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What is Aquaponics?


A system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic creatures supplies the nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purifies the water.



How does Aquaponics work?

God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.
— Francis Bacon

Best Fish for Aquaponics

Best Fish for Aquaponics

When scouting for fish for your aquaponics aquarium, you want to consider a few factors.


The Environment

Your environment in which your fish will live is pertinent to the type of fish you decide to house.  There are many factors that need to be considered based on the breed of fish you buy.

o   Temperature of the water

o   pH balance of the water (as a general rule, aquaponic fish prefer a pH Balance of around 6-6.4)

o   Currents of the water

o   Additions of plants to your tank

o   Additions of other accessories like rocks, toys, ‘hide-outs’ to your tank

o   Whether you need to cover the fish tank or not


Food Sources

The type of food you fish is important as well.  Each fish prefers a certain food source, although many food options can be fed to many types of fish.  Once you start a certain type of food, you need to monitor your fish to ensure they, firstly, are eating the food and secondly that they are not showing any negative signs, like bloating, bleeding and discoloring.



In this we mean, what are you breeding the fish for?  Are you wanting to eat the fish, let them be part of your aquaponics system in that they help to feed your plants or simply just as a pet?

Certain types of fish are best at being pets while others are more ideal as a source of food for you.



In this, we mean the size of your fish in relation to the size of your tank, as well as how many fish you will be housing.  You want to make sure that the tank depth, width and height is ideal for the species of fish.  Some fish like to have length, others are happy to exist in tight spaces, while many are not as perturbed about the size of their environment.



Is your fish species considered a legal fish, in that, are they allowed to be housed domestically?  If the fish is considered an invasive species then you cannot be keeping it.  You must check with your local fishery department, pet shop or vet.


Now, let us explore the best fish for your aquaponics system.  We have broken these fish down into Edible and Ornamental fish.

Edible Aquaponics Fish

Tilapia Cichlid  edibel fish for aquaponics popular fish for aquaponics


Cichlid fall under the Tilapia species of fish and are a hardy fish found in freshwater shallow streams, ponds and rivers.  Cichlids are a nutritious fish that is high in protein, but also can be kept for purposes of aiding your aquaponics plant system or even as pets.

Tilapia species of fish can survive in a temperature of around 11 to 17 °C (52 to 62 °F).

In the wild, Cichlid’s are mostly omnivores, however you can feed your tank Cichlid’s live or frozen animal food such as shrimp and bloodworms.  An easy source of food would be sinking pellets or flake fish food, which are rich in protein and fiber.  You can, occasionally, feed your Tilapia type fish green foods like spinach.

catfish for backyard aquaponics


Catfish are great as pets as well as for your aquaponics set up.  Their colors and shapes vary and can be very pretty as an ornamental fish.

They are particularly great at cleaning the tank walls and substrate.  They will, in turn, keep the algae under control and will recycle food and waste from other fish.

Catfish are also hardy fish and are not prone to disease or illness, but can get stressed if threatened by larger fish, so just be aware of who you put in the tank with them.

As they are bottom feeders or benthic, catfish will need to be fed food that sinks, like sinking pellets or a heavier type of frozen fish food.

In addition, they like to feed at night once the aquarium lights are out, so remember that for your feeding schedule.

As for preferred water temperature, anywhere between 20 and 24°C

(68 to 75 °F) is good.

A few varieties to consider are Zebra Pleco, Cory, Bristle-nosed catfish and Clown catfish.

Silver Perch

As Silver Perch can grow to a relatively large size, around 8kg or 600mm in length, you will need to consider the size of your tank.

The preferred temperature for Silver Perch, outside of spawning season is between 18 to 23°C (73 to 82°F).

As far as eating goes, they love green plants so some spinach, duckweed or azolla will do nicely

jade perch for indoor and outdoor aquaponics builds

Jade Perch

The Jade Perch, whilst similar looking to the Silver Perch in shape, has a greenish hue to its upper region, hence their name.

They prefer warmer water, although cooler than their cousins, the Silver Perch.  Favorable temperatures would be about 20 to 28°C (68 to 82 °F).

They, too, like an omnivorous diet and can be seen eating any green variety of plant or a fish food low in animal protein.

Murray Cod

Murray Cod fish are reasonably new to the aquaponics lifestyle and in fact new to tank culture.  They need space and are quick growing fish, so take that into account when setting up your aquarium.

They need to be fed often or they may just start eating each other.  Not something you want to witness, so remember a high stocking density always.

They are a carnivorous fish, obviously, so be aware not to put them in a tank with smaller fish, even if the species is a Murray Cod.  They will eat them!

A diet rich in protein and phosphorus is good, so be sure to check your fish food labels.

Ideal temperature, as they are originally a river fish, would be around 8 to 24°C (46 to 75 °F), so they can handle quite a cold tank.

On a side note, they’re a really popular fish to catch from the rivers in my home town and are absolutely delicious.


These fish are very popular in aquaponic systems and are often grown in the warmer months and with slightly mature stock.  If you intend to eat your Barramundi, you will find they have a lovely clean, crisp taste.

As a tank fish, they will still love to eat fish and crustaceans, so a diet rich in frozen fish, shrimp or prawns will go down very nicely.

They do well in warmer temperatures so make sure the water is around 26 to 30°C (78 to 86 °F).

trout for cold water backyard aquaponics systems


Besides being a great tasting fish, trout have a very quick growth rate as well as food conversion ratio, meaning they convert their digested food to “fertilizer” very fast.

They prefer a cooler temperature between 10 to 20°C (52 to 62 °F) and originally a river fish, they like to eat aquatic and terrestrial insects as well as other fish, leeches, crustaceans and worms.

For commercial food, you could try frozen bloodworm and dried shrimp.


Bluegills are probably one of the most unfussy fish. They will eat pretty much anything, but that doesn’t mean you must feed them just anything.  Stick to a diet of insects, zooplankton, small fish and worms.  Frozen bloodworms are good as well as any flake or pellet type of fish food.

In terms of a preferable temperature for the tanks water can range anywhere between 16 to 27°C (60 to 80 °F).

Ornamental Aquaponics Fish

gold fish for easy aquaponics fish indoor aquaponics


Your hardiest and by far most popular pet fishes but also a great option for aquaponics.  They have longevity, although you may not think so if you ever owned a goldfish as a child. Difference is that you are now an adult and know how to look after that passive, orange friend.

Goldfish will survive just nicely on flake fish food and prefer a temperature of around 10 to 23°C (50 to 74 °F).

If you intend to breed them, you will need to consider some plant cover – they are shy like that!


Our beautiful bevy of fish species and are in fact from the Carp family of fish.  Predominantly found in Asian communities, these picturesque fish are best grown in larger, ornamental type tanks or aquariums.

Due to their lovely variety of colors, you want to ensure the food you feed them is high in Beta Carotene, which will enhance and help keep their natural colors.

Huge omnivores, you can feed your fish lettuce, watermelon and peas, but it is best to rather do this using specific Koi fish food, as this has been accurately measured out for the best nutritional balance.

Happy in a slightly warmer environment, you can ensure water temperature is between 15 to 25°C (59 to 77 °F).

