About Us

Commerical Aquaponics Pittsburgh
Demonstration of an Aquaponics system

Pittsburgh Aquaponics is a social enterprise dedicated to the distribution and creation of information and products that support growing food using Aquaponic farming methods in the Pittsburgh region.

We are actively investigating the creation of sustainable commercial Aquaponic farms in locations throughout the city of Pittsburgh. These local urban farms would supply fresh vegetables to the local community and to the nearby restaurant industry.

If you are interested in partnering with Pittsburgh Aquaponics to develop an Aquaponic farm in your neighborhood, then please contact us! We are always eager to help anyone interested in starting Aquaponics, no matter how small.

Visiting Us

Visit Pittsburgh Aquaponics
3rd grade students visiting Pittsburgh Aquaponics

We host regular open houses to show the public how Aquaponics works, to answer questions in person and to give hands on demonstrations of Aquaponics systems. If you would like to be notified of our next open house, please join our monthly-ish mailing list.

If you are a teacher who is interested in showing your students Aquaponics, we regularly host classrooms for visits. During a visit possible activities for students include:

  • Feeding the fish
  • Harvesting greens
  • Measuring the water chemistry

Please contact us to schedule an appointment for your classroom.

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26 thoughts on “About Us

  1. I learned about Aquaponics about a year ago. I have built 2 IBC tank Systems. One for me, and one for a friend that is into it as much as I am. We have Gold fish in them right now and in two weeks Yellow Perch will be introduced in the tanks. Pumped! Currently, I am building two more systems with a Bell syphon.
    I am very excited about this new way of gardening and am determined to “get it out there.” Pittsburgh has so much potential for this. I would love to see your set up and meet!
    Thank you,

  2. Mark and Bryan,

    I’ve wanted to do this for several years, and am just now getting to it. Would it be possible to meet and answer questions? Coffee is on me.

  3. hey mark i met u in Larimer green team meeting… I remember you talked about building a biodome… is there any progress??? i’m trying to make a proposal on creating a green corridor facing E Liberty Blbd. Eeco center already has lots of green features to it… i would like to add several more green elements within this few blocks such as RRP, Food forest, Living water projects which will be funded by Heinze foundation… I think your aquaponics fit in to it very well… i would like to stop by and see your system…. thanx

  4. Mike-
    I just read the article in PopCity about your biodome idea. I have been interested – completely non-academically – in alternative food sources since I read this article in the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/03/dining/hydroponic-produce-gains-fans-and-flavor.html?pagewanted=all
    and I am very interested in learning more about your process, perhaps volunteering time to help grow the idea and in exchange learning how it all works. Please let me know when you will be having another tour of your set-up, or if you need occasional help.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Sally. Please sign up to the email list to be kept up to date about our next open house and opportunities for volunteering and education. I am also always available to help you start up your own system.

  5. I am willing to volunteer my time in order to learn more about aquaponics and its systems. I’ve done all the reading and studied the different designs. I am interested in working with your team to learn the hands on side.

  6. Hi Mark,

    A friend and I are interested in starting an aquaponics farm near Sharon, PA. We have a number of questions regarding how to get started (especially on the financial side of a farm) and would also like to bounce some ideas off of you and see what you think. Would you be available to talk or meet within the next week?

    1. David,
      I would be happy to meet and advise your organization. I will contact you directly via email.

    1. Hi David,
      We have blue Tilapia in our system but we are not a licensed fish broker or hatchery. Sourcing them is a challenge. I will let you know if we find a good way to get them. Schultz’s Fish Hatchery in the eastern part of the state has blue gill, bass, yellow perch and catfish: http://buybass.com/

  7. Hey AP pros and bros,

    I’ve been working with aquaponics since 2010 and have been pretty much addicted ever since. I’ve recently invested in a $60 prefab system from Back to the Roots LLC and have been loving it – currently have guppies and a couple of feeder goldfish in there with some kaleidoscope lettuce, basil, and wheatgrass growing in the pots.

    I’m looking to expand into a 30 gallon DIY system soon – just got the tank yesterday. I’m going to try for a vertical NFT system, or a raft system if the NFT doesn’t work as planned.

