UDC Urban Food Hub Aquaponic Systems

Here swim tilapia in the Bertie Backus Urban Food Hub aquaponic system in Northeast Washington, DC. These tilapia are about 6 inches long and reside in one of the six 650-gallon tanks at the Backus system.

The water is very clear due to the use of a 100 micron “drum filter” and 50 micron “tank filter”.

Bertie Backus is one of four Urban Food Hubs constructed and operated by the University of the District of Columbia. UDC also operates aquaponic systems at the Van Ness, P.R. Harris College, and East Capitol Urban Farm food hubs.

The Van Ness aquaponic system was started earliest of the four. We first stocked fish in April, 2017. It’s been successfully growing basil, lettuces, and tomatoes with fish food as the ONLY nutritional input for about 6 months now. After working out initial kinks, water quality parameters are consistently excellent and the fish grow about an inch per month.

Anacostia Aquaponics worked with UDC during the initiation process of these systems from March through September, 2017. It was a great learning experience.

With appropriate management and resources, UDC’s Urban Food Hub aquaponic systems should continually improve and grow lots of fresh, healthy food for Washington, DC residents.

Chat at Iona Senior Services in NW DC

We had a great discussion at Iona Senior Services this week about aquaponics and our new Hootie 2.0 Aquaponic System.

The Hootie 2.0 has been running for a few months and has been growing lots of parsely and watercress (startin’ easy, ya know?) This week we added 4 bigger goldfish so it’s time to graduate to basil and some denser greens, ahhh milestones….

The fish all have names, the parsely is used in group meals, and the residents enjoy feeding the fish. We’re going to work with the chef to figure out how to use the watercress.

Residents and staff asked many great questions about how an aquaponic system functions, and how aquaponics will fit in our evolving food system.

More learning and growing in our future 🙂

 

 

Aquaponics Association Conference Schedule

The Aquaponics Association has released its tentative schedule for the Putting Down Roots conference November 3-5 in Portland, Oregon.

The conference will feature a rural aquaponic tour, an urban aquaponic tour, and three full days of aquaponics lessons and interactive discussions with experts from around the world.

Click here to see the line-up:
Putting Down Roots Conference Schedule

Aquaponics at Georgetown Maker Hub

Hoya Saxa!

Georgetown student Sarah Harper is constructing an aquaponics system in the Maker Hub space of the university library.

She constructed a model out of Legos, and said that this helped her visualize how the system would work.

It will have a 40-gallon fish tank, and cycle water up to a hydroponic grow tray. The tray will be filled with hydroponic media, and net pots to hold individual plants.

Anacostia Aquaponics helped Sarah with the project as part of our Partnership Program. We’ll check back in once they have fish and plants growing.

Great job Sarah!

 

PR Harris Volunteer Day

Here’s a pic from a recent UDC volunteer day at the P.R. Harris Food Hub near the southern tip of DC.

Volunteers and staff have disconnected the grow-trough drain lines so that the pipes can be cleaned to prevent clogging, and the troughs can be removed and rinsed.

The P.R. Harris hydroponic greenhouse uses this A-frame design to hold grow-troughs vertically and make the most of our limited urban space, while ensuring that plants still receive enough light.

Next to the P.R. Harris hydroponic greenhouse is the aquaponic greenhouse. The aquaponic system is still undergoing mechanical improvements before it is functional. Stay tuned!

Checking in with The Knight

Mr. Carroll Bryant looks at his backyard aquaponic system “The Knight” in its second growing season. (It’s named after the Ballou H.S. Knights, across the street.)

The Knight has a 50 gallon inground pond currently with about 15 small goldfish, and one medium size (5-inch) comet goldfish. We covered the pond with weed cloth to prevent excessive algae growth.

Water is pumped up to a 10 gallon grow-bed filled with hydroton clay-media. A bell-siphon returns the water to the pond.

Right now Carrol and his wife Janet are growing green onions and some bok choy. We’ll have to get some more fish weight to really ramp up the growth!

Global Aquaponic Systems in Silver Spring, MD

This past Saturday, July 22, Global Aquaponic Systems in Silver Spring, MD held an open house with tours from 12 to 5pm.

On the left we see a trough with some yummy duckweed… a great nutrition supplement for fish.

Global Aquaponic has many beautiful, large striped koi driving their plant growth. The greenhouse is large, and grows produce for local sales.

Read more at their website, or set up a tour of your own!

Aquaponic Highlights!

Remember that ESPN Sportcenter quote: “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him!?!?”… well that also applies to Scott’s backyard aquaponic system in Northeast DC.

Last year we were impressed when Scott told us that during the warm months he grew a SALAD PER DAY for his entire family of 5.

The pic to the right shows his harvest for just one day last week… “EXCEPT for the bigger tomato I already ate.”

And below are media-growbeds with zucchinis, tomatoes, and peppers. Scott keeps fish in his sump tank year round (thermal insulation), and in the warmer months links up his second fish tank, seen here to the back right. Everything you see growing here is from one aquaponic system!  Here’s a link to his forum thread in case you are interested in more info: Scott’s aquaponic forum thread.

The Hootie 2.0 at Iona Senior Services in NW DC

We just installed our new aquaponic system, The Hootie 2.0, at Iona Senior Services near American U. in NW DC.

The Hootie 2.0 can accommodate up to 8 medium size (.5lb) goldfish or other ornamentals. The fish waste will support a constant growth of herbs and several heads of leafy greens at a time.

The Hootie 2.0 features:

  • a 29 gallon fish tank;
  • a roll-out plant growbed for easy fishtank access;
  • hidden shelf space for electrical connections, an aerator pump, and supply storage;
  • adjustable height T5 floursecent light fixtures; and
  • an automatic bell-siphon drain in the growbed to increase system oxygenation and circulate water.

Thank You Ashlea Steiner at Iona Senior Services for the opportunity!

And Thank You John Favaloro at Avanti Woodworks for the great craftsmanship and creative problem-solving!