Koi work very well in an aquaponic system. Especially if you have system where you get to show of your fish.

betta fish for aquaponics or siamese fighting fish indoor aquaponics

Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta)

These fish are just stunning, with their goldfish style bodies but flowing fins and tails, they are just beauties to watch.

They have a very particular diet as well, in that they like live brine shrimp and bloodworm, although frozen will do too.  In addition, you can make their main source of food, for sake of ease, Siamese Fighting Fish granules or pellets.

They should be fed 1-2 times daily and in small quantities, as they have a tendency to overeat.

Being a tropical fish you need to keep the water temperature at a warm 25 to 26°C (78 to 80 °F).

Warning!  As they are fighting fish, you cannot put more than one Betta or Fighting Fish in the tank at a time.  They will fight each other to the death!

Suggestion is to either go with a soriety of female bettas, but no less than 4, ensure your tank size is ideal.

small ornamental fish for aquaponic indoor systems

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Another member of the Carp family, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow fish is as hardy as you will find, so perfect for an aquaponics system.

They are hardy and grow very easily and quickly.

A standard small pellet or flake type fish food is perfect for these guys and they do very well in temperatures of around 18 to 26°C (64 to 79 °F).

Top 5 Aquarium Heaters

Top 5 Aquarium Heaters

There are many reasons to ensure the temperature of your DIY aquaponic tank, pond or fountain are optimal.  And by optimal we mean suitable for the type of fish you house and for the current activity of your fish.


Dependent on the breed of fish you have you need to ensure the temperature they live in is correct.  Too hot or too cold water can cause shock to a fish and they can possibly die.  Another factor to consider is the activity you fish is involved in.  Sounds odd, right?  What activity other than swimming around do fish partake in?  But, there are a few reasons why water temperature needs to be adjusted.


o   Breeding season – depending on breed of your fish, between 10°C (50°F) and 12°C (54°F)

o   Non-breeding season – again depending on breed of your fish – around 23°C (74°F)

o   Air Supply – the hotter the temperature, the less oxygen in the tank – so an aeration system may be necessary

o   Breed of Fish – as above, the temperature and other factors grossly differ from breed of fish to breed of fish


These all require a very different set temperature and to gain the best results should be monitored and kept constant.


We all understand that water temperature will fluctuate dependent on the time of day or night, on the season and on the position of the reservoir (i.e. is the tank receiving afternoon sun or heavy shade at a particular time of the day?). However, if you could regulate the temperature you could be assured of not only preserving the longevity of your fish but saving yourself a bucket full in replacement costs.  Moreover, we all know how expensive the set up, equipment and not to mention the fish can be for a DIY aquaponic system.


So, what do you need to ensure optimal temperature in your aquaponics Aquarium?


What you need is an Aquarium Heater system.  To help you along in the perfect fit for your setup, we have put together our top 5 best Aquarium Heaters and salient features (good and bad - although there weren’t many bad reviews).


Fluval E Electronic Heater


Technologically advanced, the Fluval E Electronic Heater is in a league of its own.  When it comes to accuracy and precision temperature gauging, you can rely on the Fluval.


Here are its key features, and reasons you should consider investing in this awesome aquaponics heater:


o   With an LCD Temperature display, in both Celsius and Fahrenheit, you will be able to see very clearly what’s potting

o   Dual Temperature sensors means you are able to see the real time and accurate water temperature at a glance

o   To protect your fish and invertebrates, there is a built-in integrated fish guard.  This latter feature will ensure your fish are not damaged by the heater in any manner

o   In addition the fast heat technology has a safety shut-off facility, so you don’t overheat your tank

o   Its so easy to attach with the slim profile mounting bracket

o   In addition, when the temperature varies from pre-set parameters, the color display alert system will let you know

o   The heater can caters for any backyard aquaponic tanks, aquariums, ponds and fountains of up to 100 gallons (378 liters) quite comfortably

o   He is priced on the higher end of the scale, but with all these features you wont regret the investment

Aquatop Aquarium Submersible Glass Heater


An easy all-rounder, the Aquatop Aquarium Heater always elicits a why-didn’t-I-buy-this-sooner reaction.


Let us take a look at the Aquatop’s main features which explains why we are so taken with this little guy-


o   Because its fully submersible, you are guaranteed of accurate temperature readings as well as maintaining the temperature your backyard aquaponic tank and fish need

o   He is also easy to install with their super suction cups

o   Aquatop is fully compatible with up to 75 gallons (283 liters) of tank space

o   Made from high quality double-insulated walls this temperature gauge offers precision accuracy

o   The adjustable temperature controls are super identifiable by bright red colors and tells you when optimum temperature has been reached

o   Priced perfect and our bargain of the bunch

ViaAqua 300 Watt Quartz Glass Submersible Heater


A simple heater but offers all the basic necessities that you could want in an aquaponic heater.


A few of the features that stand out for us–


o   A fully submersible high quality quartz glass temperature gauge means accurate temperature control and is break resistant

o   There is an easily visible temperature gauge for those visually-impaired folk

o   He works well in saltwater and fresh water aquaponics aquariums

o   Simple to attach with their suction cups, its easy 1-2-3 installation

o   On and off lights easily show you when the heater is heating and when it isn’t- so simple!

o   We like that the heater shuts off when it reaches the desired temperature setting, making for a worry free backyard aquaponics system

o   It is good to know too that the temperature heats relatively quickly and this 300 Watt model would in fact be too hot for a smaller than 80 gallon  (302 liters) tank, so you have been warned – no boiling your fish please!

o   ViaAqua is a heater that is priced really well and there won’t be a question of value vs. spend here

EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater


This is the fashion princess of aquaponic heaters.  Big, beautiful and bold.  We have chosen the 300-Watt model, which is super compatible with 80 gallons (302 liters) and higher, however EHEIM do offer other models from 25 Watts right up to the 300 Watts reviewed here.


Here is what we like about the EHEIM Jager Aquarium –


o   EHEIM’s TruTemp dial means the temperature is automatically regulated and there is no risk of it overheating

o   Being fully submersible, when the water level dips too low, the system will switch off avoiding a dry run and a possible burn out

o   The actual gauge is made from shock resistant and shatter proof glass, so you don’t need to worry with accidents following pressure fluctuations

o   At a glance you can see the on/off indicator light and know right off if everything is in order or not

o   You will need to dig a little deeper in your pocket for this aquaponic heater but he is well worth it

Aqueon Pro Heater


Aqueon brings us a real winner here, in their Pro Heater.  A solid little guy, suitable for most fresh and saltwater backyard aquaponic aquariums.


