All the materials I used in this project were recycled, with the exception of the growing medium, and of course, fish. It can be assembled in an hour and is a great beginner project in aquaponic gardening.
Step 1: Step 1: Gather Materials
You will need:
a used 10 gallon fish tank (make sure it can still hold water)
1 bag hydroponic growing medium
4 pieces of pvc, cut to the height of your aquarium (12 inches in this case)
riverstone (I got mine from a yard sale, or you can find them in dollar store craft sections)
fish and seedlings
Step 2: Step 2: Drill Pvc Sections
Drill holes in the bottoms of each pvc section. I drilled a few alternating rows of holes, extending about 1/4 of the way up the pipes.
Step 3: Step 3: Glue
Glue pvc sections together using waterproof silicone adhesive
Step 4: Step 4: Assemble
Once the pvc sections are securely adhered together, place them against the inside wall of the tank (for more plants, use the back wall of the tank (this requires more sections of pvc, however).
Fill the bottom of the tank with the small river rocks.
Fill each pvc tube with hydroponics growing medium (in this case, clay pebbles).
Step 5: Step 5: Add the Necessary
Fill the tank with distilled water, making sure to pour some into the pvc sections to soak the growing medium/clay pebbles.
I started plants from kitchen scraps (celery, pepper, herbs, lettuce). Place one seedling in each pvc section.
Add your fish of choice (you can't see them here but I chose 4 freshwater tropicals from the local pet store, totalling $18. You can also add aquarium plants and decorations, as desired.
If the area in which your tank sits has low lighting, add a flourescent under-cabinet light above the tank to help the plants grow. I simply screwed on under the above shelf in my bookcase.
My aquaponics tank was placed on the bottom shelf of a bookcase and because a filled tank is heavy, I added two pieces of 2x4 underneath the bookcase to further support the weight. This may or not be necessary depending on the quality and strength of your shelf or where you are putting your tank.
Note: I do not use a filter and pump in my tank because I choose to manually siphon/clean my tank and keep things as natural as possible. These items are optional - add them if you prefer less maintenance.