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University of Pittsburgh students use fish to create urban farm

With the help of a $10,000 award from Betaburgh, Pitt students Vinh Luong and Joe DiPietro are starting a self-sufficient mini farm. Courtesy of Vinh Luong. Click on image for larger file.

“Watching how excited people get about aquaponics and something that I am creating is definitely the best part,” DiPietro said.

By Jace Bridges
The Pitt News
Sept 9, 2016


The steel fish tank sits at the base of the portable farm system and houses about 300 tilapia. The system filters the fish water and converts it into nitrate-rich water, which is pumped up to the wooden greenhouse through irrigation tubes and over to the towers of the farm.

The towers hold the roots of the plants, so as the water runs through it provides the plants with the nourishment they need to prosper. The aquaponics portable farm is expected to produce about 1,000 plants every month. Luong and his team will start by growing basil plants, but hope to expand to growing lettuce as well.

An aquaponics farming system uses 90 percent less water, 70 percent less energy and can produce 10 times the amount of food in the same amount of space as a traditional plant farming model.

Read the complete article here.