Lets explore the salient features –


o   There is no glass or breakable material anywhere here.  All you get is solid aluminum which makes for a pretty much indestructible heating system

o   This heater can be fully submerged in water, vertically or horizontally, depending on the width and depth of your tank

o   With a really large, clear dial for the temperature control, you wont be struggling to set it to that just-right temperature

o   Clear lights indicate whether its heating up or whether it has reached the desired temperature (indicators are red for heating and green for goal temperature reached)

o   A middle of the road price bracket, we are happy to recommend the Aqueon Pro Heater



As you can see, there are various features that stand out for most aquaponic Aquarium Heaters.  Some may be more important to you can others, but the features that are most popular are:


o   Easy temperature control dials

o   Easy to read and accurate displays

o   Light indicators for heating and goal temperature reached

o   Fully submersible

o   Fish friendly

o   Longevity and sustainability

o   Priced nice

At the end of the day, so we discovered from our research, the cost of an aquaponic Aquarium Heater is not the most important aspect.  While dishing out dough isn’t anything to be sniffed at, it was agreed that a long lasting, accurate heater is paramount, not only for the safety of your fish but in the long run, for the protection of your wallet.

Top 4 Grow Media

Top 4 Grow Media

Grow media has become the next best thing since, well, since actual natural garden soil.  And, in fact, probably better.  In addition, that is the point really.  Good grow media has to be used with aquaponics, you cannot use garden soil in aquaponics.



When you grow your plants indoors or in a confined space, you want to ensure they are getting the best nutrients to their roots, more than enough air and water, are allowed maximum room for their root growth and can be physically supported as they grow.


Grow media can offer all this and more.  However, it is important to choose the correct grow media that fits your budget and is suitable for aquaponics.

When it comes to choosing your grow media for aquaponics, it’s important that media not be too small, so it doesn’t block your pipes. The more surface area that media has, the better, as this will mean more beneficial bacteria to convert the fish waste to food for your plants.



Bigelow Brook Farm Expanded Shale


Bigelow’s shale chip’s claim to fame is that they work well in all types of  aquaponics systems from the the backyard to the small indoor. 


Excellent in either hydroponic or aquaponic systems, the shale chips will provide a large amount of surface area per stone which will aid in converting ammonia into nitrates by generating beneficial bacteria.


Slightly heavier than clay, shale chips are mined, crushed and fired up under hectic temperatures which then brings about a wonderfully porous and clean stone.


Be assured you will get your PH balance just right with the expanded shale chips and can look forward to stable growth from seedling to vegetative or bloom stage.


With hundreds of years of good solid history, expanded shale, whilst predominantly used for building material, which shows you its strength, comes with loads of benefits for your plants, as well as for the environment.

ViagrowTM ViaStone Expanded Clay Grow Rocks


These grow rocks, as they are known, are super porous, lightweight and the best part is they are reusable, adding to their environmentally friendly nature.


They have an excellent water to air ratio and are good with assisting the yield quality and quantity.


Be assured the PH balance of your plants will remain intact and optimum oxygen levels will be provided.


Viagrow clay stones can be used pretty much anywhere, from your aquaponic garden to your traditional outdoor gardens.


An all round winner, these clay stones will assist your aquaponic garden from seedling phase to flowering bloom.   With an average price bracket you won’t flinch due to the hefty bag you will be receiving.


Leca Clay Orchid/Hydroponic Grow Media


These 100% clay pebbles mean you will reap the rewards of a very aerated composition for your plants as well as an accurate PH balanced formulae.


It is good to know that these little guys prevent rotting, soil insects and excess acidity, especially with aquaponics gardens.


For size accuracy, you can cover about 10 x 5 inches of mesh net pots, 40 x 3 inch pots or at least 120 x 2 inch pots.



Just a warning, before you start, rinse off the dust with fresh water and you’re good to go. You want the water to be clean and healthy for your fish.


Priced well, you wont regret the spend with these decorative clay pebbles.

ROOT!T GMC10L Clay Pebbles


Due to their unique shape, these 100% clay pebbles will ensure that your plants receive the optimum oxygen and water retention.  Known to suit flood and drain systems as well as drip feed systems, these little balls will ensure the PH balance of your aquaponic garden, as they have been pre-washed.


Whether you have a Hydroponic, Hydroculture or Aquaponic garden system, the pebbles will assist the growth from A to Z, whilst supporting the roots along the way.


But, know that if you use this for an aquaponics although clean, you need to rinse them a few times to avoid a muddying your water.


Again another middle range price bracket, but you are getting over 10 pounds of package here.


Clay pebbles are probably my favorite choice when choosing a grow medium for aquaponics. The round shape makes them easy on your hands and they are light weight. 

In ending, no matter which type of grow media you decide to choose, you can be assured that the choices listed here are proven and suitable for aquaponics

Just make sure you have the following factors on hand when making your choice

o   The type of vegetation, plant or flower you are intending on growing – not all grow media works well with all flora (for example in aquaponics root based vegetables will often grow in deformed way. Due to need a medium with a diameter of around 2cm or ½ inch)

o   The weight of the grow medium, can your aquaponics system support this weight?

o   Do want grow medium that is easy on your hands(no sharp edges), so I don’t need to where gloves?

o   How big is your aquaponics system and how much will I need to buy?

o   What is your budget?

Growing plants without soil, it is imperative to choose the right grow medium as not to effect the pH of your system and provide enough surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow.

Top 5 Water Pumps

Top 5 Water Pumps

When it comes to the aquaponics way, a water pump is a vital piece of equipment in the process.  A faulty or dodgy water pump can have dire consequences for both your plants as well as your fish.


The water that flows the nutrients and goodness through to the plants and fish is reliant on the water pump connected to the tank, pond or fountain.  Without a good, reliable water pump your aquaponics aquarium, whether it be a backyard aquaponic system or over the counter style, will not survive and you will have wasted good money and loads of effort.


In addition, a higher powered pump works best, as this will allow you to adjust the flow output and rate up or down to get your bell siphon working perfectly.  Another reason to have a high-powered water pump, when it comes to specifically Aquaponics,  is that you may want to divert some of the water back into the tank for aeration for the fish.


So, to help you find the best water pump, we have collated our top 5 favorites.  Based on a few key features we hope to assist you in making the right decision in your water pump investment.

PonicsPump PP12005 Submersible Water Pump


This little guy may be small but he packs a punch when it comes to delivering efficient service for your aquaponics system.



While the PonicsPump water pump is suitable for a smaller tank, approximately 20 gallons (75 liters), it really has a heart and soul of gold.  Pumping out in the region of over 120 gallons (454 liters) per hour, you can be assured your plants and fish will receive all the goodness they need in record time.



With a simple installation process, you will have your DIY aquaponics aquarium up and running in no time.   For the non-DIY’ers out there don’t be scared!  It really is as simple as 1-2-3!



The water pump is fully submersible, meaning you can sink this sucker right under the water level and it also comes with a 5 inch waterproof cord, meaning longer reach, and in addition is copper and oil free.  Good news for the fish and plants and equally good news for your environment.



The speed of the flow is adjustable with a simple flick of a little lever. So, it’s perfect for smaller fountains or tanks, as you don’t want a too strong flow either.  This can cause be disturbing to the fish as well as the contents of the tank.



This aquaponics pump can be a little noisy at times, but is dependent on the type of fountain you are submersing it in and your tolerance for noise.  Some are not bothered by the hum at all.  In addition if it vibrates a bit, which its been known to do, then just slot a small sponge or two underneath the pump and it will alleviate that problem.  Again this is not the norm, but it has been known to occur with a few buyers, although most didn’t foresee it as a make or break in the buying decision.



