Commercial Aquaponic Systems

Patented Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® with ZDEP®

  • Profitable
  • Dependable
  • Efficient
  • Sustainable

Kits, Modules or Complete Packages – Proven Designs

If you are planning a commercial aquaponics venture, our patented Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® with ZDEP® are the only fully-developed system packages for large scale aquaponic food production – available as kits, modules or complete system packages. They include the equipment, manuals, documentation, and support you need to get into and be successful in the aquaponics business.

Whether you are looking for a DIY aquaponics kit or a complete package, we have what you need.

Maximize Production

Nelson and Pade, Inc.®’s commercial line of patented Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® with ZDEP® reduce waste and increase nutrient availability for additional plant growth. In addition to the ZDEP®, All of our commercial systems use the accelerated nursery for faster production and increased income.
Learn more about the patented ZDEP® system


Commercial systems come in modules that can be duplicated for expansion, allowing a grower to easily increase size as the business grows.

Continuous Harvests, 365 days per year

The vegetable crops from these systems can be harvested daily to meet market demand. Our systems are designed for continuous vegetable production, 365 days/year. Each commercial system uses multiple fish tanks for staggered harvesting. With tilapia that means you will harvest a tank full of fish every 3, 4 or 6 weeks. If you use two modules, you will harvest a tank full of fish every 2 or 3 weeks. With 3 modules, it is every 1-2 weeks, and so on.

Commercial System Specifications

Small Commercial
Large Commercial
Large Commercial w/LFB (with Living Filter Beds)
Expanding Large Commercial Systems
Small Commercial

Small Commercial


The Small Commercial System is a great system to start a full-time aquaponics venture. The primary production is intended for lettuce, grown in raft tanks. There is a living filter bed that allows some production of secondary crops, like kale or swiss chard.

  • Lettuce Production:
    • 32,250 – 46,350* plants/year (about 88 – 130* lettuce plants/day)
    • plus 1,800 – 3,240* leafy green plants (like kale and swiss chard) in the Living Filter Bed
    • *depends on lighting plan
  • Fish Production:
    • 1,900 lbs. whole tilapia/year (harvest just over 237 lbs./every 6 weeks)
  • System Dimensions:
    • Minimum greenhouse size or area indoors: 30′ x 110′ (3,300 sq. ft.) to accommodate system and optional equipment
  • Estimated Labor per day:
    • 5 – 8 hours/day in greenhouse
  • Small Commercial Base System Cost:
    • $44,995

Request a Specification Sheet or More Information now!

Large Commercial

Large CommercialLarge Commercial

The Large Commercial model is a great fit for a serious commercial venture. Start with any number of Large Commercial Modules and continue to expand to meet market demand.

  • Lettuce Production:
    • 80,000 – 110,000* plants/year (about 220 – 300* lettuce plants/day)
      *depends on lighting plan
  • Fish Production:
    • 6,000 lbs. whole tilapia/year (harvest just over 384 lbs./every 4 weeks)
  • System Dimensions:
    • Minimum greenhouse size or area indoors: 42′ x 140′ (5,880 sq. ft.) to accommodate system and optional equipment
  • Estimated Labor per day:
    • 12 – 15 hours/day in greenhouse
  • Large Commercial Base System Cost:
    • $59,990

Request a Specification Sheet or More Information now!

Large Commercial w/LFB (with Living Filter Beds)

Large Commercial w/LFB (with Living Filter Beds) Large Commercial

The Large Commercial w/LFB (with Living Filter Beds) is the complete Large Commercial model PLUS multiple Living Filter Beds. The Living Filter Beds allow you to grow more produce while utilizing all of the waste from the system.

  • Lettuce Production:
    • 80,000 – 110,000* plants/year (about 220 – 300* lettuce plants/day)
      *depends on lighting plan
  • Vegetable Production from Living Filter Beds
    • 10,000 – 12,000 bunches of greens, -or- a variety of other vegetables
  • Fish Production:
    • 6,000 lbs. whole tilapia/year (harvest just over 384 lbs./every 4 weeks)
  • System Dimensions:
    • Minimum greenhouse size or area indoors: 66′ x 136′ (8,976 sq. ft.) to accommodate system and optional equipment
  • Estimated Labor per day:
    • 15 – 20 hours/day in greenhouse
  • Large Commercial with Living Filter Beds Base System Cost:
    • $84,080

Request a Specification Sheet or More Information now!

