Aquaponics USA


After graduating from California State University, Channel Islands, Mr. Luke Hanes, pictured in the checkered shirt below, started his teaching career at Rosamond High School in Rosamond, California at the beginning of the school year in 2015, where there was a fully functioning FGS-20 STEM Teaching & Food Growing System waiting for him to give it some TLC.

Unlike the teachers in the other two parts of this series who are Elementary School teachers or Coordinators, Luke is teaching High School students, which can be more challenging in many ways as well as more rewarding, especially if the teacher is highly versed in his/her field and eager to dive deep into the subject matter. That's the rewarding part.

The challenging part is the need to deal with disciplinary issues with students who are sometimes bigger than you as exemplified by the photo on the left. Luke is the one with the checkered shirt. As an accomplished first year teacher, he was able to rise to the occasion, get respect from his students and, therefore, deliver his subject matter with well-earned knowledge and expertise.

In the words of Luke, his STEM Teaching & Food Growing System "is especially useful in my environmental science and green technology classes, where it can be used as a model ecosystem, and as an example of sustainable, eco-friendly technology."

"The system allows my students to interact with and observe naturally occurring processes such as competition for resources, mutualistic relationships between species, nutrient cycling, and photosynthesis." Now, those are the kinds of things you can talk about in a High School classroom with a STEM Teaching & Food Growing System in it.

In the photo above, Luke and one of his Rosamond High students are measuring the length of one of the tilapia that are being raised in his STEM Teaching & Food Growing System's Fish Tank. Notice that the water in the Rosamond fish tank is so clear you can see right to the bottom of the tank. That's because, unlike the fish tank at Manzo Elementary School (Part 1), this is an indoor FGS-20 STEM Teaching & Food Growing System that isn't growing much algae, which also means the fish are totally dependent on the the Caretaker to make sure the Automatic Fish Feeder is working properly and consistently delivering fish food.

Usually the Automatic Fish Feeder is secured by a stand that attaches to the side of the fish tank. In this case, a cover was added (most likely by the Rosamond maintenance crew) so that the fish could be protected in a previous classroom that most likely got routy, and the Automatic Fish Feeder is sitting on top of it. The Automatic Fish Feeders that come with our STEM Teaching & Food Growing Systems make raising fish in a classroom that shuts down on weekends and holidays very convenient. The Automatic Fish Feeder also helps to feed the fish the amount of food they need each day in small increments spread through out the day.

Luke goes on to say, "I am in a unique position as I have had the system since I began my teaching career, but I’d have to say that it provides an extra element that helps students to stay involved and interested in my courses. The system also gives us a sustainable supply of fresh vegetables."

Teachers often wonder about the time they have to put into maintenance of STEM Teaching & Food Growing Systems. According to Luke, "The system is nearly self-sustaining as well, it requires only a small amount of upkeep such as keeping the fish tank full and clean."

In the photo on the left, two students hold cherry tomatoes that they harvested from one of the tomato plants. Luke is also growing peppers in his STEM Teaching & Food Growing System. On the right above, one of Luke's students is examining the flower that appears on one of the tomato plants prior to the plant's production of cherry tomatoes.

Rosamond High ordered their STEM Teaching & Food Growing System with Induction Grow Lights which allow for the growing of flowering plants like tomatoes and peppers. Fluorescent Lights, which was another lighting choice for schools before we introduced our Mars Hydro LED's that replaced both the Induction and the Fluorescent Lights, will only grow Leafy Green veggies. We now offer Mars Hydro LED Grow Lights for all Grow Lighting needs because they are both excellent and inexpensive.

There's a big push to get girls interested in STEM subjects, but Luke isn't finding that difficult at all. The gals in his Environmental Science and Green Technology classes are just as interested in the STEM Teaching & Food Growing System as the boys, and in this case, taking the place of Mother Nature is quite fitting.

Luke's closing words: "Overall, I’d say that the Aquaponics System has been a great addition to my classroom as it provides various learning opportunities as well as allowing us to have an occasional salsa party."

