Category Archives: commercial aquaponics

Fill & Drain vs. Raft Aquaponics

Fill & Drain vs. Raft Aquaponics
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

greenhouselightsatnightThe Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are ideally designed for community aquaponics growing.

One acre of land can accommodate four Portable Farms® modules that grow 320,000 vegetables and 92,000 pounds of fish which will feed 960 people all the food they need to be healthy FOREVER. Plus, it only takes 12 people to operate a full acre.

To find out what is IN the Portable Farms® Kit and what is NOT in the Portable Farms® Kit , please request the FREE AND INSTANTANEOUS PRICE LIST (second box on top panel on every page of this website).

Please EMAIL US with a request to buy a Portable Farms Aquaponics System and we’ll send you an invoice for payment.

You may pay with PayPal, Major Credit Cards and Wire Transfers. If you’d prefer, you may call us to give us your credit number over the phone: 800-906-0256 OR 800-952-6224. We also accept checks, wire transfers and money orders.

Shipping and postage are included to addresses in the US only, BUT for all order outside the US there is a US$140 shipping and handling charge. 

Most large aquaponics installations are designed on the ‘Virgin Island model.’ They are a raft system using a single large fish tank, heavy-duty pumps and filters, and long-shallow grow tanks where the rafts are gradually pushed from one end to the other as the plants mature. By moving the plants several times as they mature, the actual yield-per-square-foot of surface area is very high.

Let’s look at how the raft systems are designed: 

  • The fish tank(s) is very large, often thousands of gallons and the water is moved constantly by a single heavy duty pump from the fish tank to some sort of bio filter or filtration system.
  • The water often goes through an aeration system because the water flowing to the plants growing in the rafts need to have a very high oxygen content in the water for their roots or they will die.
  • The water is then returned to the fish tank with the nutrients stripped out and depleted in oxygen.

The weak points of this type of system are as follows:

  • There is a single large pump the controls the water flow out of the fish tank and if it fails, the fish die
  • The water at the end of the grow tanks needs to be lifted back up into the fish tank, this involves more pumping and the pumps can fail
  • The bio filter must be cleaned daily, or the waste will overwhelm the system and poison the plants
  • The plants are handled several times, first planted in some type of pot or medium, transplanted to a wider spacing, transplanted at least once more to their final raft and finally harvested
  • The system requires a very large amount of water to start and consumes large amounts of water because the fish tank is open on top and evaporation is taking place
  • The filtration system has also exposed the water to the air and evaporation takes place
  • Only small leafy vegetables can be raised in this system (mostly lettuce and basil)
  • The raft system works, and it works very well. It requires more water, more power and more labor to operate than the medium-based systems (gravel grow beds).

Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems use a fill and drain, medium based system. Here is how this system works:

  • grow tray 2013aEach module is a standalone system with the fish tank, clarifier and grow tray working together
  • There is no limit to the number of modules in an installation (example, 30 modules fit into a 10,000 sq foot greenhouse)
  • The maximum amount of water in each tank is 400 gallons
  • The maximum number of fish in each tank is 400
  • The ‘bio filter’ is in two parts, the clarifier and the huge gravel bed. The clarifier only needs to be cleaned every two to four months and the gravel NEVER needs to be cleaned
  • The water is lifted one time (requiring electricity) using a small pump and the rest of the time it is flowing downhill back to the fish tank (gravity and flow)
  • The plants are handled three times. For greens, the seeds are planted into inert cubes, the seedlings/cubes are planted into the gravel and then at harvest time the entire plant is removed
  • Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, peas and other flowering plants can be grow in great quantities and harvested over time
  • Two full time employees are required for each 10,000 sq ft installation and most of their time is taken up with harvesting and planting, not moving and transplanting seedlings
  • IF the electrical power fails to the entire system, it is designed so well that the fish will survive 12 full hours without aeration and the plants can go a full 24 hours on the residual water in the gravel. That is a HUGE safety factor
  • If an individual pump fails it has no effect on the rest of the installation, only that particular module
  • Not transplanting is required

The differences are also reflected in the water and electrical usage:

  • A raft system uses over 15 times as much water initially, and requires four-to-ten-times as much makeup water as the PFAS commercial installation.
  • The raft system has more than one single point of failure and the PFAS has no single point of failure for an installation only in each module.
  • The electrical power requirements are four to six times higher in the raft system compared to the fill and drain medium based systems.

