Periphyton Aquaculture Techniques


Develop tilapia production systems that maximize output and stocking density:

o    Without relying on electricity or commercial feed

o    Using only materials that can be readily sourced in undeveloped areas.

What is Periphyton?

Periphyton is a naturally occurring complex of algae, invertebrates, detritus, and micro-organisms that attach to hard surfaces submerged in fresh water ecosystems. With the right combination of nutrient inputs (primarily nitrogen, phosphorus, and carbon), water chemistry control, and appropriate high surface area substrates it can be grown in great enough abundance to viably farm tilapia.

Why Periphyton Aquaculture Techniques (PAT)?

Periphyton is inherently nutritious and able to meet 100% of the dietary requirements for tilapia. Moreover, PAT is a very low resource method of culturing fish that can be deployed nearly anywhere with a climate suitable for tilapia.


Experimental systems performed best with a sustained nitrogen to phosphorus ratio of 6:1 using bamboo as the primary growth substrate. These systems are currently being deployed in southwestern Haiti by our partners at Haiti Fund Inc.’s Comprehensive Development Project (CODEP). Our current research with PAT revolves around synergistic integration with alternative culturing methods.

Implications of this Research

In the years since our initial trials with PAT, our partners at CODEP have demonstrated that these systems are viable for increasing pond productivity in a region where inadequate infrastructure and political turmoil continue to prevent high intensity aquaculture.

Get Involved

Our PAT investigations were funded primarily through private donations and were executed with the help of our partners at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Haiti Fund Inc. with consultations from Dr. M.A. Wahab of the Bangladesh Agricultural University and Dr. Ana Milstein of the State of Isreal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. For more information on how you can help further our mission by supporting our research please contact us or give directly.