Aquaculture America 2023

February 23 - 26, 2023

New Orleans, Louisiana USA


Matthew Recsetar* and Kevin Fitzsimmons

Controlled Environment Agriculture Center

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ 85719


Aquaponics tends to be thought of as one of (if not the most) sustainable food production methods currently being utilized.  One issue that is often overlooked or dismissed with this type of system is solids management.  In a typical recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), solid waste is simply removed from the equation.  Whether it is discarded to the sewer or dumped on the land as irrigation, minimal thought goes into its management.  In aquaponics, we often mineralize some of our solids to increase nutrient content to plants, but solids often accumulate in the system and must eventually be dealt with.   In small-scale systems, solids are often emptied into gardens or to feed vegetation, but this proves problematic in commercial systems.    We have shown that the aerobic mineralization process increases concentrations of plant-available forms of various nutrient, while eventually leaving behind a stabilized biosolid.  This study examines the nutrient content of these biosolids and discusses how they have been and can be successfully used in agricultural applications.  The implications of this study are wide reaching and can potentially offer economic solutions for large scale aquaponics systems and RAS when determining a way to sustainably deal with their solid waste accumulation.