Bottom line: Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems are ideally designed for community aquaponics growing. One acre of land can accommodate four Portable Farms® that grow 320,000 vegetables and 92,000 pounds of fish which will feed 960 people all the food they need to be healthy FOREVER. Plus, it only takes 8 people to operate a full acre. For more information on the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems contact us today.

Aquaponics in the Urban Environment

Aquaponics in the Urban Environment  
By Colle and Phyllis Davis

Urbanization of the world is continuing and over half the people on Earth now live in cities.

The countryside is depopulating, and the skills of growing food for local consumption is being shifted away from large country farms to small or even tiny urban plots. There are urban or suburban farmers with less than half an acre now producing over US$100,000 annual income. The technologies they have embraced are the use of cold frames, hoop greenhouse covers, greenhouses, and high intensive cultivation methods.

Fun Fact: In Russia, over half of all produce is grown on small home plots during growing seasons.

In the days before massive food distribution in refrigerated trucks, many of our grandparents had family gardens that grew food to be canned or pickled for winter months. Today, urban farmers have learned to extend harsh winter climates thirty to ninety days, urban farmers gain a twenty to fifty percent increase in their incomes. Anchoring a small plot or even a rooftop (as many in Asia have done, with a greenhouse and surrounding it with high-intensity gardening) has freed these urban farmers from the need to work for others.

Do you have a deck, a patio, a small back or front yard? [Greenhouses in the front yard are a red flag to certain types of neighborhoods’ home-owner associations, be forewarned.] Perhaps a balcony, flat roof or a parking space, can be converted into urban gardens. YouTube is a fantastic resource for information and how-to videos in the area of intense farming. The newest planting equipment is expensive, but the payback is less than one season.

Producing protein on tiny plots presents exciting challenges. Chickens, rabbits, and fish are the top choices because they are easy and cheap to raise and there is a ready local market for them. There are US jurisdictions where restrictions apply, and urban farmers are learning how to pressure for changes in the zoning and livestock regulations. Chickens are sometimes noisy and hard to hide from neighbors. Rabbits and fish are quiet and less apt to draw attention.

The fish raised in aquaponics are a bonus and provide a fantastic fertilizer for the rest of your intensive garden plot. Applying the fish waste, a nontoxic, no burn fertilizer, encourages the growth of most plants. A garden plot of three by ten feet can utilize the waste load from an aquaponics system of fifty square feet of Grow Table space. Other plants on the property or nearby will benefit from its magic.

Alternatively, as a last resort, the liquid can be sold as a natural, pesticide-free fertilizer that will not burn or harm plants. The price can be as high as US$15 a gallon. Oh, another income source. A one-hundred-gallon fish tank system supporting a fifty square foot Grow Table will produce thirty gallons of ‘waste’ every three months. Let’s see, if we sell half, that is 60 gallons times US$15 or US$900 per year. That money adds extra money for paying bills or for luxuries.

Sign up today for the Aquaponics University Portable Farms Aquaponics Systems Course© and lead the way to a safer, happier and more secure urban living.

Community Aquaponics: A Good Investment

Community Aquaponics: A Good Investment
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

In today’s economy, smart investors are looking for the ‘next wave’ of ideas, technologies, and business-trends to carry them off the bottom and into the bright light of profit.

greenhouse largeCan you invest in a community business that:

  • Employs local semi-skilled workers
  • Sells all of its production locally to an expanding, affluent population
  • Produces the highest quality products available anywhere in the world
  • Requires no shipping
  • Uses minimal electricity (can be solar powered)
  • Requires only a small amount of land-space (even a half-acre is enough)
  • Consumes very little precious water?

Aquaponics is based on a proven technology that has over 4,700 years of history and yet is the most modern system of its type in the world. The commercialization of this technology as a commercial business is in its infancy and YET few investors realize the incredible long range cash flow possibilities. 

portable-farms-trellis-tomatoesThere is also an amazing upside to this business investment:

  • The second Unit costs 20% less than the initial Unit and pays out at the same rate which means it takes less than four years to recoup the investment, even after paying for everything except land cost.
  • The third Unit costs slightly less and the ROI gets even better. Somewhere around the seventh or eighth Unit the initial cost per Unit levels out. At that point the ROI for the overall investment is approximately three years.