Luke's STEM Food Growing System has 22 sq. ft. of growing area and a 120 gallon fish tank. It's about one half the size of the systems at Manzo Elementary (Part 1) and Davis Bilingual Elementary (Part 2).

Schools choose their systems based on the size of the space they have. This one fit perfectly on one side of Luke's Science classroom. It's designed to be a walk around system and requires a 2 ft. walkway on all four sides. We also have STEM Teaching & Food Growing Systems that don't require walk around space and can be placed against a wall.

We installed this STEM Teaching & Food Growing System, which is unusal. Most often these Systems are shipped on pallets in trucks. However, some teachers have chosen to pick up their STEM Teaching & Food Growing Systems to save the freight fees.

The Assistant Principal of Rosamond High, Mrs. Debi Keys, had acquired the STEM Teaching & Food Growing System through a Grant she wrote that was awarded in 2014. Because Aquaponics USA resided in California at the time, we were able to install the system at Rosamond High. We gave an In-Service Training to Debi and her husband, Mike, who had built an Aquaponics system at their home. So, fortunately, he knew a lot about Aquaponics. Others in attendance included some staff, a maintenance person and his wife and the first year teacher who was to be in charge of the system. Unfortunately, the first caretaker wasn't able to utilize the potential that a STEM Teaching & Food Growing System offers, so Debi and her husband stepped in to save the Aquaponics project and the fish, stabilizing the system and keeping it all going through the summer break until Luke came on board.

The moral of this part of the Rosamond story is you really need to have back up people to take charge of your living ecosystem in the event that the original person designated to be the caretaker just doesn't work out. In the case of Rosamond High, this Aquaponics project was Debi's baby, and she and her husband, Mike, became the heroes that saved the day. STEM Teaching & Food Growing Systems are living ecosystems that will die if they don't get the kind of maintenance and follow through they need. Even though that maintenance is minimal, it needs to be consistent. The Caretaker of a STEM Teaching & Food Growing System is the Mother, as in Mother Nature, for an ecosystem that depends entirely on that Caretaker.

Since installing this STEM Teaching & Food Growing System at Rosamond High School, we have re-designed our Systems and added sleek and strong black metal tables in place of these sturdy saw horses. We've also swaped out the Bell Siphons for Loop Siphons leaving unobstructed planting space in the Grow Beds.

Below is what this same System looks like now, and we were able to do this while keeping the price the same.

We have a funny saying that says "If a bull got loose in your STEM Teaching & Food Growing System area, it wouldn't be able to knock one of these Grow Beds over, and that can be very comforting for Teachers."

Aquaponics STEM Classrooms In Action, Part 3

With STEM Teaching &

Food Growing Systems

These 3 Schools that ordered our STEM Teaching & Food Growing System between 2011 and 2014 were way ahead of their time. In 2021, Schools across the U.S. are bringing these amazing Interdisciplinary Teaching Eco-Systems into Classrooms in great numbers.



Thank you for visiting our "Aquaponics STEM Classrooms In Action, Part 3 Page".  Click on Part 1  and Part 2 above. All of these Articles appeared in the STEM Education Coalition Newsletter and remember to check out our "Aquaponics in The Classroom", our "Where To Get an Aquaponics Grant" and our "STEM Resources" Pages and feel free to give us a call at 760-671-3053 or email us at It's time to GET GROWING!

Isn’t it time to turn every school campus into this joyful, exciting, engaged and interactive experience called STEM Teaching & Food Growing System Learning?

If you want to learn more about what's happening at Manzo, go to the Manzo Ecology facebook page. This is Living Learning also known as Science in Action and things are always changing.

What Is Aquaponics? Aquaponics is a food growing technology that utilizes live fish to fertilize vegetables and fruits in a cross-linked ecosystem where the fish fertilize the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish.

STEM Teaching & Food Growing Systems integrate Plant and Fish Biology with Chemistry, Math and Engineering. It's STEM Education that actually deals with stems.

Here's what Aquaponics STEM Teachers have to share direct from the field where they are using our STEM Teaching & Food Growing System to teach their Aquaponics STEM Classes.

