INAPRO - Innovative Aquaponics for Professional Application (Johanna Suhl)

ISHS Secretariat
Johanna Suhl

This research is focused on a new aquaponic system. In principal, aquaponics is the combined production of fish and plants by using the nutrient rich fish water for plant nutrition. Therefore, aquaponics is a system for sustainable food production, especially based on lowering water consumption and associated environmental pollution. Single recirculating aquaponic systems (SRAPS) are well known systems. However, the production quantity is low compared to single fish or plant production units because there are different environmental requirements in terms of the different biological systems within an aquaponic system. Therefore, SRAPS could not be implemented up to now as a real alternative for intensive production. To overcome these problems, a new and innovative double recirculating aquaponic system (DRAPS) was developed (Kloas et al., 2015). As the name suggest, it combines two separate recirculating systems: i) a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) for fish rearing and ii) a closed hydroponic system for food production. With this decoupling it is possible to optimise both units for optimal growth conditions without affecting each other. In DRAPS the nutrient rich fish water is adjusted to the specific nutrient demands of the growing plants by adding mineral fertilizer. However, little is known about the functionality and the successful use of DRAPS because it is a relative new approach.
My personal focus is on the nutrient dynamic in the fish waste water and how it can be optimised for plant production, taking different plant growth and production parameters into consideration. The combined production of tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) was already proven successfully (Kloas et al., 2015). It was demonstrated that the yield of tomato fruits were comparable to that obtained in conventional hydroponic production (Suhl et al., 2016). However, investigations of the water quality delivered by other fish species, e.g. catfish (Clarias gariepinus), and how it can be optimised is necessary. Recent data showed already that the fish water quality of different fish species can vary strongly and is related to the operation of the RAS. Therefore, the treatment of the fish waste water must be adapted specifically before it is delivered to the plants.

Johanna Suhl won an ISHS student award for the best oral presentation at the III International Symposium on Horticulture in Europe (SHE2016) in Greece in October 2016.


  • Kloas, W., Groß, R., Baganz, D., Graupner, J., Monsees, H., Schmidt, U., Staaks, G., Suhl, J., Tschirner, M., Wittstock, B., et al. (2015). A new concept for aquaponic systems to improve sustainability, increase productivity, and to reduce environmental impacts. Aquac. Environ. Interact. 7, 179-192
  • Suhl, J., Dannehl, D., Kloas, W., Baganz, D., Jobs, S., Scheibe, G., and Schmidt, U. (2016). Advanced aquaponics: evaluation of intensive tomato production in aquaponics vs. conventional hydroponics. Agr. Water Manage. 178, 335-344

Johanna Suhl, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Division Biosystems Engineering, Albrecht-Thaer-Weg 3, 14195 Berlin, Germany, and Department of Biology and Ecology of Fishes, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Müggelseedamm 310, 12587 Berlin, Germany, e-mail:

Student Award Winners