Cooperative Extension Aquaculture Specialist
Department of Animal Science
Utilization of aquaculture effluent nutrients for aquaponic / hydroponic plant production
Aquaponics is a mode of hydroponic plant production which utilizes biological nutrients from recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) to generate nitrogen and other water-soluble nutrients. At the University of California Davis, we utilize a decoupled system where water does not recirculate between the fish and plant production. The focus of our program is the reutilization of aquaculture wastewater and effluent to produce specialty crops at commercial production scales. Currently, nutrients for the plant production systems are provided from sturgeon effluent. Fish are reared off-site in independent 2000 L circular tanks equipped with a bead filter. Nutrient-rich water is pumped from the fish tanks into our greenhouse while solids are collected and processed using suspended growth aerobic digestion at ambient room temperature. In our 279 m2 polycarbonate covered greenhouse we are evaluating various hydroponic growing techniques such as deep water culture, nutrient film technique and media beds. The farm also includes independent vertical shelving systems with LED technology to evaluate efficiencies in tiered farming.