Aeroponics Aquaponics Basics Fish Keeping

Aquaponics Basics

Grow plants using fish waste from pond or aquarium water! Soil not needed.

Grow plants using fish waste from pond or aquarium water! Soil not needed.

Plants require a few basic things to grow: oxygen, fertilizer, and light.

How is aquaponics different than hydroponics?

Hydroponics involves growing plants using a nutrient-rich fertilizer solution. Aquaponics involves pond/aquarium water from a freshwater fish tank. You’ve guessed it. The excrement (poop) from the fish helps to fertilize the plants.


Why grow using aquaponics?

Not only can you grow plants, you can farm your own fish as well! If you don’t want to eat your fish, you can raise ornamental fish such as goldfish, carp, or Koi.

The basics of aquaponics

Water from a freshwater fish tank is pumped into a soil-less garden system. The plant roots help to convert the fish wastewater (which is toxic for our fish) into clean water. And just like that, the cycle is complete, just like in nature.


Fish waste water is perfect for virtually all leafy green plants and herbs. Lettuce, kale, spinach, you name it.

Brief history of aquaponics

The ancient Chinese and Aztecs from Mexico used a system to grow plants on a water raft over a pond or lake.

Some basic methods to do aquaponics

Here are some of the most common methods to grow plants using aquaponics once you have your fish tank/pond going.


• Aeroponic hydroponics – This involves the fertilized fish water to be delivered via mist or spray to supply the plant roots. This keeps the roots moist while still getting its oxygen.

• Flood-and-drain hydroponics – This system involves fertilized fish water to fill up and empty itself from the plant container. This allows the plant to get it’s nutrients and oxygen.

• Drip hydroponics – The fertilized fish water gets to the plant root using a drip method which allows oxygen to reach the roots.

• Water culture hydroponics – This usually involves submerging the plant root in the fertilized fish water and using air pumps and air stones to deliver oxygen to the roots using bubbles.

Some additional supplies may be needed for your aquaponics system

When keeping freshwater fish, you may need a heater to keep your fish alive. Most fish, such as tilapia, love 70+ degree water.

If you absolutely do not want to deal with heaters, you may get away with keeping cold-water fish such as Koi, carp, or goldfish.

Here are some of my favorite aquaponic systems

Photo: Unsplash