Tools Needed

Photo Item Name Where to Purchase Quantity Price
Razor Blade or Knife
  • Walmart
  • Hardware hawaii
  • Home depot
1 $9
Drill
  • Walmart
  • Hardware hawaii
  • Home depot
1 $30
Drill bits (sizes: 3/16”, 1/2”, 7/8”)
  • Walmart
  • Hardware hawaii
  • Home depot
1 $12
Thread Seal Tape
  • Walmart
  • Hardware hawaii
  • Home depot
1 $1
Tape Measure
  • Walmart
  • Hardware hawaii
  • Home depot
1 $10
Pipe Cutter
  • Walmart
  • Hardware hawaii
  • Home depo
1 $27
Pliers
  • Walmart
  • Hardware hawaii
  • Home depo
1 $5.5
Hacksaw
  • Walmart
  • Hardware hawaii
  • Home depo
1 $10

Materials Needed

Pump

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
100-250 GPH (gallons per hour)
  • old/recycled fish pump
1 $20

Features

  • Indoor / outdoor use
  • Oil free / environmentally safe
  • UL-listed
  • One year warranty

Recommendations

  • It is best to get a pump that is one size larger than what is necessary for your fish tub
  • Purchase a pump that has rubber mounted feet to reduce vibration
  • Submersible pumps are preferred but not necessary

Specifications

  • 250 gallons per hour
  • Recommended for 25 gallon reservoirs
  • 16 Watts / 120 VAC

Fish Tub

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
18+ gallon
  • old buckets
  • old storage bins
  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
1 $10

Features

  • Stack and nest design maximizes storage efficiency
  • Contoured snapon lid

Recommendations

Specifications

  • Sterilite 30 Gallon Tote

Grow Bed

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
14+ gallon
  • old buckets
  • old storage bins
1 $12

Features

  • Sturdy, built-in handles
  • Stackable
  • Lids snap securely

Recommendations

  • The grow bed container size should be approximately 4 gallons less than your purchased fish tub
  • Your container needs to be at least 11-16” in height to allow room for your plant roots to grow (8-12”), while providing adequate space for the top of your grow media (3-4”)

Specifications

  • Roughneck 14+ gallon storage box

PVC Pipes

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
PVC Piping

N/A

  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
1 each (see specifications) $25

Features

  • PVC

Recommendations

N/A

Specifications

  • 2” dia. 8 3/4” long
  • 1 1/4” dia. 6 5/8” long
  • 1/2” dia. 5 5/8” long
  • 2 1/2” dia. 3” long

PVC Caps

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
PVC Caps

N/A

  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Suppl
1 each (see specifications) $5

Features

PVC

Recommendations

N/A

Specifications

  • 1- 2”
  • 1 – 1 1/4”

Bell Siphon Pipe

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
Bell Siphon Pipe

N/A

  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
1 each (see specifications) $15

Features

  • PVC

Recommendations

N/A

Specifications

N/A

PVC Filter Cover

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
PVC Filter to go over the Bell Siphon
  • recycled cylindrical containers
  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
1 $10

Features

PVC

Recommendations

N/A

Specifications

N/A

PVC Elbow Pipe

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
PVC Elbow Pipe

N/A

  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
1 $5

Features

  • PVC

Recommendations

N/A

Specifications

N/A

PVC Male & Female Adapter

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
PVC Male & Female Adapter

N/A

  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
1 $4

Features

  • PVC

Recommendations

N/A

Specifications

N/A

PVC 15-32mm Head

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
PVC Head

N/A

  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
1 $3

Features

  • PVC

Recommendations

N/A

Specifications

N/A

Table

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
Table/ Shelf for Grow Bed
  • old tables
  • old piling bricks
  • scrap wood to build a table
  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
1 $40

Features

  • Strong base
  • Sturdy

Recommendations

  • Use a table or shelf with a strong base

Specifications

  • Larger than your grow bed container

Ball Valve

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
Ball Valve

N/A

  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
1 $11

Features

  • PVC

Recommendations

  • N/A

Specifications

  • (2) 1/2” ball valve

Grow Medium

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
Grow Medium
  • porous rock
  • Home depot
  • Walmart
  • Hardware Hawaii
  • Kmart
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
1 $27

Features

  • Hydroponic rocks and pea gravel

Recommendations

N/A

Specifications

N/A

Fish

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
Fish

N/A

  • Pet Stores
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
12+ $3

Features

N/A

Recommendations

  • Start with Talapia

Specifications

N/A

Seeds/Plants

Photo Item Name Suggested Recycled Materials Where to Purchase Quantity Price
Plants

N/A

  • Plant Nursery
  • Waimānalo Feed Supply
12+ $0

Features

N/A

Recommendations

Lettuce can be grown fairly easily

Specifications

N/A

Step 1.

