Simple Aquaponics

Introduction: Simple Aquaponics

Other insturcables have explained what aquaponics is so I wont go into that. I'm going to go right into my project. So here we go...

and BTW this is my first instructable please be kind : )

Step 1: What You Need (in No Particular Order)

A fish tank you choose the size
- I have a ten gallon
Fish also your choice
- You can use gold fish or an edible fish like tilapia
Jiffy seed starter or what ever you use to start plants
- I like these because they are easy to start seeds and easy to transplant
Pea pebbles
- There are several other mediums like clay pebbles, you could even try tank gravel.
Air pump
- I like one that has at least two out puts
Air stones
- One for each plant
Aquarium T-Way Connectors
- One for each plant
Plastic Bottles no less than 1 litter 2 would be best
- One for each plant
Light source
Air line tubing the 8ft. line should be enough
A cutting apparatus I chose a razor blade
and I'm sure I will think of something else as I go along the way

Step 2: So Now...

If you have everything (including the things I can't remember yet) you are ready to get started!

First things first. Set up your aquarium.

Add fish

Let them hang out for a few days, so they get settled in.

This may also be the best time to set up your light source and timer.
You need the light to be on for a 12hr cycle. 12 on 12 off. this is great for a set it and forget it type of person (like myself)

Step 3: Fresh Seeds

While your waiting for your fish to get acquainted with their new aquarium, start your seeds. I used the Jiffy brand seed pods they are pretty much made of coconut fibber and thin netting. When you first get them they look like little discs, and come with their own mini green house. Follow the instructions on how to expand them and how to plant.

It should take a few days but you will start to see new life popping up from the seed pods. Let the plants grow till they hit the top of the green house. I wanted to make sure they had a good root structure started to I transfered them into new green houses I made from bottles ( I hope to put up an instructable for those too). In those houses they grew like wild fire! I need to get started on the next step.

Step 4: Now the Real "planting" Begins

You have new plants bursting at the seems to grow thats for sure. Now you need to make the planter. Here are the steps:

1. Get one of the bottles. Make sure its completly clean this is very important you dont want to poison your fish!

2. Cut off the top but don't discard.

3. Next cut a small X in the side near the bottom.

4. Poke the T-Valve thru the X

5. Cut a piece of the air tubing about 1 inch long

6. Attach an air stone to the tubing

7. Attach the other end of the tubing with the air stone to the T-Valve inside the bottle

This is what the bottle will look like when you are done with these steps:

Step 5: Almost Done!

Now that you have the bottle prepared you need to fill it. I had pea pebbles left over from another AP project so that is what I used. There are other growing mediums to use also.

Because I used what I had hanging around the house I had to rinse and boil the rocks first. If you are using something else you may get away with only rinsing.

After the prep work was done with the pebbles it was time to start to fill the bottle.

Start by filling up to about half way. Insert the plant, pod and all and fill in around it. Fill to just near the top of the bottle.

Now this is where the top of the bottle comes back into play. Take the top and gently slip it over the leaves and down to the bottom of the stem. Tuck it into the top lip of the bottle.

Step 6: Finishing Up

In this last step really all you need to do is put it all together...

Attach the air lines to the bottle

Place the bottle into the tank

Wait a few minutes for the air stone to soak up water

Attach the Air line to the Air supply then plug it in.

The Air will be pumped directly to the plants roots, (believe it or not they need to breathe just like the rest of the plant.) and the plant will be supplied with the neutriants it needs to grow.

With this system there is no need to for "When did I water the plants Last?" All you need to maintain is a good water level for the fish tank. I normally need to add a gallon of distilled H20 thru out the month. And DON'T FORGET TO FEED THE FISH every once in a while!

I HOPE THIS WORKS AS WELL AS IT HAS FOR ME! thanks for any comments or suggestions, but please be kind : )

Be the First to Share


    • Lamps Challenge

      Lamps Challenge
    • Rice & Grains Challenge

      Rice & Grains Challenge
    • Puzzles Challenge

      Puzzles Challenge



    9 years ago

    I am a bit confused on this set up. Do the plants get the polluted water pump from the tank to the plants and then clean water back to the tank, or is this just air to the plants. Any comment directed towards me would be greatly appreciated!


    11 years ago on Step 2

    Before putting fish in a tank, please cycle the tank. you can extensively read on the nitrogen cycle on the internet. Cycling with fishes is cruel and reduce fish lifespan.
    You just have to run your aquarium fishless for 2 to 3 weeks. When ammonia, and nitrites have disappeared and there is a low concentration of nitrates, then put the fishes in.


    13 years ago on Introduction

    Ittibittirainbow, seeing how your set up, may i ask if you replanted these plants into your system, or if they grew from the beginning with setup. What types of plants are recommended for growing vegetables in an aquaponic system? Or better can you list me a good aquaponic community?


    13 years ago on Step 6

    I wonder if you used co2 instead of just an air pump if the plants would thrive even further?maybe use both co2 and regular air from a pump as well.Of course you would then have to put 2 air stones in each also but I love your idea!How has this system been working for you?