Monday, June 9, 2014

20th Annual Aquaculture Short Course!

Cornell University's Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering Proudly Presents: 

The 20th Annual Aquaculture Short Course!

By the end of this course you should:
-be able to design and implement your own aquaculture system
-have the knowledge to source funding for projects focused on sustainable agriculture
-build an excellent network with experienced engineers and entrepreneurs in the industry

For More Information:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Some photos from the short course

What a fantastic week for the short course! Despite 97 F weather, students had a wonderful time listening to presentations and visiting Continental Organics. Here are some photos!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

DOW Blue boards- NO NO NO!

Ever seen a classic raft tub system for either hydroponics or aquaponics? Facilities often use DOW blue rafts for floating plants. Great idea, right? Cheap, insulating, keeps light out preventing release of essential micro and macro nutrients into the environment….

WRONG. These materials are NOT food grade.

I always had my doubts.  My mother, who is incredibly wary of materials that may leach harmful chemicals into the environment, flipped when she first saw them and she had good reason to! 

Tons of facilities that grow hydroponic or aquaponic crops use these and love them.  These materials are NOT designed for this purpose and several companies have denied endorsement for the usage of their blue boards for aquaponic/hydroponic purposes. I also recently discovered that New York State regulations now require hydroponic/aquaponic productions to use food-grade plastics in place of these rafts.

The problem? The foam boards are designed for insulation inside houses- NOT for immersing in water. Polystyrene foam leaches toxins including BPA, phthalates, and styrene when placed in warm conditions.

Solution? Look for food grade plastics. Or redesign your system, preferably with ZERO plastics. The following company sells them precut and pre-holed. Don't ignore this- this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. 

19th Annual Aquaculture Short Course Update

The week is flying by! So far the class has been intense, filled with incredible instruction on engineering requirements for developing a successful aquaculture system.

On Monday the course began with an overview of standard system designs, tank designs, filtration, and some warm-up calculations. After lunch Michael Finnegan, CEO of Continental Organics, visited the short course and discussed his business and experiences starting up a large scale aquaponics facility. Later in the afternoon the class visited Continental Organics and took a tour through both the aquaculture facility and the hydroponic/aquaponic greenhouse.

On Tuesday lecture entailed discussions on fluid dynamics and system plumbing, with some insightful stories from Professor Timmons. Solids management was also briefly discussed. Before dinner JD Sawyer, President of Colorado Aquaponics, gave a presentation of his system and discussed his experiences with installation and funding, product sales, and promotion of education and healthy eating to local communities. 

For more information on Colorado Aquaponics:

For more information on Continental Organics:

Saturday, July 6, 2013

19th Annual Aquaculture Short Course

The 19th Annual Cornell Aquaculture Short Course is almost here! 

This Year the short course will take place at Mount Saint Mary College Located in Newburgh, NY. 

This course is intended to give a thorough coverage of the engineering design, operation, and management of water reuse systems for finfish (limited coverage of indoor shrimp production). One day of hydroponics and one day of aquaponics are also included. At the conclusion of the workshop, individuals should be able to design their own water reuse systems and have a fundamental knowledge of the principles influencing design decisions. The location this year is Newburgh, NY with a Farm Tour of a two acre hydroponic and 100,000 lb/yr tilapia farm in operation.

The following topics will be addressed:

Water quality monitoring and measurement
Engineering design of individual unit processes
System management
Fish health management
Economic and risk evaluation
Indoor Shrimp
Tours of local aquaculture/hydroponics facilities
For students unable to attend the classroom course at Cornell, we offer the Distance Learning Course Packet. This includes: the text, Recircualating Aquaculture by Timmons and Ebeling (2nd edition), a CD consisting of lecture presentations used in the Classroom Course. There are four self-graded quizzes and a final exam that you send to Dr. Timmons, to receive a certificate.

Some successful course attendees have gone on to pursue ventures in aquaculture! Here are their links:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Investors sought for aquaponics project in South Africa


South Africa-based company, Leochanty, intends to establish a tropical and ornamental fish farm in Port Nolloth, and is seeking R750,000 (roughly $82,750).  The project for the company would have no competition within a 500, km radius of the location.

Aquaculture in South Africa is an industry that was established in the late 1980's and has been growing in recent years. With no competition in the area, this project shows potential for great returns.

For more information on the project and on the Aquaculture Association of South Africa:

Saturday, November 10, 2012