Longview ISD to grow plants using fish and water

Greenhouse redesigned

LISD to Grow Plants With Water And Fish


Longview High School is big on growing: Growing student’s minds and now they even grow plants. They have a couple green houses on property, one uses traditional soils. But the other will grow plants with only water and fish.

Agricultural Sciences teacher Rachel Taylor says their tank setup is called aquaponics, which kind of sounds like a made up word.

“It’s a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics,” Taylor said.

And that kind of sounds complicated.

“We have the fish tank right here, and it just kind of filters the water down. So this is what we call the grow bed. The pebbles act as anchors for the roots. And then the water flows down into; they call this a sump tank, and then the water is pumped back up into the fish tank,” Taylor explained.

She says there are two levels to grow stuff like veggies above and herbs below. But where do the plants get nutrients? She says it hinges on fish:

“Poop,” Taylor erevealed.

Not sure if that needed to be beeped out, but better to be safe.

“It’s what fertilizes the plants and then the plants put oxygen in the water for the fish,” Taylor said.

They used goldfish, but they have a bigger system with a bigger tank.

“And in this one we’re hoping to put catfish or tilapia,” Taylor stated.

Junior Angelica Lambarria was raised in town but recently moved to a ranch so she’s getting to know agriculture at home and school.

“I had no idea like this is super new. I didn’t even know about this. Yeah, it’s something I would like to learn about,” Lambarria said.

She says she looks forward to getting things growing at school. The first grow was a test which Taylor feels will go better this grow round.

“So we have to check the PH and we have check the nitrites and nitrates and make sure everything works together,” Taylor explained.

And the nearly self sustaining aquaponics project may be part of a bigger picture.

“So we could team up with culinary, and so like we grow it and then they could cook it and somebody could eat it,” Taylor said.

A symbiotic relationship bringing two classes together: Symbiology maybe?

And Angelica hopes to make a system at home.

“I could cook it outside. Kill it, cook it, yum! Delicious. It’s hot in here,” Angelica said.

And that, class, is the circle of lunch.

They grew some tomatoes during their test run, and will try again soon with more veggies. Rachel Taylor got the idea at an AG conference she attended last summer.

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