Growing fish in a contained environment produces water that is contaminated with ammonia, but when combined with hydroponics, plants filter out the polluted water, converting the ammonia into nitrates. Once this nutrient-rich water passes through the Nutrient Film Technique systems, it is ready to spray on the herbs and vegetables that grow in half the time required by conventional soil farming.
Located on the roof of a retail building near Orlando, Green Sky Growers boasts five main (and enormous) fish tanks containing hundreds of striped bass, perch and tilapia each and two greenhouses that together produce thousands of pounds of food every year. A custom-made automated control system opens and closes shutters and draws a shade for the roof as needed in order to maintain the optimum temperature required to keep the fish happy (and alive).
We learned about this rooftop project equipped with technology developed by Epcot engineers, NASA and the USDA from Mike Payne from The Coolist, who recently visited the farm. His longer, more detailed account is definitely worth reading. Although the expertise and financial commitment required by such an advanced system may not be accessible to everyone, we’re certainly excited to see how aquaponics will evolve.
All images by Mike Payne for TheCoolist