Aquaponics Glossary


Aquaponics Glossary


Acclimate – To adapt to a new temperature, altitude, climate, environment, or situation. (Module 2 – Page 13)

Advertising – The action of calling something to the attention of the public especially by paid announcements. (Module 2, Page 22)

Aeration – This process brings water and air in close contact in order to remove dissolved gasses and to oxidize dissolved metals and volatile chemicals. In the case of Aquaponics, aeration is used continuously to decrease the risk of oxygen depletion. (Module 2 – Page 12)

Agricultural Entrepreneur – A farmer or person interested in agriculture who wants to make it a business. (Module 1 – Page 3)

Algae – A simple nonflowering plant of a large group that includes the seaweeds and many single-celled forms. Algae contain chlorophyll but lack true stems, roots, leaves, and vascular tissue. (Module 2 – Page 10)

Ammonia – A colorless gas that is present in urine with a characteristic pungent smell. (Module 1 – Page 10)

Aquaculture – Growing aquatic organisms in a controlled environment. (Module 1 – Page 6)

Aquaponics – A type of sustainable, closed-loop agriculture with an ecosystem of two technologies (Aquaculture and Hydroponics) that work together using fish tanks and grow beds to produce plants and produce. (Module 1 – Page 3)

Asset Management – The process of developing, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets, or the handling of assets. (Module 3 – Page 6)


Batch System – This is more appropriate for crops with longer growth cycles (> 3 months), such as tomatoes and cucumbers, where the entire bed is planted and generally removed at the same time. This concept can be combined with staggered cropping by having multiple grow beds in different stages of development. (Module 1 – Page 10, Module 2 – Page 16)

Benchmarks – A standard or point of reference against which things can be compared. (Module 3 – Page 6)

Business Plan – A document that describes a business’ future objectives and strategies for achieving them. A business plan includes a written plan from a marketing, financial, and operational viewpoint. (Module 1 – Page 4, Module 4 – Page 2)

Buying Power – The amount of money that a person or group has to spend. (Module 2 – Page 22)


Climate Change – A change in global climate patterns. (Module 1 – Page 3)

Competitive Advantage – A condition that puts a company in a favourable business position. (Module 3 – Page 6)

Consumer Preference – The subjective, individual tastes of consumers, measured by utility, or various bundles of goods. Consumer preferences allow the consumer to rank these bundles of goods according to the levels of utility they give the consumer. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Controllable Variables – Any variable that is able to be controlled. In the case of marketing, these variables that can be controlled are the 4 Ps: product, Price, Promotion, and Place/Distribution. (Module 2 – Page 22) 



Delay – A period of time by which something is late or postponed. In site security, effective delay tactics can be employed to allow enough time between detection and access. Locks on doors/gates/tanks help with delaying access of a thief to your system. One might secure items such as solar panels or batteries to make them harder and more time-consuming to steal. (Module 2 – Page 20)

Detect – To discover or identify the presence or existence of. In site security, devices such as motion light sensors, cameras and alarms can be very effective. (Module 2 – Page 20)

Deter – The action of discouraging an event through instilling doubt or fear of the consequences. In site security, deterrents may include lighting, fencing, brush clearing and guard animals. (Module 2 – Page 20)

Differentiation – The process of distinguishing a product or service from others, to make it more attractive to a particular target market. The product should be differentiated from competitor’s products as well as the business’ own products. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Direct Distribution – A channel of distribution in which the producer sells a product directly to a consumer without the help of intermediaries. (Module 2 – Page 22)



Ebb and Flow System – Ebb and flow, also known as flood and drain, refers to two phases of movement of water. In an aquaponics system, the ebb is the outgoing phase, where water from the fish tanks is dispersed to the grow beds; the flow is the incoming phase where the water is returned to the fish tank. (Module 1 – Page 9)



Financial Position – The assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity of a business. (Module 3 – Page 6)

Financial Projections – A forecast of future revenue and expenses in a business.  (Module 3 – Page 6)

Fingerlings – A small fish up to one year of age. (Module 1 – Page 10, (Module 2 – Page 17)

Fish Tanks – A large container made of concrete in which the fish are kept. The fish tanks are part of the ebb and flow system. (Module 1 – Page 9, Module 2 – Page 7)

