Building an Indoor Aquaponics System

11 Steps to building an indoor aquaponics system

The aquaponics system is an innovative technique to recirculate the aquatic environment by adopting the metrics of the nitrification cycle. The infrastructure of the aquaponics system is quite spectacular and mesmerizing, which compels people to design an indoor one. And I am here to teach you how to construct a simple yet amazing indoor aquaponics system. 

Photo by Frank Green at Unsplash

Items required to build your aquaponics system

  • Aquarium heater: some tropical fish require a tank temperature of 78 degrees F. 
  • 4 Watt water pump: to pump water from the tank to growing bed.
  • A glass or plastic tank for the fish: you may choose the size according to your requirements
  • 2.5 lbs gravel for every 5 gallons of water: gravel converts ammonia into nitrate which is used by plants as a nutrient.
  • 3 ft. of tubing for the outlet of water: to circle the water within the growing bed
  • Air stones: it stops the streams of bubbles converting into microbubbles
  • 3″-8″ deep grow bed: it provides support to the growing medium for growing plants
  • pH testing kit: to measure the pH level of soil and water 
  • Plants and fish of your choice: fish will provide nutrients to the plants
  • Light for the fish tank: to monitor the health and movements of the fishes
  • Growing medium: it can be clay pebbles, peat moss, or pea gravel for maintaining the moisture and holding the plant roots

Tools required

  • Scissors
  • 3/16″ bit drill
  • Electrical tape 

Steps to assemble your indoor aquaponics system


Clean the fish tank. Thoroughly wash the gravel and pebbles. Place them in alignment with the tank.


Drill 1/8″ holes in the grow bed after every 2 square inches to let the water flow in the tank. Also, drill 1/2″ hole in the corner of the bed for the tubing and water pumping.


Set the grow bed in the tank and place the water pumps accordingly. Install the tubings in the holes and leave ¾ of tubings for looping inside the grow bed. Seal the holes tightly with electrical tape.


Fill the grow bed with growing mediums of your choice, size, and quantity. 


Cover the tubing inside the grow bed with two inches of growing mediums. 


Fill the tank with water. Connect the pump and make sure water is accurately being filled inside the grow bed. Make sure the water is clean and hygienic. 


Settle the air stone in the tank and connect it with the air pump. You will notice a constant stream of bubbles will start rising from the stones to provide fresh air.


Check the pH of the water tank. You may check it by litmus paper, pH kit, or meter. The preferable pH for the aquaponic system is 7.0. If you find the pH lower than 7.2, you will have to use “pH down” products while for pH less than 6.8, buy “pH up” products.


Dissipate few drops of chlorine in the water and let it rest for 24 hours. It will eliminate harmful bacteria and purify the water. 


Drop fishes in the tank. Initially, try to keep the stock low, for example, 1/2″ of fish per gallon. You may later increase the quantity once the system starts working smoothly.


Connect the plant pot to the tank through pumps. You may choose the size of the container and type of the soil of your own. Make sure the soil is fertile and full of nitrate and phosphorus. It is recommended to wait for one month to plant seeds, but you can do it earlier as well. 

Once the system is ready, you may start feeding the fish twice a day. Keep the quantity of food lower. Don’t feed the fish for more than 5 minutes in a row. Fuel your tank with water after every two weeks as the water gets evaporated. Take care of the temperature of the tank in winter days. 

I hope, this piece of information will be useful for the ones pondering to install an indoor aquaponic system. It’s always an eco-friendly idea to invest in the environment.  

  1. Clean the fish tank. Thoroughly wash the gravel and pebbles. Place them in alignment with the tank.

  2. Drill 1/8″ holes in the grow bed after every 2 square inches to let the water flow in the tank. Also, drill 1/2″ hole in the corner of the bed for the tubing and water pumping.

  3. Set the grow bed in the tank and place the water pumps accordingly. Install the tubings in the holes and leave ¾ of tubings for looping inside the grow bed. Seal the holes tightly with electrical tape.

  4. Fill the grow bed with growing mediums of your choice, size, and quantity. 

  5. Cover the tubing inside the grow bed with two inches of growing mediums. 

  6. Fill the tank with water. Connect the pump and make sure water is accurately being filled inside the grow bed. Make sure the water is clean and hygienic. 

  7. Settle the air stone in the tank and connect it with the air pump. You will notice a constant stream of bubbles will start rising from the stones to provide fresh air.

  8. Check the pH of the water tank. You may check it by litmus paper, pH kit, or meter. The preferable pH for the aquaponic system is 7.0. If you find the pH lower than 7.2, you will have to use “pH down” products while for pH less than 6.8, buy “pH up” products.

  9. Dissipate few drops of chlorine in the water and let it rest for 24 hours. It will eliminate harmful bacteria and purify the water. 

  10. Drop fishes in the tank. Initially, try to keep the stock low, for example, 1/2″ of fish per gallon. You may later increase the quantity once the system starts working smoothly.

  11. Connect the plant pot to the tank through pumps. You may choose the size of the container and type of the soil of your own. Make sure the soil is fertile and full of nitrate and phosphorus. It is recommended to wait for one month to plant seeds, but you can do it earlier as well. 

Why Use An Aquaponics System

In recent years, aquaponics systems have gained much popularity around the globe. People are installing it in their houses for the sustenance of their families or selling the lavish crops. I am not afraid to say that farmers might switch to aquaponics farming rather than complicated and ancient agriculture.

Why Aquaponics?

You must be wondering what makes people go freaking fascinated about the aquaponics system. Well, scroll down to the benefits and clear up all your confusions regarding the aquaponics system. 

