Jackson L. Oldham Aquaponics Facility

Aquaponics is an integrated agriculture system combining…

Aquaculture – production of aquatic animals, and
Hydroponics – production of vegetables without soil

…in a recirculating system


◊ Fish provide nutrients required by plants

◊Hydroponic component serves as a biofilter

◊Integrated systems increase efficiency of water and nutrient use

SENS Aquaponics

◊ Beginning Fall 2009, students converted the Ecological Machine wastewater treatment facility into an aquaponics system

◊ Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) are raised along with oregano and basil.


◊ Solar panels heat fish tanks

◊ Greenhouse gutters collect rainwater for use in system

System Design


1-2: biofilters; 3-6: fish tanks;
7: clarifier; 8-9: fine particle filter; 10: degasser;
11-12, 14-15: hydroponics units; 13: sump; 16: air pump; 17: purge tank; 18: drain; 19: rain storage

Design Principles


The design of the SENS Aquaponics Facility is based on principles developed by the Aquaponics Program at the University of the Virgin Islands:

◊ Fish feces and other solids are removed before water enters the hydroponics units

◊ Plants are grown in raft hydroponics systems, which also serve as bio-filters

◊ Optimum feeding rate, 60-100 g fish feed/m2 plant area/day, prevents nutrient accumulation or deficiency