Do we have your attention yet? Let’s make this investment even sweeter.

Your territory is totally protected. You own the rights to sell, build and operate as many of the Units in your territory as you want, no increase in technology costs only a small annual renewal fee. You can sell and build Units for other people to make even more money from owning the business.

Okay, what’s the catch? You have to qualify by being in business for at least ten years, owning or having a strong relationship with an established construction company, pay the fees on the front end (think McDonald’s type requirements), take some training, have a small plot of level land available (2,000m2 is plenty to start) with electricity and water available, have at least three business and two banking reference that are verifiable and be very excited about being the first in your area with the newest technology to fulfill all of the benefits above.  Ready?

PFAS LLC. is now offering the Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems to those who want to be PFAS Technology License Holders in selected territories and countries around the world. These territories are only available to qualified investor. The territories are defined by the potential License Holder and the company, and are flexible. Territories normally encompass approximately three-million people and can be larger. Country Licenses cover entire countries. There is also what is called a ‘Site License’ for individual installations, but these are severely restricted and not protected as to territory.


Before and After Photos – 40 Days Growth in a Portable Farm

Before and After Photos – 40 Days Growth in a Portable Farm
– by Colle and Phyllis Davis

BIB VISTA This small Portable Farms® Aquaponics System feeds TEN adults . . . FOREVER.
This greenhouse is 16′ x 33′ (528 square feet) and contains 264 square feet of Grow Tray space.

PFAS LLC  is proud to show you Before and After Photos highlighting the 40-day progress of our Portable Farms® Aquaponics System constructed in our Experimental and Research Center in San Diego, California.

Because of improvements in our seed choices, planting methods and technology, our farm is exploding with fresh food after only 40 days. The 450 tilapia fish in this system know our voices and ‘frenzy’ when we walk into the farm (a good sign because a happy fish eats well and POOPS A LOT and that’s the fertilizer for our plants). In case you didn’t know it, the Aquaponists’ Daily Prayer is, “PRAY FOR POOP.”

BEFORE: Gravel Grow Trays in a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System with Colle Davis, Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems before planting

AFTER: 40 Days After Planting with Colle Davis, Inventor, Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems. Many green leafy organic vgetables are already READY TO HARVEST and other blooming plants already have blossoms and are ready to produce organic fruit or vegetables after only 40 days (such as tomatoes, peppers, green beans, zucchini, and cucumbers). Portable Farms grow enormous amounts of healthy, organic, nutritious food in small spaces.

One single leaf of an organic zucchini plant measured after 40 days of growth in Gravel Grow Tray = 10.5 inches wide

Height of the same organic zucchini plant (above) after 40 days growth in a Gravel Grow Tray = 20.5 inches tall

Organic India Mustard plant (a spicy lettuce) after 40 days in the Gravel Grow Trays = 19 inches tall

Organic Cos Romaine Lettuce after 40 days of growth in a Gravel Grow Tray = 12.5 inches tall

We’re growing a variety of organic seeds in each of these categories in this farm:

  • Basil
  • Green Peppers
  • Swiss Chard
  • Cucumbers
  • Over 100 varieties of Lettuce
  • Jalapeño Peppers
  • Dozens of varieties of tomatoes
  • India Mustard
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Long Green Beans
  • Dozens of varieties of Asian greens
  • Pak Choi
  • Kale
  • Eggplant
  • A variety of herbs


Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

 Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, showing the interior of a 16' x 33' Portable Farms® Aquaponics System.

Colle Davis, Lead Inventor, showing the interior of a 16′ x 33′ Portable Farms® Aquaponics System.

Our 45 years of experience in aquaponics is now available to teach you how to feed your family FOREVER. [Read our History: CLICK HERE]



Aquaponics is easier and more productive than organic gardening or traditional agriculture and uses 95% less water. Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems also use less electricity and less labor than any other aquaponics system in the world.

interior pfas 1This small Portable Farms© Aquaponics System with 3 separate  24′ grow trays feeds 10 people year round and requires less than 10 minutes a care of day: 1) plant, 2) harvest, 3) feed the fish. REPEAT. Easy.

