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In September 2012, Lane Tech opened a brand new, state of the art STEM wing that includes our one of a kind Aquaponics facility. Aquaponics is the symbiotic cultivation of plants and fish in a recirculating system. At Lane, large tanks of tilapia and koi provide recycled, nutrient-rich water to an array of organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, and other plants using an aquaponics closed-loop system. Lane Tech's Aquaponic system will provide 7th-12th grade students with an experience that is not available to most urban students.

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil less cultivation of plants in water) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in, creating a natural balanced cycle. The third participants are the microbes (nitrifying bacteria) and composting red worms that thrive in the growing media. They do the job of converting the ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, then into nitrates and the solids into vermicompost that that are food for the plants.

Why Should students sign up for Aquaponics?

What we are doing now in the Aquaponics Program?

First and second year aquaponics students are growing many types of salad greens, lettuce, basil, other herbs, kale, and many other crops. We also have tilapia and koi. We plan to sell our bounty to local businesses and eventually open up our door to the school and community to purchase our products. During the class students are learning how to grow a plant from a seed and studying the different lifecycles of the plant. Students are learning about the different variables that affect plant growth including nutrients, light levels, substrates, water levels, diseases, and pests. Students will also study the biology of fish to understand the tilapia life cycle, reproduction, and essential needs. Students apply these skills and their gained knowledge of nutrition and health to become true advocates for sustainability and urban agriculture.


Lane Tech Aquaponics in the News

Interview: Cristen Lain at Lane Tech High School Aquaponics Program

Chicago Farm and Table
February 4, 2013

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Extreme Green Lab a Huge Hit at Lane Tech (PHOTOS)

North Center-Roscoe Village Patch
December 5, 2012

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'There's nothing as wholesome as a fish' - especially one grown Aquaponically in a local school

November 21-27, 2012

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Lane Tech College Prep: Mayor Rahm Emanuel Visits Lane Tech To Tour Aquaponics & STEM Labs

Daily Herald
November 19, 2012