Photo by Leafly

Top 9 Reasons For Using An Aquaponics System

  • You don’t need bundles of dollars 

The good part is that you can design the system on your own by recycling products from home. You don’t need to buy the hefty machinery and get into loans. The soil will not demand any need for pesticides or insecticides medications. Numerous tutorials are available on Youtube on DIY aquaponics. You will need regular stuff like tank, plant container, fishes and plants of your choice, aquarium setups, and pipes. With such a low investment, you will be able to receive bountiful benefits of harvesting crops of different types without conventional farming. Several rural people have reported switching to aquaponics farming for growing plants.

  •   Eco-friendly

It’s so green, clean, and natural that there’s no chaos of depleting the waste. The excreted waste of the fish is highly nutritious and organic for the plants to grow luxuriously. Growing plants and providing a hygienic environment to the fish is an innovative idea of ecological balance. You can also contribute to reducing the fast extinction of fish. The plants will provide you with fresh air, quality oxygen, and mesmerizing scenic visions.

  • The more organic, the healthier

Growing crops in your vicinity in hygienic irrigation and high-quality fertilizer make the crops more nutritious. The taste of aquaponics crop cannot be compared with the crops available in the market. According to Aquaponics and Earth, the waste of fish contains microbes which act as a natural fertilizer for the plants. It also protects the crop’s consumer from harmful diseases. The fish of aquaponics are free from mercury, oil, and antibiotics, so you may also include them in your healthy diet. Buying fresh and hygienic fish from the market is quite a challenging task because we never know to which water and feed it belongs to.

  • Less energy wastage

The earth would thank us for saving a substantial amount of heat and electrical energy by using aquaponics. It also less amount of water than traditional farming methods. The wastewater from the farms is fully accompanied by remains of pesticides which flow in the river and lake and causes water pollution. With aquaponics, there is no such harm to the environment and aquatic lives. It is an excellent water-saving approach because plants make use of water from transpiration.

Photo by Reddit

  • Your plants won’t take too long to grow 

Aquaponics plants grow in the twinkling of an eye when compared to the farm crops as they don’t need to compete with unnecessary weeds. Mentioning the studies of USC Project, the crops yield 20 times more than usual when growing in aquaponics plants. 

  • Less burden on your grocery budget

Growing clean and healthy food in your house is nothing more than a blessing. You won’t feel the need to shop for expensive organic vegetables and fruits from the mart. 

If your aquaponics plant is large enough, you can accommodate more crops to sell in the market. What an excellent entrepreneurial idea! This strategy can also bring you an adequate part-time income.

Amazingly, the government of Barbados is encouraging to onset the aquaponics plants in their houses and sell the crops to regular tourists. 

  • Minimal manual work required

The consumer doesn’t need to dig the ground or break his back to set up aquaponics as it 99p automatic. You need to feed the fish on time. Take care of the proper supply of water to the plants by the pipes. Refresh the fish tank once a month with fresh water. Importantly, keep a good health check on the fish by maintaining a neutral pH. That’s all! 

An aquaponics user, Carmen Brunette of Everton, quoted “It’s the least labor-intensive way to grow vegetables.” 

  • No allocation of space required

It is a small-scale project which does not require ample space to operate. You can set it up in your backyard, garage, or lawn. You can adjust the fish tank on the plant’s container so that drainage and shifting becomes easy. 

  • A learning activity

It is adventurous and exciting for all family members. Your children can learn a lot about plants, fish, ecosystem, and energy-saving, to name a few. Such activities are essential to maintain a happy family bond. In the future, your offspring can also adopt this eco-friendly project in their daily lives. 

  • Healthy lifestyle

Ingesting organic food grown by yourself plays a vital role in maintaining your good health. It has a commendable effect on your mental and physical health. It lowers down anxiety levels and adrenaline hormones. No chemical consumption protects you from lethal diseases provoked by injecting artificial food. Growing crops in your house will provide you high levels of oxygen that will ignite freshness in your body. Furthermore, healthy food will always instill good vibes and happiness in your nature. So, happy and healthy life is waiting for you. 

In a nutshell, aquaponics is a reasonable and low energy farming method which has uncountable benefits. The organic food harvested makes your health considerably suitable and keeps you stress-free. The common cons faced by people while using aquaponics are maintenance efforts and costs of wiring, tubing, and tanks. As it a human-made technology, errors and technical issues are inevitable. Inadequate supply of water and oxygen to the fish by a blockage in the pump can cause the loss of fish. 

Even if you face such obstacles while installing the system, you will gradually notice that the rewards outweigh these problems. I recommend this environmentally-friendly initiative to everyone reading this — best of luck for a good cause.

Indoor Aquaponics Systems, Can you build your own at home?

Growing Using An Indoor Aquaponics System

Growing of plants at home has been known to have positive effect on people. Plants produce a lot of oxygen and their beauty is also known to lift people’s moods. This is one of the reasons why house plants are so popular nowadays, some people also discovered that majority of the food crops can do well indoor. It is also good to grow plant that will provide many benefit if you would grow any. There are plants that can provide fresh vegetables and also beautify your home. Indoor aquaponic systems allows you to do this in an effective way without the challenges of potting soil, fertilizing and watering.

What is aquaponics?

Aquaponics combines the growing of plant with a fish tank which is another form of home decoration. Fish are known to produce a lot of wastes, these waste are full of different nutrients that are of great benefit to the plants. In a typical fish tank, the water goes through a filter that removes the waste from the water. If this is not done, the waste will accumulate to a certain level and will become toxic to the fish. However, the plant loves these wastes, but fishes don’t. So the idea of growing plants in nutrient-rich fish water is amazing and work very well for plants. In this system, the plants also do an important thing; they filter the water and make it clean, less toxic for the fish. With this kind of system, the water can be recycled again and again. While the plant continues to clean the water for the fish, the fish will continue to fertilize the plant.

