Joseph Karb, a teacher at Springville Middle School, wrote to me about an aquaponics enrichment project he is working on with his students.


For the past two months, middle school students have been managing an Aquaponics Fish Farm with over 400 tilapia. Aquaponics is a system where fish and plants work together in a mutually beneficial environment. Waste water from the fish tank is filtered out by plants as vital nutrients. The plants can then be eaten or fed to the fish. Composting is also an important part of the system with scraps from the cafeteria consumed by red worms, converted to compost, and used later in the plant filter. Tilapia are native to the Nile River and are common in Aquaponics because of their of their large size, rapid growth, and palatability.

Throughout the year over 90 students from Mr. Wojcik’s, Mr. Stefan’s and my enrichment class will participate in the project. The tilapia will be raised all school year with students responsible for the health of the fish, growing food, and maintaining the environment. By June the tilapia should be plate size (12 inches) and students plan to have a dinner to support a local charity.

Springville Middle School Tilapia Project

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder

Mark Frauenfelder is the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, and the founder of the popular Boing Boing blog.


    I’m skeptical that 400 footlong fish will fit in that swimming pool…

  • jdk

    The pool shown in the photo is where duckweed to feed the fish is grown. The actual tilapia tank is 500 gallons.