INTAG's System Design & Operations Classes

By INTAG Systems (other events)

2 Dates Through May 21, 2017

Join us for either one, or two days, of aquaponic training classes May 20th and May 21st!

In these classes you will get to tour the aquaponic greenhouse located in Steelton-Highspire, get a hands-on experience with some of the leading experts in the aquaponic field, as well as getting in-depth details about running an aquaponic system. These classes are designed for people interested in learning the behind the scene details of using an aquaponics system. 

Purchase of ticket includes access to all day event, *lunch, free parking, a packet to keep notes along the way, a tour of the facility, and other takeaways. 

* Lunch will be an assortment of sandwiches, salad, and desserts. Please email if you have any food allergies. Thank you! 


Both classes start at 9:00 AM and end at 5:30 PM

Aquaponic System Design Workshop Itinerary (May 20th):

  • Sign in:  8:30am - 9:00am
  • Introduction to Aquaponics - What is aquaponics, why it is important? A look at the application of aquaponics in various industries and settings.
  • Components of Aquaponics - Aquaponic system components and their applications.  
  • CEA - Fundamentals of Controlled Environment Agriculture: lighting, temperature, biosecurity. Best practices for choosing a location for your aquaponic system.
  • Plant Lighting - Selection of grow lights, discussion on plant requirements and lighting solutions.
  • Water Chemistry - An overview of the water quality processes at play in an aquaponic system, and the impacts they have on the systems success.
  • Aquaculture and Fish Selection - Things to keep in mind when selecting fish for your aquaponic system.
  • Lunch 
  • Waste Management - Managing solid waste, and liquid ammonia waste. A look at the nitrogen cycle, and importance of bacteria in a successful aquaponic system.
  • Engineering - Siphons and water bridges (barometric balance), connecting grow beds, system water movement (continuous flow, flood drains, bell siphons), connecting fish tanks, and air blower placement.
  • Fundamentals of IBC’s - Safely selecting and cleaning recycled equipment, overview of various IBC style aquaponic systems.
  • Ratios of Aquaponics - Designing an aquaponic system, and discussing three methods by which to appropriately size the fish and plant portions of the system to ensure successful operation.
  • Start up and Cycling a System - Decreasing the risks associated with starting up the nitrogen cycle and an overview of the first 30 days of a new system.


Aquaponic System Operation Workshop Itinerary (May 21st):

  • Sign in: 8:30am - 9:00am
  • Introduction to Aquaponics - What is aquaponics, why it is important? A brief overview of aquaponics and its uses in various industries.
  • Fish Selection and Handling - A look at various fish species in aquaponics, and their water quality requirements. A dive into common fish ailments, and how to treat them in the context of an aquaponic system, as well as best practices for receiving, handling, and harvesting fish in an aquaponic system.
  • CEA - Fundamentals of Controlled Environment Agriculture: lighting, temperature, biosecurity. An overview of food-safety protocols in aquaponics, a tour of a large-scale aquaponic facility, and a discussion into various equipment and protocols for ensuring food-safe operation.  
  • Plant Lighting - Selection of grow lights, discussion on plant requirements and lighting solutions.
  • Water Chemistry - Roles of dissolved oxygen, pH, and temperature. Understanding the fundamentals of water quality for designing a successful aquaponic system.
  • Lunch  
  • System Overview of Commercial Aquaponic System - A walkthrough of the aquaponic facility, focused on the various aquaculture components and their functions, and a hands-on look at four different types of aquaponic growing equipments, their applications, maintenance, and operation.
  • Hands-on Training: Each of the follow sections will be taught in two parts: a classroom lecture to outline the fundamentals, and a hands-on learning opportunity in the greenhouse. The lecture portions will be taught to the entire class. The class will be broken into three groups for the hands-on learning portions. *Format subject to change due to class size.
    • Plant Propagation from Seed; Transplanting in Aquaponics - In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn the best practices for cultivating plants, from seed, in various aquaponic equipment. Additionally, participants will transplant seedlings to/from various growing equipment, and will gain hands-on skills working with a range of aquaponic grow methods.
    • Vegetative Propagation in Aquaponics - Propagating various plants from vegetative cuttings in an aquaponic environments. This workshop will allow participants to use rockwool and GrowGrips to vegetatively propagated plants in Media Beds and DWC Float Beds.
    • Pest Surveys and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) - Participants will learn how to properly inspect plants for the presence of pests, as well as how to safely use chemical and biological control agents in an aquaponic greenhouse. This section will cover the fundamentals of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), and will expose participants to common beneficials, survey methods, and release protocols for effective pest management.


*Please note: No recording is allowed during the presentations. If we see or suspect someone is recording, guest may be asked to leave with no refund on his or her ticket.


ABOUT INTAG: The INTAG team has over 25 years of combined experience with accredited individuals in their fields. Our team has spent years researching the impact of environmental manipulations on plant growth, and how aquaponics can be used as a viable tool for commercial food production. Each INTAG team member is focused, and ready to provide you with the best experience when buying, installing, and operating your aquaponic system. For more information, visit our website at



PAUL NICKERSON: Paul Nickerson currently serves as VP of Applied Sciences for Integrated Agriculture Systems, Harrisburg, PA, overseeing the research, design, and implementation of Controlled Environment Agriculture solutions around the world. In collaboration with university partners, Paul’s research is focused on the impact of environmental manipulations on plant growth, and how aquaponics can be used as a viable tool for commercial food production. In recent years, Paul and his team have consulted with foreign governments to design agriculture and aquaculture development programs to aid in national food-security, and agriculture-based economic development. Paul will be outlining the fundamentals of aquaponics, and will equip attendees with the tools needed to evaluate various aquaponic system designs, empowering individuals to successfully construct and operate a range of aquaponic systems. 

DR. DAVID FOSTER: Dr. David Foster is Professor of Biology and Environmental Science and chairs the Sustainability Studies Major Committee at Messiah College. His lifelong interests center on plant ecology, restoration of forest environments and how native peoples use plants for food and medicine. Dr. Foster has also edited the second editions of Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, and Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants. Dr. Foster has a BS in Biology with Honors (Eastern University, 1990); a MS in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development and a PhD in Botany (University of Wisconsin- Madison 1993, 1998). He also holds the Naturalist and Environmental Analyst certificates from AuSable Institute where he has served as a faculty member (1997-2008) and currently serves as a member of the Executive Board. Dr. Foster is also a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences and the Society of American Foresters.

CRYSTAL HUFF: Crystal Huff, Agricultural Specialist with INTAG, studied horticulture and plant pathology at the Pennsylvania State University. Crystal’s vocational path always has been related to plants whether through public or private sector research, professional development programming, experiential curriculum creation, or operation of a $1.25 million agricultural enterprise at the Milton Hershey School.