Locate a convenient and shaded space

Suggestion: You will need a minimum of 12 square feet. Find an open area where you can walk around your system and allow your plants to grow upwards. Also, keep your aquaponic system in a covered and shaded area (the sun often promotes algae and bacteria growth, which isnʻt good for your fish or plants). By placing your system in a covered area, you will be able to protect your fish, plants and system from sun damage, prevent water evaporation, and control the amount of debris falling into your system.

Step 2.

Secure your fish tub or large bin on a level surface.

Step 3.

Place the shelf over the fish tub.

Step 4.

Drill the drain hole on the bottom (either left or right side) of your grow bed tub (the hole
will need to be measured specifically to your pvc pipe fittings).

Step 5.

Using a pen, trace a circle around your pvc pipe on your shelf, then drill a hole so that the grow bed drain can flow out. Make the hole on the shelf slightly bigger than the hole of the grow bed so that the pvc pipe can easily fit.

Step 6.

Tightly screw the male and female PVC threaded adapters to your grow bed.

Step 7.

Cut the pvc “drain pipe” about 3 inches below the top of your grow bed (after connecting to your adaptor).

Step 8.

At the top of your drain pipe, add the connector making the pipe a little bigger so it creates a toilet bowl effect (use plumbers tape to stop any leakages).

Step 9.

Cut the bell siphon so that it stands about two inches over the drainpipe.

Step 10.

Add a pvc cap on the bell siphon base so the top is closed. This creates the pressure for the water to drain.

Step 11.

Drill and cut slits or holes at the bottom of your bell siphon (these should stop the water from draining).

Step 11.

Place a larger pvc pipe around the bell siphon (cut holes on this piece – it will be used as another filter to stop the grow bed medium from getting into the drain).

Step 13.

Cut the pvc pipe so that it is sitting on the top of your fish tub. When the pipe is snug and flush to the grow bed, take the elbow pvc and connect it to the bottom of pvc pipe that is flowing into your fish tub. This is done so the water is flowing nice and not directly shooting down onto the fish.

Step 14.

Set up the pump.

Step 15.

Add water to your fish tub (about three-quarters full).

Step 16.

Turn on the water pump and test the system. Use plumbers tape to stop any leakages.

Step 17.

Add the rocks and/or grow media to your grow bed. Fill the grow bed about 3 inches from the top of the grow bed container and 1 inch below your bell siphon. Your grow media should be 8 to 12 inches thick (to allow the roots ample space for growth)

Step 18.

Place your fish into your fish tub.

Step 19.

Plant your choice of vegetation into your grow media.

Common Questions & Answers

Does an aquaponic system use less water in the farming process?

Yes. It is suggested that while 10% of the water in the system are either absorbed by the plants or evaporated, the other 90% is constantly recycled back into the system.

How big should my grow bed be?

For best performance, your grow bed should be approximately 4 gallons smaller than your fish tub (i.e.: if you use a 30 gallon fish tub, your grow bed should be approximately 26 gallons).

How many fish can I grow in an aquaponics system?

A good rule of thumb is to stock about 1-2 fish per 10 gallons of water; and never stock more than 1 pound of fish for every three gallons of water.

How much food shall I feed my fish? How often?

If you are cycling your system with fish, feeding should be kept to an absolute minimum during the first 1-2 months. Only feed the fish what they will consume in 5 minutes – no more than 1 tablespoon per 20 fish per day. If your aquaponics fish don’t seem to be hungry, don’t feed them. Fish can survive for weeks without feeding.

Once the water in the system becomes clear you may gradually increase feeding levels, again paying attention to how much the fish consume in 5 minutes. You can also start feeding your fish two or three times a day. As a guideline, mature tilapia typically consume about 1% of their body weight per day, while fingerlings can consume as much as 7%. Carnivorous fish like trout, perch and bass require a feed that is high in protein (45%-50% protein), while other fish like catfish and tilapia require less (approximately 32% protein). Keep in mind that younger fish require more protein than mature fish.

How do I keep my fish healthy?

Feed them high quality feed and maintain a stress-free environment.

How much water should I put in the fish tub?

Fill your fish tub to approximately 5 inches from the top of the tub to avoid the fish from jumping out.

How often do I need to monitor the water?

During the first couple of months, the water quality should be monitored daily. You need to ensure that the water is free of toxins (especially ammonia and nitrite) and there is enough oxygen for the fish. However, after the system has matured, you will only have to monitor the water once a week.