Focus Cost Leadership – A business strategy that requires competing based on price to target a narrow market. A business following this strategy does not necessarily charge the lowest prices in their industry but instead charges low prices relative to other businesses they compete within their target market. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Focus Low-Cost Market – A marketing strategy based on low cost aims at securing a competitive advantage by serving buyers in the niche market at a lower cost and a lower price than rivals. This is done by controlling factors that drive cost and/or reconfigure its value chain and by being willing to operate with lower profit margins. (Module 2 – Page 22)



Growbeds – A large, rectangular box used for growing plants in an aquaponics system. Grow beds are useful in an aquaponics system because they hold the growing media. They are part of the ebb and flow system. (Module 1 – Page 9, Module 2 – Page 7)



Harvest and Return System A modified form of the staggered strategy that does not necessarily involve sectioning the grow bed. For example, bush bean seeds are planted directly in the growth media of the grow bed. Plantings occur over several weeks so that the plants will not mature at the same time. Crops are harvested one day and a new crop will appear several days later that requires harvesting. Staggering the planting will allow viable plants to be present over several months. (Module 1 – Page 9, Module 2 – Page 16)

Hydroponics – Growing plants in sand, gravel, liquid, or other media but without soil. (Module 1 – Page 6)



Indirect Distribution – A channel of distribution that involves a product passing through additional steps as it moves from the manufacturing business via distributors to wholesalers and then retail stores. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Integrative – A marketing strategy that stresses the importance of a consistent, seamless, multi-dimensional brand experience for the consumer. This means that each branding effort – across television, radio, print, Internet, and in person – is presented in a similar style that reinforces the brand’s ultimate message (brand messaging). (Module 2 – Page 22)

Intercropping – This can be used with a batch system. For example, Bibb lettuce can be planted between the tomato or cucumber plants and harvested before the tomato plant canopy blocks the sunlight. Other shade tolerant plants may be planted in place of lettuce as well. (Module 1 – Page 9, Module 2 – Page 16)

Interest – A percentage of the amount borrowed that must be paid in addition to the original amount of the loan. (Module 3 – Page 3)







Loan – Money that is lent and must be repaid. (Module 1 – Page 4)

Long-Term Goals – Allow entrepreneurs to focus on the development of their business by setting goals for the distant future. these goals require time, planning, and control of production. Long-Term Goals should be SMART–Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound. Long-Term Goals could look ahead to 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, etc. down the road. (Module 3 – Page 6)

Low-Cost Market – A method of valuing products where the product is valued at either the historical cost or the fair market value, whichever is lower. (Module 2 – Page 22)



Market Conditions – Characteristics of a market into which a new business is entering or into which a new product will be introduced, such as the number of competitors, the intensity of competitiveness, and the market’s growth rate. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Market Characteristic – Various traits and information about consumers, such as their background, behaviors, thoughts, and location are used to identify key customer groups. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Market Trend – A perceived tendency of financial markets to move in a particular direction over time; when the trading market responds to the ups and downs of the prices associated with investments and securities. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Marketing – Services involved in moving product from farm to consumer, including creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and communities. (Module 2 – Page 21)

Marketing Plan – A plan that outlines business advertising and marketing efforts and objectives for the coming year or other specified amount of time. (Module 1 – Page 4, Module 2 – Page 21)

Marketing Strategies – A marketing mix of strategies that a business can utilize to draw consumers to their product. This marketing mix can be executed through the 4 Ps: Price, Product, Promotion, and Place/Distribution. (Module 2 – Page 21)

Mechanization – The introduction of machines and machinery. (Module 2 – Page 2)

Middleman Characteristic – A person who plays an intermediate economic role between producer and retailer or consumer. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Mission Statement – Captures the purpose of your business goals and philosophies, as it pertains to your business. (Module 3 – Page 6, Module 3 – Page 6)



Niche Market – The subset of the market on which a specific product is focused, with features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, price ranges, and production quality for the demographics it is intended to impact. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Nitrification Cycle – A natural biochemical cycle that converts ammonia and nitrite (two types of fish waste) into nitrate to overcome the toxicity of the fish waste products.  (Module 1 – Page 10, Module 2 – Page 11)

Nitrate – A plant nutrient that is used to fertilize the grow beds. Nitrate is created by the nitrification process and is formed when the bacteria, Nitrobacter, converts nitrite to nitrate. (Module 2 – Page 11)