Expanding Large Commercial Systems

Expanding Large Commercial Systems Expanding-Large-Commercial-Systems

You can expand the Large Commercial Systems in a variety of configurations.

  • Multiple Large Commercial
  • A combination of multiple Large Commercial Plus Large Commercial w/LFB


Request a Specification Sheet or More Information now!

Base Price Includes:
Hard-to-find system components

Fish tanks Fish tank wood stand Construction Guides
Patented ZDEP® filter: tanks, plumbing, water pump (complete)
Filter tank stand Construction Guides
Clear Flow Aquaponic System® Filter tanks
Filter tank stand Construction Guides
Accelerated Plant Nursery with seedling channel

Accelerated Plant Nursery System Support Stand Construction Guide
Water pump(s) and hard-to-find plumbing parts Air pump or blower and hard-to-find aeration components
Detailed Assembly Manual Custom liners and pad for Raft/LFB frames
Detailed Operations Manual An approximate shopping guide for parts not supplied to complete the system
Standard Operating Procedures Book: Aquaponic Food Production

What Doesn’t Come with the Base System?

There are additional items that some people need and others do not, depending on their climate, crop choices, infrastructure, budget, skill set and willingness to source and build some parts locally. Those additional items offered by Nelson and Pade, Inc® are listed on the system order forms. Starting with the base system, you can pick and choose what you want from Nelson and Pade, Inc®, source what you want locally, buy additional components when you are ready, reduce your start up costs and spread those costs out over time. This strategy results in a much lower startup cost because you can do some of the work yourselves, source components locally and save on labor and freight.

Customer Testimonial

“I recently purchased a Nelson and Pade, Inc. system and have been very happy with the entire process, from the planning stages all the way through the build and now into the actual operation. The staff there has been very open to answering any and all of my questions in a timely manner. The system comes with a detailed instruction manual, including pictures, that explains every little piece and exactly where it needs to go. I put the entire system together myself using their plans and had no issues.”

– Tony Stirling, IL

READ ALL Testimonials

Commercial Aquaponic Systems Features:

  • Unlimited Expandability! Start with one or more modules. Add more modules to meet the growing demand
  • Modular Design
    Risk mitigation, Crop diversification, Add modules for expansion, Consistency in operations, efficiency and training
  • Excellent Return on Investment
  • Advanced science-based design
  • Proven system includes manuals and SOP’s
  • Efficient design reduces labor and increases profitability!

Contact our Sales Team

Optional Equipment and More:


Request an order form to see all optional equipment and supplies See more options in the store

Commercial Systems
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Greenhouses for Aquaponics and Indoor Farming 

Contact us to learn more

Determine your Net Profit and ROI for your Commercial Aquaponics Farm

Ok, so…the question everyone asks is, “How much can I earn?” There are a lot of variables in that equation (climate, location, infrastructure, utility costs, labor costs, marketing methods, management abilities, etc), but we can give you some guidance. You can easily determine your estimated gross income by taking the number of heads you’ll grow x the price you will sell at, plus the number of pounds of fish x the price you will sell it at. Our customers around the country typically sell their premium lettuce for $4-6/head retail or $2.75-$4/head wholesale and whole tilapia for $4-5/lb.

As a general rule, when our patented Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® with ZDEP® are used in a commercial aquaponics farming venture, there is typically an ROI (Return on Investment) of 3-5 years from when the system is started.

We can provide detailed, project-specific start-up cost, operational cost, income and ROI projections for your business in our Project Planning service.


