An aquaponics system at Rancho Mastatal grows edible plants and raises fish for consumption. The fish waste provides nutrients for the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish. The system has four plant beds and the fish tank can support up to 40 tilapia. The only necessary inputs to keep the system functioning are energy to power the pump that cycles water up to the fish tank, and food for the fish. Fish food is provided by the Rancho Mastatal site. The tilapia are omnivorous and are fed black soldier fly larvae collected from compost, worms, and nitrogen fixing plant leaves from the garden.
The table below describes the various components of the aquaponics system.
Water is cycled from the fish tank to the plant beds, and then back to the fish tank. The fish produce waste, and the plants process that waste and use the nutrients from it to grow, thereby cleaning the water for the fish.
The water level in the plant beds is regulated by bell siphons (shown to the left).
When the water level is high enough it drains through the bell siphons to a sump tank.
The water is pumped from the sump tank back up to the fish tank.
This image shows a pepper grown in the aquaponics system. The plant beds have grown various vegetables including peppers, water spinach, basil, cucumbers, and tomatoes.