What is Small-Scale Aquaponics?

Here are some general characteristics of small-scale aquaponics operations:

  • Low water volume — between 30 and 500 gallons
  • Small footprint – less than 150 square feet
  • Low fish stocking density – less than 1 pound of fish per 5 gallons of water
  • Modest budget, do-it-yourself mindset
  • Managed by only one or two people on a part-time basis

Applications of Small-Scale Aquaponics

How can small-scale aquaponics be applied?

Aquaponics can be used in schools to engage students and incorporate into science curriculum or garden club. Here in the pic are 5th graders from the JO Wilson after-school garden program:

Farms looking to expand
An existing farm without access to more arable land can still expand with aquaponics because it does not require soil. Plus, aquaponics in a controlled-environment greenhouse can grow year-round.

Farms looking into agro-tourism
There is no better way to boost a farm’s agro-tourism appeal than an aquaponic system with big pretty koi swimming around.

Growers looking to create a supply of fertilizer
Aquaponic water makes great fertilizer for soil crops. It is high in nutrients and teeming with beneficial microbes and healthy growth hormones.

Growers and entrepreneurs exploring the future of agriculture
If you agree that large-scale aquaponics is a key to a sustainable food supply, then you need to start small first to learn the ropes.

An existing fish pond or fish tank!
Why not let your existing fish pond or fish tank grow some herbs for you!

Personal supply of fresh food
You can grow a salad a day for your family, right here in your DC backyard!

Food banks
In Canada, Mississauga Food Bank uses aquaponics to boost their supply of fresh food for the community!

Sustainability and biology research
Did you know that aquaponic systems have the same quantity and diversity of health microorganisms as organic soil? That’s why NASA has sampled aquaponic systems.

Civic centers and businesses looking to engage the community
An aquaponic system is a great way to grow a shared community space and introduce sustainability concepts. Check out Iona Senior Services in NW DC!

Urban ag skill expansion
Aquaponics knowledge and skills can be applied to traditional soil agriculture, hydroponics & vertical growing, composting, and water management. Here are student from IDEA Public Charter School: