What Are The Requirements For Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a farming technique that uses fish, plants and bacteria to grow food. Aquaponics has been used since ancient times but has only recently become popular as an alternative to traditional methods of growing food. 

Below we’ll cover what you need to get started with your own aquaponics setup and walk you through the steps of setting up your system.

Starting an Aquaponics System | How to Start & What You Need
WaterAquaponics systems require a constant supply of clean water with a pH range between 6.8 and 7.2.
FishThe fish in an aquaponics system should be hardy, adaptable to changing water conditions, and able to withstand high stocking densities.
PlantsAquaponics systems can grow a wide variety of plants, but leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale tend to do particularly well.
Grow bedA grow bed is where the plants are grown in the aquaponics system. It should be filled with a growing medium like gravel, clay pellets, or perlite.
BiofilterA biofilter is essential in an aquaponics system to convert fish waste into nutrients that can be absorbed by plants.
PumpA pump is needed to circulate water between the fish tank and the grow bed.
LightingPlants require adequate lighting to grow in an aquaponics system. LED grow lights are a popular choice.
TemperatureThe water temperature in an aquaponics system should be maintained between 68°F and 86°F for optimal plant and fish growth.


Water quality is the most important factor in this system. The water must be clean, which means no chemicals or toxins. 

If you are using any sort of filter for your home water supply, it’s best to check with your local municipality about whether or not it will be suitable for fish and plants. 

If you want to use tap water from your home, a reverse osmosis filter can remove many contaminants from the water before it reaches your tank (see “Reverse Osmosis Filters” below). 

However, if possible try to find a source of natural spring water for best results with aquaponics plants and fish. 

For example, our farm uses well water that has been tested once per week by a certified lab technician and found to be free from all harmful bacteria as well as other harmful compounds such as nitrates/nitrites (which can come from fertilizers), heavy metals such as lead or mercury, radionuclides like uranium-238 etc.), pesticides (which may have been applied near where we live), herbicides (plants sprayed with weed killers) etc..

If you’re interested in starting an Aquaponics system but don’t know where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Our Aquaponics – The Complete Step-by-Step Guide provides a comprehensive overview of the entire process, from setting up the equipment to maintaining the system.


Filters are critical to an aquaponics system, as they remove solid waste from the water. The two most common types of filters are biological and mechanical. 

Biological filters contain bacteria that break down organic matter in the water, while mechanical filters physically remove larger pieces of waste. 

Chemical filters also cleanse water by adding chemicals like chlorine or ozone to sanitize it.

Depending on your application, you may need a combination of different types of filters throughout your system. 

For example, if you want to grow vegetables indoors without sunlight or fresh air coming into contact with them (which can increase their chance of contamination), then you would use both biological and chemical filtration methods (or even all three!).


What are the requirements for aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a unique combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. Hydroponics is an agricultural method that uses recirculated water to grow plants. 

In this case, the plants are grown in gravel beds instead of soil to avoid contamination. Aquaculture refers to fish farming. 

The fish waste provides nutrients for the plants while they also filter out excess ammonia from their own water supply.

It’s important that your plants get enough light and nutrients so they can grow big and strong! If you have a space where you can put them outside during sunlight hours, great! If not (like me), place your aquaponic system near windows or artificial lighting sources so that all your plants receive enough exposure over time.

Curious about what types of vegetables can be grown in an Aquaponics system? Our article about What Vegetables Can Be Grown in Aquaponics? provides a detailed list, complete with information on ideal growing conditions and harvest times.”


Choosing the right fish for your system is a crucial part of making sure that your aquaponics garden functions properly. It’s important to consider several factors:

What size and type of fish are appropriate for your system? For example, if you have a small tank, don’t choose large-bodied fish like goldfish or koi. If your tank has lots of light penetration, avoid deep-bodied fish like catfish or tilapia.

