Aquaponics refers to any process in which fish and plants are farmed together in one integrated, symbiotic system. The term is a mashup of ‘aquaculture’ (raising fish) and ‘hydroponics’ (soilless cultivation of plants in water).

AQUAlab raises fish not only as a food source, but also to provide fertiliser for beds of leafy greens, edible flowers, microgreens and fragrant herbs. The source and beginning of everything is organic fish nutrients, which start the system. Fish eat and grow, producing waste during the process, which is comprised of ammonia and manure.

This waste, now present in the water, is pumped through a natural bio-filter, which transforms the ammonia waste into usable nitrates. These nitrates enrich the water used to irrigate the plants and vegetables, and fertilises them. The plants purify the water, which is now recirculated back into the fish tanks, ready to begin a new cycle. AQUAlab does all of this using renewable energies, LED lighting, recirculating hydroponics and open-source microprocessors that control and monitor the life in the systems.


Andrew Douglas is the creator of URBANFARM, an agricultural start-up based in Dublin. Andrew and his team initiate urban agriculture projects within the city by first promoting the re-use of the city’s waste stream materials, or more technically collaborative projects. The projects use the latest technologies in LED lighting and microprocessors to create controlled environments for aquaponic and hydroponic food systems, helping to create an efficient city that can grow its own fresh, local produce.

Grow House collects a number of projects which propose to bring agriculture out of the fields at the periphery of town and into the centre of our houses, cities and factories.