  • Lettuce Production in raft tanks: The amount of lettuce that you will grow will depend on the amount of light you provide. The low end of the range assumes that you will have 10 hours of light per day. The high end of the range assumes you will have 18 hours of light per day. Aquaponic grow lights are used to extend the hours of light beyond what is available form the sun.
  • All plant and fish production numbers assume proper environmental control, good management and following the Nelson and Pade, Inc. Standard Operating procedures and growing recommendations. Results may vary.
  • Fish Production: based on raising Nile tilapia, stocked at approximately 100 gram fish and harvested at 1.5 – 2.0 lbs. Results may vary.
  • Greenhouse Space: This is the space the standard system configuration fits within, with room for optional equipment, packing and to walk and work. This will be the size of the greenhouse or building that you put the system in. If you have special space requirements, we can design the system to fit, but a custom design fee will apply.
  • Estimated labor/day: This is the number of hours we estimate that it will take to maintain the system, feed the fish and seed, transplant and harvest the crops. Single or few crop choices will be on the lower end of the range. A greater number of crop choices will take the higher number of hours listed in the range.
  • System price: The base price of our systems includes everything in the system description. It does not include services, sales tax, shipping or optional equipment. Contact us for quote.
  • Palleting Fee: This charge covers the cost of time and materials for packaging, palletizing and preparing systems for pick up or freight shipment.

Optional Equipment

We offer all of the supplies you need to keep you system running…fish food, grow cubes, pest controls, etc.

Aquaponics Store


Nelson and Pade Grower Support Program

The Nelson and Pade Grower Support Program helps aquaponic growers get off to a great start, with proven technical support and continuous access to the leaders of the industry, valuable information, and direct access to over 30 years of experience and success. The Nelson and Pade Grower Support Program is available, for an additional fee, to aquaponic growers using Nelson and Pade, Inc.® Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems®.
Nelson and Pade Grower Support Program

Customer Testimonial

“I am greatly enjoying the assembly and watching the system grow. My Dad says the greenhouse feels like heaven when he walks in. I went with Nelson and Pade because I knew my learning curve was steep and wanted to buy a system and have the support of knowledgeable people, without spending days and hours recreating the wheel.”

– Jeff Hafner, Iowa

READ ALL Testimonials


Commercial Systems FAQ

Commercial systems are generally larger and designed to produce a great deal of lettuce, greens and leafy crops in one very efficient system. Commercial growers usually grow all leafy crops and sell most of what they grow wholesale to grocers, institutions or brokers.
Most of our growers raise tilapia because they are very hardy, fast growing and, when raised in our Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® using our methods and purge process, they taste GREAT. Other fish, like blue gill and catfish, and other fresh water fish that do well at about 74℉ can also be raised.
What is the patented ZDEP® ?
ZDEP® is an acronym for near Zero-Discharge/Extra Production. It is a patented system that drastically increases plant production and reduces or eliminates any waste. Solid fish waste, which is removed from the main system, is processed in the patented ZDEP® filter. Then, clear, nutrient-rich water is returned to the main system to increase plant production. The solid waste can be used to grow additional crops in media beds or outdoor gardens. Learn more about the ZDEP®
Our accelerated plant nursery dramatically increases plant production using a 2-stage transplant method. This moves your crops through the system faster and, therefore, allows you to harvest and sell more plants every day.
Our commercial systems each have four, six or eight fish tanks, which are stocked using a staggered method (one tank every 3-6 weeks when using tilapia). We recommend stocking the tanks with 100 gram fingerlings. If you can purchase 100 gram fingerlings, you don’t need a nursery. If you can’t find fish that are stocking size, then you should start them in our nursery system. This is a very efficient method of starting with fry (very young fish) and growing them to stocking size. Our fish nurseries include plant grow beds.
If you are raising fish to eat, we highly recommend a purge system. Using our purge system and purging techniques, your harvested fish will have a clean, fresh taste. The meat will have a firm texture. With any farmed fish, if you don’t purge them, you will likely be disappointed in the quality. If you are raising ornamental fish, like koi or goldfish, you don’t need a purge system.
We recommend starting all plants from seed in an aquaponic system and it is most efficient to start the seeds in a smaller germination system than in your main culture system. Our commercial systems include the automated germination systems to provide proper water flow to the grow cubes that the seeds are started in. Using our germination system and techniques, lettuce seeds will germinate within 24 hours and the first green shoot will emerge within 48 hours.
There are too many variables, such as climate, crop choice, budget, size, system, environmental control choices, infrastructure, management and marketing abilities and level of investment for us to provide a one-size-fits-all answer for how much money you can earn. We do provide projections for how much you can grow, electrical requirements for the system and estimated labor. From there, you can work through the numbers to get an idea of the rough costs. If you are going to the bank or looking for investors, consider our project planning services in which we work through all of the numbers and provide a very detailed report that gives all of the information you’ll need for your business plan.
The SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are tools that you’ll need to implement a food safety and bio-security program. Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® in a controlled environment allow you to grow safe, healthy food year-round. Our SOPs help you set up programs to keep the food safe and free of contamination as well as keep your operation running efficiently. The well-developed and valuable tools are only available when you purchase Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems®.
Yes, as long as you have some mechanical plumbing abilities. The manuals that come with the systems are very detailed. Before assembling the system, we strongly recommend that you attend our online Aquaponics Master Class® and enroll in the Nelson and Pade Grower Support Program.
Our raft tanks are easy to assemble and do not require concrete, concrete block or any back-breaking labor. No tools are required. It typically takes about a ½ day to assemble our metal raft tank frames, insert the side walls and install the underlayment and food-grade liner.
If you have the skills and tools, yes you can build your greenhouse. If you’ve never built a greenhouse and don’t want to waste time figuring it out, you can hire a greenhouse builder to get it done professionally. Often, in hindsight, the people who build their greenhouse wish they had just hired a contractor and gotten it done quickly, giving them the chance to get into business and earn income faster.
Our complete system packages essentially include everything that comes with a franchise. But we don’t charge a franchise fee. Why pay other companies (especially less experienced ones) a franchise fee when we include it for free?