The real winner our chosen lot – a low premium for a great investment!

EcoPlus Submersible Pump


EcoPlus brings us a reliable pump with a proven track record.



This water pump is best in ponds, salt and freshwater aquariums as well as fountains and hydroponic systems.  Size wise you are looking at around a comfortable 40-gallon (151 liters) tank.  Any larger and you will need to look at a larger capacity pump.  Any smaller and the flow and power will be too much.



Easily fitted to dry-land reservoir use or fully submersible in any tank, fountain or pond.  So its nice to know, if you change your aquaponics aquarium, you have this choice and won’t have to spend on another water pump.



With its oil-free motor and earth rotor magnet, you will see that it can pump up to almost 400 gallons (1514 liters) per hour, meaning a constant healthy flow to your plants and fish.  However, monitor the flow and adjust if necessary.



A super quiet motor means a peaceful experience, especially if used outdoors in a pond or fountain.  This is one super efficient and long lasting pump.



A lovely price for a fantastic pump – our middle of the road contender.

PonicsPump PP29105 Submersible Pump


A step up from the PonicPump’s baby sister, this pump also packs a punch but caters for a bigger aquaponics pond or fountain.



The polished aluminum oxide ceramic impeller shaft means you are guaranteed of a long lasting pump, which will be non-corrodible and also doesn’t let off any unwanted copper or oil. Good news for the longevity of your fish and plants.



With no tools required, the pump is very easy to clean, from the disassembling to the cleaning of the filter or impeller.  And it is so important to keep your tank and pump clean.



The water-lubricated nitrile bushings mean a low coefficient friction and in addition reduces the vibration factor.  So not only are you getting an environmentally friendly pump but you are eliminating noise pollution too.



For use in your DIY aquaponics outdoor fountain, where debris collects often, you may need to attach a mesh pre-filter in front of the inlet.  This will hinder any large pieces of debris, which often fall from over hanging trees, blocking the pump flow.



Good price, good product, all rounder!

Hydrofarm Active Aqua AAPW550 Submersible Water Pump


A real all rounder, the Hydrofarm Active Aqua Water Pump caters for medium to large Aquaponic ponds and fountains, whether indoor or outdoor.



With its oil free motor and quieter than quiet running, you can be assured this pump is environmentally friendly.  Good news all round for your surroundings and equally good news for your fish and plants.



There will be no worries of vibrations due to the rubber mounting feet that keep this baby secure and settled, even on the highest flow.



Because of the open shroud you can easily replace the filter.  Just reach in, lift and replace.  It couldn’t be easier.



Hydrofoam have thrown in some awesome extras, in their foam pre-filter, venture aerator, which controls the volume of air; and variable intake valve so you can adjust the water flow.



Whether you want to use this pump in your indoor or outdoor aquaponics system, there is the ability to configure either way.  Good news, if you often move your fountain around, which most do during different seasons.



Another nice feature is the ability to set the pump to run for a period of time, generally 15 minutes and then shut off for a while, 45 minutes is fine for the pump to switched off.  This will do the system no harm and in fact will elongate the life of the pump.



Not the most inexpensive of the bunch and for all this it’s still a good buy.


Hydrofarm Active Aqua AAPW1000 Submersible Water Pump


Ideal for medium to large sized aquaponic ponds, fish tanks and fountains, this pump will see you through many years.



Recommended for 100 gallon (378 liters) sized reservoirs, you can be assured the pump will manage to kick out over 1000 gallons (3785 liters) per hour.  That’s a lot of flow!



Whether you have your larger pond or fountain indoors or outdoors, the Hydrofram Active Aqua will work just perfectly for both. A simple adjustment is required but easy to do.



When it comes to setting the flow just right, the built in lever will see to it that you get your exact rate.



Rubber mounted feet and a quiet motor mean you won’t even know its there, creating that peaceful and beneficial environment we all need.



On the higher end of the scale in terms of price, but you are getting a whole lot of pump right here and then some.




So you can see, that choosing the right water pump for your system and lifestyle hangs on a few key features, namely size, flow, environment and price.  We are sure you will find that perfect pump for your system, whether it be that gorgeous little home aquaponics set up or a larger IBC Tote aquaponics set up.

Top 5 LED Grow Lights

Top 5 LED Grow Lights

Grow lights or as they are commonly known, plant lights, are an integral part of most aquaponics indoor systems.  The use of artificial lighting to assist your plants to grow speeds up the process and is mostly used where, either there is no natural sunlight or not enough.  Think about wintertime, in many countries, they will have little or no real sunlight for a good part of the year.  A grow light would greatly benefit the plants in replacing sunlight of photosynthesis.


One can use a few forms of light to produce the desired affect, from fluorescent lights, HID (High-Density Discharge lamps), incandescents and our favorite LED (Light-emitting diodes).  We will focus on the relatively new and becoming quite popular LED Grow Lights in this article.


Some interesting facts on LED Grow Lights -:


o   LED grow lights work well in any and all stages of a plants growth cycle especially those with a wide PAR spectrum

o   You can use LED grow lights independently or in conjunction with other light supports for maximum growth potential

o   Plants have been known to grow significantly quicker with the assistance of articfical light sources, such as LED’s

o   When it comes to energy saving, LEDs are tops, saving you money by not using as much energy as other light sources

o   In addition, one should have at least one or more cooling fans working in conjunection with the LED grow lights, so to reduce excess heat build up

o   An LED wattage should be in the region of 3 and no less than 2 in order to maximize the power and efficiency of the light

o   To ensure the longevity of your LED light, purchase a reputable brand – this will not only save you the hassle of replacing often


On that note, let us look at the reputable brands which we believe to be the best on the market.


Here are our top 5 LED Grow Lights.

TaoTronics LED Grow Lights


The TaoTronics LED Grow Light Bulb uses the magic of blue and red light.  The blue assisting greatly with the photosynthesis process in that it helps to activate chlorophyll and carotenoid, meaning super healthy leaves.


The red light is mostly responcible for stimulating the photosynthesis process as well as photoperiodism.  Red lights work very well on fruits and the blooming phase.


In addition, due to its size, the TaoTronics bulb can be used in tight, small spaces without the risk of overheating.


The specific design of the bulb means you will get less heat but more growth potential, this is thanks to the aircraft grade aluminum.


Working of a standard sized socket, means you don’t have to go purchasing any special housing to get this bulb up and running.


Priced really well and we consider this a real steal.


So, for those small DIY aquaponics projects, this would be the perfect LED Grow Light for you.


Apollo Horticulture GL60LED Full Spectrum 180W LED Grow Light


If you want bright then this is the glow light for you.  The 180-Watt model will give sufficient output and area coverage of around 4 to 5 square feet (2,5 x 2,5 inches), so you can be assured of a strong, potent light in the Apollo.


Due to the wide coverage, this bulb will cover all the stages of growth, from vegetative to flowering for an indoor garden.


The system is suitable for all Hydroponic/Aquaponics systems, H2O systems, grow tents and greenhouses.


