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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

What is Aquaponics and how to create a small scale version

Updated: Apr 8, 2022

Aquaponics is where plants and fish are grown together.

Fish poop is food for the plants, and the plant filters and cleans the water in return.

How is Aquaponics used in a permaculture apartment?

This is a great method for a permaculture apartment because there's next to no maintenance, except for feeding the fish. It's quicker than growing in soil, and it's a completely organic way of growing.


The water is cleaned by the plants so you don't need to replace the water at all.

You also don't need to add fertiliser as this is provided from the fish poop. You can add some grow lights for the plants if you aren't getting enough sunlight.

The only thing you'll need to do is feed the fish as usual.

Is Aquaponics a quick way to grow plants?

It's perfect for growing food at home because it's much quicker than growing in soil.

For example, lettuce takes 26-30 days in an aquaponics system and takes 45 to 48 days in soil.

The reason why is because the roots don't have to go out in search of water and food, in an aquaponics system all that is readily available.

Is Aquaponics organic?

Aquaponics needs a natural environment to thrive that is pesticide-free and without synthetic fertilisers.

If pesticides were added to the plants, the fish would die, and if hormones or antibiotics were given to the fish, then the plants would die.

What's the difference between Aquaponics and Hydroponics?

Hydroponics are when plants are grown in water without fish.

In this system, you need to add fertiliser to the water. The water needs to be changed regularly because the chemicals and salts build up. The electrical conductivity also needs to be checked regularly.

Small Aquaponics Example

This is a video of a simple aquaponics set up with a fish tank containing goldfish. The owner used a water pump to pump the water into a tray.

The tray contains:

  • Hydrotons balls (expanded clay pellets)

  • Filter

  • Plants

  • Earthworms

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