Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

School of Environmental Studies


Environmental Science

Major Advisor

Dr Martha Carlson-Mazur

Second Advisor

Dr Robert Kingsolver

Third Advisor

Dr David Robinson



Aquaponics, a type of urban agriculture, shows potential to produce large amounts of food with little water and land requirements. Thus, aquaponics could help address the issue of feeding the growing worldwide population. However, multiple challenges, both technical and economical, are associated with aquaponics, making large-scale implementation of these systems difficult – these systems can require tremendous amounts of energy. This study sought to determine the most efficient types grow lights in aquaponics systems by comparing the growth rates of yellow lantern chilies (Capsicum chinense) when grown under four different types of growth lights: light-emitting diode (LED), metal halide, fluorescent, and induction. The study measured the energy usage of each light source to determine which type used the least amount of energy, in an effort to find how to reduce the energy expenses of aquaponics systems, to make the systems more economically feasible. On average, use of LED and induction growth lights resulted in the most overall growth and fastest growth rates of pepper plants. These lights are also known to be relatively energy efficient. Thus, use of LED and induction lamps in aquaponics systems could result in maximum energy efficiency by increasing plant production and reducing energy costs. Consequently, implementation of these lights could make aquaponics more economical for large-scale implementation in the future.