General Questions

As of June, 2023, there are over 800 Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® around the world, with sizes ranging from home food production to large commercial ventures. In the next year, that number will likely double or even triple. We have shipped systems to almost every US State and 35 countries.
Place your order, receive the shipment, assemble the system, add fish, add plants. Buying our system eliminates the need to invent and design a system, find and order the fish tanks, filter tanks, raft tanks, plumbing parts, water pump and aeration system. It all comes as one science-based, proven system with easy to understand assembly and operation manuals, developed by Nelson and Pade, Inc.® who have a longer history and more experience in designing, building, operating and refining aquaponic systems than any other company.
Nelson and Pade, Inc.® believes that success in aquaponics comes with a science-based system, proper training and tech support and we offer all three. For people in the knowledge-gaining process, we offer a variety of learning opportunities. We also offer our Nelson and Pade Grower Program.
Clear Flow Aquaponic systems® are system packages and include the hard-to-find components in the aquaponics loop: all tanks, filter tanks, grow beds, water and air pumps. There are additional items that some people need and others do not, depending on their climate, crop choices, infrastructure, etc.
No matter how good your aquaponic system is, it will not function to maximum capacity if the environmental conditions are outside the comfort zone for the fish and plants. A controlled environment greenhouse can provide natural sunlight, proper temperature, humidity and ventilation. Modern greenhouses are designed for every climate, from the tropics to northern climates with extreme winters.
Yes, but you’ll need to provide a full light spectrum with grow lights, the proper temperature, humidity and ventilation. Remember, plants evolved outdoors, under natural sunlight. When you bring them indoors, you’ll need to provide the light and environmental conditions they need to grow. One beneficial use for an existing building is to use it to house the office, packaging area, fish and filter tanks and then build a greenhouse on the south end for the plant production. Buildings also typically have a lot of infrastructure (electricity, natural gas or propane, water, driveway, bathrooms, etc) that can be an asset as you start and operate your aquaponic business.
Bio-security is a combination of equipment and procedures that you implement to keep your food safe. Essentially, our bio-security program keeps pathogens and pests out of our greenhouse so that our crops stay healthy and the food is safe to eat. We achieve this in our Clear Flow Aquaponic Systems® in conjunction with controlled environment agriculture.
Nelson and Pade, Inc.® is known around the world as the leader in aquaponics education. Check out our leaning opportunities!