How well will these fish fit into the climate where you live? If it gets cold in winter where you live (or even just cool), consider stocking some hardier species such as trout or rainbow trout instead of tilapia or perch (though these can be grown outside during those months).

Is this type of animal one that fits with your budget? Some species are cheaper than others for example black bass is much less expensive than salmon and some can be more productive in terms of growth rate per pound compared to others depending on their nutritional needs which may vary with age rather than simply being related solely towards size differences.i

Wondering about the cost of setting up an Aquaponics system? Look no further than our article on How Much Does an Aquaponics System Cost? Explained, which breaks down the expenses involved in starting and maintaining an Aquaponics system.


pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. On this scale, anything below 7 is acidic, and anything above 7 is alkaline.

The pH of your water will affect the way that nutrients are absorbed by your plants and how well they grow in general. 

If your water has a low pH (below 6), it could prevent your fish from obtaining the nutrients they need to thrive because their gills won’t be able to absorb them effectively enough before they die off due to toxicity caused by those same toxins being released into their bodies when trying to access the limited amount available within the water itself

Grow media

You can grow plants in a wide range of media. The most common are soil and rockwool, which is made from basalt rock and recycled glass. Rockwool is easier to maintain than soil since you don’t have to add nutrients or water as often.


Piping is used to carry water and nutrients. The piping that you use in your aquaponics system should be made of PVC or PVC. It should also be the right size for your system, as well as easy to install.

Ready to create your own Aquaponic garden? Our article on How Do I Make an Aquaponic Garden? Requirements explains the necessary components and materials needed to establish a working Aquaponics system in your own backyard.


Pumps are used to move the water. They are the most important part of your system, without them there would be no circulation within your aquaponic grow bed. Without pumps, you couldn’t do much of anything at all!

The pump is what makes this whole thing work. It’s like an engine for your car – it doesn’t matter how great it is if you don’t have gas in it! 

So make sure that you have a good quality pump before starting any kind of system with plants or fish in there.

Aquaponics pumps come in many different sizes and shapes but they all basically do the same thing: they pull water from one place (like a fish tank) and push it into another place (like an aquaponics grow bed). 

Pumps need electricity too so make sure that whatever type of pump you choose will fit with whatever electrical outlet setup that works best for your home or garden area

Types of Pumps in Aquaponics Systems

Pump TypePurposeProsCons
Submersible pumpMoves water from the fish tank to the grow bed and back againAffordable, easy to install and use, can be submersed in waterCan clog easily, may not be powerful enough for large systems
External pumpSimilar to submersible pumps, but located outside of the waterMore powerful than submersible pumps, less likely to clogMore expensive, can be noisy
Air pumpAdds oxygen to the water, which is necessary for the health of the fish and plantsAffordable, energy-efficientCannot be used to move water, only used for aeration
Solar pumpRuns on solar power, minimizing energy costsEco-friendly, affordable in the long termInconsistent performance in cloudy weather, may not provide enough power for larger systems
Water-powered pumpOperates using the flow of water in the system, eliminating the need for electricityEco-friendly, no operating costsLimited power, may not be suitable for larger systems


The most important part of an aquaponics system is the bacteria. They’re responsible for converting fish waste into plant food, so they need to be constantly fed with oxygen and nutrients. In addition, they need a stable temperature to thrive.


Aquaponics is a form of hydroponics, which means it relies on water instead of soil to grow plants. 

The water contains nutrients that help feed your plants so you don’t have to add any fertilizer or compost. 

Aquaponics systems typically involve fish and plants living together in one closed loop system. The fish produce waste (ammonia) which is consumed by bacteria in the tank, converting it into nitrates that can be used by the plants for nutrients. 

The fish also consume some of these same nutrients from their waste and from eating food pellets provided by you!

