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About Us

The Hydrotron is a greenhouse that has an aquaponics system and several hydroponics systems. The aquaponics system has a 1750 gallon tank with 400 Mozambique tilapia, a 350 gallon tank with 100 channel catfish, and a 50 gallon tank with 100 tilapia fingerings. The fish water is recirculated under three 4 ft x 8 ft rafts where leafy plants use the nutrients in the fish water before the water is returned to the fish tanks. Solid waste filtered from the fish tanks is used to nourish 400 fresh water tiger prawns in a 950 gallon tank. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and strawberries are grown in coco fiber (without soil) in hydroponics systems. Strawberries are grown in vertical towers. Herbs in hanging baskets are fertilized with fish water. Outside the Hydrotron are several composters and a media-based aquaponics system built by students using an IBC tote. Having a system allows students to see the seasonal changes and participate in preventing/solving problems like insect herbivory using methods safe for fish and improving efficiency in production. In labs students learn how to germinate seeds and transfer seedlings to the rafts, how to prune tomatoes, how to design an aquaponics system, and how to rear fish. Students prepare meals using tilapia and vegetables grown in the Hydrotron in labs.