How Do You Build A NFT Aquaponics System?

You’ve heard of aquaponics, but you’re not sure if it’s right for you. Maybe you’d like to try your hand at building an aquaponics system in your home, garage or backyard. 

It can be a fun hobby and a great way to grow some organic food while also saving money on groceries! Follow these steps to build your very own aquaponics system:

How to Build a Nutrient Film Technique NFT Hydroponic System
Aquaponics is a sustainable farming method that combines aquaculture and hydroponics.
In an aquaponics system, fish waste is converted into nutrients for plants, which in turn filter the water for the fish.
Aquaponics systems can be built using a variety of materials, such as PVC pipes and containers, and can be customized to fit any space.
Popular fish species for aquaponics include tilapia, trout, and catfish, while plants that thrive in these systems include leafy greens, herbs, and fruiting plants.
Maintaining an aquaponics system involves monitoring water quality, checking on the health of fish and plants, and cleaning and maintaining system components.
Aquaponics systems can be a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable way to grow fresh produce and raise fish at home.

Build A Fish Tank

You will need a fish tank. The size of the tank depends on how many fish you want to be able to raise at once and how much water you have available for them. 

You also want to make sure that the fish tank is strong enough to support itself and the weight of all of its contents, including water. 

Make sure that it has a lid, so that you can keep your fish safe from predators (like raccoons or cats) while they are in their habitat!

To ensure a healthy and thriving NFT aquaponics system, regular water changes are essential. Our article on How Often Do You Have to Change Water in Aquaponics? provides valuable information on the importance of maintaining proper water levels and how to do it effectively

Construct The Table

Your first step is to build the table. The table should be made of wood, but any other strong material will work too. Be sure that your table is the right size and shape for what you want to do with it! 

You can use plywood and cut it down, or you can buy a pre-cut piece of lumber at your local hardware store if they sell them in stock; this way there’s less cutting involved and you can spend more time on other parts of your project. 

Make sure that whatever material you choose has enough strength so that when filled with water (which weighs about 8 pounds per gallon) will not collapse under its own weight or defeat the purpose of having an aquaponics system!

Add Styrofoam For Insulation

You should also use styrofoam to insulate the fish tank. Make sure you cover all sides of the tank, though. 

It can be tempting to just throw enough styrofoam in there to fill the space between your fish tanks and garden beds but don’t do that! 

You don’t want too much insulation because it might get too hot for your plants or it might suffocate them with too much humidity.

When building an NFT aquaponics system, understanding the necessary components is crucial. Our article on What Are the Requirements for Aquaponics? provides readers with the foundational knowledge needed to ensure a successful build.

Create A Perforated Pipe System

Your next step is to create a perforated pipe system. This will allow water to flow through the system, and it is connected to gutters. 

The gutters are then connected to the fish tank, which is filled with water. This allows for proper circulation and natural filtration.

Cut, Add And Plug Units To Run Water

Next you will need to cut the gutters to size and add them to your pipes. To do this, you will use a hacksaw or power drill with a cutting bit or hole saw attachment, depending on what kind of material you’re working with. 

Fitting the gutter over the pipe is fairly straightforward: hold each end of the gutter in place and mark where you want to make cuts before making them.

Once all of your pieces are cut and assembled into one continuous piece that runs from bottom to top, it’s time for some final assembly! 

You’ll want a rubber stopper at each end of your pipes so no water can leak out while it travels through them and we’ve got a few recommendations for how best do this yourself:

  • Funnel from your kitchen pantry (if one already exists)
  • Cut off an old shoe heel

With aquaponics, growing plants is just as important as raising fish. Our article on How Do You Grow Vegetables in Aquaponics? breaks down the process and offers valuable insight for anyone interested in building an NFT aquaponics system.

Drill Holes Into Gutters

Now you can drill holes into the gutters. The first thing to do is make sure that the drill bit is slightly smaller than the diameter of your pipe.

 If it’s too small, you may not be able to get all the way through and risk damaging your gutter. 

Also make sure that whatever material your pipe is made from can withstand rusting; if it does not, then you will need to take extra care when drilling through it.

Finally, make sure that you wear eye protection and gloves while working with power tools so as not to injure yourself or others around you! 

You should also work in a well-ventilated area—this will help prevent any airborne dust particles from getting into your lungs or eyes while cutting wood or metal products like nails/screws/plastic fittings etcetera.”

Join The Pipes And Gutters

Now, you’ll want to join your gutters and pipes. You can do so with a glue gun or silicone sealant.

Once your aquaponics system is assembled, you should test it before placing any fish inside. Fill the tank with water from a hose and check for leaks in the joints between pipe pieces and gutter clips. 

Use waterproofing sealant if necessary to ensure no leaks develop later on when you add fish into your system!

Tools and Materials
End Caps
Irrigation Lines
Submersible Pump
pH Testing Kit

Cover With Plexiglass

The last step is covering the NFT system with plexiglass. Plexiglass is a great material for covering the NFT system because it’s transparent, durable and easy to clean. You can find plexiglass at any hardware store or online.

To install the plexiglass, we cut a piece of 1/4-inch thick plexiglass that matches the dimensions of our growbeds (it’s approximately 3 inches shorter than each side). 

We then used strong double-sided tape to adhere this piece of plexiglass onto our growbeds.

Interested in building your own aquaponics system? Our article on How to Make Your Own Aquaponics System provides a step-by-step guide for beginners and seasoned gardeners alike

Add A Submersible Pump

The next thing you need to add is a submersible pump. This is an important piece of equipment for your aquaponics system, as it will help move water from the fish tank and onto your plants.

Submersible pumps are powered by electricity, but they’re also generally easier to install than other types of pumps that aren’t powered by electricity (such as centrifugal or diaphragm pumps).

