Introduction: Indoor Aquaponic/Hydroponic Food System

This gravity-driven, indoor aquaponic system can be built in an hour. It uses the Nitrogen Cycle to aid in maximum plant growth. This is a symbiotic relationship that benefits you in two ways-You grow edible plants & you can use edible fish, as well. Beneficial bacteria break down the ammonia & fish effluent, converting it to nitrites & nitrates that can be absorbed by the plant roots.

Step 1: Plan With Measurements

Here are all of the measurements from my initial sketch/plan. This is the initial plan, but can be adjusted to

specific measurements needed. With these measurements, total cost of system is around $200-$250, using all new materials.

Step 2: Base Frame

Start with the 2x3 ft rectangle, framing the bottom.

Step 3: Bracing

Add bottom(floor) braces & front, lowest shelf brace.

Step 4: Bottom Shelf

Add front shelf legs & screw shelf pieces on to them.

Step 5: Middle Shelf

Add middle shelf legs & attach shelf pieces.

Step 6: Top Shelf

Add top shelf legs.

Step 7: Top Shelf

Add top shelf pieces.

Step 8: Lower Braces

Add braces that attach the shelf legs of different shelves together for stability.

Step 9: Inner Shelf Braces

Add back shelf for optional 2nd tank(bottom tank collects sludge, top tank has the fish).Add shelf for aquarium tank.

Step 10: Make It Mobile

When completed to this point, you can (optional) add casters for easier movement(if needed).

(2"-3" rubber wheels work best)

Step 11: Grow Beds & Plumbing

Add totes with holes cut(for plumbing) in the totes

& cut lids for plant baskets & PVC pipes. Aquarium caulk is used around plumbing, to seal it from leaking. Uniseals work, as well.

Step 12: Add the Tanks/Aquariums & Pumps

Add 1-2 tanks/aquariums(5 &10 gal), 1-2 small pumps(lift

must be between 3 & 4 ft. for best results), aquarium gravel & any live aquatic plants.

Step 13: Choose Your Food

Add seeds or seedlings(leafy greens work great) & fish(FYI-Japanese shubunkins are very hard to kill and produce the needed ammonia to kick of the nitrogen cycle).

Step 14: Light It Up

Add/attach plant lights/bulbs for maximum indoor growth. Within 4-6 weeks you can be producing enough salad items to feed a family of 4. Enjoy!

Comments

author
eyeguy6 (author)2016-02-02

Great instructable. This is a lot like ones I have built in the past. I used only one pump and placed the fish tank on the bottom. The drain went through a gravel filter just before returning the water to the fish tank. Worked great. I built mine for less than $50 using storage containers and 2x4 s

author
rfawcett (author)2016-01-14

How have you attached the pipe to the underside of the trays? Is there a lip on the inside of the tray which allows water to gather in the tray to the height of the fitting before draining into the next tray?

author
Austin ESS (author)rfawcett2016-01-15

The pvc has screw together adapters, sealed with aquarium caulk. Flood & drain kits can be bought for $10 at hydroponic retailers & they tend to not leak.

author
rfawcett (author)Austin ESS2016-01-15

Thanks :)

author
plain_jane (author)2016-01-15

Can you tell me what's the name/brand of these grow beds and how did you attach the pipes? Also how can I be sure that there won't be any leaks? Did you use something to wrap around the pipes?

author
Austin ESS (author)plain_jane2016-01-15

Flood & drain kits can be found at hydroponic retailers for $10.