Palmer Trinity School inaugurates new aqua lab, including hydroponic and aquaponic learning

Palmer Trinity School
Posted Feb 17, 2022

Palmer Trinity School (PTS), a coeducational Episcopal day school in Miami, inaugurated its new Aqua Lab in the 2021-2022 academic year. The Aqua Lab allows students to conduct experiments and scientific investigations in aquaponics, marine biology and freshwater ecology, all under one roof.

The Aqua Lab has state-of-the-art equipment, including a complete aquaponics system, the Mini Fish FarmTM.  Aquaponics mimics the natural relationship between fish and plants: the waste produced by farmed fish supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. Students can use the Mini Fish FarmTM to grow fresh, unpolluted tilapia throughout the year. Fish are one of the best sources of protein in the animal kingdom, low in both calories and saturated fats.

“As natural water supplies are depleted or polluted, humanity is looking at new approaches to produce food,” said Dr. Leopoldo Llinas, Director of Environmental Stewardship at Palmer Trinity School. Aquaponics uses less water than traditional farming and does not release harmful fertilizer runoff into the watershed. The Aqua Lab replaces the school’s Coral Lab, a center for education, training and research in marine biology, established in 2009.

The Aqua Lab provides a space for education, exploration, and food production. The different areas in the Aqua Lab for hydroponics and aquaponics are ideal for hands-on learning at any grade level. Small aquaria such as the CUBE 20 Waterbox for both saltwater and freshwater can be used for independent investigations. Eight Water Garden Duo aquaponics systems are ideal for repeatable experiments where variables can be manipulated. In the inaugural year of the IB programme, PTS biology students are using the resources in the Aqua Lab to test salinity and pH levels on microgreens and barley. Their experiments in this space will count as a major part of earning their IB Diploma. And it is not just about science! The lab also houses water-related student artwork.

“The Aqua Lab is open to all academic departments at Palmer Trinity,” said Traci Holstein, upper school science teacher. The Aqua Lab is available for both middle school and upper school students.

About Palmer Trinity School:

Palmer Trinity School—a coeducational, Episcopal day school—is dedicated to promoting academic excellence that integrates knowledge, compassion, global citizenship, and social responsibility. Providing a supportive environment, Palmer Trinity School serves students from a broad range of socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds in grades 6-12. For more information about the school, visit To follow Palmer Trinity School on Facebook, click here.