Namibia – climate smart solutions to enhance food security

Climate change and the increase in the phenomena of droughts require drastic measures in terms of innovative agriculture approaches to maintain food securities in countries with water stress. Wageningen University (i.e. the author of this post, and Prof. Karel Keesman) wrote this strategic report that addresses the necessity and potential of the implementation of multi-loop aquaponic systems in Namibia. We are still looking for commercial farmers who want to join us on our journey into the future of agriculture. Read more

aquaponic lettuce seedlings

Cracking the Aquaponics Code: Outperforming Hydroponics by 39%

Aquaponics is a trending topic, but this finding on plant growth performance could be path-breaking for further aquaponics development. The Developonics team has published a new paper in the peer review journal Water (MDPI) with the title Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. var. Sucrine) Growth Performance in Complemented Aquaponic Solution Outperforms Hydroponics. The results were beyond our imagination. Read more

Experimental Aquaponic Setup using supernatant from anaerobic remineralization practices

The Potential of Anaerobic Remineralization in Aquaponic Systems

As you guys might have noticed, we are currently running an experiment on the anaerobic remineralization potential of RAS-derived fish sludge. In order to clarify open questions regarding the impact of anaerobic effluents on plant growth, we have conducted a small experiment. In that experiment we compared the lettuce growth (as well as shoot:root ratios) for lettuces grown in RAS water that has been supplemented with either anaerobic or aerobic fish sludge supernatant.  The experimental setup can be seen in Figure 1. Read more

lettuce grown on RAS and hydroponic water

Lettuce Growth Experiment

Today, Simon has started a lettuce growth experiment together with Tycho Vermeulen in Bleiswijk, the Netherlands. We are going to assess to what degree micro organisms in RAS water have an impact on lettuce growth by adding it to a hydroponic solution. The control group is a standard hydroponic nutrient solution for lettuce. We expect this experiment to take 8 weeks, and publishing the results somewhen mid of next year. Cheers!

Decoupled Aquaponics – The Future of Food Growing?

There is lots of discussion going on on the internet and within academic worlds, whether decoupled aquaponics has a general advantage over conventional recirculating aquaponic systems. Figuring this out was our objective in the last years and led to the publication “Navigating towards Decoupled Aquaponic Systems: A System Dynamics Design Approach“. Following the KISS principle, I will briefly outline the main points of the publication and discuss them a bit in non-academic jargon (excluding the paper’s abstract). Read more

COST Aquaponics Training School Belgium

COST Aquaponics Conference and further Plans

Yes – we are still alive, and no – we did not forget about posting on Developonics. We are currently just busy with publishing our research as well as already planing new aquaponics related projects. What else have we done? In March, Simon has been presenting the model on decoupled aquaponic systems that he developed at the COST Aquaponics Conference “Research Matters”. Unlike in one-loop recirculating aquaponics systems, decoupled two- or three-loop systems (i.e. comprising of a RAS & hydroponic system, or RAS, hydroponic, and remineralization system respectively) follow the principle of a one-way nutrient flow. This makes it possible to ensure optimal conditions for both fish and plants; i.e. the fish are held in optimal RAS conditions, and the hydroponic water can be supplemented with macro- and micronutrients to ensure an optimal nutrient solution. Read more

Digestion Experiment at ZHAW

Simon, Boris, and Zala are currently preparing some aquaponics experiments at ZHAW in Wädenswil (Switzerland). Two of them comprise sludge digestion for nutrient and water recycling. We hope to see the performance of both digster types on the nutrient dynamics on the system. The results will be published in a open access peer-review journal. Below some pictures of motivated young scientists. 🙂

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Visit at Urban Farmers in Basel

Today, Zala and Simon have visited Urban Farmers in Basel. While cooking fresh tilapia and tomatoes from the aquaponics system, ideas have been exchanged with Andreas Graber and Ranka Junge.


Simon and Zala at Urban Farmers

Simon and Zala at Urban Farmers

process control

The need for Process Control in next-generation Aquaponic Systems

In chemical engineering, processes are procedures encompassing mechanical, chemical, physical, electrical and biological steps to create a product from one or more substances. Decades of research and development have led to detailed knowledge of processes that shape our world today: from sawing off a piece of metal, to creating carbon nanotubes, everything that is industrially produced today comes from sets of very specific and controlled steps (i.e. process control (PC)).

Aquaponics -being an emerging field that deals with live organisms that can often be poorly understood-, can benefit from systematic engineering approaches found in process and chemical engineering disciplines. These approaches generally entitle breaking out a large process (a full aquaponic system in this case) into smaller sub-processes that can be studied both in isolation and in interaction with others. Read more

aquaponics logbook

Aquaponics Logbook

We are currently running an experiment on specific nutrient uptake of lettuce grown in hydroponic, and both one and two loop aquaponic nutrient solutions. To guarantee that all relevant data is available after the experiment, proper data logging is an often underestimated factor. The excel logging file can be used and adapted by everyone for personal usage. You can find the aquaponics logbook in our new section “Tools”. The tool can log pH, light, air temperature, air humidity, water temperature, volume, EC, N-NO3, N-NO2, TAN, P-PO4, K, S-SO4, Ca, Mg, Cl, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, B, Mo and converts ppm (mg/L) to mmol/L automatically.  It also allows you to log how much acid/bicarbonates you added to your system for pH adjustment purposes.