Aquaponics: Revolutionary Technology Whose Time Has Come

Welcome to Aquasustain! Located in beautiful southern Colorado, we are dedicated to promoting the technology of sustainable food production known as aquaponics.

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What is Aquaponics?

Simply put, aquaponics is the synergistic combination of aquaculture (the cultivation of edible aquatic animals) and hydroponics (vegetable production without the use of soil). When combined in a carefully-designed, balanced system, the strengths of each are enhanced, while the challenges of each are minimized. Waste from the fish tanks, normally a management liability in aquaculture requiring careful filtration and removal, becomes an asset to the plants in the form of highly nutritious organic fertilizer. As fish tank water circulates throughout the vegetable beds, waste is broken down by beneficial micro-organisms, converting it into a complete and easily absorbed source of plant nutrients. Meanwhile, the plants and growing media cleanse and aerate the water which returns to the tanks via gravity, and the cycle endlessly repeats.

Why Aquaponics?

There are numerous advantages offered by aquaponic food production as compared with other growing methods.


Space is utilized more intensively, resulting in maximum food production per square foot. This is made possible by the rich, readily absorbable nutrients available to the plants. As a result, aquaponics promises to help offset widespread soil-related problems, such as dwindling resource availability and deterioration of soil quality.

Water Conservation

As the same volume of water is constantly reused within the system, aquaponics requires approximately 90% less water consumption than conventional gardening, with the small losses mainly due to evaporation.


A self-contained aquaponic system, sheltered within a passive solar greenhouse environment, can be deployed virtually anywhere, in any climate, and can successfully produce abundant, year-round food where other methods would be difficult or impossible to implement. Arid, urban, or resource-deficient areas are all excellent candidates for implementing this technology.

Food Quality

Fish do not tolerate most chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, or other potentially harmful substances. Therefore, all food produced aquaponically is inherently organic by its nature, and is free of any worrisome contaminants. Additionally, continuous year-round production allows food to be harvested at the peak of maximum freshness and nutritional content. As an added bonus, this food tastes delicious!

Environmental Sustainability

Aquaponics is an effective and potentially important technology for addressing a host of environmental concerns. Whether viewed as a personal step towards greater empowerment and self-sufficiency, or as participation in a much-needed global shift, the adoption of aquaponics holds great promise as a solution to such problems as collapsing wild fisheries, widespread pollution, rising food costs, expanding poverty and hunger, a growing soil crisis, water shortages, and a global climate in turmoil.

The Aquasustain Difference.

The Aquasustain approach realizes all of the advantages described above, with an additional key benefit: Energy conservation. By its nature, aquaponics is a very energy-efficient food production system. However, most existing systems today still depend on fossil-fuel based energy to function. From the very beginning, we were determined to develop an aquaponics system which relied entirely on renewable energy and have achieved our goal.

Click here to read our paper "Aquasustain: The Environmental Connection"

Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple. — Bill Mollison

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Aquasustain is a concept which grew out of many years of experience and experimentation with sustainable agriculture, green building design, alternative energy, and aquaponics technology.

Put simply, Aquasustain offers a groundbreaking method for truly sustainable food production. By combining the best of both worlds, the Aquasustain system harnesses the strengths and eliminates the weaknesses of both aquaculture and hydroponics. Furthermore, it achieves this without the use of costly fossil fuels, grid-tied electricity, chemical inputs, or large commitments of labor.

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Aquasustain: A Project For a Greener Future

The quest to solve big problems is the foundation of our motivation and passion. As global and national instability in its various forms (economic, political, environmental, nutritional, etc.) continues to manifest itself, we have embraced the challenge of developing a practical solution.

Several years ago, we designed and built a prototype residential scale system. It has proven to be so successful that it inspired us to found Aquasustain, as a means of disseminating and sharing this technology with others. From assisting individuals realize their personal goals of self-reliance, to the implementation of commercial and community-scale facilities, we are passionately dedicated to our cause. We've proven the concept, and the results have exceeded our expectations. Now it's time to expand our operations to first help feed our immediate community, and then grow to help feed the world.

