The objective of research & development at Aqua
Biologics remains to produce technology and methodology
innovations based upon the total integration of systems.
This means using the by-product (or liability) of
one production system for the production of a secondary
or tertiary product. Hydroponics, the growing of plants
without soil, was developed based upon experimentation
to determine what makes plants grow and the actual
composition of plants. Such experimentation dates
back as early as the 1600's. However, plants were
being grown in soil-less culture long before such
documented experimentation. Egyptian hieroglyphic
records dating back to several hundred years B.C.
Describe the growing of plants in water ! The hanging
gardens of Babylon, the floating gardens of the Aztecs
of Mexico, and those of the Chinese are further examples
of “hydroponic” culture.
Hydroponics has become a reality for greenhouse growers
in virtually all climate areas. Today successful hydroponic
operations exist throughout the United States and
the world. These highly profitable businesses are currently growing a diversity of vegetables, herbs,
and flowers. In arid regions of the world, where the
supply of fresh water is limited, hydroponic complexes
have been combined with desalinization facilities
in order to use sea water as a source of fresh water.
Some of these complexes are located near the ocean
and the plants are grown in the existing beach sand.
The true beauty of hydroponic culture is the flexibility
it allows in adapting to many situations from outdoor
culture in fields, to greenhouses, to highly specialized
culture in atomic submarines, bio-spheres, etc. It
can be used in highly industrialized countries such
as the U.S., and in developing countries in the Third
World to provide intensive food production in a limited
To illustrate the potential use of hydroponics, tomatoes
grown in a soil-less manner can yield 150 tons per
acre annually vs. 5-10 tons per acre annually in traditionally
soil based farming! The only necessities are fresh
water and nutrients.
An Integrated Approach - Aquaponics
Growing fish and plants together is a remarkable
concept, however it isn’t new. It has been done
quite successfully throughout the world with a variety
of species and under a variety of conditions. The
procedure is quite logical in its application, as
fish produce nitrogenous waste in the form of ammonia
(and may fluctuate into other forms as ammonium, nitrite,
nitrate), and plants require nitrogen for growth.
The plants use the fish waste for food, and in so
doing remove the waste from the water so it will not
become toxic to the fish. This creates the ability
to satisfy two completely different markets and double
the profitability within the same amount of space.
Integrated aquaculture is an excellent choice for
any areas where land is at a premium. Further, aquaponics
presents an excellent opportunity to capitalize on
the rapidly growing organic marketplace. Aqua Biologics’s
aquaponic operations are integrated into its Aqua-Sphere® operation in Florida City, FL. While sashimi grade
hybrid striped bass is raised in the Aqua-Sphere®,
the waste is concentrated, removed, and sent to a
methane digester. The methane gas is used to power
the air blower to run the Aqua-Sphere® , and
the digested waste is utilized to grow fresh organic
basil, thyme, dill, and several types of lettuce in
an adjacent greenhouse.
While ABI uses premium hybrid striped bass as the
production species in the integrated hydroponic operations,
many other species can be used including tilapia,
trout, salmon, barramundi, redfish, etc. The fish
and produce species can be selected based upon the
climate and market appeal.