The lighting requirements for an aquaponic setup depend on what type of lights you use (incandescent vs fluorescent vs LED), how intense they are, how long they’re on for each day/night cycle, what spectrum they emit and how warm or cool their temperature is relative to ambient air temperature inside your greenhouse environment

Maintaining water quality in your Aquaponics system is crucial to ensuring healthy fish and plants. Learn more about when and how to change the water in our article on How Often Do You Have to Change Water in Aquaponics?“.

Heating/Cooling system

One of the requirements for aquaponics is a heating and cooling system. You can use a greenhouse or an aquaponics system inside a building. If you choose to heat with a greenhouse, it must be able to adjust to the seasons. 

The temperature in your aquaponics system should match the temperatures outside so that your fish don’t suffer from stress and are comfortable throughout all seasons.

Heating/Cooling System for an Aquaponics System

Heat pumpMaintains temperature in the fish tank and grow bed by transferring heat from the air or water to the systemEnergy-efficient, reliable, can be used for both heating and coolingExpensive upfront cost, can be noisy
Water heater/chillerHeats or cools the water in the system to maintain a consistent temperaturePrecise temperature control, relatively affordable, can be used for both heating and coolingEnergy-intensive, can be difficult to maintain a consistent temperature
Radiant floor heatingUses hydronic tubing under the grow bed to heat the water and keep the roots warmEnergy-efficient, provides warmth directly to the plantsExpensive to install, may not be suitable for all systems
Space heater/fanProvides a localized source of heat or ventilationAffordable, easy to useNot suitable for large systems, may not provide consistent temperature control
Evaporative coolerUses water and evaporative cooling to reduce the temperature in the grow bedAffordable, energy-efficientOnly suitable for dry climates, may not provide consistent temperature control


Aquaponics is a simple and sustainable way to grow your own food. But there are some important things to consider before starting an aquaponics system. 

You need to know how much water, fish and plants you will need, as well as what type of lighting is best for your plants. 

The right lighting can help save energy costs while also providing more light intensity than natural sunlight alone would provide at certain times during the day or year.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to learn more about aquaponics:

Aquaponics: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide: A comprehensive guide that covers all aspects of aquaponics, including how to set up a system, what fish and plants to use, and troubleshooting tips.

What is an Aquaponics System? How Do They Work?: This article provides an overview of the basic principles behind aquaponics and how the system works.

What Vegetables Can Be Grown in Aquaponics?: A list of vegetables that are well-suited for growing in aquaponics systems, along with tips for optimizing their growth.

How Do You Grow Vegetables in Aquaponics?: A step-by-step guide on how to plant and care for vegetables in an aquaponics system.

How to Make Your Own Aquaponics System: An article that outlines the materials and steps required to build your own aquaponics system at home.

FAO Aquaponics: An overview of aquaponics systems and their potential to contribute to food security and sustainable agriculture.

The Ultimate Aquaponics Beginner’s Guide: A comprehensive guide that covers all aspects of aquaponics, including system design, fish and plant selection, and maintenance tips.


What is aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a sustainable farming method that combines aquaculture (raising fish) with hydroponics (growing plants without soil). In an aquaponics system, fish waste provides nutrients for plants, while the plants purify the water for the fish.

What are the benefits of aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a highly efficient method of food production that uses less water and land than traditional farming methods. It also eliminates the need for synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, making it a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option.

What fish are commonly used in aquaponics systems?

Some of the most common fish used in aquaponics systems include tilapia, trout, catfish, and koi. These fish are well-suited to the warm water and high nutrient levels found in aquaponics systems.

What types of plants can be grown in aquaponics systems?

A wide variety of plants can be grown in aquaponics systems, including leafy greens, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. In general, plants that have shallow root systems and can tolerate high moisture levels are the best choices for aquaponics.

What are some common challenges associated with aquaponics systems?

Some of the most common challenges include maintaining proper water quality, controlling pests and diseases, and ensuring that the fish and plants receive the proper nutrients. It’s also important to properly size and design the system to ensure that it can support the desired amount of fish and plants.