University of Waterloo Aquaponics

Summary: This compact system demonstrated aquaponics engineering concepts and created educational opportunities at the University of Waterloo.

technical details

  • Size:  1 sq m growing space, 300 L total system volume
  • Production system: Indoor with lighting, clay ball media system
  • Species: Goldfish, lettuces and other greens
  • Dates Operational: 2012 - Summer 2016

partners and people

  • Aquaponics Association at the University of Waterloo
  • Funding contributions from WEEF
 Seedlings start their journey into edible greens at the University of Waterloo aquaponics system.

Seedlings start their journey into edible greens at the University of Waterloo aquaponics system.


additional information:

One of WaterFarmers’ priorities in the Greater Toronto Area is to break ground and lay the foundation for an academic learning pathway in Aquaponics. WaterFarmers’ first academic collaboration, came in the form of our partnership with the Aquaponics Association at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Originally funded by the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund (WEEF), the Student Design Center and the Dept. of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, UW Aquaponics prototyped a clay-ball media based system.

The partnership was initiated by a full scale re-model of the existing Ebb & Flow-Timer system, with a more modern and reliable Flood and Drain, Bell Siphon type design. The system provides excellent educational insight for promoting the concept of food security in an environment driven by electronics and computers. WaterFarmers played an advisory role in the growth and development of the association, taking initiative on design and planning schedules. The energetic engineers that established this system have moved on to other exciting positions, and the system was disassembled in summer of 2016.

The Nereus Aquaponic System

The UWAQ system is best characterized as a demonstration type unit. It features a standard aquarium tank that supports a single media bed that floods and drains in accordance with the volume of water displaced via a sump.

Aquaponics: Growing Food for Thought

March 2013 marked a milestone in the development of this Association. UW Aquaponics hosted an Aquaponic symposium titled “Growing Food For Thought” with guest speakers, information sessions and DIY group work. The event hosted an array of multi-talented speakers from the GTA region. WaterFarmers represented the Association as their expert panelists with highly productive information and interaction sessions. We look forward to future conferences, that contribute to the growth of aquaponics in Southwestern Ontario