This can be done in a soil-free system because plants don’t really need the soil in order to grow; they only get the nutrient and water out of the soil. So you can bypass soil by giving them water and nutrient directly, you won’t have to do other works associated with planting such as conditioning, digging, getting your hands dirty, etc.

This type of system can be used indoors, in the greenhouse or outside if the climate permits. However it is mostly used indoors and in this case controlling the climate will be very easy. If it is outside, the weather will determine what and when you can grow. But inside, the temperature is being controlled and common garden pests are eliminated. No more snails, gophers, slugs, weeds or any other predator. This system also makes it easy to grow food in a small space. Young crops can be alternated with older crops to make a nice contrast and to also decorate your home. This will also make it easy for you to pick organic product outside your living room whenever you desire.

If you wish to construct an indoor aquaponics system, you will be in need of some materials which are listed below:

  1. A fish tank: the size of your room will depend on the kind of tank you’ll be able to use. It is also important for you to note that you must leave the tank to run for at least three weeks before stocking fish; this will allow the natural bacterial which will serve as foods for the fish to grow.
  2. A filter: the filter will help to remove the solids from the water before it gets to the crops. This is important because the solid waste will start smelling when they get to the grow beds.
  3. Plastic piping: this will serves as a channel for the water to the grow beds. The water will be pumped through this pipe and it is best placed at the bottom of your indoor aquaponic tank so as to get rid of waste that sinks naturally and to keep the tank clean.
  4. Grow beds: it is good to place the fish tank higher than the beds so that the water would be taken back into the tank by force of gravity. The ideal object is a shelving unit and make sure you use netted pots so that the water can pass through easily.

Now that you’ve gotten all the materials necessary to set up your indoor aquaponic system, so let us get some vegetables growing. The first set of pipe should be passed over the grow beds and should be perforated so as to allow water to reach the plants. This water has enough nutrient needed by plants so as to grow well without using any chemical, this makes your vegetable and other plants to be organic. The second set of pipes is placed under the beds and directed downward in order to allow the filtered water to return to the fish tank, with this the cycle will be repeated over and over.

Because some water would be lost because of evaporation and the usage by plants, you will need to fill up your tank. The topping of water is one of the hard task, other ones such as feeding of fish, harvesting are simpler. With this system, it is very easy to harvest the fish because the grow beds are placed on a raised shelve so you won’t have to break your back to harvest them.

Aquaponic is perfect for everyone because it reduces wastage and is easy to practice however; there are other reasons why it is of great benefit.

Benefits of Aquaponics:


Instead of buying tons of equipment for traditional farming, aquaponic provides a recyclable system that is self-sustaining. After paying for the initial equipment, you won’t have to buy expensive materials or chemicals to maintain the system.


Fish normally discharge ammonia as a waste which is useless in traditional farming. However, with aquaponic, the same waste can be used for plants and can also be harvested for other purpose. Therefore, you’ll observe that maintaining an aquaponic system is easier to maintain than a fish tank.


Less land is required to produce crops in an aquaponic system. Also it can be constructed anywhere you desire. If you have a space in your home, you can place an indoor aquaponic there and you’ll definitely love it.

How To Start An Indoor Aquaponics System

A Rudimentary Guide to the Aquaponics System

Explained simply, indoor aquaponics is the integrated system produced from combining hydroponics and aquaculture. Aquaculture is the science of raising fish for food and hydroponics, the science of growing plants and food produce without soil.

The system works in a simple cycle. The fish provide the valuable minerals the plants will need to survive and the plants filter the nutrients from the water that is returned to the fish in their tank. The other important players in this symbiotic circle are the microorganisms that feed fish waste and the composting of red worms.

Each player has an important role; the bacteria will work to transform the ammonia in the fish wastes into nitrites and nitrates. This not only protects the fish from high levels of ammonia which can kill them but also provides the plants with an important food source. The red worms then consume all the solid wastes and in your aquaponic system into another important source of plant nutrition: vermicomposting.

Best Fish for Aquaponics

Just about any freshwater fish can be raised in your aquaponic system, but specific breeds will better suited to the climate and needs of the aquapon (aquapon: an aquaponic gardener). Tilapia is one of the most popular options for most aquapons, but many others are also growing catfish, trout, bluegill and even red claw crayfish.

But you don’t have to eat your fish either, goldfish and koi are very popular options as well and survive a wide range of temperatures. Precise temperatures will provide optimal productivity and some research should be done be done on the best fish type for specific locations.

Trout is a popular choice too because it is delicious and a large freshwater fish. Nevertheless, it will only begin to thrive when the temperatures of their waterfall between 45° – 55° F. Tilapia prefers warmer waters and temperatures higher than 70°F.

Fruits and Veggies from an Aquaponic System

Just about any fruit or veggie can thrive in an aquaponic system including coconuts, bananas, cucumbers, potatoes and every leafy veggie imaginable. Just about the only types of plants that will not go well in the system are plants that have special soil needs such as azaleas and blueberries that thrive in acidic soils. The water in your aquaponic system is generally kept just below a balanced pH level at 4.0 -5.0.

Ideal Climates for Aquaponics Systems

Aquaponics can be successful and prolific in all type of climates so long as the fish and plants are well adapted to the ambient temperatures. Some protection for the fairly delicate balance is always a little better and many people have placed their systems in a backyard greenhouse. This has the added benefit that the various components of the system including grow beds, fish tanks and sump tank all create a large thermal mass that keeps the temperatures fairly constant. The nice thing about the backyard is the free sunshine.

