Ypsilanti Community High School Project 

The Ypsilanti Community High School Project, previously known as the Huron High School Project, began as a collaboration between the students at Huron High School and members of Michigan Aquaponics. We were contacted by Earth Science teacher, Mr. Mike Damron, to construct a system that would pique the interests of his students. This system would contain a 20-gallon tank and be no taller than 36 inches. 

Within our design process, we identified several areas that we wanted to explore, such as vertical growing and modularity. What was conceived was an aquaponics system that contained three to four PVC Tubes standing vertically, holding just over 6 individuals plants. The fish tank would be situated underneath the tubes, acting as a home for the fish as well as a reservoir for the depositing water. In order to transport the water back in the tubes from the fish tank, a spray-bar would be used to allow for water aeration and distribution of transported water. 

Phase 1: Design

1st Iteration of Design (July 2016)

2nd Iteration of Design (Sept. 2016)

Within our 3rd and Final iteration of our design, we kept some of our original design ideas, such as the vertical growing method and the spray-bar on top. Some things we changed were how the water was divided among the four tubes. The placement of the tubes had to be altered from the 2nd iteration because we added additional support beams to the bottom, thus negating the possibility of have all four tubes in a line. Rather, we have it with a 2 by 2 position, which in turn changed how the spray-bar mechanism was to be designed.

The fish tank we are using is around 20 gallons and each PVC tube is around 18 inches. Total height of the system is around 40 inches.

3rd Iteration of Design (Nov. 2016)

Phase 2: Build

The system build started in February 2017. Below are images of the completed main structure.

The design underwent changes throughout the build process such as changing the spacing between the pipes so all four can be seen from the front view and the extra support bar on the bottom platform added in the 3rd iteration of design being removed. The PVC piping for the spray bar was removed to easier see how the water distributes between the four branches. The system is modular and each level can be moved separately. Valves were added at the bottom of the vertical growing tubes to control the water levels of each growing tube separately.


Moving forward, we’re finishing water testing through the system and troubleshooting any issues that arise. We are giving our system to Ypsilanti Community High School for their science class in mid-April 2018.