The Best Aquaponics System for Beginners

If you're looking to start your own aquaponics system, but don't know where to begin. Well, don't worry! This article will guide you in choosing the best aquaponics system for a beginner. We'll cover the different systems available, the factors to consider when selecting a system, and the top aquaponics systems recommended for beginners. We also provide the factors you need to consider in setting up your own system and tips on maintaining it to ensure its success.

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a method of growing food that combines aquaculture and hydroponics to create a symbiotic relationship between fish and plants. The fish produce waste that is rich in nutrients, which is then used to fertilize the plants. In return, plants filter the water before it returns to the fish tank for the fish to live.

The Benefits of Aquaponics

Here are the benefits of aquaponics.

1. Year-Round Gardening: Through indoor aquaponics systems or the use of greenhouses, you can grow food all year round.

2. Low Water Usage: One of the significant benefits of aquaponic growing is minimal water is wasted compared to the traditional growing method, like soil gardening. Although the name implies 'water,' aquaponics uses approximately 90% less water than conventional agriculture. The water is rarely changed or discarded since it's recycled repeatedly throughout the system

3. Minimal Weeding: There is no soil involved in aquaponics, so there are very few weeds that will pop up in your garden, giving you more time to enjoy your garden

4. Growth: Plants grow faster in an aquaponic system than in soil because they access 100% natural nutrients 24 hours a day.

5. Small Footprint: Aquaponics farming does not require farmland with fertile soil. Aquaponics can be done successfully on any land, cement, gravel, rocky surfaces, or even drought lands, which are difficult to use in conventional farms

6. Food Security: Food security and independence are increasingly becoming important. Aquaponics is another means of living a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

7. Healthy Food: Fish and plants grow without fertilizers and chemicals in an aquaponics system. So your harvests are fresh and organic

8. Personal Satisfaction: Growing your food in an aquaponics system can be a rewarding and exciting experience because you know your way of growing food is also helping save the environment.

The Components of an Aquaponics System

The basic components of an aquaponics system are the following:

1. FishFish produce ammonia-rich waste that the beneficial bacteria convert into nutrients for the plants. For a successful system, choose fish species that are hardy, easy to grow, and well-suited to your climate and the size of your fish tank.

2. PlantsPlants filter the water for the fish and provide a fresh and healthy harvest.

3. Fish tank - The fish tank provides a home for the fish. The water in the fish tank is circulated to the grow bed to provide nutrients for the plants. 

4. Grow bed - The grow bed is where your plants will grow. Choose a grow bed that will fit your available space, is durable, and is made of food-grade materials.

5. Plumbing system - The plumbing system circulates water from the fish tank to the grow bed and back. It includes a water pump, tubing, and fittings to create a continuous water flow. A bell siphon or overflow system can also be used to regulate the water level in the grow bed.

6. Water pump - The pump is responsible for circulating water from the fish tank to the grow bed.

7. Grow media - Grow media provides a surface for beneficial bacteria to grow. Common grow media include gravel and expanded clay pellets..

The Different Types of Aquaponics Systems

The different types of aquaponics systems are:

1. Nutrient Film Technique

In the The nutrient film technique (NFT) plants are grown in long, narrow channels or pipes angled to allow a thin film of nutrient-rich water to flow over the roots of the plants. The NFT system is ideal for growing leafy greens and plants with small root systems.

Nutrient Film Technique Aquaponics System

2. Raft System

The raft system is another type of aquaponics system where the plants are grown on floating rafts on top of a tank filled with water and fish. This system is famous for growing larger plants like tomatoes and cucumbers but requires more space than the other system.

Raft Aquaponics System

3. Media Based System

The media based is a type of aquaponics system where the plants are grown in a grow bed filled with grow media such as gravel or clay pebbles. The grow media provide support for the roots and a place for beneficial bacteria to grow. This system can grow various plants, including fruiting plants like tomatoes and cucumbers and other types of plants.

Media Bed Aquaponics System

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Aquaponics System

1. Available Space: The available space will determine the type and size of the aquaponics system you choose. Make sure that the space available has enough space for your system and for you to move around when managing your system.