With the combo of the light and fans you will find the temperature heats up to a perfect level to sufficiently help your plants on their way to optimum growth.


A sturdy set up and easy to install, the Apollo ranks high on our must-have list.  In addition, the middle of the range price will see you possibly buying a few of these as you grow you indoor garden.



Apollo Horticulture GL80X5LED Full Spectrum 400W LED Grow Light


Another super product from Apollo, the LED Grow light gives an output of 400 watts and covers a ground area of around 3 square feet.


With a lifespan of over 50000 hours, you can be assured you will get good use from this LED light.


Good power consumption and a strong output that will see your plants flourishing in no time at all.


Apollo recommends that their LED light be placed closer to the plant canopy than you may normally situate your lights, reason being is that it has a wider coverage area than the average LED light.


Priced well, you can be confident in this guy doing exactly what it was made to do in your indoor garden.

Apollo Horticulture GL100LED Full Spectrum 300W LED Grow Light


For that extra bit of coverage and more focused light source, the Apollo 300 Watt will cover an 8-9 square feet in vegetative stage and 6-7 square feet in flowering stage.


The actual draw power of the bulb is around 145-160 Watts, meaning a huge energy saving bulb but delivering the 300-Watt’s you need.


The stainless steel hanging kit makes it easy to install and manipulate so that you are ensured of complete coverage from seedling stage to bloom stage.


Again, you can place this light bulb in a close canopy and not worry about any overheating issues.


With a lifespan of over 50,000 and a 2-year warranty, you are set up nicely with the Apollo 300 Watt grow light.


Shipped in record time and priced nice, you may just be expanding your indoor aquaponics system to accommodate more of these awesome grow lights.

TaoTronics UFO LED Grow Light


As with our other TaoTronics model, this light also uses the hydroponic LED red and blue lights, 3 blue and 22 red to be precise.


When you plant needs that extra boost these light adjustments work really well, especially when you have limited natural sunlight, for example when its winter and the snow or rain is out.


These lights work well with large commercial indoor gardens, especially the greenhouse effect.


In addition, TaoTronics lighting is more environmentally friendly, not using any mercury.


The absorption level by the plants is very close to the real deal –almost 90% as opposed to fluorescent, incandescent or CFL grow lights, which only allow 10% absorption.


The red light is predominantly used for fruit or blooming stage, high photosynthesis and the blue light is best for providing all the nutrients to the leaves, the much needed chlorophyll and carotenoid.


Many successes are found when growing the likes of orchids, cucumbers, wildflowers, vegetables, fruits and roses, but to mention a few.


The size aspect of the TaoTronics bulb is conducive, as well, for tighter spaces, meaning you can use this lamp from seedling stage and even cloning.  There will be no worry with heat build up.


Best used in a Hydroponic Indoor Garden or Greenhouse as well as grow tents, H2O Systems and Aquaponic systems.


With a lifespan over of 50,000 hours and a good price to boot, you will be sitting pretty with this grow light.

How To Select The Correct Size Grow Light


It is the wattage capacity you need to be looking out for.  If you have a relatively small indoor garden and assuming that no natural sunlight is available, a 2 x 2 foot area will need at least a 150-watt bulb.


As you expand your area, you are looking at a gradient table like this:


3 x 3 feet           =            250 Watts

4 x 4 feet           =            400 Watts

6 x 6 feet           =            600 Watts

7 x 7 feet           =            1000 Watts


You can, of course, go with lower watt bulbs and just purchase more of them, spreading them over your area to ensure even coverage.


In addition, larger plants prefer a higher wattage bulb, 400 to 1000 watts and smaller, seedling stage plants a lower wattage, such as 250 and below.


Happy growing!

Top 10 Fluorescent Grow Lights

Top 10 Fluorescent Grow Lights

Using Fluorescent Grow Lights in your aquaponics garden system is not only energy saving but cost effective.

There are many forms of fluorescent light bulbs, however, the best for your aquaponics system would be either the compact Fluorescent grow light or the T Bulb.

T Bulbs are basically long tubular bulbs which come in different widths.  For long wide plant areas, you can attach a few of the T bulbs onto a rigid wide fixture which would then cover a greater area.

Compact Fluorescents would best cater for smaller areas and look like those energy saving light bulbs that twist and turn.  They can be hung horizontally and then you can place your plants around it to enjoy the light from all the angles.


The Pros of Fluorescent Grow Lights

v They are cost effective

v They are energy efficient

v They do not project heavy heat and can be placed close to your plants for the right light source


The Cons of Fluorescent Grow Lights

v They need frequent replacements, about every 6 months, and not because they die but because their light source starts to fade and will eventually have no benefit for the plants

v They don’t cover as wide an area as other grow lights

v Disposing of fluorescents, due to the their nature, can be dicey and you need to be careful of where you throw them away



Let us move on to our Top 10 Fluorescent Grow Lights.

Durolux T5 Grow Light DL824 Ho Fluorescent


v The Durolux has a high light output, meaning you are getting 30% more light than other comparable systems

v The light output system is flexible in that you have two switches, one for the outer 2 bulbs and one for the inner two bulbs

v The entire bulb system is water resistant which is good to know should any dampness leak in

v The package comes fully loaded with all the necessary accessories to get you up and running, from the hanging hooks and chains, 15’ Power cord and of course the 4 2 foot 6500k lamps

v Its an easy plug in and go system, so you don’t waste any time

v Great for greenhouses, indoor gardens and even larger commercial set ups, where you can daisy chain link them for a bigger area exposure

v As they do not heat up enough to damage your plants so you want to get them real close to the plant source, for maximum benefit

v The other nice thing about these guys is that they work with a timer too

v Price-wise Durolux T5 Grow Lights get our $$$ rating

AgroBrite T5


v We have chosen the 4-tube, 4-foot fixture, as we feel this will cater to a broad range of indoor gardens

v Fully equipped with the hanging fixture and 4 6400K T5 tubes, you are set to go in no time

v You can hang this guy 3 ways as well – horizontal, overhead and vertically, giving you many ways to light up your plants

v Its good to know you get a 5-year Ballast warranty and a 1-year warranty on the material and workmanship

v With the German specular aluminum you are guaranteed of putting out double the light energy than traditional fluorescents

v Particularly good for blooming and fruiting plants

v Price-wise the AgroBrite T5 gets our $$$$ rating

Apollo Horticulture 125 Watt CFL Compact Fluorescent Grow Light


v This little compact fluorescent grow light is quite nifty for smaller gardens and gives off quite a powerful light energy

v The good light energy is due to the mechanism containing argon and mercury, which are pertinent to a good output

v These grow lights are quite economical as well, lasting 10 times longer than incandescents and using up to only a 1/3 of electricity than normal light bulbs

v As they are small, you can place these pretty much anywhere and nice and close to your plants for maximum output

v The don’t require a ballast and can be connected to dimmer options should you so require this feature

v You won’t find any flickering and humming form these newbie fluorescents and use rare Earth phosphors for a lovely natural, warm hue

