How to Grow Beans In Aquaponics

Aquaponics can grow a variety of plants, but one question that often comes to a beginner's mind is, can you grow beans in aquaponics? This article will discuss the intricacies of growing beans in aquaponics systems. From selecting the suitable bean varieties, fostering their growth, and harvesting the delicious rewards of your labor, we will discuss everything you need to grow to growing beans in aquaponics systems. 

The Suitability of Beans for Aquaponics

When it comes to aquaponics, the question of what crops can thrive in this innovative system is often asked by many enthusiasts. Among the many plant options for aquaponics are beans, which are known for their rich nutritional value and culinary versatility. These vegetables have emerged as one of the plants that thrive in aquaponics systems for many reasons. Let's dive into why bean varieties, such as green beans, black beans, and pinto beans, are well-suited for aquaponics.


snap beans in aquaponics

Factors to Consider in Selecting Types of Beans to Grow in Aquaponics

Your choice of bean variety is not merely a practical decision but an opportunity to weave your preferences and goals into your system. Here are the factors to consider in selecting a bean variety to grow in your system. 

A. Bean Types

When it comes to growing beans, the journey begins with a selection of bean varieties that are suitable for aquaponics systems. Here are some common bean varieties that are well-suited for cultivation in aquaponics:

  1. Green Beans (Snap Beans): These tender and crisp beans are popular for aquaponic systems. Green beans grow well in warmer temperatures and are known for their rapid growth and abundant yields.
  2. Lima Beans: Also known as butter beans, lima beans thrive well in aquaponic setups. They require more space because of their bushy growth habit, but offer a flavorful and nutritious harvest.
  3. Black Beans: These beans are versatile and can adapt to various growing conditions. With their dark color and earthy flavor, black beans can be a great addition to your aquaponic garden.
  4. Kidney Beans: Kidney beans are known for their kidney-shaped appearance and rich flavor. They do well in aquaponic systems, particularly when provided with the appropriate nutrient balance.
  5. Pole Beans: These climbing beans are ideal for aquaponic systems with vertical support structures. They efficiently use space and can yield a substantial harvest.
  6. Runner Beans: Similar to pole beans, runner beans are climbing varieties that can thrive in aquaponic setups. They produce vibrant flowers and long pods, adding visual appeal to your system.
  7. French Beans (Haricot Verts): These slender and delicate beans are prized for their tenderness. French beans can be an excellent addition to your aquaponic garden.
  8. Fava Beans: Fava beans, or broad beans, have a distinct flavor and nutritional profile and can be cultivated successfully in aquaponics systems.
  9. Soybeans: Soybeans are nitrogen-fixing legumes, making them a valuable addition to aquaponic systems. They can be harvested in various stages, from young green pods to mature beans.
  10. Scarlet Runner Beans: These beans produce vibrant red flowers, edible pods, and seeds. They are well-suited for aquaponic setups that allow for vertical growth.

B. Growth Habits and Space Requirements 

Considering the growth habits of different bean varieties is important for the success of your system. Bush beans, for instance, are known for their compact stature, making them ideal for systems with limited vertical space. Pole beans exhibit vigorous climbing tendencies, making them excellent choices for taller aquaponic setups, where they can utilize vertical space effectively.

C. Climate Suitability

When selecting bean varieties, factor in your local climate and the microclimate created within your aquaponics system. This adaptability can extend the growing season or even enable year-round cultivation of beans that might not fare as well in traditional soil-based gardens. This is advantageous for regions with short growing seasons or challenging weather conditions.

D. Recommendations for Beginners

Selecting the suitable bean variety for those embarking on their aquaponics journey can set the stage for a successful experience. Beginners are advised to start with hardy and versatile bean types, such as bush beans or snap beans. These varieties typically have straightforward growth requirements, which are great for aquaponics systems. As you become more accustomed to the intricacies of your system, you can experiment with other varieties or expand your aquaponic system.

Challenges and Considerations of Growing Beans in Aquaponics

While beans can thrive in aquaponics systems, there are certain challenges that every grower must address. One of these challenges revolves around pH management. Beans prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH range for optimal growth. Maintaining the appropriate pH levels in an aquaponic system, where fluctuations occur because of the interplay between fish waste and bacterial processes, requires careful monitoring and adjustment.

Another consideration is providing adequate support for climbing bean varieties. Certain beans, like pole beans, are vining plants that require sturdy structures to climb upon. Designing an aquaponic system that can accommodate the vertical growth of climbing beans is essential to ensure proper support and space optimization.


