Preparedness blog

DIY Aquaponics

By Emily Hutchison
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With the growing world population, farmers are having to find new ways to produce more food without using more land and resources. Typical fish tanks require a filtration system, so why not skip the filter and grow some food instead. Save time and money.

The idea behind aquaponics is to grow a garden over a fishing pond. The fish feed on the waste from the plants and the plants feed on the waste from the fish. The plants clean the water for the fish while the fish fertilize the water for the plants. It is a symbiotic relationship.

The fish excrete ammonia through their gills as a waste product. The natural bacteria in the plants break down the ammonia and convert it into nitrates for food. It is a natural and sustainable process. Once the plants take up all the nutrients the water will be clean again. The water drains into a tank and is then pumped back into the fish tank to give the fish fresh water. It is a highly efficient circular system.

Aquaponics can allow you to grow meat and vegetables in the same small space. Aquaponic allows you to grow more food in a shorter amount of time while using less land and water. The system can be fully automated with a computer to monitor temperatures, feed fish, and open windows for more or less sunlight.

Tilapia does well in an aquaponic system. They enjoy the warm water. While perch and trout handle colder climates better. Lettus and peppers grow well in aquaponic systems. When it comes to aquaponics bigger it better, you'll be able to grow more food and keep it healthy. You'll also be able to grow larger fish.

Here is step by step guide to building a small home system to get started.

Build an Aquaponics Garden 


  • 2 Plastic Bins
  • 1 Plastic Crate
  • Hack Saw
  • Male Adaptor
  • PVC elbow
  • Standpipe, 2 inches shorter than plastic bin
  • Bell siphon, large enough to fit your hand for maintenance
  • Strainer
  • Pump
  • 1/2 inch hoes
  • Zip Tie
  • Gravel


  • Cut a small hole in the top bin, this will be the grow bed
  • Cut large square holes in bottom and side of the crate to feed the fish
  • Stack the bins with the crate in the middle, they should all be the same size
  • Connect the PVC elbow to the male adaptor in the top bin
  • Connect a standpipe to the top of male adaptor
  • Place the bell siphon on top of the standpipe
  • Install the strainer over the bell siphon
  • Connect the pump to the hose
  • Cut a small hole in the side of the crate and thread the hose through it
  • Use a zip tie to hook the hose to the top bin so water can drip into it
  • Fill the top bin with gravel and plant seedlings
  • Add water and fish to the bottom bin

Photo Credit:

4 years ago