Literature Review:

When one thinks of food production the first thing that comes to mind is your typical American farm. You envision endless fields of corn, massive tractors, and the guy in the overalls wearing the straw hat. Unfortunately modern day farms have become nothing more than chemical factories producing food. They have become dependent on pouring massive amounts of fertilizers onto their fields in order to meet quotas and make profit. These practices are destroying our environment, wasting gallons and gallons of water, and have even proven to adversely affect public health of local residents. In order to solve these problems, as a nation, we must change the way we farm. This is where aquaponics comes in, the future of farming. The benefits of this relatively new science are vast. By analyzing the history and evolution of aquaponics people will be able to educate others on its benefits and perhaps even solve our agricultural dilemma. Other countries, such as Australia, have already realized how crucial aquaponics will be in the future generations of food production. They have years of research under their belt including experts with their PhD’s in aquaponics. As the industry is exponentially growing, Americans need to be educated and become aware so that we can thrive in its benefits and even get a piece of the pie, economically speaking.

Finding sources and credible information on a science so new and un-researched (compared to other sciences) is no easy task. The first step was to research who are the “big names” in the industry. Who has done the most research? Where are their findings published? What information can I get from them through interviews? I was able to compose a list of some aquaponic celebrities to help me with my research. Some of these people include Dr. James Rakocy (over 25 years of aquaponic experience at UVI), Dr. Wilson Lennard (PhD from RMIT university in Melbourne Australia, has over 8 years of aquaponic research, and leading the research in Symbioponics), Rebecca Nelson (Co-publisher and managing editor of Aquaponic Journal), and John Pade (Co-publisher and contributor to Aquaponic Journal).

Due to the lack of published books on the topic the primary amount of my research will be done through published articles and research by these professionals. One of my greatest resources will be the Aquaponic Journal. The Aquaponic Journal is the bible for any aquaponic enthusiast. It is published by Rebecca Nelson and John Pade on a regular basis and has been around for over 10 years. Anyone who knows anything serious about aquaponics has articles published in this journal. It is known as “The Voice of the Aquaponic Industry” and for good reason.

In addition to the Aquaponic Journal another source these professionals publish on is Practical Hydroponics and Greenhouses. Dr. Wilson Lennard goes on to explain his research on aquaponics and even how he got involved in aquaponics in a 2005 article. Dr. Lennard comes from the aquaculture side, his goal was to put good use to the waste from indoor recirculation fish farms. Through his years of research he was able to find many solutions to problems with fish farming which resulted in the justified use and benefits of aquaponics. Some of the advantages he was able to conclude were “1) excellent fish and plant growth. 2) zero environmental impact. 3) efficient water use. 4) yields as good as the prospective stand-alone industries. 5) the ability to grow two cash crops (fish and plants) off the one food source” [Carruthers, Steven] Since his initial research years ago he has built a commercial-scale aquaponic system to further his research in a new methodology called Symbioponics. This new methodology of Symbioponics takes aquaponics one step further. It turns it into “A unique mathematical model that allows the prediction of fish to plant ratio's in aquaponic systems.” [Dr. Lennard,]

Although most of my research will be focused on these professionals and what they have found, I deemed it neccessary to have at least one print resource about aquaponics to compare content. Many of my literature resources focus on the sciences of hydroponics and botany, which will prove to be useful but do not directly relate to my topic of aquaponics. This is why my book Backyard Aquaponics by Jamie Brown will be extremely helpful in making conclusions on my research. It is a "practical guide to Aquaponics", [Jamie Brown, Backyard Aquaponics] and goes into depth about everything involving aquaponics. This book includes detailed pictures of how to build a system, uses in third world countries/arid climates, and even correct fish selection and fish care.

When dealing with research that is so focused on experts you can be certain that the information you are getting is as accurate as possible. By investing my time into seeing what the professionals have already found it will save me hours of reinventing the wheel. Their findings will help me to see how the industry has evolved over the years and where it is headed in the future.


Brown, Jamie. Backyard Aquaponics. Smashwords Edition, 2010. Print.

Carruthers, Steven. "Aquaponics Simplified." Practical Hydroponics & Greenhouses 1.83 (2005). Print.

Glimn-Lacy, Janice, and Peter Kaufman. Botany Illustrated: Introduction to Plants, Major Groups, Flowering Plant Families. 2nd ed. New York: Springer, 2006. Print.

Lennard, Wilson. "Aquaponic Industry." E-mail interview.

Lennard, Wilson. Aquaponic Solutions. Web. Mon Mar. 2010. <

Nelson, Rebecca, and John Pade. "Aquaponics Overview." Nelson and Pade. Web. Tuesday Feb. 2010.<>.

Nelson, Rebecca. "Aquaponic Industry." E-mail interview.