Introduction: Just Keep Swimming Aquaponic- Grow Wheat Grass

Picture of Just Keep Swimming Aquaponic- Grow Wheat Grass

For the Mason Jar contest I decided to try Aquaponics. My kids always wanted a Betta fish, so I thought why not try it in a Large Mason Jar as a Aquaponic system. Plus I had read a blog in which it said never fear failure as they are pillar to success and with every try one gets better at what ever they do. So I went on my quest to make my first Aquaponic system to grown wheat grass. I must say it is so exciting to see the wheat grass grow. For the last one week my house has been a buzzing place with all my neighbor's kids come in to see,"how does the fish poop feeds the plant" and "how plants grown in water". I get featured or not this has been one of the best DIY I have ever done. Sidharth my son measures the length of the plant and Mahi, my six year old observes the fish 3 times a day and they are so happy to introduce Mr.Betta to every one who walks in our house. She is the one who told me to put a pond snail that will eat the fish poop.

Thank You !! Instructable for giving me the opportunity to find my creative side.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

1. Air Pump

2. Bubbling airstone

3. Clear pipe that will go with the Airpump more than 3 feet.

4. Organic Wheat grass seed

5. Clay pebble as your growing medium.

6. Plastic net cup to fit your mason Jar. 3.75 inches wide is what I am using.

7. Mason Jar -1 gallon (Some people suggest having 2.5 gallon at least for betta tank) This is a controversial topic. Since Walmart and Petsmart, and other licensed company sell smaller than one gallon, I will leave it to your love for betta to select from what is adequate to what is desirable. This debate is endless.

8. Beta Fish and Betta fish food

9. Stone for fish bed.

10. RO water to fill the water

11. Microbe-Lift Nite-Out II Nitrifying Aquarium Bacteria- I have used one drops

12. Decoration (optional)- since it is my first time I did not want to use any additional stuff.

13. 2 Large Led Candles(optional)

14. Pond snail.

15. Beta heater- Based on comments I incorporate this in my system. Thanks to all the folks for there suggestions.

Step 2: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

1. First start with cleaning and drying all the stuff with water.

2. Run the pipe through the net pot and the end of the pipe attach it to air stone. Remember to leave extra lenght of pipe inside the jar as we will need to pull the net pot our to feed the fish with out pulling the air stone out of the pebbles.

3. Now Place the air stone and betta heater in the bottom of mason Jar and cover it with stone that were washed with cold running water. Bettas like warm temp of 80 degree.

4. Fill the Mason Jar with water and insert the Betta fish. Remember to put fish food as recommended and also mix in the Nitrifying Aquarium Bacteria liquid drops in the water. I have used 2 drops for one gallon water.

5. Start the air pump and check that it is working and adjust air bubble stone nicely under the aquarium stone so that it does not floats up. Adjust the speed as well at this time. I have kept mine close to minimum.

6. Now cover the mouth of the mason jar with the net pot. Be sure to check the size so that the net pot sits on top and not not sinks in the jar.

7. Make sure that half of the net cup is covered with water. If it is less fill in more.Also betta like to come up to the surface to breath. so make sure there is gap between the brim of the jar and the water level. I see my betta come up many a time.

7. Cover 3/4th of the pot with clay pebbles.

8. Wet the wheat grass seed with water for 30 min and put them over the clay pebble. Soaking the seed help them to germinate faster. I have used organic seeds.

Step 3: Wait, Watch and Enjoy

Picture of Wait, Watch and Enjoy

Place the system where you would like it to be. I have kept mine in the kitchen island and this has helped me monitor the system properly and has a light always on

I have used Led Candles to hide my air pump and also to add lighting effect to the system. Since this is my first time I did not use any decoration inside the jar so that i have less things to worry about. I chose betta fish as it is strong fish it can survive hard condition making it easy for new DIYers of acquaponic. Similarly for seed I have used wheat grass as it is easy to grow them and they grows very fast . One can see the seeds germinating in 3 days. I feed the fish once a day.

I plan to change the 1/3 of the water every week. Today is day 9 of my system.

Once u are done growing wheat grass pull out the wheat grass roots and remove the clay pebbles. Add the new clay pebbles and cover the top with seed that u want to grow.I am also learning as my aquaponic system grows, so please feel free to leave me a comment on how to improve it or what I need to do differently. Thanks you all for the valuable input. I have learnt a lot about Betta from the comments .


AlexandriaN4 (author)2016-12-20

Don't you need some kind of pump that brings the water up through to the plant? Otherwise, how is the water filtered at all? Seems like you would have to be changing the water all the time which defeats the purpose of the plant getting nutrients from the fish waste. I'd love to do this but I'm having some trouble with the mechanics of it all.

