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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Special Offer Aquaponics Course with Tutor Support

Study the efficient and environmentally considerate system of food production - Aquaponics. 

  • Learn about aquaponics - an intensive form of farming where the two main elements - fish and plants - support each other.
  • Understand the biology of plants and animals - the science of their nutrition and growth.
  • Learn how to set up an aquaculture system, plant culture, and more.
  • The course includes real life case studies, as well as a troubleshooting lesson where the student will study and learn about the outcomes to the main problems encountered in aquaponic systems.

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Aquaponics Course - Special Offer - Distance Learning

Start at a time to suit you and work at your own pace.


Course Duration: 100 hours.
Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.
Lessons: The course comprises 10 lessons as detailed, below.

Lesson 1. Introduction
  • What is aquaponics?
  • History of aquaponics.
  • Why aquaponics?
  • World food.
  • Urban farming.
  • Cost benefit analysis.
  • Is aquaponics organic.
  • The aquaponics system.
  • Can it be used with salt water.
  • Types of Systems:constant flow closed reciprocating, open, deep water, floating raft.
  • Outdoor or indoor systems.
  • Barrel ponics, wick, NFT, etc.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of aquaponics.
  • Scale of operation.
Lesson 2. Aquaponic System Options
  • Recirculating systems.
  • Non recirculating (open loop systems or microponics).
  • Components of commercial fish rearing systems.
  • Aquaponic sub systems.
  • Deep water culture (DWC).
  • Intermittent flow (Ebb and flow).
  • Nutrient film technique (NFT).
  • Gravel bed systems.
  • Barrel ponics systems.
  • Equipment: commercial and backyard.
  • System components.
  • Tanks.
  • Aeration devices.
  • Solids removal: clarifiers, solids tanks, filters, screens.
  • Biofilters.
  • Sump and pH adjustment tank.
  • Water heaters and chillers.
  • Greenhouse houses and fish rearing facilities.
  • Alarm and back up systems.
  • Hydroponic grow beds and types of media.
  • Maintenance, water monitoring and adjustment.
  • Organic vs non organic.
  • Combining worms with growing beds.
Lesson 3. The Science of Animal and Plant Growth
  • Plant growth factors.
  • How plants grow.
  • Plant structure: roots, stems, leaves, reproductive parts.
  • Biochemistry and aquaponics.
  • Biochemical processes in a cell.
  • Photosynthesis.
  • Mechanisms of nutrient uptake.
  • Plant nutrients.
  • Role of pH in plant growth.
  • Animal science.
  • Bony fish (Osteichthyes) and their biology.
  • Crustaceans: crabs, lobsters, shrimp and prawns.
Lesson 4. Nutrition and Controlling Growth
  • Water soluble chemical compounds: ions.
  • Less water soluble chemicals.
  • Complex chemical compounds.
  • Understanding nutrient formulae.
  • Hydroponic nutrient formulae.
  • Atoms, elements and compounds.
  • How are chemical names written?
  • What does a plant need.
  • Calculating formulae.
  • Mixing nutrients.
  • Case study.
  • Symptoms of nutrient deficiency.
  • Nutrients in aquaponics.
  • Variables in aquaponics: conductivity, ph control, oxygenation, beneficial bacteria in aquaponics.
Lesson 5. Selecting and Managing Animal Production: Fish and Crustaceans
  • Choosing what to farm.
  • Climate.
  • Water.
  • Finance.
  • Scale of operation.
  • Other resources.
  • Market.
  • Availability of animals.
  • Risk considerations.
  • Overview of main species to grow: in Asia, South Africa, Australia, U.K., Europe, North America, South America.
  • Trout: Rainbow, Brown.
  • Bass.
  • Tilapia.
  • Catfish.
  • Barramundi.
  • Carp.
  • Mullet.
  • Sunfish.
  • Eels.
  • Marron.
  • Other species: ornamental fish, crustaceans and molluscs.
  • Sourcing fish and crustaceans.
  • Fish food.
  • Which type of fish food to use: pellets, live food, daphnia, brine shrimp, tubifex worms, earthworms, oil meals.
  • Other food.
  • Fish food production: beef heartlegumes, seafood and vegetable mix.
  • Earthworms: setting up, adding worms.
  • Compost: understanding, making, conditions for compost production.
  • Fish health.
  • Common pests and diseases in aquaponics.
  • Penaeid shrimp diseases.
  • Fish diseases.
  • Salinity and system health.
Lesson 6. Setting up an Aquaculture System
  • Choosing the right sized system.
  • Selecting the right components.
  • Setting up the system.
  • Getting started.
  • Threats to the system.
  • Using a greenhouse.
  • Greenhouses: passive systems, active systems.
  • Active solar heating.
  • Greenhouse management.
  • Controlling the growing environment.
  • Light control.
  • Air temperature control.
  • Root temperature control.
  • Relative humidity and vapour pressure deficit.
  • Controlling humidity.
  • Carbon dioxide and oxygen.
  • Computer controls.
Lesson 7. Aquaponic Plant Culture
  • Selecting media for aquaponic plant culture.
  • Types of media Growing seedlings.
  • Seed sources.
  • Sowing seed.
  • Seed propagating media.
  • Sowing seed direct.
  • Vegetables in aquaponics.
  • Herbs.
  • Successional planting.
  • Flow charting a crop.
  • Controlling plant growth: stopping, spacing, disbudding, trimming, training.
  • Pollination.
  • Pest, disease and other crop problems: overview, identification.
  • Pest, disease and disorder control in aquaponics.
Lesson 8. Applications and Opportunities
  • Aquaponics for profit.
  • Economic thresholds.
  • Harvest and post harvest management of fish.
  • Harvest and post harvest management of vegetables and herbs.
  • Harvested crop physiology: fruit ripening, respiration, when to harvest.
  • How to prepare salad mixes from harvested vegetables: chlorine levels in water for washing produce, preventing bruising and rots, packaging.
  • CA and MA storage Chilling damage and storage temperature.
  • Harvesting and grading vegetables.
  • Fruit grading systems.
  • Marketing.
Lesson 9. Managing an Aquaponics Venture - including a Problem Based Learning Project (PBL - see more below)
  • Case study: University of the Virgin Islands system.
  • Case study: North Carolina State University system.
  • Case study: Speraneo system.
  • What is an aquaponic trial?
  • Running an aquaponic trial.
  • Research methodology.
  • PBL Project: Create and present a plan with specific strategies for improving the crop production of an aquaponics system in terms of amount and quality of produce harvested based on a clear understanding of the system’s requirements and its location (greenhouse or open air; temperate, subtropical, or tropical climate).
Lesson 10. Troubleshooting
  • Water supply problems.
  • pH problems.
  • Algae growth.
  • Dirty, cloudy water.
  • Water imbalances; high levels of ammonia or nitrite.
  • Imbalances in gases.
  • Fish troubleshooting.
  • Controlling salinity and nutrients without damaging fish.
  • Plant troubleshooting.
  • Diseases.
  • Pythium in aquaponics.
  • Pests.
  • Environmental physiological disorders.
  • Nutrition problems in aquaponics.
  • Deficiency symptoms.
  • Correcting nutrient problems in aquaponics.
  • Fruit set management: pollination, floral initiation, fruit growth.
  • Flower and fruit development problems.
  • Fish eating plant roots.
  • Power losses.
  • Clogging with sediment.
  • Fish to plant imbalances.
  • Pathogenic contamination issues.