Prepare Plants To Be Inserted Into Water-Filled Gutters

The first step in building your aquaponics system is to prepare the plants. You can use any type of plant that grows well in a hydroponic environment, but I prefer using lettuce and basil because they grow quickly and are easy to maintain. 

The key is to keep the roots moist at all times, so make sure the pots have good drainage holes on the bottom of each one. 

Next, add potting soil into each pot until it’s about two inches from full (you can use less if you don’t want as many plants). 

Then plant your seeds or seedlings according to their instructions (usually about 1 seed per inch). If using seeds you will need a starter cube which helps them germinate faster by giving them moisture and nutrients until they sprout roots themselves!

Common Plants to Grow in Water-Filled Gutters

Insert Plants Into Water-Filled Gutters

Next, you’ll need to remove the plants from their plastic pots. You should then rinse their roots with water before placing them into your gutters. 

While this is a necessary step, it’s also important to make sure that your plants are healthy and do not have any diseases or fungus on their root systems.

If you’re using healthy plants, this process will be easy. However, if your plant has been in its plastic pot for more than two months and has grown tall enough that its roots have poked through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot (and thus can’t be easily removed)

You might want to cut off some of the plant’s stems before attempting to remove it from its container that way there won’t be much risk of damaging anything else while trying out different methods until one works well!

Looking for a comprehensive guide on Aquaponics? Our article on Aquaponics: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide covers everything from the basics to advanced techniques, making it a must-read for anyone interested in building an NFT aquaponics system.

Add Fish And Enjoy The Aquatic Life

Hopefully, you’ve already added fish to your aquarium and are enjoying the aquatic life. If not, add some fish now! 

You’ll probably want to start with just a few—a small school of tetras or danios works well here. If you’re so inclined, you can add plants to the gutters at this point as well (but they don’t need them).

Just make sure that everything is in place and working: check on your fish every day; water your plants as needed; monitor how things are going generally; add fertilizer when necessary; clean out any detritus that accumulates somewhere in or around the tank.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial on how to build a NFT aquaponics system.

This method is perfect for anyone who wants to have an easy time growing plants and fish in their own home. 

You don’t need much experience or money to do it just some basic tools like a drill, a saw and plastic sheeting! 

It’s also great because there are so many different kinds of plants that can be grown together with fish in one place; they complement each other perfectly.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources related to aquaponics systems that you may find helpful:

Aquaponics: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide – This comprehensive guide provides a detailed overview of aquaponics, including how it works, the benefits of using this system, and how to set up and maintain an aquaponics system.

How to Make Your Own Aquaponics System – This article provides step-by-step instructions on how to build your own aquaponics system using inexpensive materials.

What Vegetables Can Be Grown in Aquaponics? – If you’re wondering what types of plants can be grown in an aquaponics system, this article provides a helpful list of vegetables and herbs that are suitable for this type of system.

How Much Does an Aquaponics System Cost? Explained – This article breaks down the costs associated with building and maintaining an aquaponics system, including the expenses involved in purchasing materials and equipment.

How Do You Use Aquaponics at Home? Find Out – This article provides practical tips and advice for using aquaponics in your home, including how to set up and maintain your system and which types of fish and plants to use.

How to Grow with Aquaponics in 5 Simple Steps – This article provides a brief introduction to aquaponics and outlines the five basic steps involved in creating an aquaponics system.

Aquaponics for Beginners (Video) – This video provides an overview of aquaponics and includes step-by-step instructions for building and maintaining your own system.


What is an aquaponics system?

An aquaponics system is a closed-loop system that combines aquaculture (the farming of aquatic animals such as fish) with hydroponics (the growing of plants in a water-based solution). The waste produced by the fish is converted by bacteria into nutrients that are used by the plants to grow, and the plants help to filter the water, which is then returned to the fish tank.

How do I build an aquaponics system?

Building an aquaponics system involves creating a fish tank, grow bed, and pumps to circulate the water. There are many resources available online that provide detailed instructions and guidance for building your own system.

What are the benefits of using an aquaponics system?

Aquaponics systems have a number of benefits, including the ability to grow fresh produce and fish in a small space, the ability to reduce water usage and waste, and the ability to create a self-sustaining ecosystem.

What kind of fish can be raised in an aquaponics system?

Many types of fish can be raised in an aquaponics system, including tilapia, catfish, trout, and koi. The type of fish you choose will depend on factors such as the size of your system and the climate in your area.

What kind of plants can be grown in an aquaponics system?

A wide variety of plants can be grown in an aquaponics system, including leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach, herbs such as basil and cilantro, and fruiting plants such as tomatoes and peppers.

How do I maintain an aquaponics system?

Maintaining an aquaponics system involves monitoring the pH and nutrient levels in the water, checking the health of the fish and plants, and cleaning and maintaining the system components. Regular maintenance is important to ensure the system remains healthy and productive.

How much space do I need for an aquaponics system?

The amount of space required for an aquaponics system will depend on the size of the system you want to build and the type of fish and plants you want to raise. Small-scale systems can be built in as little as a few square feet, while larger commercial systems may require several hundred or thousand square feet.

How much does it cost to build an aquaponics system?

The cost of building an aquaponics system can vary widely depending on the size and complexity of the system, as well as the cost of materials and equipment. Small-scale DIY systems can be built for a few hundred dollars, while larger commercial systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Is an aquaponics system difficult to maintain?

Maintaining an aquaponics system requires some basic knowledge of fish and plant care, as well as regular monitoring and maintenance of the system components. While it does require some effort, many people find that maintaining an aquaponics system is relatively easy and rewarding.

What are the environmental benefits of using an aquaponics system?

Aquaponics systems can be more environmentally sustainable than traditional farming methods, as they require less water and produce less waste. They can also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for transportation and refrigeration of produce.