v Price-wise the Apollo 125 Watt gets our $$ rating

Durolux T5 HO Grow Light


v Another honey from Durolux, instead here we have 4 foot of 8 lamps

v Great for indoor gardens especially in bloom and veggie stages

v You can daisy chain join these for longer and larger gardens too

v Safe as nuts, you don’t need to worry about dampness or drips interrupting their work load – as these grow lamps are water resistant

v Again, a flexible set up with 2 switches, one for the 4 inner and one for the 4 outer bulbs.  This means you an connect a dimmer switch on these too

v The Italy AAG Stucchi lamp holder has an I Certificate meaning its protected from lighting on fire during operation

v Price-wise the Durolux 8 Bulb set up gets our $$$$ rating


Hydrofarm FLCO125D Fluorescent Grow Light System


v With the Hydrofarm FLCO125D you can be gardening all year round indoors

v A simple installation process means you just plug in, hang up and get growing

v Weighing less than 10 lbs. and an easy 21" x 14.5" x 9" you can set this baby up into most indoor aquaponic garden systems

v A bright light with good output that won’t burn your plants either

v Price-wise the Hydrofarm 125D hits a sweet $$ on our rating

AgroBrite T5, 2-foot, 4-Tube Fixture


v AgroBrite bring us an awesome grow light fixture which consists of a 2-foot structure and 4 T5 6400K Tubes

v These, too, can be hung three ways, vertically, overhead and horizontally, meaning you have so many options for your garden here

v The Lumen output is rated right up to 8000, so while you are getting a 6400K bulb, you are more than doubling the normal output of other fluorescents

v The heat output is so minimal that your plants can practically touch the light bulbs and not be burnt

v Price-wise the AgroBrite T5, 2-foot gets our $$ rating

Hydrofarm FLCDG125D Fluorowing Compact Fluorescent System


v A mouthful but also a packet full, the Hydrofarm Fluorowing system gives you a 125 Watt compact bulb but loads of output energy power

v Weighing in at only 3 lbs. you can hang this little guy up quite easily with the included hanging hardware and junction box

v CSA certified you are guaranteed of good workmanship

v Should you need a higher wattage this can accommodate a 200 Watt CFL as well

v Price-wise the Hydrofarm gets a nice $$ rating from us

AgroBrite T5, 2-foot, 2-Tube Fixture


v AgroBrite brings us yet another winner in their 2-foot fixtures which comes equipped with hanging facilities, a 8’ grounded power cord and 2 6400K fluorescent T5 sized tubes

v The high efficiency specular aluminum means you are getting maximum reflectivity so your plants will be growing in no time at all

v Again with multiple hanging options in that you can choose from horizontal, vertical and overhead

v Great for new seedlings and will take you right up to bloom, vegging and flowering stages

v Price-wise the AgroBrite T5, 2-foot system gets a lovely $$ rating

Durolux T5 Grow Light


v Durolux’s T5 Fluorescent system, which consists of 4-foot of hanging fixture and 4 T5 6400K Fluorescent lamps, means maximum output for your growing indoor garden

v Together in the pack you get all that you need to be setting up this lovely grow light system in no time, from hanging hooks and chainsto the super length 15’ power cord

v Dimming flexibility with the 2 switch capabilities between the 2 inner and 2 outer blubs

v German Hammer Tone Reflector means you are getting more than 30% light output than other systems

v In fact, the lumen output is over20000 lumen

v For large indoor plant gardens, you can daisy chain link these together and gain maximum output over your entire garden

v Price-wise, the Durolux fits the bill with our $$ rating

Apollo Horticulture 250 Watt CFL Compact Fluorescent Grow Light


v Apollo brings us their baby of the bunch, but with so much super power that you will be impressed

v The 250 Watt bulb has an output of 2100K CFL and will look after your garden in no time

v The lumen output is rated at around 9750 which is good news for your plants

v The pack includes a 19” Gulling CFL Reflector hood which adds to the coverage ability

v Good news is that the power cord is a super long length of 13 feet, so no more stringing together power cords to get to where you need to be

v Economical to the point of saving you up to 30 % on your electricity bill and very versatile in that you don't need a ballast and can attach a dimmer switch too

v Price-wise the Apollo 250 Watt gets a lovely $$ rating from us

Top 5 Water & pH Test Kits

Top 5 Water & pH Test Kits

Dependent on the type of fish you are housing, you want to ensure the pH levels of your water are optimal.  A pH level that is off balance will greatly affect your fish’s health and lifespan, causing great stress for them.

pH is the measure of acidity and alkalinity and each type of fish needs a different balance.  The average pH balance for plants in general is between 4.5 and 7.0, bacteria around 6.0 to 8.0 and for fish between 6.5 and 8.0.  However, aquaponics do seem to lie more around the 6.5 mark for the highest benefit.

So, how does one ensure the pH balance and other levels of your aquaponics fish tank are perfect?

Investing in a water and pH test kit is the sure fire way of optimal accuracy when it comes to pH balance.  You should be testing on a weekly basis and having an easy to use kit will make this tedious process that much more tolerable.

You will be looking at measuring a few areas, namely nitrate and nitrite levels (converted by bacteria) ammonia, pH levels, KH and GH (Carbonated and General Hardness of water, which is predominately caused by tap water) and alkalinity levels.  Some kits cover all of these and some are specific to one or a few.  The importance of ensuring these levels are correct is vital for the optimal living environment of your fish.

We have tried to bring you a varied bunch of water test kits that cover all these.


Here are our top 6 favorite water and pH test kits - :

API Freshwater Master Test Kit


With a step by step guide you will be on your way to testing your water pH balance and other levels in no time.  API brings you everything you need in one simple kit.


Their highly accurate testing kit comes with 4 test tubes, a laminated color chart, which has been calibrated by a computer and a nifty holding tray.


You are able to administer over 800 tests, which test Nitrate and Nitrite levels, Ammonia, High Range pH as well as standard pH levels.


Whether freshwater or saltwater, you will find your testing operation a real fast and simple process.


Not only are you getting an easier than easy kit but also you are going to pay a cheaper than cheaper rate.   An all round winner right here.

API Freshwater PH Test Kit


When it comes to simple, this, as with our other API test kits, it’s is a piece of cake.


Note that this kit is specific for freshwater tanks only(perfect for aquaponics) and only tests for pH levels.


Simply scoop some water into the provided test tube, pop a few drops of the box liquid into the tube, shake and watch for the color change.  Then use the chart provided to see what the color chart predicts is your current pH rate.


Just know that it only works between pH ratings of 6.0 and 7.6, so if your water is very hard where you live, you will need to either consider a different kit that offers a higher reading or use your maths brain to work it out further.


Then again, if it goes over 7.6 your fish are in trouble, so its then pretty obvious a remedy is necessary.


It is good to know you can do 250 tests and with the low price you are getting a real bargain from this water and pH test kit.

API Ammonia 130 Test Kit


When it comes to ammonia you want to make sure the levels are super low.  Ammonia is the main culprit for fish deaths and if you can avoid this upsetting event as well as the waste of valuable money, then you want to invest in this ammonia test kit.


Perfect for freshwater and saltwater fish tanks, you simply take some water in the test tube, drop the solution inside, wait a few seconds and match the color up with the provided chart.