Nitrite – A salt or ester of nitrous acid that converted from ammonia by the bacteria, Nitrosomonas. (Module 1 – Page 10, Module 2 – Page 11)


Oxygenation – The addition of oxygen to a system. In Aquaponics, the movement of water through gravel provides sufficient amounts of dissolved oxygen that help to filter the water. (Module 2 – Page 12)



Personal Selling – Also known as face-to-face selling, personal selling is when one person who is the salesman tries to convince the customer to buy a product. (Module 2 – Page 22)

pH – A figure expressing the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a logarithmic scale on which 7 is neutral, lower values are more acid, and higher values more alkaline. (Module 2 – Page 8)

Photosynthesis – The process by which a green plant turns water and carbon dioxide into food when the plant is exposed to light. (Module 2 – Page 10)

Pipes – A tube of metal, plastic, or other material used to move water. Pipes are part of the ebb and flow system. (Module 2 – Page 7)

Product Characteristic – Attributes that can be added to the product definition to extend the description of a product. Examples of product characteristics are size, color, quality, shape or weight. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Production Strategy – A strategy for planting and harvesting crops. (Module 2 – Page 16)

Public Relations – The activity or job of providing information about a particular person or organization to the public so that people will regard that person or organization in a favorable way. (Module 3 – Page 22)

Publicity – An act or device designed to attract public interest and gain public attention and support; the dissemination of information or promotional material; paid advertising; public attention or acclaim. (Module 3 – Page 22)


Quality Control – Involves conducting inspections to ensure the quality of a product, including freshness, color, cleanliness, damage, the presence of insects, etc. (Module 3 – Page 6)



Risk – The possibility that a business will have lower than anticipated profits or experience a loss rather than a profit. Risk is influenced by factors such as sales volume, per-unit price, input costs, competition, economic climate, and government regulations. (Module 3 – Page 6)



Sales Promotions – Selling activities (such as the use of displays, sampling, demonstrations, contests, coupons, premiums, and special sales) that supplement advertising and personal selling, coordinate them, and make them effective. (Module 2 – Page 22)

Short-Term Goals – Steps taken to achieve a long-term goal. Short-term goals are something you want to do in the near future–this week, this month, or this year. (Module 3 – Page 6)

Staggered Crop Production – Utilizes a single type of plant in different stages of growth. For example, Bibb lettuce has a seed-to-transplant period of 2-3 weeks in the nursery before a 4week grow out period in the grow beds before harvest. For staggered production, divide the grow space into even sections and stagger the nursery seed planting and seedling transplanting one week apart so that once a week there is a fresh crop of lettuce for sale to local consumers. (Module 1 – Page 9, Module 2 – Page 16)

Staggered Fish Production – The production cycle used to stock and harvest fish where you stock the fish tank one week and then harvest the fish about 24-26 weeks later. (Module 2 – Page 17)

Strategic Partners – Relationship between two alliances; usually formalized by a business contract. (Module 3 – Page 6)

Stress – (in relation to plants) Pressure or tension exerted on a material or object. In an aquaponics system, both fish and plants can experience stress from various factors. (Module 2 – Page 10)

Sun Exposure – Exposure to sunlight. Too much sun exposure can contribute to excessive algae growth in the fish tanks. (Module 2 – Page 10)

Sun Shade – A parasol, awning, or other device giving protection from the sun. Sun shades can be used to provide shade to the fish tank in an aquaponics system. (Module 2 – Page 10)



Temperature – The degree or intensity of heat present in a substance or object, especially as expressed according to a comparative scale and shown by a thermometer or perceived by touch. (Module 2 – Page 9)

Terms and Conditions – (relating to a loan) Conditions and requirements included in a loan agreement specifying loan amount, interest rate, payments, and other conditions. (Module 1 – Page 4)

Terrain – A stretch of land, especially with regard to its physical features. (Module 2 – Page 2)



Utility Bed – An extra bed situated amongst other growbeds where one can have a seedling nursery, a fingerling nursery, a sump pump and filter, etc. (Module 2 – Page 5)





Wastewater Treatment – Removing solid waste and converting toxins in the water into a non-toxic form. (Module 1 – Page 6)