One 200 sq ft single module of a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System
feeds 8 people.

Want to feed more people? Add more modules.

Well THAT was easy . . .


To view photos of food that is commonly grow in Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems: CLICK HERE.

EMAIL us your questions AFTER you have searched our website for your answers. Please use the SEARCH BOX in the top right hand corner of every page on our website. Spend some time exploring and reading our website prior to contacting us. We receive thousands of phone calls and emails per month and we do our best to address all the answers to common questions on our website. Thank you.

Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems GROW FOOD.

View a  2 minute video clip of the interior of 16 x 33′ Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems

This small 16 x 33′ Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems (in above video) feeds ten people the table vegetables and protein (tilapia) the food they need for optimal health – forever in 528 sq ft total space and 264 square ft grow space. This video has been viewed by more than 54,400 people. 

tokyo bekana colleColle Davis holding Butter Head Lettuce grown in 36 days.


To view photos of fresh food that is commonly grow in Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems: CLICK HERE.

farm 8 18 2012


One module of a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System. 

Colle Davis, Inventor, Portable Farms, holding a 20.5 pound head of Bok Choy grown in 45 days.

Colle Davis, Inventor, Portable Farms, holding a 20.5 pound head of Bok Choy grown in 45 days.

portable-farms-green interior-3

The kale and butterhead lettuce were planted about 35 days ago. The tall basil plants (25″) were planted 50 days ago. The cucumbers and tomatoes (background) were planted 62 days ago. We ask you . . . have you ever grown plants as quickly, or as healthy, or as GREEN as the ones in this photo? We wish you were here for lunch, we would serve you a salad you would never forget!


Graduates often build and install one Model Portable Farms® Aquaponics System over a single weekend.

  • You will need these tools: power saw, hammer, power drill, level, hydraulic jack (for leveling), staple gun, hack saw or PVC pipe cutter, box cutter and maybe a few band-aids.
  • Think of the Grow Table as a large shallow tray on legs. You will need two people, three is better because the Grow Table is heavy.
  • The hardest part of the process is washing and placing the gravel a slow, heavy and wet process best delegated to young, strong helpers.
  • Building a Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Module does requires some carpentry skills and a person with the skills to hang a door or build a cabinet will do a fine job.

To find out what is IN the Portable Farms® Kit and what is NOT in the Portable Farms® Kit , please request the FREE AND INSTANTANEOUS PRICE LIST (top right box on every page of this website).

Let us teach you how to grow healthy fish and vegetables so you can become increasingly self-sustaining.

  • Our 45 years of experience in aquaponics is now available to teach you how to feed your family FOREVER. [Read our History: CLICK HERE] It only takes a few days to learn the areas related to assembling an aquaponics system  so you can build your own Portable Farms® Aquaponics System.

 Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems Course©

One 200 sq ft single module of a
Portable Farms® Aquaponics System feeds 8 people.
Want to feed more people? Add more modules.

Well THAT was easy . . 

  • Paying clients for Aquaponics University may ask for and receive a full refund of their tuition up until they have logged into the online aquaponics course because the user has received protected intellectual property and gained benefits from the Course Materials.
  • The instructions contained in the Aquaponics University Course are designed to be presented to create a working Portable Farms® Aquaponics Systems that operates correctly and successfully as stated in our literature as soon as it is completed and turned on. Any deviations regarding design layout, size of Grow Table or Fish Tank, height of grow tray, depth of Grow Tables or Fish Tank, fish-stocking rate, PVC diameter and connections, placement within a structure with recommendations for air flow, protection from weather elements and insects, recommendation for size of air pumps and siphon pump, timing for the pumping systems or any other nonstandard installation changes will void any and all guarantees and warranties. If there are any deviations to these and other specifications covered in the Aquaponics University course, there will be no follow up support forthcoming.
  • If any problems that arise with a Portable Farms® Aquaponics System that has been built to the specifications in the Aquaponics University course, when you contact PFAS LLC, please include .jpg images* and complete written descriptions of the ‘problem’ so we can contact you with help in solving any issues you may have for moving your project forward.
*.jpg format: Minimum size image of 7″ wide x 5.75 wide – resolution 300 – or 2100 pix wide and 1575 height