P20762: Agriculture Through Aquaponics


Project Summary Project Information

Aquaponics is an innovative system that combines raising aquatic animals with cultivating plants through a symbiotic system. Vertical farming is a modern technique where plants can be stacked and monitored to thrive in an indoor environment. To incorporate vertical farming with raising aquatic animals, some problems that arise include fish vitality, budget, energy usage, and availability of resources.

The goal of this project is to develop a functional, well-documented prototype that allows Colombian farmers to improve their current value chain. This will include training guides, set-up and tear down documents, and an in-country field test plan. Our expected final prototype should be inexpensive, easily replicated, and locally sourced. The current constraints of this project are cost, limited environmental resources, and time.

Project Name
Colombian Aquaponics Initiative
Project Number
Project Family
Process Innovation
Start Term
Fall 2019
End Term
Spring 2020
Faculty Guide
Bill Nowak, wjnddm@rit.edu
Primary Customer
Marcos Esterman, mxeeie@rit.edu
Sponsor (financial support)
Marcos Esterman, mxeeie@rit.edu

Team Members

TJ-MACK's Aquaponics: (left to right) Thomas, Jacky, Melissa, Armand, Caleb, Keshab

TJ-MACK's Aquaponics: (left to right) Thomas, Jacky, Melissa, Armand, Caleb, Keshab

Member Role Contact
Thomas Kraemer Communications txk6268@rit.edu
Jacky Ren Sensor Engineer jxr5247@rit.edu
Melissa Grace Valdez Facilitator msv7977@rit.edu
Armand Laury Lead Technician ajl5327@rit.edu
Caleb Wheelock Project Manager cpw1064@rit.edu
Keshab Bhattarai Lead Engineer kxb8653@rit.edu

Work Breakdown: By Phase


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Gate Reviews

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation (Verification & Validation)

Work Breakdown: By Topic

Project Management Design Tools Design Documentation Implementation Validation Presentation & Dissemination





Risk Management

Problem Management

Communication & Minutes

Use Cases


Functional Decomposition

Morphological Chart

Pugh Concept Selection


Mechanical Drawings

Electrical Schematics

Software Diagrams

Facility Layout

Setup Guide

Instruction Manual


Test Fixtures


Test Plans

Analysis Results (design vs. requirements)


Test Results

Design Review Documents

Technical Paper


Imagine RIT Exhibit


Thank you to our customer, Dr. Marcos Esterman and our guide, Bill Nowak, for their support, knowledge, and guidance throughout the project. We would also like to thank Danny Park for volunteering his time to provide us with research and knowledge on aquaponics. Thank you to all of our subject matter experts, Mark Balfour, Larry Buckley, and Daniel Green, for sharing their time and knowledge with us. Thank you to Rob Kraynik for his help in procuring our testing location and in building our system. Thank you to the Wheelock family for donating various resources. Finally, thank you to the KGCOE facilities management crew for their help in the build process.