Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 2015


Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2015


Copyright © 2015 Thomas McGuire and Geoffrey Popken


The global agricultural system has become a major source of stress on the earth’s natural resources. The current food production and distribution system is not secure and will not sustain future populations as global food production pressures intensify. It will be important to explore other avenues of food production in order to build a more sustainable system in the future. Aquaponics eliminates soil from the equation of food production by combining aquaculture(fish farming) and hydroponics(growing plants in water saturated media). Aquaponics may provide a source of relief for areas without suitable soil or dense human populations. This experiment looks to explore system efficiency by altering the design of the grow bed. This was done through a comparative analysis between two control beds and two augment beds. Each augment bed was fixed with a greenhouse glazing which encompassed the entire grow bed. We hypothesized that greenhouse glazing can be used in indoor aquaponic systems to improve efficiency thus productivity. Three sets of data were collected in this experiment; air temperatures between control bed 3 and augment bed 1, dry weight analysis based on shoot to root ratio(S:R), and nitrate(NO3) concentrations which was analyzed with an ion chromatography system. The experimental data suggest that when there is no nitrate deficiency in a system, temperature can have an increasing effect on S:R. Furthermore we conclude that the greenhouse glazing was effective in capturing heat which yielded higher S:R in the augment beds. We do recommend more experimentation be done on the validity of using S:R as a metric for productivity in an aquaponic system.