Many other people have set up successful aquaponics systems in their basements and garages, using artificial lighting. The best thing about aquaponics is that the design of the system is pretty straightforward and can be assembled from the most rudimentary materials. The task of balancing the water till the fish are thriving and keeping the sump tank filled with nutrient rich water. If you are not so DIY inclined, there are many kits available online that make the job even easier check out our aquaponics buyers guide.

2 Days at a commercial aquaponics farm

Course in aquaponics on Bioaqua farm

I wanted to learn more about aquaponics on a commercial scale, so I went to the beautiful Summerset just outside Wales, a rolling landscape with hedgerows and meadows.

Along a small road has Bioaqua Farm with Antonio spearheaded set up their business with the cultivation of trout, they have four large swimming pools buried in the ground with two associated greenhouse. Two new greenhouse was about to be put up when I was there and there were even a couple of hives helped with pollination. I was the only “foreigner”, where although there were some who lived both in Brazil, South Africa and Greenland! Delightful mix of people of all ages but different amount of experience. The course was an intensive introductory course in two days alternating theory with practice.


Salad Aquaponics Began with the theory and history of aquaponics. The aquaponics is not at all new but already used thousands of years ago by various different peoples. We also went through different systems, pros and cons. Antonio claimed that Zipgrow Towers was equivalent to the NFT which I do not entirely agree with. The downside of NFT / zipgrow was under him that it acted as a major element, which heated the water, creating temperature fluctuations. It may well be that in certain situations with clean NFT, but it feels weird to Bright Agrotech not have pointed this out at all. Their system is much larger than Bioaqua farms.

After completing the theory that offered some interesting discussions, we went out and inspected greenhouses. They were solidly built with a wood frame and UV-protected plastic that covered too. They also had a good ventilation possibilities in hand, the plastic that you could cover for open depending on weather.


The ebb and flow / DWC / Aero

The water is fed out to the plant beds content spirit hydrograins using a distributor controlled by a timer. When the water in the planting beds reached a certain height started a siphon that began to empty down to a line of DWC beds. A special type of Styrofoam had holes drilled in with nätkrukor which mainly lettuce grew, but other major crops.

aeroponics propagation

The abundance of these ran down into a sump which also acted as a large propagation system using sprinklers. To get the first root growth were planted cubes first in this aeroponics system for later transfer to a “nursing board” where the holes for nätkrukorna set more tightly. Finally, as they were moved over to the disk where the holes were further apart so that all the plants would get plenty of light.

clever tricks

Bioaqua farm had devised some clever ideas which nätkrukorna did not go all the way down the hole without sticking up a little bit. The reason for this was that when the plants get bigger and heavier so they weigh down the Styrofoam so much so that the water reaches the crowns which makes them rot. This was enough, however, a problem that was quite specific to their solution as they were very large and heavy plants in their DWC.

Another smart idea was to plant the seedlings in a zig zag pattern so that the water circulated better around the roots. They had also thoroughly with oxygenation with a large oxygen rock every meter in the summer and a little less in winter ( read the article on oxygen and plants ).

greenhouse Inside

Something I have not thought of, but which was very logical was that the roots became host to microorganisms in DWC system, similar to that seen in the plant bed onto Leca balls. This meant that Bioaqua farm let the plants remain until they could replace them just because the microbes would continue to work. Had they removed all the plants at once, this had probably led to problems with the mineralization.

After the tour of the greenhouses, it was time to say hello to the fishermen. They were outside in the round and buried in the bottom conical tanks in a pattern number five in a dice where the sump was in the middle. They were well protected during both net and a tent. If I remember correctly, they held a total of 100,000 liters of water in the marshes. In each tank so swam a large amount of char in different plant stages which made it very easy to “reap” on various occasions. The variety was exclusively rainbow trout as this was both tasty, durable and quickly grew. They had tested other types of trout, but these grew half as fast resulting in significantly lower returns. The only thing that was different was the texture of the meat as Antonio. They were also GMO free which was unusual in the industry.
fish feed

Bioaqua farm use only “organic” food, which means that the corn used is GMO-free. This is mixed with catches which vessels have raised. According to Antonio’s what the fish eat determines how it will taste. The trout is a predator and it is the fact that makes it taste just fish. The price of the GMO-free feed and the “organic” feed skilled not a lot in price, but when you go through a pallet of the day in large plantations begins suddenly felt. What was one of the reasons that GM feed is used more often in large plantations. If the water is not filtered properly so the fish have a slimy taste.


In Britain controlled all fish farms regularly and tests taken by the water. Bioaqua farm has very good values compared to traditional fish farms, probably due to the effective filtering with aquaponics, and that they do not fill their tanks.

Clean water

To fish would taste as good as possible, it was important to filter the water properly. Therefore had Bioaqua farm set up filters between the plant bed and DWC system. Because the holes were so small they were filled quickly back and Antonio emptied them several times a day.


Time to build
After lunch it was time to get practical. We would put up our own aquaponicssystem (without fish). An IBC 1000 liter acted as the fish tank. These are cheap and easy to get started, but needs to be covered over when the resin is UV-resistant and temperature would shift too much if you let it stand in the sun.

It would then build a “radial flow” filter so that solid substances would sink to the bottom. The water here would lose a plant bed filled with hydrograins and a siphon would drain the water into a DWC system. A pump with T-cross was supposed to fill in both the IBC and the NFT system on the other side. Much to do, lets go!

Radial flow filters

We were divided into two groups where one group built a radial-flow filter, while the other began to cobble together a plant bed. To build the filter was very simple, and it is difficult enough to find the right material, rather than putting it together. What was important was that the filter tank corresponding to approximately 1/4 of the large tank volume.

plant bed

Finding a plant bed of the right size is very difficult, so instead they built Bioaqua their farm with the help of wooden planks that were painted on the outside and the inside covered with plastic, very smooth. Antonio used exclusively Torx screw, and when it was time to drill holes through the plastic began his first anticlockwise not the plastic would stick in the hole saw.

