Aquaponics is defined as incorporating aquaculture and hydroponics to produce fish and plants in the same recirculating system. The present study seeks to explore the opportunity to design an aquaponics system at an existing tilapia operation in South Miami. The goal of the study is to determine whether it would be financially feasible to build a small-scale aquaponics system where the produce will be sold at a farmers market. The tilapia operation consists of six tanks that are fed a commercial tilapia diet. The volume of water in these tanks permit the development of a commercial scale aquaponics system, yet due to limitations in available land area on the property two small scale systems will be designed. One system consists of a raft system based on the UVI system developed by Dr. Rakocy (J. Rakocy et al., 2006) along with a small media bed system, while the other system consists of a vertical growing system developed by Dr. Nate Storey (N. R. Storey, 2012). A financial analysis was performed to assess the profitability and determine the commercial viability of the proposed system design. Capital costs were determined for the system as well as estimated production and projected income from crops. Comparisons were made between two production scenarios, producing all produce and producing only selected produce, and three different pricing structures. The pricing structures used are Glaser Farms prices, average organic retail prices and wholesale prices. Glaser Farms is a local organic farm selling their produce at a weekly farmers market in Coconut Grove. Based on the results, producing only selected produce and selling at average retail prices presents the best investment. Selling at Glaser Farms prices yields higher returns, yet the prices can be unrealistic for most markets. The system designed can provide a sustainable and profitable form of food production to support sales at a farmers market, retail outlets and restaurants.
Faul, Andre, "Integrating aquaculture and hydroponics: Examining the potential of a small scale aquaponics system" (2014). Internship Reports (Restricted). 134.
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