oxygen.
  • Nutrients – macro and micro nutrients are needed for healthy plant growth. Plants can grow with limited nutrients, however this will affect their appearance and flavour. They may also be more susceptible to disease without adequate nutrients.
  • Salinity – non-iodized sea salt is used as macro nutrients and for treating any diseases in fish.
  • Ammonia–  this the first product of the nitrogen cycle. There are two forms of ammonia, unionized ammonia is most toxic to fish.
  • Nitrite – this is the second product of the nitrogen cycle. Nitrite is produced by the oxidation of ammonia by bacteria and is highly toxic.

LEARN MORE, ENROL NOW

Aquaponics is considered the world’s most productive food system with regards to water use efficiency. Use of water can vary, however, many aquaponics systems only use around half of the volume of water to produce £100 worth of food (fish and vegetables or fruit) than inorganic hydroponics.

Aquaponics is an intensive way of farming that can be conducted anywhere.

  • It can produce a great deal more food products per unit of area than more traditional forms of farming.
  • It diversifies the income for a grower, making them more resilient to fluctuations in income (eg. when vegetables are in less demand, fish might be in higher demand. If fish profits drop, vegetable profits may increase.
  • It can be viable on any scale, small scale set ups in small home garden can provide for the needs of a single family; medium size operations on less than a quarter acre can be a viable small business, large scale operations on many acres, even hundreds of acres can also be viable
  • It can allow food to be produced closer to the end user in areas otherwise unsuited to farming (eg. In a desert, city farming….etc). This reduces food miles and expenditure of fuel on food transport and in turn increases freshness of food arriving at market.
  • It can be more efficient use of water where water resources are limited
  • It can be environmentally friendly, containing and reusing waste, rather than returning it to the environment, and causing pollution.

We hope we have provided you with enough information on the course, but if you do have questions for the tutors, then please click here.



Meet some of our academics

John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Dr. Gareth PearceVeterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation. Gareth has a B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.
Dr. Lynette MorganBroad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
Cheryl McLardySports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager. Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture and equine industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. Cheryl has a B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert.


Check out our eBooks

Commercial HydroponicsLearn to grow vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, herbs and other plants hydroponically. A classic, republished with new images, a new layout and revised text. Contains unique advice on growing 102 different plants hydroponically! 74 pages
Growing & Using Capsicums & ChilliesGet to know more about Capsicums and Chillies with brightly illustrated ebook- Growing and Using Capsicums and Chillies. With 71 pages of wonderful facts about capsicums and chillies, this ebook will have you growing, knowing and cooking your own delicious home grown capsicums.
AquaponicsThe Aquaponics ebook will give you a great understanding of how to start your own aquaponics production.
Fish for Freshwater Aquaculture and AquaponicsChoosing the most suitable fish for any fish farm or aquaponics system is a very important decision. There are a great many aspects to consider and this eBook provides a great overview of the considerations to making such decisions. Suitable for both amateurs and professionals and for large or small scale operations this is an essential resource.