Aquaponic Gardening

Aquaponics is the marriage of organic hydroponics and aquaculture. Fish waste becomes organic plant food; the plants filter the water for the fish. Interested in learning more?

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Latest Activity: Jul 30, 2016

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soilless growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. The third participant is the microbes (nitrifying bacteria) that thrive in the growing media. They do the job of converting the ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, then into nitrates that is food for the plants.
In combining both systems aquaponics capitalizes on the benefits and eliminates the drawbacks of each.

How Aquaponics Changes the Game

- Waist-high aquaponic gardening eliminates weeds, back strain and animal access to your garden.
- Reuse resources currently considered “waste”. There is no more toxic run-off from either hydroponics or aquaculture.
- Uses only 1/10th of the water of soil-based gardening, and even less water than recirculating aquaculture.
- Watering is integral to the system. You can’t under-water or over-water.
- Fertilizing is also integral to the system. You can’t over-fertilize or under-fertilize.
- Gardening chores are cut down dramatically or eliminated. The aquaponic grower only does the enjoyable tasks of feeding the fish and tending and harvesting the plants.
- Instead of using dirt or toxic chemical solutions to grow plants, aquaponics uses highly nutritious fish effluent that contains almost all the required nutrients for optimum plant growth. Instead of discharging water, aquaponics uses the plants and the media in which they grow to clean and purify the water, after which it is returned to the fish tank. This water can be reused indefinitely and will only need to be replaced when it is lost through transpiration and evaporation.

Discussion Forum

Would you like to become an aquaponic gardener? 12 Replies

Tips and advice on where to find resources and how to set up your first aquaponics system.  It's not that hard once you follow a few simple rules...

Tags: instructions, howto, aquaponics

Started by Sylvia Bernstein. Last reply by Teiny Winehausen May 28, 2013.

Are you an aquaponic gardener already? 1 Reply

If you already have an aquaponic garden, tell us about it!Mine is currently in my 12' x 20' greenhouse that is being entirely run by the "waste efforts" of about 120 voracious tilapia.  You can see…Continue

Tags: greenhouse, aquaponics

Started by Sylvia Bernstein. Last reply by Stephan Neff Jan 9, 2013.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Aquaponic Gardening to add comments!

Comment by Ruby Lu on December 28, 2012 at 12:00pm

I am very excited to join your group.

I would like to hear from members who had success starting

Aquaponics gardening. I am learning now to set up my new aquaponics.

Comment by Benjamin Fahrer on February 3, 2012 at 6:19pm

Hey Aqua Friends,

Looking for contacts and farm scale systems, we have a couple of greenhouses designed and a natural swimming pool. Love to gain from folks on this group what is happening and can happen Aquaponically in this area. Any experince with Trout or Jade Perch?

We are setting up an amazing retreat center in the south outside Queenstown that will be a crucial island of diveristy and model sub-alpine food forestry.

in best practice
Benjamin Fahrer

Comment by Ricardo Oscar Marques on May 18, 2011 at 10:35pm


Aquaponics in Auckland please contac me if you are doing something about it

Comment by Ricardo Oscar Marques on April 6, 2011 at 10:08pm


Nice to be here, I am (or I was) Marine Biologist.

I want to work along with you, and hopefully, will be a way to come back to my profession.

Congratulations for your job, I am impressed.

Comment by Jacob Verbeek on January 9, 2011 at 8:21pm
Interesting!  Keep us posted!
Comment by Ryan Watt on January 8, 2011 at 10:28am

I just use a 5watt pump on a timer to come on every 15 mins. The water comes up to 25 mm under the surface of the clay beads. There is 2 overflow holes that set the water height. When the pump switches off, the water in the tank just goes back down through the pump into the fish tank.

I thik DOC are the people to talk to about doing things legally. I want to do a system with trout but I ve been told its illegal by a few people. Other options could be fresh water crays, eels, king salmon, edible snails such as the ones I have etc. I will talk to DOC before I build big one.

Comment by Jacob Verbeek on January 7, 2011 at 9:25pm
That looks really cool! Have you looked into whether there is any sort of edible fish that we can farm here in NZ? How are you circulating the water? Just feeding it in through the top and letting it trickle down through your growing medium?
Comment by Sylvia Bernstein on January 7, 2011 at 3:37pm
How beautiful, Ryan!  Sounds like you have a nicely balanced eco-system going...and that is the ultimate goal.  congrats!
Comment by Ryan Watt on January 7, 2011 at 3:05pm

This is my aquaponics system here in Queenstown New Zealand. I am getting amazing growth from 5 goldfish and 4 snails in my 2, 110 ltr tanks.


I have lettuce, tomatoes, sugar plant, mint, spinich, silverbeat, carrots garlic and onions etc growing in the top tank.


The growing medium is expanded clay beads.


I have had no major ph, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate or temperature swings

despite it being a small system.


In the tank on the left you can see my duckweed growing for fish feed


Comment by Jacob Verbeek on October 17, 2010 at 8:50pm
I've just starting learning about aquaponics and was wondering if anyone in NZ is doing it? If so, what fish are being used? What I've gathered so far is that we're rather restricted in NZ in what kind of fish we're allowed to legally use. I'd love to learn more and maybe give it a go one of these days.

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