At Dayton Valley Aquaponics, a 31,000 square foot greenhouse grows tomatoes, cucumbers, other produce and tilapia fish. The tilapia live in 12 3,000 gallon tanks, and the ammonia-rich waste from the fish goes directly to plants, which absorb the nutrients. The absorption purifies the water which gets sent back to the fish.
"We raise our tilapia fish not only from a high quality stock. but we raise them in really high quality water conditions, clarity is high and dissolved oxygen is high," says Birba.
Besides water reduction, the greenhouse reduces energy consumption by being powered by solar panels, and bio-fuels from recycled wood pellets from the U.S. Forest Service.
Every year the aquaponics farm grows 100,000 pounds of tomatoes, 20,000 in other produce, and 10,000 pounds of tilapia. It's one of the few companies in the county that uses the method at a large scale.