Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

I became interested in aquaponics when I read the NYTimes article.  About a day later, a friend sent me an email about an organization that was looking for ideas for non-profits.  I showed up and started talking about aquaponics and they were intrigued.


So, basically I don't know anything about aquaponics but would like to try to get some projects together in the New York area.


Could I ask you guys some questions?


1) about how much would it take to get started with a very basic system?  just a prototype basically?  I guess we could buy a system.  If we wanted to build it how many people hours and how much expertise would we need?


2) how long does it take to get going?  One possible site is a kids camp.  Could we have anything going by August?


3) what do you do with your fish?  Do you kill and fillet them yourselves?  We would like to give all the food to poor people in the New York area.









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Susan, you are an adventurous lady... I love it. I'll jump in with a few thoughts, and hopefully others in this auspicious group will do the same.

Sorry to start by answering questions with questions but before I would start making recommendations I need to know more about the goals of your system. Is it to give the most educational experience possible for the least amount of money? Then you are going to want the most flexible system possible, with the most interesting water I would recommend a barrelponics setup. You can find a free PDF with extensive instructions by Travis Hughey at If you are looking for something that will produce the most amount of food for the least amount of maintenance labor I would contact Nelson and Pade at They are the experts in the University of the Virgin Islands deep water culture systems developed by Dr. James Rakocy. They conduct 2 day workshops almost monthly. And if are looking for more of a hybrid, urban farm, converted warehouse kind of system I'd go with the Growing Power model - They also run regular workshops.

No matter what I'd recommend reading Rebecca Nelson's book Aquaponic Food Production as the best overview of aquaponics available today, in my opinion. Can be found at

Hope this gives you a starting point!

Welcome to our group. Being a newbie myself, know first hand what you'll be facing. Sylvia and her group are great sources of information. After reviewing the recommended sites, throw your questions out there and I'm sure someone will reply.
Hello Susan,

You can get started for just a couple hundred dollars, or even less if you are good at scrounging parts. A larger community sized system could cost many thousands. A barrelponic system like Sylvia linked could easily be put together in a day with just two or three people while the larger one could take months.

The system would be ready for plants almost immediately, though the best grow occurs months later, after the system matures a bit. It is safest to cycle the system without fish. Or you can put in goldfish or guppies or another inexpensive fish to grow the biofiltering bacteria you need.

Some of us grow with fish we don't eat. Some have avoided killing so far, but most do process their own fish. If you can't do it yourself I am sure there are some fisherman around who would be happy to help.

Good luck, and welcome to the Aquaponic Community.

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