Building the plant bed

It was about what we he with on a day which was not a little.


We banged us again in the classroom and now we went into more rules about fish and how to get hold of their first fry. The rules for the UK probably differ somewhat from Sweden which meant that this part did not give as much. It was very interesting to listen to the section on water dynamics and how to build fish tanks that performed better than others. Around and tapered at the bottom seems to be the way to go.

After the theory we were treated to lunch with fish from own cultivation. Very juicy and tasty, but it apparently took 20min to peel. Take it times 10 fish then you have some work to do. For the most part so smoked the fish and made a pâté of it was very tasty. The question came up about how the fish were raised and killed.

Fishing net

For single fish, a large landing net, but then there were different types of networks that mattered. The fewer the fish that were in the tank, the smarter they became, and the more easily escaped the all fishing effort. Finally covered the entire bottom of a net which drew up the final bottom.

An important point that Antonio took up was to use gloves when the fish’s body temperature is much lower than ours. The large difference in temperature burn otherwise the fish skin and create unnecessary suffering.

Once up, he took a firm hold of the tail and with a finger in his mouth, he broke the fast neck of the fish. The whole thing took no more than three seconds without any suffering.

More construction


Now it was time to complete the system. New beds were built, but this time they were filled with water instead. Styrofoamskivor (polystyrene) normally used for floor became a “floating raft” Once the holes were drilled. To avoid having to measure out the holes each time had Bioaqua farm made a smart template with screws that formed a perfect impression when pressed together with another disc.

The second group began working with a siphon that turned out to be a real headache, but eventually began to suck water. Personally, I am not eager to build when there are many parameters to fiddle with the width of the pipe, the amount of holes in the ground and how much water is entering the bed.

The bed was filled with three sacks hydrograins, oxygen stones placed in DWC system and NFT troughs that were completed since the previous placed so that it had to tilt the DWC. All that remained now was to get some power to the pump and then everything started to circulate. A little leaks here and there, but to have put the system on two afternoons, we can be quite satisfied. Speaking of leaks as Antonio had tried everything and wanted to be absolutely sure it is not leaking so he recommended something called PU-40 is a super silicone. No idea if you can get the equivalent in Sweden but it might be worth checking out.

A rewarding course in beautiful surroundings. For Bioaqua farm as the fish was the main income which is different from what I have seen and are used to. This meant that the farm was better attended than the greenhouse where some defects appeared on the plants, probably when the pH was too high in my opinion. Being aquaponicsbonde however, is a right reserved plot and sometimes lonely job where the greatest social contact occurs at the farmer’s market. Pushing for the product you have is better is also a challenge, but the only way to go if you want to get paid for what you do.

Indoor Aquaponics System Buying Tips

Buying An Indoor Aquaponics System

indoor_aquaponics_systemAre you interested in growing healthy plants? Do you want to take full advantage of the resources around you? If so, you may want to look into an indoor aquaponics system.

What is aquaponics? It’s a system that combines aquaculture — raising fish — with agriculture. You can use the water the fish are in to help your plants thrive.

If you’re going to set up something like this in your home, you’re going to need a great system. Here are a few of the things you should consider.

Does This System Meet Your Needs?

If you have a limited amount of space to work with, you are going to have to look for a smaller aquaponics system. If you want to raise certain types of plants or fish, you are going to have to seek out a system that works with that.

No matter what kind of system you wind up purchasing, you will want to invest in something that meets all of your needs. You should be fully satisfied with the product that you purchase.

Is The System Easy To Use?

If you are new to aquaponics, you aren’t going to want a system with a high learning curve. You’re going to want something that you will be able to start using right away.

You should do some research before you purchase a new system. Try to find something that is beginner friendly. If you will be able to use your new system without a problem, you will be a lot happier with it.

Consider Installation

When you purchase a system like this, it is going to have to be installed. You have two options available to you. You can install the system yourself, or you can hire someone to install it for you.

Not everyone is comfortable installing a system like this, and that’s okay. Installation options are available. With that said, getting a system set up isn’t as challenging as you might think. A number of systems come with clear instructions. If you take your time, you’ll be able to get everything figured out.

Choose A System That’s Well Reviewed

It’s smart to do a little bit of research before you make a big purchase like this. You should see what reviewers have to say about the system you’re considering. Has it received a lot of positive feedback? If people are praising it, that’s a very good sign.

Reviews can be a very valuable source of information. If you want to select the best aquaponics system, you should take the time to look at as many reviews as you can find.

As you can see, there are a number of things you’ll have to consider when purchasing an indoor aquaponics system. Buying a new system is a great idea, but you’re going to want to ensure that you are happy with whatever you buy.

Thankfully, there are plenty of amazing systems out there. If you do decide to buy a system like this, you’ll be able to select something you’ll love.

DIY Aquaponics System | What Is Aquaponics

What is aquaponics?

According to Wikipedia, aquaponics (or aquaponics as it is called in Swedish) “a sustainable system of aquaculture that combines the traditional aquaculture (breeding of aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crabs and shrimp in tanks) with hydroponics (growing plants in water) in a symbiotic environment “.

The article described the scale of the DIY aquaponics system, then the outdoor cultivation of plants and aquatic animals, with the ultimate goal to be able to start a business selling both farmed fish and cultivated plants and vegetables. This appealed to me, but since I have neither garden nor any larger room that is unoccupied, this was rather remote for ourselves. After further research online, I received, however, the knowledge that you can keep on with aquaponics even small scale for personal use, indoors.