NancyF22 (author)2016-01-06

This is awesome! I don't have a betta fish but I do have a cat and I was looking for ideas on growing hydroponic cat grass. I have a 4 oz mini mason jar at home (2.5in wide, 2in tall). The plastic net cups come in 2in and 3in varieties. Since I couldn't find a 2.5in net cup, I'm going to buy a 2.5in sink strainer. I'll let you know how it goes when I complete my project.

AQUAPONIC CAT GRASS PROJECT IN PROGRESS: 4oz mini mason jar, 2.5in sink stopper, cat grass seeds.

NancyF22 (author)NancyF222016-02-01

UPDATE: finding a plastic net cup or sink strainer to fit my mini 4oz mason jar has been a real challenge. I'm gonna give up the plastic net cup/sink strainer idea. I watched a bunch of wheat grass youtube videos and got another idea. I'm going to get my cat grass and soak/drain every 12 hours until the roots sprout, then i'm going to keep the seeds moist with a spray bottle. Let's see if it works!

Shirley AnnJ (author)NancyF222016-08-14

What a great idea, NancyF22! I must try that.

Schnelly B (author)2016-08-10

Sorry if it comes across as critical, but this isn't enough space for a betta fish. Petsmart and Walmart do not sell healthy fish, so that shouldn't be used as a benchmark. These fish need a heated tank with a minimum of 10gallons of water ( I love the concept of this instructable, but is there anyway you could do this on a larger scale?

MichaelN154 (author)2016-04-05

High high should the water reach into the pot? Should the seeds be touching the water?

AceAthletic (author)2015-01-18

The root of my wheatgrass started to grow into my tank, is that bad?

SonikaJAnand (author)AceAthletic2015-01-18

It is supposed to grow out and in the water. If it grows too big you can also trim it. What I have seen is that the fish likes to hide in them. Hope I answered the question

AceAthletic (author)SonikaJAnand2015-01-20

you did, thank you!

BenjiDaa (author)2015-01-03

Great instructable!

csreech (author)2014-12-23

I got the glass jar but 3" net pots don't fit. The jar opening measures 4" but 4" net pots aren't available. Are you using 3.75" net pots?

SonikaJAnand (author)csreech2014-12-26

Sorry for that. It is 3.75 inches. I went to the store and double checked.

csreech (author)SonikaJAnand2014-12-26

Thanks for checking :)

csreech (author)2014-12-24

So I don't know much about fish and what is considered proper treatment versus cruel treatment. When I went to my local Petco, I noticed they keep their bettas in small pintsized containers. Granted, they probably only in there until someone buys them. Surely there must be a better way. Lead by example, Petco!!

StaceyD2 (author)csreech2014-12-24

They are usually in those little cups until they die which isn't long because they don't have heaters and don't change the water often. Not all fish stores treat their bettas poorly.
76 is generally considered the absolute coldest water you should keep a betta in, however they do best at 80-82. Keep in mind that water in a jar is around 3 degrees cooler than the room temp, so if it's 75 in your house, it's around 72 in the jar.
The temp fluctuating is really bad for them and it happens often in a small jar. Water around 76 would be ok if it wasn't fluctuating.
People for some reason think it's ok to treat bettas in a way that they would treat other animals, even other fish, because they are hardy. Doesn't mean you aren't taking years off his life though. Best of luck to you and happy holidays!

StaceyD2 (author)StaceyD22014-12-24

Argh! Best of luck, Sonika. Sorry for responding all over the place. Using my phone.

SonikaJAnand (author)StaceyD22014-12-24

yay..I got Betta water heater and a snail. But one gallon is OK as Petsmart,Walmart sells one gallon tank for Betta. So now I feel much better.

StaceyD2 (author)SonikaJAnand2014-12-24

No offense, but they also sell "tanks" that are 1 gallon divided into two for two bettas which is absolutely not ok. I wouldn't trust something just because they sell it. Walmart is notorious for treating their fish poorly (they are probably the worst), fyi, and Petsmart and Petco employees aren't trained in proper fish care. A lot of them do seek out information on their own, but a lot don't.

Tank size is a controversial subject, but personally, I believe 2.5 gallons is the smallest I would go. Some say 1 gallon is ok as long as you keep up with water changes. has a lot of useful information as well as water change information.

Glad you got a heater!! Your betta will thank you by being more active and colorful. :)

StaceyD2 (author)StaceyD22014-12-24

They *wouldn't

csreech (author)2014-12-24

Clearly you know me better than anyone so that's an appropriate way to respond. I don't care much for whales and my wife and I just had a baby. I wasn't planning on killing him. Thanks for your input.

