Aquaponics -The Complete Step-By-Step Guide

Aquaponics is one of the most sustainable ways to grow food. It combines aquaculture, the science of fish farming, and hydroponics, a water-based method of plant cultivation. 

Aquaponics uses only 15% of the water used in conventional soil farming methods and produces 60% more food per square foot than traditional gardening techniques.

Mounting of irrigation flute in aquaponics
Key Takeaways
Benefits of aquaponic systems
Required equipment for an aquaponic setup
Types of aquaponic systems
Steps to construct an aquaponic system
Tips for maintaining an aquaponic garden
Common issues and how to troubleshoot them

Aquaponics System

In a nutshell, aquaponics is a method of growing fish and plants together in a symbiotic environment. The fish produce waste and ammonia which are broken down by bacteria into nitrates that can be used as nutrients for the plants. 

The plants act as filters, cleaning the water so that it can be recycled through the cycle again. 

Aquaponics is also known as “hydroponics with fish” because it combines elements of both hydroponics (growing plants in water without soil) and aquaculture (the farming of aquatic animals).

Understanding the basics of an aquaponics system is essential to building your own. Our article on What is an Aquaponics System? How do They Work? provides an in-depth explanation of the crucial components of an aquaponic system for a successful garden

Required Equipment for Aquaponic System

Fish tankHolds fish and provides nutrients to plants
Grow bedsHolds plants and filters water for fish
Water pumpMoves water from fish tank to grow beds
Aeration systemAdds oxygen to the water
Water heaterMaintains a consistent water temperature
Grow mediumProvides support and nutrients for plants
Fish and plantsThe living components of the system

What Is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish) and hydroponics (soil-less plant cultivation). 

Aquaponics is a closed loop system where the water from the fish tanks is filtered through filters, then pumped back into the tanks to nourish them. 

The nutrient-rich water from the fish tanks then flows into grow beds where plants grow in water. This wastewater can be used over and over again until it becomes depleted of nutrients.

The benefit of this type of system is that there is no need for fertilizer or pesticides so it’s good for the environment!

What Are The Components Of An Aquaponic System?

Aquaponics is a closed-loop system that utilizes fish to provide nutrients for the plants, and the plants help filter the water for the fish. To create this beneficial cycle, you need three main components:

  • Fish
  • Plants
  • Bacteria (Nitrifying Bacteria)

The 3 components of an Aquaponic System are as follows: The Fish Tank – where we keep our fish (in an aquarium or pond) The Grow Bed(s) – where we grow our plant crops, like lettuce and herbs The Plumbing – which connects everything

Have you been interested in setting up an aquaponic system at home? Learn more about it on our article, How do you use Aquaponics at Home? Find Out!, where we provide tips and advice on how to design, set up, and maintain your own aquaponic system.

How Does An Aquaponic System Work?

The combination of aquaculture and hydroponics is called aquaponics. Aquaponics is a sustainable, organic approach to farming that uses 90% less water than traditional methods and can produce 2-20 times more food per square foot than soil-based agriculture.

Table 2: Common Problems and Solutions of Aquaponic System

Water quality issuesTest water regularly and adjust pH and nutrient levels as needed
Pests and diseasesMonitor plants for signs of pests and diseases and treat accordingly
Fish health issuesQuarantine sick fish and treat with appropriate medication
System leaksCheck for and repair any leaks in the system
Blocked pipesUnclog pipes and check for any obstructions
Power outagesHave a backup generator or battery system in case of power outages

What Is Aquaculture?

Aquaculture is the farming of fish, such as salmon or trout, in tanks or ponds. Fish are raised by feeding them pellets made with fish meal and other ingredients like soybean meal and wheat flour as well as organic fertilizers like worm castings (poop) from red wigglers (worms). 

The water these fish live in needs to be cleaned regularly because they produce waste which can pollute the water if it’s not taken care of properly.

Fish And Plants In Aquaponics

Aquaponics is an amazing system that allows you to grow plants and raise fish together. The two main components of an aquaponics system are the fish, who provide nutrients for the plants, and the plants, who filter water for the fish. 

Both are equally important for the health of your system!

In other words: Your fish eat and poop out their waste which feeds your plants (the roots). Your plants then clean up that same water before it gets back to your fish (the leaves).

Looking to grow your own vegetables using an aquaponic system? Our article on What Vegetables can be Grown in Aquaponics? provides a comprehensive list of the best crops to cultivate for an efficient and thriving aquaponic garden.

Where To Set Up An Aquaponic System?

Aquaponics is an easy system to set up, and it can be done anywhere. You could do it in your backyard, or you could do it on the roof of a building if that’s what works for you. 

Aquaponics can be done indoors or out, with all kinds of plants, fish, and equipment! As long as there are no extreme temperatures or weather conditions that would damage your plants or fish then there shouldn’t be a problem with any location.

However, some locations will make things easier than others depending on what type of aquaponic setup you have chosen for yourself. 

If you are planning on keeping fish such as Tilapia then obviously having access to fresh water is key; therefore if possible try building an indoor system where there is plenty of water available without needing to drain anything away from the tank itself.