In the simplest form of indoor aquaponics  starts from a container of aquatic animals, usually fish. This container is a circulation pump, which pumps water from the fish container to another container used as the cultivation bed. The water in the cultivation bed is drained back to the fish tank at intervals of about 15 minutes, and the cycle begins. The plants can grow plants thus not in soil but directly in the water in the cultivation bed or sometimes in major media such as hydro granules or coarse gravel that water can flow freely from.

What for me makes aquaponics so interesting is that the fish and plants live in symbiosis with each other. The fish are fed just as in a normal aquarium and their excrement ends up as usual in the water. The neat thing of it all is that in the cultivation bed with time arises flora bacteria capable of breaking down toxic in the fish feces and convert it into nutrients for the plants. And the cycle begins again.

Why spend money on aquaponics?

I have become so interested in the subject that I decided to build my own aquaponics system. And for my part I will do this almost exclusively because of interest. I love both plants and fish, and has a constant need to learn new things. I also like to build and create with their hands. And even though it cost a lot to acquire all the elements needed for a working system, so you can take comfort in that you can grow a lot of edible plants in their growing box, and it is only space that limits the amount that can be grown . I will cultivate vegetables that I use in cooking such as chilli, tomato, basil and various salads. Of course it is just as easy to grow flowers in aquaponics, but it does so to speak, no value for money, more than the cosmetics! Make it a little more large-scale system, you can also cultivate edible fish. This is of course not an option for me right now, but one day …

Building an indoor aquaponics system

Since I live in a small home, I will build a small system to learn how everything is connected and working. Aquaponics is a science and there are tons of books and guides written on the subject, but in short you need the following things to get started:

  • 1 container for fish (eg an aquarium)
  • 1 container for plants
  • 1 “sump” may be needed, depending on the type of system to build
  • 1 the circulation pump
  • 1 Water thermometer
  • a pipe system for the transport of water and draining the water in the cultivation box. Emptying is done with a so-called “bell siphon” (there are alternative solutions, but most people seem to use the bell siphon)
  • Lighting for plants
  • A package for water testing
  • Fish
  • Plants
  • Various chemicals for adjusting the water values

I have not had anymore in my own building than to decide on the design of the system, and placed orders online materials I need. In the next part of the series, I will show the progress of the construction and ultimately the fate of the plants and the fish of the completed stage.

As for the design of the system, so I chose the most popular variants:

System 1. Growbed top, bottom fishing

System 2. Fish top, growbed + sump (known as CHOP system constant height one pump)

System 1 is clearly the easiest to build, so in the beginning leaned it for me to build such a system. Wikihow has a good aquaponics DIY guide that shows how, with the help of cheap stuff from IKEA can build a small aquaponicssystem home. But after careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages, I have chosen to build a CHOP systems, ie systems 2nd

The reason I choose to build the system 2 is first and foremost that the water in the fish tank always maintains a constant level, reducing fishermen’s stress levels. In system 1, the water level of the fish rise and fall when the cultivation bed emptied / filled water. Another advantage of the system 2 is that it allows more than one culture bed system is therefore to expand if the need arises. You also avoid the two systems that have pump in the same container as the fish, allowing for easier cleaning without therefore having to disturb the fish.

The disadvantage of the system 2 is of course that means higher costs when they need more material and also an additional containers, so-called sump. It becomes a bit more bulky with 2 systems in comparison to systems first


Believe me, it takes a long time to find exactly what parts are needed and how to design their system. There are a variety of solutions, from simple to complicated. I still do not know if my building and its operation will have a happy ending, but I would like to report what I bought so others can get tips on, for example retailers, especially for piping.

The broader questions I had regarding the material was how to build the transportation of water, and the types of containers, I would use as a culture box, coffee grounds and fish living. A rule of thumb in the construction of simple aquaponics is that the ratio of water between fish and plant containers should be about 1: 1. A recommended height of the cultivation box should be about 12 inches, about 30 centimeters. You obviously want to have as much cultivable area is possible, as long as the 1: 1 ratio is kept. Fish container can thus be designed anyway, as long as it holds about as much volume as the cultivation bed.

I will use my garden pods available in 45-, 65- and 90-liter versions with a height of 30 cm. A 90-gallon rectangular basin will act cultivation bed, a round 90-liter gets fish tank and a rectangular 45-liter will be the sump.

The tubes I used in the construction are made of PVC and they were ordered from Biotedmarin .

Are you interested in building progresses, you should keep an eye on the blog, Part 2 of the series coming soon! Until then, you can be inspired by Aquaponicsgardening on youtube and read guides on Japan Aquaponics .

Best Recommended Plants And Fish For An Aquaponics System

What are the top fish and plants for an aquponics system?

Finding the best plants and fish for an aquaponics system will vary depending on the pH requirements for the fish and the plants. It’s best to try and match the pH requirements of both to get the best results. This would be for optimal growing conditions but you can still mix and match pH requirements.

Leafy vegetables tend to grow easier in an aquaponics system but there have also been successful systems used to grow plants that bear fruit such as tomatoes.

Here is a list of some plants that do well in an aquaponics system:

  1. Most Leafy Lettuce
  2. Watercress
  3. Kale
  4. Chives
  5. Swiss Chard
  6. Arugula
  7. Mint
  8. Pak Choi


These plants have a higher nutritional need and will do well in a system that is heavily stocked and well established not best suited for a new system:

  1. Cucumbers
  2. Beans
  3. Tomatoes
  4. Peas
  5. Squash
  6. Peppers
  7. Broccili
  8. Cabbage
  9. Cauliflower


Most common fish raised in aquaponics with good results:

  1. Crappie
  2. Koi
  3. Tilapia
  4. Sunfish
  5. Pacu
  6. Blue Gill
  7. Brim

It’s best to match the pH and temperature needs of your fish and plants to get the best results. This would be in an ideal system but finding some middle ground as far as needs go is OK. Typically warm fresh water fish will do well with plants such as lettuce and herbs. For more aquaponics information be sure to check out out main page.