2. Budget: The cost of an aquaponics system depends on the type and size of the system you want to implement and the quality of the components you want to use. Determine your budget before choosing a system to set up. .

3. Time Commitment: An aquaponics system requires regular maintenance to ensure the fish and plants thrive. Consider the time you will need to spend setting up and managing and maintaining your system.

4. Types of Fish and Plants: Fish and plants have different temperature, pH, and nutrient levels requirements. Consider the fish and plants you want to grow and choose a system that can accommodate their specific needs.

5. Level of Automation: Some aquaponics systems have automated features such as timers, pumps, fish feeders, and sensors that can help simplify maintenance tasks. Consider the level of automation you prefer and the cost required to install them in your system.

Media Bed Aquaponics System

The Best Aquaponics System for Beginners

The best aquaponics system for beginners is the media bed system (Flood and Drain or Ebb and Flow). The media bed is highly recommended for beginners because this system uses grow beds with grow media, which give support to the plant roots while serving as a mechanical and biological filter at the same time. 

Here are some reasons why the media bed system is the best for aquaponics beginners:

  1. It requires less maintenance than the raft and nutrient film technique systems. 
  2. The system can save up a lot of space. 
  3. The system uses a simple design and is easier to operate.
  4. It is cheaper to build because growers can use recyclable materials such as old bathtubs or drums. 
  5. Media bed systems do not require additional filtration systems because the grow media serves as filters at the same time, a place for the beneficial bacteria to grow. 

Our Recommended Aquaponics Systems for Beginners

Here are our recommended media bed aquaponics systems for beginners:

1. AquaSprouts Garden

The AquaSprouts Garden is a compact and affordable aquaponics system that that is great for an indoor setup. The AquaSprouts Garden comes with a 10-gallon fish tank and a grow bed that can support a variety of herbs and vegetables. It also includes a pump and timer to automate the water flow and comes with a comprehensive guide to help beginners get started.

AquaSprouts Garden

2. Go Green Aquaponics System

The single grow bed Go Green Aquaponics System is excellent for beginners who want to take their first step in aquaponics. The kit comes in a 60-gallon grow bed, a 100-gallon fish tank, a grow media, a pump, a digital thermometer, plumbings, and a Master API water test kit. They can expand later this kit if you decide to have a bigger system once you know the ins and outs of aquaponics.

Go Green Aquaponics System

3. The Harmony Aquaponics System

The Harmony Aquaponics system offers 18 ft² of growing area, which is excellent for beginners who want to start a more extensive system. 

The Harmony Aquaponic System

Aquaponics System Maintenance Tips

Aquaponics systems require regular attention to ensure the fish and plants are healthy and thriving and the whole system runs smoothly. Here are some tips for maintaining your aquaponics system:

1. Checking water quality: Checking the water quality regularly is important to ensure thatthe pH level, ammonia, nitrite levels and other water quality parameters are within the ideal range for the fish and plants. You can use water testing kits to check the water quality and make adjustments as necessary.

2. Feeding fish: Feed fish 2-3 times a day to ensure they get the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Be careful not to overfeed or underfeed the fish, and always remove uneaten fish food after feeding, as leftover food can clog the system or lead to poor water quality.

3. Harvesting and pruning plants: Regularly harvest and prune your plants to promote growth and prevent overcrowding in the grow bed. Be sure to use clean, sharp tools to avoid plant damage.

4. Dealing with common issues: Monitor your system for problems such as pests, disease, and algae growth. If you notice any issues, take action promptly to prevent them from spreading and affecting the health of your fish and plants. This may include adjusting the water quality, adding beneficial bacteria, or using natural pest control methods.


Aquaponics is a great option for anyone who wants to grow sustainable fresh and healthy food. The best aquaponics system for beginners is the media base system. This system is easy to set up and manage and can grow a wide variety of plants. You can buy a pre-made aquaponics system that comes with instructions or DIY your own system by using recyclable materials. Setting up your own aquaponics system may seem challenging, but if have enough knowledge about aquaponics it's actually easy.

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