Planting Seeds and Seedling in Aquaponics

Best Practices for Growing Beans in Aquaponics

Cultivating beans in an aquaponic system requires careful planning and, by following the best practices, you can unlock the full potential of growing beans in aquaponics.

1. Setting Up the Aquaponic System

Step 1: Establish a suitable aquaponic system consisting of fish tanks, grow beds, and a water recirculation system. 

Step 2: Introduce fish species that align with the nutrient requirements of beans. Tilapia and catfish are examples of fish that can produce rich in nitrogen waste which is a crucial nutrient for bean growth. 

Step 3: Set up the grow beds where the beans will be planted. These beds will receive nutrient-rich water from the fish tanks.

2. pH and Temperature Considerations

  • pH Range: Maintain a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0, as this range is conducive to both bean growth and the health of the fish. Regularly monitor pH and make adjustments as needed. 
  • Temperature: Aim for a water temperature of 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C), which provides an optimal range for both the beans and the selected fish species. Beans are sensitive to cold temperatures.

3. Choosing Compatible Fish Species

  • Select fish species: Opt for fish that generate waste that is rich in nutrients, especially nitrogen. This waste will serve as a vital nutrient source for the beans. Tilapia, trout, and perchare often suitable choices because of their waste production. 
  • Monitor waste: Regularly test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. These parameters show the system's health and whether the fish waste is efficiently converted into plant nutrients.

4. Supporting Climbing Bean Varieties

  • Structures: Incorporate vertical structures within the aquaponic setup for climbing beans like pole beans. These can be trellises, nets, or frames that allow the beans to climb and spread vertically. 
  • Positioning: Strategically position the climbing structures within the grow beds to maximize space utilization while preventing shading of other plants. 
  • Regular Maintenance: As climbing beans grow, guide their tendrils toward the structures to ensure they attach and climb properly.

5. Nutrient Management and Plant Care

  • Nutrient Levels: Monitor nutrient levels regularly to ensure a balanced supply for fish and plants. Adjust feeding rates and fish stocking densities as needed.
  • Pruning: Trim excess foliage and spent bean plants to encourage new growth and prevent overcrowding. 

Preventing and Addressing Common Issues

  1. Nutrient Deficiencies: Regularly observe plant foliage for signs of nutrient deficiencies, such as yellowing leaves or stunted growth. Adjust fish feeding rates and monitor nutrient levels to rectify deficiencies. If necessary, introduce additional supplements to balance nutrient intake.
  2. Pest and Disease Control: Inspect plants for pests and diseases that disrupt the system's harmony. Utilize beneficial insects, introduce biological controls, and consider organic treatments to curb infestations without harming the ecosystem.
  3. System Imbalances: Address any imbalances in the system promptly. For instance, if the fish population grows too large, it might lead to excessive waste production and a strain on nutrient levels. Gradually adjust stocking densities to maintain equilibrium.

Harvesting Beans in Aquaponics

Beans Plant Development and Harvest Timing

The lifecycle of a bean plant unfolds through stages, each marked by its unique growth characteristics:

  1. Germination: The initial stage where seeds sprout, sending tender shoots upwards. Vegetative Growth: Leaves develop, and the plant establishes its form and structure. 
  2. Flowering: During this stage, delicate blossoms emerge, heralding the imminent arrival of pods. 
  3. Pod Formation: Flowers transform into pods, swelling as beans develop inside. 
  4. Ripening: Pods mature and take on vibrant colors, showing their readiness for harvest.

The timing of bean harvest varies depending on the variety. Bush beans are ready for harvest around 50 to 60 days after planting, while pole beans, which take longer to establish, are typically harvested around 60 to 70 days. Harvesting at the right stage ensures optimal flavor and texture.

Proper Harvesting Tips

To ensure a bountiful and continuous bean harvest, follow these tips for proper harvesting:

  1. Snap Beans: For snap beans, harvest when the pods are still young and tender before the beans inside fully develop. Gently snap or cut the pods from the plant to avoid damaging the stems.
  2. Shell Beans: Shell beans, meant for their edible seeds, should be harvested when the pods are plump and the beans inside have reached a desirable size. Open the pods to extract the beans.
  3. Dry Beans: Allow the pods to fully mature and dry on the plant before harvesting for dry beans. Once the pods turn brittle and the beans rattle inside, carefully harvest the pods and remove the beans.


Beans can be grown in aquaponics systems. However, its success depends on how you set up and manage your systems. Considering the factors of growing beans, regularly monitoring the water quality, and ensuring the nutrient balance of the system will help ensure the success of the whole system. 

As you embark on your aquaponics journey, remember that the beans you cultivate are not merely a product of your efforts but a testament to the remarkable potential of sustainable growing of food., through aquaponics.

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