Updates on EMEAC's Aquaponics Lab

December 17, 2013

We are delighted to report on some exciting developments with East Michigan Environmental Action Council's (EMEAC) newly installed Aquaponics system! Aquaponics is, "a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water."

The current EMEAC Aquaponics lab started 3 years ago as a collaboration between Nsoroma Institute and EMEACs environmental education program. This past summer, after the close of Nsoroma, the lab was relocated into the small courtyard at our building, Cass Corridor Commons.

We are currently winterizing the Aquaponics system so it is ready for the long cold Michigan winter! Some of the steps we've taken are as follows:
A hoop house has been fashioned as a temporary experiment on how an Aquaponics system can exist outdoors in a cold climate.   The hoop house works to hold heat, so we will add another layer of plastic and bubble wrap to the hoop house to help keep it even warmer before winter sets in. In addition, EMEAC's building manager, Kim Sherobi, arranged for a dedicated outdoor electrical outlet to be installed. Because of her efforts, we now have three added heaters to keep the water warm.  

We will also be adding plants to the system. We need to add more plants to the system to be sure there is enough filtration to keep the fish water clean.  EMEAC's Aquaponics team travelled to Chicago in October to visit Aquaponics expert, Emmanuel Pratt. While there, Pratt suggested we need more than double the amount of plants than we currently have in our lab. Pratt gave us some seedlings from his operation, and the seedlings will be installed after replacing the leaking pond liner on the second level of the system.
In addition to adding the plants, we will need to add at least one more grow light.  Grow lights will also help keep the plants and hoop house warm.  The downfall of the the particular grow light we use is that is pulls lots of energy. For now, we will use the light  we have and get at least one other grow light for the system and several more energy efficient grow lights for seedlings to be grown in the EMEAC Environmental Lab.

Stay tuned for the next installment of Updates on EMEAC's Aquaponics!