Tilapia Aquaponics Project A Success

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
18 December 2006, at 12:00am

US - The room full of lush lettuce and fluorescent lights looks like any other hydroponics system -- until you notice the kiddie-pool-sized tank of tropical fish, eagerly munching on algae from the plants.

The unique arrangement is known as aquaponics: a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture, where the waste produced by fish is converted into fertilizer for the greenery. Although the idea is big in Europe and the United States, it's just starting to take off in Canada.

In fact, staff at Fort Whyte Alive (formerly the Fort Whyte Centre) believe the organization's small setup is the first of its kind in Manitoba. The aquaponics system is based out of the headquarters of Fort Whyte Farms, a program that gives at-risk youth a chance to learn about farming.

The project was launched this May, and has produced nearly 1,600 plants so far -- everything from parsley to swiss chard, much of it served in Fort Whyte's on-site café.
"It's really phenomenal how quickly things grow in this system," said farm foreman Dwayne Sayers.

The aquaponics setup is "ridiculously simple," said special programs manager Ian Barnett, and relies on a 300-gallon tank of over 200 tilapia, a fast-growing African fish.

Source: Winnepeg Free Press