Kentucky State University's Aquaponics Production Manual: A Practical Handbook For Growers

The School of Aquaculture and Aquatics Sciences at Kentucky State University is proud to announce the availability of the Aquaponics Production Manual: A Practical Handbook for Growers. This 75 page comprehensive manual covers the biological concepts of aquaponics, types of systems, suitable fish and plant species, systems management, water quality, disease of plants and fish, controlled environments (greenhouse and indoors), marketing and economics, as well information on certification and regulations. It is written at a level to be practical resource for practicing (or potential) aquaponic producers.


aquaponics_handbook_2021_final_022421.pdf (3.9 MB)


This is very helpful and thanks to the KSU folks for making it available.

This is a great resource…Thanks for the post Jon!

This is VERY Good. Thanks for all putting this work together.

Jonathan, do we have any organic certified farm operations among AA members? I noticed an info on page 51 regarding organic certification and was wondering how Organic Aquaponic farmers deal with a substitute for hydroxide bases and chelated iron. Any advice is highly appreciated.

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@arvindvenkat can probably weigh in here regarding the substitutes.

Hydroxides are not good for aquaponics. I know they have been pushed traditionally but at the expenses of plant growth and mostly based on hydroponic data that does not account for microbes or the importance of silica for plant growth. The ideal ph up combo is potassium silicate and calcium carbonate. It provides a much more rounded nutrient profile and better disease resistance.

Thanks to KSU , thanks Jon for sharing this manual which is an excellent support and help in the control and management of an Aquaponic system. Gyslain

Hydroxides can be substituted with Bicarbonates, Carbonates, Humates (albeit lots of it)

Calcium carbonate is your most cost effective buffering agent and most easily available in the market as well

Potassium Humate too a good pH buffering agent, make sure to check the pH of the product

Potassium Silicate, too has found traction in recent times

An amino acid chelate of iron 12% or also called Iron Proteinate is an acceptable form of Organic chelated iron

At the risk of promoting a product, I am including this information for your perusal

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Dear Arvind,

Thank you very much for your comments. All are valuable. I appreciate your time and comments on this matter.


Hydroxides only add 1 plant benificial element, are much easier to accidently over dose, are much more caustic compared to other options, can’t be shipped via air transport, and other issues. Why use an input that only adds one element that helps your plants when you can use better ones that add 2? Hydroxides are a thing of the past that need to stop being taught.

Calcium Carbonate is the best option for Calcium input as it adds both Calcium and Akalinity which is needed by microbes for there own replication and tissue building. Hydroxides do not add alkalinity which is a problem not a benefit this is often mistaught by aquaponic experts coming from a hydroponic background instead of a microbial one.

Potassium Humate is great but also very expensive compared to other options and the product consistency from producer to producer varies extremely widely many contain heavy metals that can fail you in state testing.

Potassium Silicate is the best Potassium input as it adds both potassium and badly needed silica which is often over looked in aquaponics. It increases shelf life of lettuce by up to a week, increases yields, increases disease resistance especially molds and much more.

As far as iron your spot on the Iron Proteinate for organic certified and anything else use DTPA as all the rest have issues ranging from testing to toxicity.