Harvest Moon Aquaponics

Reading, PA

We thought we’ve been everywhere for aquaponics: underground greenhouses, small-town America, barns, sheds, the Bahamas. But once in a blue moon an opportunity comes along that causes us to go, “Whoa.” In July 2022 our once-in-a-blue-moon was Harvest Moon Aquaponics, a custom designed indoor small farm inside a…..car dealership!

John Masano, of Tom Masano Auto Group, contacted The Aquaponic Source in March 2022, looking to convert two vacant rooms inside of his adaptively repurposed 250,000 sq/ft auto park facility. Although, calling this property a car dealership shadows the environmentally friendly persona of the location: The entire facility is heated using recycled waste oil sourced from oil changes, the group recently launched South Mountain-spring water packaged in paper, not plastic-and to extend their stewardship outside their doors, they even bought a street sweeper to keep the nearby street drains free from debris.

And oh yes, in the back there’s an aquaponic system capable of annually producing 14,560 heads of lettuce and 710 lbs of tomatoes.

The Aquaponic System

The custom-designed Flourish Farm aquaponic system occupies two adjacent rooms totaling ≈1,300 sq/ft, able to house the plant system in one room and the aquaculture in the other.

The Plant System

Plants are grown in three stages: germination, transplant, full grow out. Germination takes places in two of our Growasis 4-tier Nursery & Microgreen Systems. The freshly sprouted plants are then transferred to the 2’x16′ Growasis Elevated transplanting trough.

The main grow-out stages occur in either one of the two 8’x20′ Growasis Elevated deep water culture troughs or seven of our AquaBundance Modular System media beds. The entire plant production system receives optimal lighting coverage from numerous Apex 300w full-spectrum LED lights, made by Thrive Agritech.

The Fish System

Two 300 gallon fish tanks sit beside an AST Endurance 4000 Bead Filter, a mineralization system, and separate plant and fish sumps. As with all of our Flourish Farms, this system is able to be decoupled so that the plant and fish systems can operate independently of one another.

Both the plant and fish sump are equipped with their own digital monitoring device, with reinforced security checks being performed at the door by SpongeBob and Patrick.

In the words of John Masano, “I wanted the koi to look out of their windows and feel like they were in the ocean.”