    I’m also looking to pitch aquaponics as an educational tool we can use where I work in the near future, and getting my home system up and running would go a LONG way to convincing them.

    My big question here is where do I get bluegill without having to drop a line in the Mon? I have no qualm with catching some wild bluegills and dropping them in the tank, but I feel like there has to be some sort of law against that. I’ve heard bluegills are pretty tasty, despite the lack of a market for them, and put up with water quality changes like a champ! Do you think 30 gallons is enough to house 4 or 5 of them? or should a 30 gallon system be reserved for decorative fish instead?

    Dan Certo

    1. Hi Dan,
      I can help you get blue gill fingerlings. Email me at mark (at) pittsburghaquaponics (dot) org if you want to get some.

      The Back to Roots system is very slick, and very small! I don’t think you could have more than one blue gill fish in there. You could probably get 4-5 in a 30 gallon tank once they are fully grown.

      Where do you work? Our 20-gallon systems are perfect for classrooms in schools.

      1. I work at GTECH Strategies, and we’re really big on the whole DIY thing around here. I’m definitely not planning on putting the bluegill in the Aquafarm from Back to the Roots – I think 2 fish is the limit in this system until the other plants get established. So far, the Wheatgrass is the only thing really filtering it out.

        I’m building a 30 gallon system at home now – I’ve always wanted a fun, DIY system but only recently had the time, space, and commitment to do so. Once I get this system going, I plan to have co-workers come over, show it off, and then attempt to pitch the idea of getting a similar system built at the office as an educational tool and as a way to impress visitors (and one day feed them!)

        Great to know I can get fingerlings from you. I’m thinking of just going with feeder minnows until the system gets established (because they are super cheap to replace), and then adding the fingerlings later. That way, I don’t risk murdering my future food with bad water quality. I’ll be in touch! Thanks!

  8. I am about 3 hours west of you and share the same climate. I am putting a 300 gallon FT in my sunroom. I am getting mixed info as to which fish would be best. We have one of the largest indoor fishfarms in the midwest about an hour northeast of us, they swear that aquaponics do not work. I have a little protection form the cold weather in Ohio but the sunroom is considerably hotter in the summer. I had planned on Tilapia but have been told they won’t do well in the winter. I also considered Trout considering how much success they have had locally in traditional fish farming up the road. I am leaning toward catfish at this point for all around answer? Any input would be greatly appreciate.

    1. Tilapia won’t eat if the water is less than 60 degrees. Other than that, they are great, hardy fish. Trout need tons of space and disolved oxygen. Very hard to raise from what I’ve heard on the Aquaponics forums. I have wanted to try catfish, mostly because they are yummy!
      Goldfish and Koi are also safe bets for our climate but we can’t eat them.

  9. Hey Mark,

    I live just outside of Pittsburgh and I am very interested in learning more about aquaponics and seeing some systems in person, I was wondering do you give tours or anything of your setups and system?


  10. Hi,

    I’m very new to aquaponics but for what I’ve seen so far, I think it is just fantastic! Thank you for your site and all the information you share in it.

    I already signed up to the newsletter but I’d love to know if you need any volunteers any time soon. I’d be more than happy to help and learn in the process, and perhaps to be able to contribute with new ideas as well.


  11. Gabriel,
    It is great to feel your enthusiasm. Yes, Aquaponics is exciting and hard work to correctly set up.

    We are planning to have at least one project for volunteers to learn on and work with in the Spring of 2014. Stay tuned!

  12. Hello Mark !

    Me and my boyfriend are really interested in Aquaponics. We are planning to start our own farming near in the future. Next week we are going to Milwaukee for a Nelson and Pade Training. On the way to there we will stay in Pittsburgh for a day. We would like to meet with you in Pittsburgh and take some advice, also see your beautiful aquaponic farming. Thank you in advance. I hope we’ll listen from you soon.


    1. Hi Lana,
      Great to hear about your interest in commercial farming. Although Nelson & Pade have been in the business longer than anyone, their systems are expensive and not the most sustainable, in my opinion.

      Milwaukee is a hotbed for AP. Make sure you visit Will Allen at Growing Power, too!

  13. Can I farm Tilapia fish in drums in my apartment, and not have that weird smell around the apartment. Please reply. Thanks

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