The test will give you an accurate ammonia level of between 0 and 8 ppm.


Ammonia can enter your tank by three methods – tap water, organic matter (mostly decomposed matter) and thirdly protein breakdown (in that we mean from your fish’s poop, basically).


You want your ammonia reading to be nearer to 0 than 5.  Ideally zero is what you want to read but that is not always possible.


Priced nice and simple to use, you wont go wrong with this Ammonia test kit.

Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1 Test Strips


EasyStrips are just that – easy!  In addition, as mentioned, the water testing process, which is a necessary with aquaponics, can be made easier with these nifty little strips.


A simple dip in the water, a glance at the helpful chart and you are working out the various levels of your fish tanks water.


This little kit measures nitrates, nitrites, pH levels, alkalinity (KH) levels, chlorineand general water hardness.


In addition, you can use this kit in both fresh and saltwater.


An accurate little kit, with 100 strips, for a good price.

API GH and KH Test Kit


When it comes to the hardness of water, you are looking to reduce the levels of GH (General Hardness) and KH (Carbonate Hardness).


This awesome kit from API, measures those levels.  And, an accurate level will ensure no stress for your fish.


For optimal and safe levels you want to be measuring these levels regularly, like at least every week.  The API Test Kit will help you here.


The signs of high KH levels will be a white crust or scale, which will form on the walls, hood and other parts of the tank.  Test for this before it occurs because if it gets to this level your fish are in serious danger already.


This kit comes with 2 glass test tubes with caps that are snap-tight, 2 bottles of liquid reagent for testing the water and clear step-by-step instructions.

Again, a well priced product from API.

Top 10 Best Fish Food

Top 10 Best Fish Food

Because of the synergy between your fish and your plants, in your aquaponics system, it makes sense that the food that your fish eat is in a way, what you eat. You can purchase quality of the shelf products or grow your own.

So, what would be the right fish food for your fish?

Here, we will give you some options, which will depend on the type of fish you are housing.

llnliThese are our top 10 best fish food buys

San Francisco Bay Brand ASF65031 Brine Shrimp Eggs


Designed for baby and small freshwater as well as saltwater fish, saltwater invertebrates, corals and reef tanks, shrimp eggs will not only stimulate growth in your fish but enhance their color.


The color enhancer is due to the beta-carotene in the shrimp and in addition, they contain high levels of lipids and essential unsaturated fatty acids, which is needed for biologicalprocesses.


It is good to know that you do not just throw these babies into the fish tank.  Nope!   You have to grow and hatch the shrimp eggs.  But don’t worry.


A pretty simple process of placing water, baking soda, an air pump, the shrimp eggs and salt into a glass jar.  But be sure to follow the directions and measurements on the packaging.  Around 24 hours later you should see live shrimp.


Once you do, you can clean them and feed them to your fish.  A point to note is that you need to feed the freshly hatched shrimp to your fish within a 24-48 hour period or they lose all their nutritional value.  You will need to play around with the amount of shrimp eggs you hatch in one batch so as not to waste any.  This will depend on how many fish you have.


They are similar to sea-monkeys really, so if your kids want to, it would be a cool process to watch.


For a relatively simple process, you will be paying a relatively simple price.  Happy hatching!

Zoo Med Sun Dried Large Red Shrimp


Now, these little guys come all ready hatched and ready to use.


Originally made for aquatic turtles, larger freshwater, marine aquarium fish and invertebrates, these red shrimp can be fed to smaller fish.  Just break them up into smaller, bite sized pieces before you throw them into the water.


As they are very high in protein, you can be assured your fish will be getting their full quota whether used as a staple diet or a treat.


There has been a noticeable increase to the fish’s weight gain after eating these dried red shrimp, after a few days.


And note that you are getting a lot of shrimp for a really low price!  So, make sure you read the expiration date and ensure you can get through the lot before it expires.

New Life Spectrum Marine Fish Formula Sinking Pellet Fish Food           

New Life brings you a compact little jar filled with tiny little pellets, which your fish will just love.


From clown fish, flame wrasses, anthers and powder blue tang, you can’t go wrong with these nifty little pellets.


The product is filled with the good stuff to enhance the color of your fish as well as give them all the nutrients they need.  An easy to digest pellet, you can be assured that there will be less waste and cleaner water.


It is good to know these pellets are high in protein and have a good mix of health fats and fiber.


A decent price for a decent sized jar.

Tetra Blood Worms Freeze Dried Treat


Now, not the most appetizing looking individuals, these freeze-dried blood worms will have your fish jumping out the water with glee.


And, in addition, they are filled with all the nutrients your fish need, from a high level of protein, good healthy fats, fiber and phosphorus.


Packaged for Betas but good for all small to medium types of fish, they will love you for this yummy treat.


As Tetra has been around since 1951, you can be assured of a quality product right here.


For those who are avid fisherman, you may be worried about the undesirable organisms which can be found in live blood worm, but these freeze-dried blood worms have been processed and tested to eliminate these.


For a very, very low price you are getting a whole lot of bloodworm!

TetraMin Tropical Flakes


Now, these are your traditional fish food flakes that we all grew up with, but with a little modern flare.


TetraMin brings us a flake that firstly, doesn’t cloud the water and also is loaded with nutritional goodness for your fishes.


Their flakes are easily digested which is good news for your fish and good news for you, so you won’t be cleaning up their mess too often and their water will be clearer and cleaner.


In addition, there is beta-carotene to enhance the fish’s color, nutrients to assist with their immune system and it helps your fishes to live long, healthy lives.


Good price too for a whole lot of food.

Tetra JumboKrill Freeze-dried Jumbo Shrimp


Lets move on to the big fish, literally!  These jumbo freeze-dried shrimp are ideal for the larger variety fresh or saltwater fish but can be used for smaller fish, if you break them up a bit.


Excellent source of protein, roughage, fat and vitamin E, your fish will begin to show signs of renewed energy and growth in just a few days.


Due to the contents, naturally pink and orange fish will show signs of a brighter hue.


Again, originally developed for turtles, but as above, can be used for fish.


A rather large price but then you are getting a rather large can.

Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze-dried Blood Worms


Hikari bring us freeze-dried bloodworms, free of harmful bacteria and parasites, which is, of course, good to know.


They are packed with multi vitamins and are known to reduce stress levels in fish and assist with stress-related diseases.


Another product that doesn’t cloud the water.


Because they are freeze-dried, in that they are dry, they will float, so for your bottom feeder fish you will need to soak them a bit and push them to the bottom of the tank.


A good size jar for a reasonable price, you can’t go wrong with these freeze-dried bloodworms.

TetraFin Goldfish Flakes


Specifically designed for your goldfish, the TetraFin flakes are loaded with all the goodness your goldfish need.  From vitamins, minerals and trace elements, including omega-3 fatty acids, you can be assured of a healthy and happy goldfish.


These flakes, as in the old days, will not cloud the fish’s water and are easily digestible, meaning cleaner water and less cleaning for you.


Again, a quality product from Tetra and a good price for a lot of flakes.

TetraMin PLUS Tropical Flakes


When it comes to aquarium or tropical fish, you want to make sure you’re giving them something special to eat, because they are built differently to your old, run of the mill guppies and goldfish. (no offense!)