Indoor Aquaponics Systems – How To Build An Indoor Aquaponics System

Building An Indoor Aquaponics System – Desktop Aquaponics System

Everyone it’s Robert Browning now if you’re like me you’re hoping that throughout the winter he be able to grow some food inside to test this aquaponics system they hopefully do that so basically where is we going to have the same thing like flood and drain in aquaponic system that use nutrients in fertilizers that we buy at the store that are already made what we’re going to do is work , we actually use fish ways to create an entrance for the class so stay tune so I show you guys how to make this system.

Indoor Aquaponics Project

desktop_aquaponics_systemToday I am gonna show you a little project that thinking for a while have an all these test that gonna be stages and I really wanted to something like that so I decided that I’d build aquaponics system just very small utilizing very little space in your house but you’re going to be able to grow vegetables that you can use your cooking anytime.

Alright.. so first thing we talk about what’s a girl that is getting here isn’t going to hold the Hydra and it’s going to hold some of the water that flood and draining and it’s going to hold the plants so I got it right here and see it and its quite in profile and it is 8 inches deep which is going to be perfect you wanna least six inches what is optimal eight inches for our purposes from A System’s going to be great. This is gonna whole 85 litres water and grow bed. So, we have to do this we’re going to need to create some sort of drain and fill pipe and we need to have the drain and fill pipes. So let’s get started so I got this bulkhead on eBay and essentially what that’s going to let me do is attach them those to the bottom here and it’s going to create a watertight seal at the bottom of this tot all the water to come up through here and then ran back so we need to do is create a hole for this and you want the bottom of the tank you can see that there’s quite a few ridge lines and support structure we don’t want to drill into that basically what we’re looking for is real looking for a flat area to drill a hole into so what I have is a one and a half inch hole saw and what I’m going to do is to drill a hole into one of the flat corners and that’s where I’m going to attach my bulkhead.

building_a_desktop_aquaponics_systemSo I have my phone again so I can hold out for a minute what I need to have is a separate hole for a separate bulkhead on this side to allow for an overflow okay we gonna have some modification to the desk the desk so I need to put a hole in the desk for one of the bulkheads on this side and one of the bulkheads on this side so what I’m going to do is just place the unit right where I want it just like that and then using the same drill bit that we use to cut the holes in the first place I’m going to go ahead and cut a hole right into the desk now you see we have the whole on the table and that’s going to line up with the hole in the grow bed and bulkhead alright so have a bulkhead nice and tight coming out right over the holes that we drilled into place like so okay so I have some three-quarter inch PVC pipe that’s been threaded on one side you can find this in the interrogation center from depot. so what i gonna do with this pipe is create a maximum fill level for micro bad I wanted to be just below a few inches from the top so I’ll find where I want that too and and I’ll go ahead cut it out.

Okay so I have that mark on to be and then I just take my pipe cutter and we go ahead and cut the pipe. And now attach the pipe I have just cut and attach it to the bulkhead and this will be your fill level and I’ll just screw ride into the bulkhead top just like so soon as the water fills the girl bad once it reaches this level it will overflow and go back down to the fish tank okay so take a piece of abs and I cut lots of little holes in it this is going to allow the water to fill in screw this and what this is going to act as is a little trap to keep any of these little pieces of hydron and going into the pipe system okay so i have bag hydron here it’s just a expanded clay pellets we’re going to go ahead and use that to fill our system alright so we finish the top and now we need to focus on the firming below so what you can see here you can see all the piping that we have coming through the holes that we drilled in the top of the desk now that’s going to feed into this tot we’re going to keep the fish so right now what we need to do is build the piping system that’s going to come from the pipes just below down into the bottom of the fish tank.


Alright and now we’re going to go ahead and attach the Overflow lines the reason for this is I want to maintain the same water level on both sides this will create a sum between the two buckets so we’ll have one with a fish on it and then it’ll happen it’ll actually pump out the water from the second one and this will allow the fish waste sort of transfer from one to the other and also maintain more lesson even level of water fish inside this once they own experienced Falls and drops as the water is pumped up to the system so do that just take the hole side again and cut hole in each of the bucket and then we’re going to add these bulkheads teach at the bucket as well and then they’ll allow us to connect both of those so we’ll just go ahead and cut on the same side at same height pilot holes for the bulkheads now and now we can just go ahead and add our bulkhead on either sides and connects two points just using the three quarters wrench plastic tube in and now we have both buckets connected so I’m going to do another one in the back as well and the next thing I’m going to be doing is building that I have here is just a simple ball valve and what that’s going to do is just be able to give us the ability to regulate the flow of water this will help us and just how fast the tank fills we’re going to go ahead and attach our fittings so we have half inch fittings on either end we’re going to go ahead and add this reducer and this is going to allow us to go from the white or black half inch to the thicker diameter half inch clear tubing now we can attach this manifold to the pump now we have the ability to regulate the flow coming out of the pump into the Volvo.

