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!