These very strongly fishy smelling flakes will have your fish lapping at the water's edge in no time.  Loaded with all the goodness that your fish need, from beta-carotene, protein, fiber, good fats and more, you won’t need to supplement your tropical fishes diet at all.


In addition, they don’t crimp or collapse when the fish begin nibbling.   Holding their shape, you won’t need to worry about bits and pieces floating around the water, clouding up and making things all murky.


A good-sized jar for a good price!

TetraCichlid Cichlid Flakes


For those Cichlid lovers out there, here is a real treat and all round winner for your fish.


Filled with the nutrients your Cichlid’s need, from South American, Central American andAfrican Cichlids alike.


TetraCichlid flakes will enhance your fish’s lifespan, assist their immune system and provide them with disease fighting goodness as well as helping them with stress.


Vitamins, Biotin, Omega-3 fatty acids and Immunostimulants are just a few of the awesome ingredients in these flakes.


Note that this is a large container and in addition to this lasting a long time you are not paying a fortune either.


So, as mentioned, the food you feed your fish in your aquaponics aquarium is vital to not only their longevity but to the health and sustenance of your fish. 

Top 7 Must Haves for Aquaponics

Top 7 Must Haves for Aquaponics

So, you have decided to give Aquaponics a try.  Good decision!  But, take a look on the Internet and you will find that when it comes to an aquaponics system there is much to think about, much to plan and much to buy.

Therefore, let us help you make the right choices and give you the top 7 must haves for a successful aquaponics set-up.

From your aquaponics fish tank to your indoor garden and everything in between, you want to make sure you have all you need to make this a viable and enjoyable experience.

Let us start with the garden.

Grow Lights

Grow lights are the next best thing since natural sunlight and that is, in fact, why they were invented.  Grow lights replace the job of sunlight, in that they enable the photosynthesis process, which all plants need to grow.

Photosynthesis, in a nutshell, is where plants use sunlight to glean or make food from carbon dioxide and water.

If you have a lack of sunlight, overcast weather or your plants are indoors, artificial lighting is necessary.

Choosing your grow light all depends on whether you want to go with fluorescent lights, HID (High-Density Discharge lamps), incandescents or LED lights (Light-emitting diodes).  The latter, generally, are the more cost effective in that they utilize less energy but at the same time emit huge amounts of lumens (light).

In addition, you want to look at the size of your garden.  The smaller the garden and the smaller the plants, the less wattage of bulb energy you need.  On the flipside, the larger your garden or further on in its cycle of growth your plants are, the higher the wattage needs to be.

Generally, artificial light sources range from as low as 70 watts right up to 1000 watts.

Here are our Top 5 LED Grow Lights as well as our Top 10 Fluorescent Grow Lights which will help you in deciding which way to go.


On to your aquaponics aquarium, here are a few must haves to create the best aquaponics set-up.

Fish Tanks

It makes sense to have a really good fish tank for your aquaponics system.

Here is what to look out for when making that choice:


Dependent on the type of fish and how many fish, you want to make sure your tank has the capacity. Another thing to remember with aquaponics, if you have your media beds draining into the tank, it needs to be able hold all the water from the media bed and also have enough water for the fish when the media bed is full. In other words, you probably need a bigger tank than you think. The larger the tank, the more stable the water temperature. In aquaponics, the bigger the system the easier it is to maintain.


An obvious point, but essential so that your fish do not lose water and of course, that you don’t waste water and mess up your house.


This is what you do not want.  Ensure, once you purchase your tank, that you disinfect the tank before filling with water and your fish.  In addition, ensure that the chemical balance is correct. Do not use a metal object as a tank as this will affect your pH.


The tank must be able to hold the right volume of water.  If not, your tank will burst and you stand the chance of losing all your fish and, again, messing up your house.


Ensure your fish tank is in an optimal position for the type of fish you house. Too much or too little sunlight is not good for your fish. I personally prefer to keep my tank in a dark place, to reduce the amount of algae growth.


An oval or round fish tank is best, so that you eliminate dead zones.  In addition, short and wide is better than deep and narrow.

aquaponics water test kit test ph levels fish

Test Kits

Water is an integral part of your aquaponics aquarium, of course, and with water you want to make sure that you have the right balance and temperature.

Water contains a multitude of nutrients, minerals and chemicals.  In order to test for these in your water, you need a good water test kit.

These minerals are the ones you want to be aware of and ensure that they are balanced so that your fish are not stressed or worse that they don’t die.

pH levels –this is the measure of hydrogen-ion concentration.  A too high pH level will stress your fish out, as will a too low level. 

Nitrate and Nitrite levels – this is the amount of nitrogen in the water – again, to high levels is detrimental to your fish.

Ammonia – a nitrogen-containing nutrient, which can be converted to nitrite and nitrate – too much ammonia in your fish’s water is dangerous.  In aquaponics, it’s bacteria that converts this ammonia into plant food for your plants. This how your plants clean the water. Make sure you have a sufficient amount of plants to filter your water before adding your fish. For hobbyist, there’s no reason to push your system. So do not overstock your system with too many fish! Better to start of slow!

Hardness of water – broken down into KH (Carbonated Hardness) and GH (General Hardness) – our tap water can be very hard and this, too, is not good for your fish

Alkaline levels – another mineral to test for to ensure the levels are optimal for your fishes well being

.Choosing your water test kit comes down to a few factors.  Take a look at our Top 5 Water & pH Test Kits article to make the right choice.

Thermometers and Aquarium Heaters

Water temperature is another important factor to consider when putting together and maintaining your aquaponics aquarium.

The temperature needs to be optimal for your fish and the way to measure this is a good thermometer.  In addition, the way to keep the temperature right is with an aquarium heater. Also, remember the smaller the tank, the larger the water temperature swings.

There are many varieties on the market.   Here are our Top 5 Aquarium Heaters to get you started.

Water Pumps

Every aquaponic system needs a good water pump.  The pump is what brings the oxygen into the water and of course, just like us humans, fish need oxygen. 

In addition, the water carries important nutrients and minerals to your fish.  A faulty or dodgy water pump can mean your plants and fish will not be receiving all the goodness they need to flourish. It’s always a good idea to have a good back up air supply to your fish in the case of pump failure.

Investing in a good water pump is vital and there are many on the market to choose from.  Take a look at our Top 5 Water Pumps and let us make it easier for you.

Fish Foods

Feeding your fish is an important part of caring for them in an aquaponics system.  You might be planning to eat your fish, so you want them to be healthy. Also, the fish feed your plants, hence it’s paramount to use quality feed.  

There are many varieties, many sizes and many price variants.

Here are our Top 10 Best Fish Foods to make your buying process easier.

As you can see, there is a lot of think about before you take yourself on the journey of establishing a successful aquaponics system.  Aquaponics is the way of the future and while you may start off with a small system, you will find, as you get to understand the benefits of aquaponics, that you will want to branch out into larger a larger system and become obsessed like me.

Happy aquaponicing!

Aquaponics Blog Posts

Aquaponics Blog Posts