New year, new project!! – Alexys Garza

With the start of a new year, most of us will start a new project! I am one of many students who will be starting something new this semester! Instead of trying to create a Blanket Belt, I will be attacking the issue of building an aquaponics system for my own school! When choosing my new project I knew I wanted to do something to give back to the school that gave me so much. I thought about multiple ideas of possible projects, but it wasn’t until my teacher Ms. Miesner gave me the idea to create our school’s very own aquaponics system. When I heard this I thought it was a great idea, especially since I took Environmental Science the year before and already have some background knowledge.

Sample aquaponics system
Sample aquaponics system

In the picture above is a sample of an aquaponics system. The dictionary definition of an aquaponics system is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture in a symbiotic environment. The system is set up to survive on its own. The plants at the top and fish at the bottom are able to give each other the nutrients the other needs to survive without much intervention from human outside sources. Sunlight remains a huge factor in the growth of this system, just as any other plant life.

For homework from my last class I decided that I would find four resources for research for the future of my project. Before doing that I’m going to make a list of things I already know about aquaponics systems. While I already know some information, I do not know everything. So far from what I’ve learned is that there are different types of aquatic animals and plants that can be used for these systems. Although multiple aquatic animals and plants can be used, not all can be used. Since the plants are not in regular dirt or soil, they must be able to grow in the water that the fish live in. Through my research I hope to find a variety of animals and plants to put in our own schools system.

Over the next few weeks I plan to do as much research as I can so that I will be able to create an aquaponics system for our school that will be a place for plant growth and a place for students to use for studying.

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5 thoughts on “New year, new project!! – Alexys Garza

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  1. This seems like a cool project! I think this would be a great addition to our campus and I think it’s something the middle schoolers especially would enjoy learning from. I think it could be integrated into many teacher’s lesson plans. How big are aquaponic systems normally? You should consider size in your research because you don’t want to be building something that won’t be able to fit on campus.

    –Rachel Z.

  2. This is a really interesting and unique idea. I haven’t really heard of anyone doing this in the past, so I’m really excited to see what you come up with. I agree with Rachel’s comment above: it would be really cool to see some of the teachers incorporate this aquaponics system into their classes. I can see science classes using it to learn about ecosystems. It would also be a good learning experience to have students be in charge of the aquaponics system similar to the composting system we did in the past.

    http://austinaquaponics.com/ The founder of Austin Aquaponics, Rob Nash, has an interesting story, so you should really look into local aquaponics for ideas. Maybe you could even get into contact with the founder to get some advice.

    I hope your research is going well, and that you’re making good progress into this aquaponics system!

    –Isha P.

  3. What a great project idea Alexys! When I first read your blog post it reminded me of the tenth grade engineering field trip I took to the Mobile Loaves and Fishes Community First! Village. The program, which works to transition homeless people into permanent homes, has a aquaponics system that residents can use to grow their own crops and fish. Here’s a picture of their aquaponics system, which is probably bigger than you’re intending to make: https://drive.google.com/a/annrichardsstars.com/file/d/0B79xRRM6I3kDY2ZicG9XTWhoTm8/view?usp=sharing.

    Did you know Instructables has a ton of tutorials on how to build small aquaponics systems? This one seemed very detailed and uses inexpensive materials like PVC pipes, ball valves, and a fish tank: http://www.instructables.com/id/Small-DIY-Aquaponics-System/. I also liked this Instructable, since it has lots of measurements and also uses an Arduino microcontroller to regulate how frequently the system cycles (if you want to get really fancy) http://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Arduino-Controlled-Aquaponic-System/.

    Like Rachel, I also think this project would be a great addition to our school’s campus. It’s self-sustaining since the fish and plants provide nutrients for each other while also purifying the water. And it would be an eco-friendly addition to our courtyard, as the water could be used to water the other plants in the garden, and plants like lettuce, kale, and basil could be grown in the aquaponics system for use in our cafeteria. I’m interested to see what plants and animals you decide to include in your aquaponics system and believe this project is a great example of solving problems creatively and ethically in support of our global community.

    -Erin S.

  4. I think this is a really good idea, it could be even our senior gift to the school. You could actually get everyone on board and get this done. You should about all the positive and negative things that come with this such as mosquito’s and such as beautification to this school. It would be cool to have fish but then again that’s a lot of upkeep so you could just have plants and possibly the science department can use it for labs and stuff.
    -Desiree R.

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