Our Aquasustain systems offer a powerful tool for resolving many of the most pressing problems facing us all. Whether it be concerns over climate change, resource depletion and scarcity, or widespread hunger and poverty, Aquasustain's unique technology offers an effective and accessible solution.

Consultation and Design

The day-to-day management of a well-designed aquaponic system is relatively simple and straightforward. The process of bringing such a system from concept to completion, however, entails many complex and important considerations. Proper design is critical to a successful system, and ensures optimum and reliable performance. Our consulting service will help you get off to the right start. We'll assist you in designing and constructing a system that will meet your needs for many years to come, whether you're planning small-scale home food production or have a much larger goal in mind. Please contact us to discuss your unique situation and requirements.

Sharing the Bounty

We are excited to announce that we've embarked on a new project: the establishment of a regional-scale aquaponic greenhouse complex, based upon the proven success of our initial residential-sized prototype system. Our environmentally-sound system design requires very little consumption of the natural resources that are so precious and limited in our challenging region. This facility will provide high-quality, year-round organically-grown produce and protein at an affordable cost to the residents of our under-served region of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, as well as serving an educational role and housing our ongoing research and development efforts. Seminars, workshops, and other instructional programs will be featured activities.

We have purchased an ideal site for the facility and are now seeking funding for its actual construction. Please visit our crowdfunding campaign here. With your help, Aquasustain will be able to embark on the next phase of this important project to feed communities, protect the Earth's dwindling resources, and secure a greener future for our children to inherit. Your donation to our project will directly benefit our fragile environment, the preservation of our precious natural resources, and perhaps most importantly, our fellow human inhabitants of the planet. Your support will make the difference in our journey toward true widespread sustainability.

Our small-scale system has proven to be more productive than we imagined it could be. With your support, we can expand our operations to the community scale. A large scale system will enable us to feed families in need, launch new research projects, and promote a healthier, more sustainable Colorado.

We were featured recently in The Pueblo Chieftain

We’re running out of dirt. Of all the environmental problems the world is grappling with today, that one gets considerably less attention than, say, global warming. But based on the research he’s done, Fred Dixon believes that to be true . . .

Article By Blake Fontenay,
The Pueblo Chieftain

About Us

Founded in 2014, Aquasustain grew out of a deep love and concern for our planet's fragile environment.

We saw the reports from international agencies detailing the near-total collapse of our world's fisheries. We watched with alarm as our oceans and fresh water were polluted with heavy metals, plastics, and toxic industrial and agricultural chemicals. We saw, first hand, the plight of disadvantaged families struggling to eat well in our nation's "food deserts".

We knew we had to come up with a solution.

Aquasustain is the result of over a decade of research and collaboration, as we learned how to harness natural ecological feedback loops to build a truly sustainable food growing system. Our work has resulted in an innovative solution which produces fresh, local food year round, while requiring very little water and zero fossil fuel inputs.

Fred Dixon

Fred Dixon

Co-director Fred Dixon has owned and operated a technology business for many years. His long experience and familiarity with complex systems is a perfect fit with aquaponics. Additionally, he has had a design and construction business, which has fully prepared him for the challenges of those aspects of aquaponics. Before entering the tech sphere, he had a sixteen year career in agriculture, which ingrained in him a strong appreciation and understanding of the delicate and complex inter-relationship between various environmental processes.

Lorraine Barnett

Lorraine Barnett

Co-director Dr. Lorraine Barnett is a retired doctor of Chiropractic and is highly-trained and knowledgeable in the fields of biology, human nutrition, and holistic medicine. A life-long devotee and advocate of organically grown food and a healthy lifestyle, she is excited to be involved in this innovative technology. Having been the founder and owner of several successful Chiropractic practices, Dr. Barnett's organizational and management skills and passion for healthy, environmentally responsible living make her an ideal partner in this project.

Every donation makes a difference.

A gift to Aquasustain is an investment in our community, and the health of our planet.

Our small-scale system has proven to be more productive than we imagined it could be. With your support, we can expand our operations to the community scale. A large scale system will enable us to feed families in need, launch new research projects, and promote a healthier, more sustainable Colorado.

Donate now to help us build Southern Colorado's first community-scale, sustainable, food production system.

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