An Introduction to iAVs – 4th Edition is now available

As promised to our members, the book will be regularly updated and improved based upon feedback we receive. Thank you to our many supporters, this helps to cover our costs and to keep developing new materials. If you have any questions, please head to our FAQ page and you can ask us anything.

The first edition was released with 55 pages. The fourth edition has now been expanded to 136 pages with the following additions;

  • Light – Management (Part B) – Section 1.10
  • Sand – Sourcing (expanded) – Section 6.7
  • Sand – Sustainability – Section 6.1
  • Preferred sand sources – Section 6.2
  • Sand – Sources to avoid (expanded) – Section 6.3
  • Sand – What Type? (expanded) – Section 6.4
  • Sand – Suitable for iAVs – Section 6.5
  • Sand – Ideal Particle Size (expanded) – Section 6.8
  • Sand – Cost – Section 6.9
  • What is pore space – Section 6.9
  • Silt & Clay (expanded) – Section 6.10
  • Biofilter (expanded)
  • Biofilter – Container Aspect ratio – Section 7.1
  • Biofilter – Freeboard – Section 7.2
  • Biofilter – Drainage Dynamics and Performance Variables – Section 7.3
  • Biofilter – Water Retention – Section 7.4
  • Biofilter – Positioning (expanded) – Section 7.5
  • Biofilter – Potential for Multiple – Section 7.6
  • Furrows – Size & Spacing (expanded) – Section 8.1
  • Furrows – Introduction (expanded) – Section 8.0
  • Furrows – Depth & Width – Section 8.2
  • Furrows – Water Distribution – Section 8.3
  • Furrows – Nutrient Distribution – Section 8.4
  • Ridges – Gaseous Exchange – Section 9.1
  • Ridges – Keeping The Crowns Dry – Section 9.2
  • Irrigation – Intermittent Regime – Section 10.1
  • Irrigation – Cycle Time – Section 10.2
  • Irrigation – Fine Tuning – Section 10.3
  • Inoculation – Section 11.1
  • Cycling – Section 11.2
  • Fish Waste – Section 12.1
  • Fish – Management of Waste – Section 12.2
  • Fish – Importance of Waste Delivery onto Sand – Section 12.3
  • Fish Tank – Width to Depth Ratio
  • Plants – Planting Schedule – Section 13.1
  • Plants – Staggered Planting – Section 13.2
  • Plants – Supplemental Fertilizers – Section 13.3
  • Cascade Aerators (expanded) – Section 14.1
  • Algae – Beneficial Compounds – Section 15.1
  • Biofilms – Role & Development – Section 16.1
  • Biofilms – Understanding Surface Area – Section 16.2
  • GENERAL Grammar fixes & clearer explanations
  • ADDED – Chapter on Drainage
  • Ph (expanded)
  • MOVED Fish feed & feeding to dedicated chapter


The 4th Edition of “An Introduction to iAVs” serves as a comprehensive guide to the Integrated AquaVegeculture System (iAVs). This sustainable agriculture method combines aquaculture and horticulture to create a mutually beneficial system. The book pays tribute to Gary Donaldson, a dedicated teacher and advocate of iAVs, and offers a wealth of information about the system, its history, and its potential for addressing global issues surrounding food security and the environment.

The book begins by providing an introduction to iAVs, explaining its origins and the underlying principles behind its operation. It delves into how Dr. Mark McMurtry developed the system in response to the challenges of poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation faced by African communities. The book stresses the importance of viewing iAVs as a comprehensive entity, where all components work together to achieve its intended purpose.

Moreover, the guide offers practical advice on selecting suitable sites for iAVs. Considerations such as sunlight exposure, access to utilities, ground stability, and aesthetics are all discussed. The book highlights the significance of visually appealing setups, as they contribute to both personal satisfaction for owners and broader adoption of the system.

While acknowledging its limitations, the book explicitly states that it does not cover every aspect of construction and horticulture. It encourages readers to continue learning from other specialized resources.

The foreword of the book provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of global agriculture. It addresses pressing issues such as soil degradation, water scarcity, and loss of biodiversity. Against this backdrop, iAVs is positioned as a potential solution that can alleviate constraints posed by soil infertility, pollution, and water scarcity.

Additionally, the book includes a brief history of iAVs, tracing Dr. McMurtry’s journey from his experimentation with sand as a filtration medium for home aquariums to the development of a large-scale iAVs demonstration study. It emphasizes the system’s capability for sustainable food production and nutrient-rich yields.

Overall, “An Introduction to iAVs” is an invaluable resource for individuals interested in iAVs. It lays a solid foundation of knowledge regarding the system, its advantages, and its potential for addressing global issues of food security and the environment. The book’s well-written, informative, and engaging nature makes it a must-read for environmental enthusiasts, researchers, and practitioners alike.



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An Introduction to iAVs – 4th Edition is now available