Aquaponics - Content created by Stellenbosch University

Course Fee R1,299.00

What this course is about?

This Aquaponics course is an introductory course into the field of Aquaponics. Aquaponics is an ancient food growing technology that has been around since the earth has had water with fish and plants growing together naturally. Aquaponics is nature at work similar to an ecosystem in nature. In nature, the fish eat whatever they find for food, and their waste is broken down by the bacteria in the water, creating nutrients for the plants. The plants then absorb these nutrients; and in doing so, they help clean the water for the fish.

The word “aquaponics” comes from two separate words. The first word is “aqua”, which, of course, means water; but in this case, the “aqua” is from another compound word “aquaculture” (the raising of fish). The second word is “ponics”, which is Latin for work, and comes from its use in “hydroponics” (working at growing plants in water, hydro).

By completion of this course the learner will understand the technology of Aquaponics, be able to design and managed his or her own aquaponics system.

Who should be doing this course?

Any person interested in Aquaponics and who wants to learn more about this technology should enrol for this course. Does not matter if you are young or old or what your previous experience or knowledge of Aquaculture or Agronomy is. Keep in mind that this is an introductory course and the course is not presented on an advanced level.

The completion of Biology and Science as subjects on secondary school level is advisable for any candidate who are planning to enrol for this course.

Learning outcomes

The primary purpose of this course is to give the participant a basic understanding of the technology in Aquaponics. How it works? How to build your own aquaponics system and how to operate and manage the system.

After completing this course, you should be able to:

Understand what Aquaponics is;

  • Understand how this technology work.
  • Be able to design your own aquaponics system.
  • Be able to operate and manage your own aquaponics system on a day to day basis.
  • Be able to grow various different plants in an aquaponics system.
  • Be able to make a success of an aquaponics project or aquaponics business venture.


Your course is mark is calculated using the average mark obtained in each of the Chapter tests. In order to pass this course, you must obtain a final course mark of at least 50%. This means that even if you fail a few of the chapter tests, if your test marks in the other chapter tests are high enough you will still be able to pass the course. Good Luck!

Study at your own pace!

We’ve created our courses to suit your busy life! The duration of this course is based on a student guide where one 300 – 500 word article is read per day, and the assessment is done on a separate day after the relevant articles have been reviewed. But you can do the course in your own time and at your own pace. If you choose to do two readings per day, it will take you half of the estimated time, four readings per day means doing the course in a quarter of the time etc. We leave that decision up to you!



In the 7 chapters of this course you'll be covering the following areas:

CHAPTER 1 Introduction to Aquaponics
CHAPTER 2 Plants in Aquaponics
CHAPTER 3 Fish production in Aquaponics
CHAPTER 4 Water Quality Management of your Aquaponics System
CHAPTER 5 Aquaponics System Design
CHAPTER 6 Aquaponics System Management
CHAPTER 7 Aquaponics Economics

Henk Stander Dept of Animal Sciences, Division of Aquaculture, University of Stellenbosch


Henk Stander is currently the Principal Technical Manager from the Aquaculture Division within the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Stellenbosch. Henk has been working at the Aquaculture Division for the past 22 years and he generated a lot of valuable experience in different fields on Aquaculture over the years. He holds a Master’s degree in Animal Production (MPhil) Aquaculture. He has also followed several International Aquaculture Training courses over the years in countries like the USA, China, Switzerland, Ghana, Kenya and the Philippines. Henk is the current Vice-Chairman of the Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa and a member of the Steering Committee for the African Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society. He is also acting as an EXCO Member on various local Aquaculture Industry Associations for instance the Western Cape Trout Association and the Catfish Association of South Africa. He was a founding member of the Aquaponics Association of South Africa and served on the EXCO for 3 years as the Secretariat. Henk’s experience in Aquaponics goes back to 2012 when he helped to design and construct the first Aquaponics research system at Stellenbosch University. Since then he was involved in Aquaponics for the past 9 years. He has completed Aquaponics Training Workshops presented by James Rakocy (USA), Murray Hallam (Australia) and Leslie Ter Morshuizen (SA). Henk was an extraordinary member of the EU Aquaponics HUB and one of the Keynote Speakers at their Aquaponics Conference in Slovenia during 2016. He has supervised 2 Masters Students from Stellenbosch University with research in Aquaponics previously and gave technical assistance and advice to several other students with research in Aquaponics. Henk has published several popular articles on Aquaponics in local Agricultural Magazines and was a contributing author in 2 academic books published on Aquaponics: 1. Geothermal, Wind and Solar Energy Applications in Agriculture and Aquaculture, 2017. (CRC-Australia), chapter on Aquaponics. 2. Aquaponics, EU Aquaponics Hub Publication, 2018.

Professor Elsamari Botha


Download Course Notes

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