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Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

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Meet some of our academics

Dr Lynette Morgan (Horticulture)Lyn worked with Rivendell Mushroom Farm between 1986 and 88; and then as a research assistant and technician for a few years while undertaking university studies. In 1991 she graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Hons) which covered broad horticultural sciences, as well as nursery vegetable and fruit production. Throughout the 90's she worked in both the nursery industry and horticultural crop production, before establishing her own business "Suntec" which has built an exceptional international reputation providing consulting services; particularly in hydroponic crop production. Dr Morgan has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production, and a keen appreciation of the global scene. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

Aquaponics eBookThe Aquaponics ebook will give you a great understanding of how to start your own aquaponics production. This 65 page ebook provides you with enough information to start your own home production and even manage issues as they arise. This is a great way to become more self-sufficient and produce a sustainable food source for your own household. Aquaponic farming allows individual families to grow a much wider range of produce, in a much smaller space. They can provide the protein needed for their diet (from fish), as well as the vegetables and fruit they need. Aquaponic systems can be as small as a few cubic meters; or as large as many acres. They are an ideal way of improving productivity on a hobby farm; can be used by restaurants to produce the freshest produce on site, or established inside buildings, in big cities, for urban farming.
Marine AnimalsWith colour photos splashed throughout, this Marine Animals e-book is designed to provide a guide for some of the more common animals found in marine ecosystems around the world. Learn about the creatures hidden by the other 70% of the earth's surface. Explore more...
Organic GardeningFor decades farmers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce saleable crops. In the ornamental, vegetable and fruit gardens reliance on chemical controls has also been the mainstay for many gardeners.
Commercial HydroponicsThe Commercial Hydroponics ebook is ideal for students, professional horticulturalists and those who want to build a strong foundation knowledge in hydroponics. The commercial hydroponics ebook explains how to set up a commercial hydroponics system, including growing techniques and equipment that you will need. The topics covered in this book include an introduction to hydroponics, site considerations, alternatives, plant nutrition, nutrient film technique culture, rockwool culture, aggregate culture, other techniques, hydroponics equipment, greenhouse operation, plant culture in hydroponics, Vegetable crops, berry and other fruit crops, flower crops, other crops, managing a commercial hydroponic farm and a troubleshooting guide.