Okay. if I added this T joint to connect these two pieces host together and that’s going to be for fill systems having attached that just like so next time measure the piece of this tubing and that will go from this to t-Joint section here all the way to the back where the field is all the way to the back with a fill valve is so we’ll go ahead and attach that here you can see I did the same thing with the returns and just getting all the flow of the two returns back into one single one lastly I’m going to an air pump and Air Stone to each of the two buckets this will just provide aeration alright so you wanna work on our timing system is basically what I have here the timer that works in 15 minute increments and what I wanted do is to make sure that the whole flood and drain cycle takes a total of about 30 minutes so we’re going to want to do is run the pump for 15 minutes and then have a drain and take about another 15 minutes so we’re just timing system now to come right now and see how long it takes to flood and drain. so even done if we figured out on the ball valve how far to turn it to allow it to take a full 15 minutes to cycle the water okay we just started this cycle and it’s kind of hard to see but you can see the little shimmer of water just starting to fill bed now you can see the water just about to come up to the top of the cycle there goes so now its fill lines to start draining about the bottom of the tank so you can see now it comes down it fills and drains into the fish tank and that’s gonna fill up its gonna move over across the tubing into the sum you can see it draining to the some ok at this point we basically have the system ready to go so what I’m going to do is I’m going to set the timer for 15 minutes intervals 4 times a day and basically what I gonna do that point is just test in between intervals and feel if it’s still moist about an inch or so down below if it’s still nice then that means that we have perfect timing basically what I’m looking for is one that dry in surface below so dry and then just set another interval right so like 5 times today it really is going to depend on the humidity in your house and how many plants are getting whether they start sucking all that water out. So speaking about plants there is next part of the system how do we get fish in the system how do get plants in the system right!


That’s everybody wants to know there is a little something called cycling which is going to take approximately three to six weeks and you’re going to have to be patient on that but I gonna outline in detail in the next video so go ahead and subscribe to me and you will get the video when it comes up I’m hoping to have it done in the next two weeks and feel free to like subscribing feel free to this video otherwise we hope to see you soon and happy growing!

How To Build Your Own DIY Aquaponics System For Under 150

Building an outdoor aquaponics system for under $150.00

Hey guys in the week I promise you as gonna give you aquaponics up running and here I am with a proof-of-concept. So just want to give you guys a quick walk around, literally this can be built for about $150 and it gives you 100 gallon stock tank for fish which is plenty and to approximately 20 gallon grow bags. So, I plan on doing that is and a whole bunch of other things in these. Now I’m going to get some pallets and I’m going to build a frame out of pallets for it and see I’m going to have to raise these beds up a little bit get some pallets then spread them out a little bit just because I’ll be I’ll have to get to the fish side of things but you know real simple all I really have is a four hundred gallon private pump real simple coming around on this platform tune into it a fitting that around it transfer to three quarter inch PVC.

Aquaponics PVC Piping

I got eight here running to two adjust to valves where can I get my info everything going in everything going out three quarter inch. So, then I’ve got myself a fence real simple just to 2inch pipe with the cab Christmas sets on the bottom just like everybody else it take me 2 days to figure out and I’m still have questions but I’ll get to that in a minute anyway this kind of raked up sandpiper Court downtown electrical fittings which basically if I can get down in here which basically goes into a rubber O-ring and then convert back into three quarter inch. and then I’ve got this little swig here and now as you’ll see in a minute it fills out I really helps that out over here same thing two inch pipe three quarter of a little bit of with a little bit of lips that you want to have a little bit of a bigger topper so I can help out with section as you can see this one about to start.

Fast Aquaponics Setup

So I’ll show you just how rapidly this thing gets going ready now I’m draining in about four minutes and I’m feeling in anywhere from 4 to 8 I can and rest up to ten. I can’t really just sit all the way down I finally got safe in to a where you can have a drink and it all still safe and that’s what took a lot of the time was actually getting it to start with such a low water pressure coming in unless I crank it up but I don’t want to do that because it fills too much I got adjusted to where it stops about that about an inch and half inches below in my media fill up to the top where you can see its its just getting started here so just water keeps filling up. Its hits back to stand pipes similar on this side.

So, basically just starts flowing and start fill in a minute my side safe in net fat so it takes about 3 minutes to drain which is really good. So, basically my questions are as well i m looking forward for a good amount of drain time and a good amount of fill time meaning how long should it take for the cycles that I’m still kind of learning about but so as you can see safe in works perfectly same set of mess up and that turns to tank then the process keeps repeating itself basically the same thing over here once the water gets up that stand by. I have any kind of wet strip you know extra holes in it on the top so that’s okay I don’t have any kind of extra I’m I have the same pipe going in and out some people said yeah they’re bigger going out but that’s not true I can get on the water come up and certainly full that is basically four contact all the time with your roots with the water so you know just a design came up with even if you were to go out and buy this exact same setup you probably have to tweak it a little bit so basically everything left I have to tweak is my flow rates and you know basically everything else is pretty self-explanatory you just want to just add water to fill underneath your medium should I top every medium get wet they basically just want to fill it to the top I left about 2 inches that you want to fill it that you meet get on the top for me wanted to just be about an inch below the surface eliminates bacteria build-up stuff like that also with the way that these aquaponic Bell siphons work I’m pretty sure that’s creating oxygen it’s definitely oxygenating it as it puts it back down in the tank so that’s good that you can see oh I missed it.


It’s off right away as well but still quite natural not shut off yet as you see just substance that a main water and then it just goes ahead and shut up so I mean I’m super happy with that it starts right up within about 30 seconds and it stops within about 30 seconds I think I have got my side my water level set right now just my question is what should I know what should the flow rate be on how long should it take to fill how long should it be in contact with the water but other than that basically just got to go get some claverack and then I’ll put them you know I’ll put another piece of PVC over these two to base their work as a filter for rocks and stuff so that it doesn’t get in there its basically it’s the setup so stay tuned for more to come get any questions please leave it in the comments I’ll be happy to give you guys dimensions on everything I’m going to take this apart because I’m going to be making a pallet stand for it, no closet at all and you look really really nice but basically this is just proof of concept working really really well so far he hasn’t missed a cycle it never not break the safe and it never not start right away so please leave me some comments like And subscribe and I will answer your questions as soon as possible and stay tuned for more talk to you soon.