AST- AP800 Aquaponics System
Aquaponics systems can be designed as either coupled or de-coupled. A coupled system is a single loop where fish waste water is routed through plant beds. The plants help to filter the water by removing nitrogenous waste from the fish effluent before water is ultimately returned to the fish rearing tanks completing the loop. Coupled systems are by definition compromised systems, as fish and hydroponic vegetables require slightly different water quality. De-coupled system eliminates the compromise and allow for optimization of both fish and plant water quality by utilizing two independent loops. Modern, commercial scale systems are trending towards de-coupling for control and optimization of system resources and performance. The proposed system is designed to operate optimally as a de-coupled aquaponics system where the two culture loops run independently. De-coupling minimizes the risk while maximizing operational efficiency in both fish and plants loops. Additionally, the system will have the option to be run coupled, or in a single loop where fish and plants share similar water quality.
The patented Endurance Filter is what makes this de-coupled system possible. This filter performs both biological filtration by breaking down ammonia and nitrate, and mechanical filtration by straining out the solids. Backwashing automatically using air several times a day, this filter concentrates and isolates sludge without manual intervention. The concentrated sludge is then lifted out of the filter using a configuration called pneumatic sludge discharge. This occurs during part of the automatic backwash cycle. This ingenious filter automatically backwashes and auto purges waste in a single step. This filter is gravity fed with an airlifted return for optimum efficiency. This eliminates the need for an expensive energy consuming water pump. The auto-pneumatic purge promotes both clean water within the Recirculating Aquaculture System while simultaneously supplying 100% of the organic waste into a sludge digestion which feeds plant trays hydroponically.
The AST Educational Aquaponics System 800 operates in the following ways: The fish tank gravity drains into the endurance bio-clarifier. Filtered water flows out of the filter and is then air lifted back in to the fish tank. This simple but highly effective process provides all 5 required steps necessary for successful RAS. Specifically, the gravity feed, air lift return provides biological filtration. solids capture, circulation, degassing and oxygenation. During auto-pneumatic backwash, the filter flushes then isolates solids in a sludge chamber. Next, solids are pneumatically discharged into a sludge digestion tank. The sludge is then broken down during a process called aerobic sludge digestion. Clear, nutrient rich water is then gravity fed to a second holding tank called the blending tank. This tank, now containing nutrient rich water, gravity feeds hydroponic plant trays. The plant trays drain to a common piping and are returned to the blending tank via airlift. This ensures maximum circulation while saturating the plant culture water with oxygen. The two culture loops are completely independent providing maximum operational efficiency.