SonikaJAnand (author)csreech2014-12-24

Congratulations on the baby and I am sorry for the comment. I appreciate your concern and as promised will look and make changes after the holiday. Enjoy and happy holiday

csreech (author)SonikaJAnand2014-12-24

No problem! I think JessW1 was referring to himself when he said "SAVING the WHALES."

I think your Instructable is a great idea and I know you didn't knowingly put the fish in too small a container. My ignorance would have led me to do the same thing.

SonikaJAnand (author)2014-12-24

Jess we all need to see each others point. I see yours as I do theres. We all need to be nice in our comment as we all love the fish Happy Holidays!!!

StaceyD2 (author)2014-12-23


Bettas need heaters- they are tropical fish. Their water needs to be 80 degrees or their immune systems will be compromised and they will die. They can live in cold water for a while, however, they will be dull in color and listless, and it's just plain mean.

Also, they get pretty big and need hiding places. IMO, they need at least 2.5 gallons of water. Maybe you should think about doing your instructable in a 2.5 gallon plastic Kritter keeper. There's room for a heater and hiding place for the fish in those.

Finally, just want to say that for a lot of people, the fish will probably die of ammonia or nitrite poisoning while you're waiting for the nitrifying bacteria to show up and convert the fish waste into plant food unless you're doing water changes every other day (but NOT cleaning the gravel or jar, that would wipe out the good bacteria).

I hope you reconsider your instructable. I think it's pretty cruel to put a betta in a small cold jar.

dyanii (author)StaceyD22014-12-23

Agreed. This kind of fish needs heat, hiding places, and much more water. Otherwise, it will live a short, stressful life. Also, consider that Betta fish are somewhat intelligent, as you may be able to tell by how they watch your finger on the glass and come up to you when you come to the tank. They have been trained to do tricks as well. I wouldn't want to abuse such an animal.

SonikaJAnand (author)dyanii2014-12-24

The problem sometime is Web gives u contrasting information. My water temp is 75 degree as it is under the light. Let me read up more. Atleast I can change it from aqua to hydroponic. As I mentioned I am learning along. but thank you for the response, we all learn from each other

satyasankar09 (author)2014-12-24

this is cool...thanks for sharing :)

neonpixii (author)2014-12-23

I think it might be a good idea for you to check out this instructable about Betta fish care. The idea that they live in "small muddy puddles" is wrong. They live in large rice paddy fields.

neonpixii (author)neonpixii2014-12-23

Or this one, which gives even more detail:

SonikaJAnand (author)neonpixii2014-12-24

thank you for your nice response. I will surely

JackS11 (author)2014-12-23

it probably will but it won't be happy or healthy without the proper space/temperature requirement/filtration. Something that small will build up tons of ammonia quickly and that will damage its gills. Also any outside temp change will result in constant temp swings which are stressful for a betta. This isn't even considering the fact its in barely a quart of water.

regularbasscase (author)2014-12-23

Great project! I have an aquaponic setup in my yard (1000gal decorative pond and raised cedar garden). We're vegan, so we have goldfish rather than Tilapia. Upon floating lettuce rafts the goldfish promptly ate the roots of the lettuce. I wonder if there's a way to use two baskets and keep both plant and fish alive with almost no maintenance. I've been looking for a self-sustaining desktop aquaponic setup for a while. Basically, keep the water level up and let it go...

JackS11 (author)regularbasscase2014-12-23

Goldfish are notorious for eating all vegetation. They also grow very large... You can use almost any fish that's suited for the amount of water you want and still make it aquaponic.

Graham L (author)2014-12-23

Well done. An excellent project to keep the kids intrested.

You can try barley seed as well, this also has a very quick germination and growth cycle

Kind regards

Graham L

insideSeven (author)2014-12-19

STOP! Beta fish need to get to the surface to breath. They have a breathing tube just under their jaws, they don't use their gills for oxygen! Make sure the fish can get to air at the opening of the jar. In the wild, Beta fish live in fist size puddles. Good luck

SonikaJAnand (author)insideSeven2014-12-19

Sure. the water is not up to the brim. There is space between the jar and the pot. It comes up to the surface easily. Thanks

pudtiny (author)SonikaJAnand2014-12-21

glad you have researched this, too many bettas get killed by not doing this.

SonikaJAnand (author)pudtiny2014-12-22

thanks ..

AmitA2 (author)2014-12-22

Very Innovative idea. Will make a nice classroom project.

CJA3D (author)2014-12-18

wow!! this is awesome..Always wanted to do something like this ..How long did it take the wheat grass to grow to the length, in the picture above ?

SonikaJAnand (author)CJA3D2014-12-19

Thanks. It took seeds 7 days to get it to this length.

richa.jayaswal.9 (author)2014-12-19

Super cool.

About This Instructable




Bio: Problem solver, Reader, Thinker and Traveller who lives to experience every moment around. Never let a smile escape you
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