Aquaponics at WA Middle School

About the Project

The Seattle University Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) chapter has partnered with Washington Middle School to teach Seattle youth about sustainable agriculture. The team of students built an aquaponics system for a science classroom at WMS. The system is composed of a 36 gallon fish tank and two half-50 gallon plant beds. The aquaponics process works through a symbiotic relationship between fish and plants.

  • The fish excrete waste and ammonia into the water
  • Nitrifying bacteria convert the ammonia into nitrate
  • The nitrate-filled water is pumped to the barrels that house the plants
  • The plant roots hang free beneath the grow medium as the water flows through them
  • The plants roots absorb nutrients from the water
  • The purified water flows back to the fish tank

During the spring of 2017, ESW student Angelica De Jesus used the system to teach an after school program about sustainable food production. Aquaponics is an integrated teaching platform where WMS students learned about plants and fish (biology), water quality (chemistry), pumps (engineering) and Raspberry Pi microcontrollers (technology). The Raspberry Pi system will enable remote monitoring of the system. Check out the video below and real-time water quality data!