This is a 3-Part Series that was published in the STEM Education Coalition Weekly Newsletter. The STEM Education Coalition Newsletter is an amazing resource to keep you up to date about what's happening with STEM in schools across the nation and in State and Government administrations and agencies.


The FGS-44L is twice the size as the FGS-20 we installed at Rosamond High

TEACHERS, HERE IT IS! Our popular and very informative Aquaponics 101 E-Book by Oliver Duffy in a Clickable pdf Format so you can download and Print it yourself. Up until now, it has only been available on our website under the Education Pull Down Menu. But Teachers have requested that we make it more accessible for Classroom use.

It comes with accompanying Quizzes and a Completion Certificate and is a duplicate of what's on our site complete with Grace's original Cartoon Character representing Oliver, the Aerospace Engineer, an Aquaponics Expert.

Read through this Book that was written so beginners can avoid common errors in building and running Aquaponics Systems, and you and your students willl be off to a good start at becoming  Aquaponics Gardners.

This Book is our Gift to Teachers who are performing one of the most important jobs on the Planet--Teaching our children who represent the future of our World.



TEACHERS, we've got you covered with all of the Basics you need to Start Up, Run and Maintain your STEM Teaching & Food Growing System.

With all of the information we share on this website, you can only be successful. And we're happy and ready to help with Tech Support and the Answers to any Questions you have about Aquaponics and our Systems.

The Fish Page tells you about Tilapia, the Fish we recommend you raise in your Tank.

The Veggies Page tells you about some of the most common vegetables you can raise.

The Water Page tells you about the 8 important things that determine healthy water quality.

The Grow Beds Page shares important things you need to know about your Grow Beds.

TEACHERS, Check Out these Resources Below: Go to the big Green Box to get our pdf and learn how to create a STEM Teaching & Food Growing Classroom. Go to the big Red Box to get our informative E-Book about Aquaponics Food Growing technology. Click in the big Blue Box to get our Archived Newsletters and read some of the best and most informative articles available about our Food System, the Food Revolution, Obesity In America and Diabetes. Click in the Big Teal Box to get to our 4 Teaching-the-Teacher Pages that contain Basic Information about Aquaponics Systems. Click in the Big Dark Green Box to get to our 7 Teaching-the-Teacher Pages about Aquaponics In Education.

Learn How To Create an Integrated Edible Schoolroom that teaches across all Ages & many Disciplines while also Growing Food!

Go to our Aquaponics STEM Classrooms In Action Parts 1 & 2 above.

TEACHERS, are you ready to teach your students about what's WRONG with our broken Food System?

We have some of the best information on the web about Obesity In America, Diabetes and the Food Revolution. It's in our Archived Newsletters.

They were written in the past but are as timely today as they were when they were written because the System is still broken. Go over to our 3 Groups of Archived Newsletters:


GROUP 2: 11 Parts of the 19-Part Series, Obesity In America

GROUP 3: 8 Parts of the 19-Part Series, Obesity In America with a 3-Part Series on DIABETES

Aquaponics USA STEM Classrooms In Action, Part 3

Rosamond High School

  TEACHERS, Bring Your Classroom To Life?

We have a 36 page clickable pdf that tells you everything you need to know to create a STEM Classroom using our STEM Teaching & Food Growing Systems. Click on the Cover to the right to open it.

You can also go to our "Aquaponics In The Classroom" Page and check out our  "Where To Get A Grant" Page.

It's amazing to see how Aquaponics is being embraced by our U.S. schools as the STEM Movement takes off.  

Look at our STEM Teaching & Food Growing System offerings by clicking below. We offer five different Systems of various sizes and configurations to fit in every imaginable kind of space. Scroll to the bottom of each of these pages where our STEM Packages are located:

Below are all of our Linked System Pages:

EZ-15, EZ-22, FGS-20, FGS-44R, FGS-44L

It's time to start teaching the most important subject on our planet--How To Grow Food!

Bring Your Classroom to Life