Zack Bolen

Knott County


Don’t Flush the Fertilizer

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At Knott County Central High School, we have been raising fish for the past five years. We currently operate three fish tanks: a 1000 gallon, a 600 gallon, and a 400-gallon tank. The two larger tanks are used to produce Kot, and the smaller tank produces TUapta. We have been using some of the waste as fertilizer for plants in the greenhouse. We would like to expand our use of waste to include other plant production. With some plumbing and construction of a float bed system, we can more efficiently utilize the fish waste. The plan would be to build a float bed system between the fish tanks and the greenhouse. This system would be gravity fed from the fish tanks to the float bed system. After the water flows through the float bed system and fertilizes the plants, the water would be directed to the greenhouse to be used to water plants. This system would maximize the use of nitrogen waste produced by the fish and minimize the use of new water.

In our efforts to teach students about sustainable agriculture, It is important that byproducts be incorporated into the production system. Fish manure is very high in nitrogen. Nitrogen is an excellent plant fertilizer. Our goal is to create a self-sustaining system where the fish are feed and grow, and their waste is used to produce plants. In doing this, we maximize the use of our inputs and minimize our negative impacts on the environment. With this system in place, we can produce high-quality fish and high-quality plants with the least amount of expense and maximum efficiency.