AuthorLicamele, Jason David
Committee ChairGiacomelli, Gene
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe goal of this study was to prove that aquaponic systems can produce lettuce of equal growth and quality compared to hydroponic lettuce production and to determine the stocking density of fish required for plant growth. Aquaponics is the integration of recirculating aquaculture and hydroponic plant production. The project had four objectives. The first objective was to determine the biomass of fish required for plant growth to develop a fish to plant density ratio. The second objective was to compare lettuce grown with aquaponic water and a hydroponic solution under the same environmental conditions. The third objective was to compare the quality of lettuce grown with aquaponics water plus nutrient supplementation with a hydroponic solution. The fourth objective was to determine the nitrogen dynamics in the aquaponic system and to compare the nutrient composition of lettuce grown with aquaponics water with nutrient supplementation and hydroponic solution. It was determined that under the specified environmental conditions 5 kg m⁻³ of Nile tilapia (O. niloticus) fed 2% of their body weight daily yields on average 4.7 kg m⁻² of lettuce (L. sativa cv. Rex) in 35 days. There was no significant difference (p ≤ 0.05) in biomass or chlorophyll concentration index in lettuce (L. sativa cv. Rex) grown with aquaponics water and nutrient supplements versus a hydroponic solution. The aquaponics solution generated equal biomass and chlorophyll concentration indexes compared to the hydroponic solution. Aquaponics water plus supplementation can yield L. sativa cv. Rex with equal biomass accumulation and chlorophyll concentration indexes compared to hydroponics lettuce. Nutrients added to the aquaponics system consisted of iron, manganese, and zinc. These nutrient concentrations became depleted in the aquaponics water over time and were not replenished via the fish feed. Dolomite was added to the aquaponics system every two weeks to increase the buffering capacity of the water and maintain optimal pH levels. Aquaponics lettuce had similar nutrient composition to hydroponic lettuce. One head of L. sativa cv. Rex (176.75 ± 31.03) will assimilate approximately 5.96 grams of nitrogen (3.38% per dry gram lettuce). One kilogram of fish will yield 6.4 lettuce heads (1,128 grams) and fixate 38.13 grams of nitrogen.
Degree ProgramAgricultural & Biosystems Engineering