This way when one day comes along when someone asks “where should I start?” they won’t need much help at all!

Advantages & Disadvantages Of Aquaponics

Aquaponics is a method of growing fish and plants together in the same container. It has many advantages, but there are some disadvantages as well.


You can grow more food than you would be able to with traditional farming methods. Aquaponics systems have been known to produce up to 10 times more food per square foot than traditional soil-based operations. 

This makes them an excellent choice for people looking for ways to increase their food supply or who live in areas where land is scarce and arable land hard to come by (such as urban areas).

Because aquaponics uses less space than conventional farming techniques, it’s feasible to even in small backyards or on balconies even if they aren’t very large! 

If you’re short on space but still want an organic garden that produces plenty of healthy vegetables and herbs, this may be just what you’re looking for!

Disadvantages: -It’s not suitable for everyone; since hydroponic gardening requires specialized equipment such as pumps and filters.

It isn’t something everyone can do and even those who are experienced might find themselves stumped by some parts of the process when first starting with an aquaponic system (although these issues tend not to last long once one becomes familiarized enough with how these systems work).

Thinking of starting your own aquaponic system? Check out our article on How much does an Aquaponics System Cost? Explained to get an idea of the expenses involved in designing your own system and what components you should invest in for a successful and sustainable garden.

Resources For Aquaponics Related Information

When you’re starting a new project, whether it’s building a backyard greenhouse or starting a blog, the first thing you need to do is learn everything you can about your subject.

The same is true with aquaponics the more information you have on hand, the better off you’ll be. Here are some excellent resources to get started with:

Online Resources: There are lots of excellent websites out there that offer great advice and information on everything from setting up an aquaponics system to maintaining one once it’s running smoothly. 

Books: If reading isn’t your thing, there are also several books available on the topic of aquaponics that may suit your learning style better than online resources or podcasts would be able to do so for some people! 

These books include The Everything Aquaponic Gardening Book by Michael Grosvenor; Backyard Aquaculture: 

Raising Fish at Home by Cathy Russell; The Complete Guide To Organic Hydroponic Gardening by Peter Bennett; How To Grow Vegetables All Year Round And Still Have Time Left Over For Cats And A Dog Or Two by Roberta Green

If You Want To Self-Sustain, Aquaponics Is The Ultimate Way To Do It

If you’re like me, then you probably don’t have a lot of time to garden. On top of that, I live in an apartment and don’t have access to traditional soil gardening methods. That’s why I’m so excited about aquaponics!

Aquaponics allows you to grow food year-round with little effort on your part. 

The fish do all the work by cleaning up their waste and converting it into nutrients for your plants and since they’re living right there in your system with your plants, they won’t overpopulate (like they would if they were kept in a tank). 

This means that every bit of food produced requires zero chemicals or fertilizers and since aquaponic systems are self-sufficient, there’s no need for irrigation either! What could be better?

For an efficient aquaponic system, it is crucial to understand the ratio of plants to fish. Our article on Aquaponics: How Many Plants per Fish? provides essential advice on the right number of plants to cultivate based on the number of fish in your aquaponic system for maximum growth and yield.


As you can see, there is a lot to learn about aquaponics and it can be overwhelming. 

However, if you are interested in learning more about this amazing practice we suggest that you start by doing some research on your own and then finding someone who has experience with growing plants in an aquaponic system. 

We hope this article helped to explain some of the basics behind aquaponics; if so feel free to share it with others who might want to get started!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources related to aquaponics and gardening:

What is an Aquaponics System? How do they work? – Learn about the basics of aquaponics and how these systems work.

What Vegetables Can be Grown in Aquaponics? – Find out which vegetables are best suited for aquaponic systems.

How to Make an Aquaponic Garden – Requirements – Learn about the essential requirements for setting up your own aquaponic garden.

How to Make Your Own Aquaponics System – A step-by-step guide on building your own aquaponics system at home.

How Much Does an Aquaponics System Cost? Explained – Find out the cost of building an aquaponic system and the factors that can affect the overall price.

The Ultimate Aquaponics Beginners Guide – A comprehensive guide for beginners interested in starting their own aquaponics system.

How to Grow with Aquaponics in 5 Simple Steps – An easy-to-follow guide on setting up an aquaponic system and growing plants.


What is aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a sustainable method of growing plants and fish together in a closed-loop system. Fish waste provides nutrients for the plants, which in turn clean the water for the fish.

What are the benefits of aquaponics?

Aquaponics is an eco-friendly and sustainable method of growing food. It requires less water and space compared to traditional agriculture and eliminates the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

What can be grown in aquaponics?

A wide variety of plants can be grown in aquaponics, including lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries.

How do I build an aquaponic system?

Building an aquaponic system requires a fish tank, a grow bed, and a pump to circulate water. There are various designs and sizes of systems to choose from, depending on your needs and resources.

How much does it cost to build an aquaponic system?

The cost of building an aquaponic system can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the system. It can range from a few hundred dollars for a small, DIY setup to thousands of dollars for a larger, commercial system.