Students in the "Learn to Grow" program @ Ravenswood helped create an aquaponics system this week. Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture; the raising small aquatic life in water tanks, and hydroponics; the growing of plants in water. The aquaponic system at Ravenswood is pretty simple. Its called an "Aqua Farm" and has only one fish residing. It has two containers: one for fish on the bottom (aquaculture) and one for plants that sits above the fish container (hydroponics). A small aquatic pump was placed in the bottom container, which pushes up the fish effluent (the fish poop water and ammonia) into the plant container, where the ammonia (the toxic part for the fish) is broken down by nitrogen-fixing bacteria called biofilm, turning nitrates turn into nitrites. These are beneficial nutrients for plants. They are absorbed through the plants submerged roots. The water goes back down into the fish container through a spout and the cycle begins again.