5 Best Colleges That Teach Aquaponics in 2022

Aquaponics combines aquaculture (growing fish and other aquatic animals) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) processes. These two are used in a symbiotic combination wherein the waster or discharge of the aquatic animals is fed to the plants.

Aquaponics systems are more integrated and complex than hydroponics, in which aside from plants, aquatic animals like crawdads, worms, and fish are added. The plants gather and use the waste products from the animals as fertilizer as this is packed with nutrients. During the whole process, water is purified so that it is reused by animals.

The Lowdown
Hydroponics and aquaponic systems directly fit into the STEM learning programs in high school, giving students the tools and knowledge they need in creating a sustainable and healthy food production system.
Although aquaponic is part of the STEM program in high school, there are some colleges that teach this field; others in forms of subjects, and some integrated into their agriculture curriculum.

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colleges that teach aquaponics

The Top 5 Colleges Offering Aquaponics Programs

The University of Maine

University of Maine
Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research

Founded in 1999, the Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research of the University of Maine introduced its aquaculture research and science development facility to address the needs of the aquaculture industry.

  • This curriculum has various research fields, one of which is aquaponics systems.
  • Back in 2014-2015, aquaponic systems expert Jeffrey Wall started a project inside the school’s greenhouse. The course aims at growing plants, crops, vegetables, and rainbow trout in a linked system.
  • Worms were also raised with fish waste and compost to create the production of three new products: worm nutrient ‘tea’, worm castings, and the worms themselves. He was able to harvest trouts, kale, and spinach. Through proper marketing, the project eventually became a success for many CCAR visitors.
What Makes the Program Unique

Every year, the University of Maine conducts the 4-H At-Home Aquaponics Project, an online experiential learning course where a student can design, build, and maintain their aquaponic technologies. Anybody can participate, no prior experience is required. Operating the project is also funded thru the Maine 4-H Foundation.

Did You Know?

The University of Maine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research is operating at a 22-acre shore of Taunton Bay in Franklin, Maine, just beside the USDA National Cold Water Marine Aquaculture Center. Both centers have the biggest and most advanced aquaculture development and research campus in the US.


Utah State University

Utah State University Aquaponics - College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
Aquaponics, College of Agriculture and Applied Science

USU’s Technology and Engineering Education (TEE) introduces its Aquaponics Lab, a teaching lab where students can apply integrative STEM concepts in raising fish and plant growth in a recirculating closed-loop system.

  • The TEE Aquaponic Systems Lab of USU supports two courses: Aquaponic System (BPS) and Advanced Aquaponics.
  • Students can complete the course regardless of the major they come from and can get hands-on experience in a controlled environment.
  • Utah State University Aquaponics System meets the breadth requirement for physical science.
What Makes the Program Unique

USU’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences offers almost a hundred scholarship opportunities to students– not just 5, not 10, but 70 scholarships available!

Did You Know?

USU is one of the nation’s best land-grant, space-grant, and student-centered universities that lives by the principle that academics will always come first. It cultivates diversity of culture and thought by serving everyone through discovery and engagement, and learning, coupled with a strong and educated workforce.


The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Aquaponics, College of Letters and Science

UW-Stevens Point is a leader in aquaponics education, offering the country’s first semester-long college aquaponics courses, master’s classes, and professional certificate programs for aquaponics.

  • There are two available college courses via online lectures and discussions and in-person lab sessions.
  • Courses cover advanced and basic concepts in biological systems design, aquaponics methods for science integration, and production technology.
What Makes the Program Unique

This covers a lot of courses that focus on foundational and help you develop applied knowledge of fish production and nutrition, crop selection, water chemistry, best management practices, water quality, good agriculture, food entrepreneurship, economics, business, and marketing.

Did You Know?

Students can earn 1-college credit or continuing education unit when they join the aquaponics master class, a 3-day continuing education workshop offered by Nelson and Pade, Inc., and in partnership with UW-Stevens.


Michigan State University

Michigan State University (MSU) College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Aquaponics and Hydroponics

This involves using water-intensive systems in the production of plants and understanding the biology behind them. Students will dig deeper on fundamental topics, including maintaining water quality, water testing, and proper balance of nutrients.

  • Teaching methods include lecture discussions, brainstorming, demonstration, small group discussions, resort people, field trips, experiments, and supervised studies.
What Makes the Curriculum Unique

The curriculum is specifically designed for agriculture, food, and natural resources (AFNR) educators in Michigan and is grant-funded by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to support campus-based agricultural education.

Did You Know?

MSU, one of the top 100 research universities across the globe, is home to number 1-ranked graduate programs, innovative research centers, and a community of scholars and science enthusiasts.


College of Aquaponic Engineering and Design (AED)

Aquaponic Engineering and Design

This curriculum is now available on-demand where students will learn more about the business side of the industry: nutrition, food source, food production, how to raise fish in a controlled environment greenhouse, and many more.

  • It is handled by Ryan Chatterson, a Molecular and Micro Biology graduate from the University of Central Florida, and has grown aquaponics for 15 years. He is well-versed in backyard systems, and commercial design fish tanks, and is currently managing 2 massive outdoor demonstration systems.
What Makes the Curriculum Unique:

Ryan Chatterson is a constant figure at Ohio State and has taught short courses in the school, as well as boot camps.

Did You Know?

Ohio State University’s College of Aquaponics Engineering and Design features expert advice from professionals and cutting-edge farm technology, thus providing you with the best aquaponic design systems that will surely work.

colleges that teach aquaponics - fact

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the types of Aquaponic Systems?

Because aquaponics typically uses the same systems as hydroponics, there is really no major difference in how the system works, except for the added fish tanks. Flood and drain, nutrient film technology, and water submerged or deep cultural roots are compatible to merge with fish.

What aquatic animals can thrive in an Aquaponics System?

In aquaponics, freshwater fish is typically used. Barramundi and Tilapia are common options because they can tolerate diverse water conditions, and they also grow very fast. You can also use Trout for lower water temperatures.

What vegetables can grow in Aquaponics?

For small aquatic-based gardens that do not necessarily need heavy nutrient input, you can grow watercress, lettuce, arugula, kale, mint, decorative flowers, herbs, spring onions, okras, leeks, radishes, and spinach.

For the more advanced aquaponic systems, vegetables that require more nutrition are suitable. This includes tomatoes, cabbages, beans, broccoli, and cauliflower.


Summary Points

  • Take advantage of how efficient an aquaponic system is in growing food. Plants that are grown “aquaponically” use 95% less water than the conventionally grown ones. And since these plants are generally grown without soil, issues of soil erosion are now completely avoided knowing how this is blamed for climate change.
  • Implementing an aquaponics program in school is one way to enhance a school’s overall commitment and attitude towards caring for the environment and sustainability.

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