Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

So I am considering a continuous flow or a Ebb and Flow system.  To all of you experienced in aquaponics, what is the best system for a rookie like myself to get into?  And do waterfalls help oxygenate the water for fish?

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Ebb and Flow - in this site, go to and then see the 'Rules of Thumb.' Under there,  there's a 5 page PDF that can give you a great start.

Flood and drain media with plenty of media is almost like aquaponics for dummies, no insult intended - "Aquaponics Easy" is what TCL called it, I think.  Yes, waterfalls (cascades) aerate/oxygenate water.  Keep thinking.

Thanks for your advice.  What do the worms do when you add them to the grow beds?  There is not any soil in there just the growing media which for me will be pea pebbles or river rocks.

They help to break down solids/fish waste and they consume plant roots left in the system when plants are pulled.  Composting worms are recommended.  I haven't added them yet but they are on my to-do list.  Search worms and you should find plenty of information on the subject.

Brian Watson said:

  What do the worms do when you add them to the grow beds? 

  Greetings Brian,

   Welcome to the adventure of aquaponics!  I run a commercail redworm farm, and I noticed on your profile you mentioned you do worm farming too. You'll find redworms and aquaponics to be a great combination.  As I am sure you know, redworms/composting worms do not live in a 'soil environment'.  They naturally live in the upper soil horizons, the litter layer, where there is organic matter to consume and break down into worm castings.  This environment is loosely duplicated in media-beds in aquaponics, a great place for redworms to thrive. It was the bio-chem. processes of aquaponics that first caught my eye, and peaked my interest in aquaponics; specifically it was the nitrification process that caught my eye. The same processes. From there it just gets more and more fun!

  Your worms can be feed for your fish. Your worms help 'feed' the plants and act as an important partner in the biological processes in the media beds (or bio-filter), providing cleaned water going back to the fish.  The fish excrement is goes back from the fish tanks to the media beds (bio-filer) to feed the worms living there. 

    George hit the answer to your quesion about the function of worms in an AP-system. 

    Welcome to aquaponics.  You've got a great thing ahead of you by incorporating AP with your worm farming.

- Converse

Hello everyone! I am a total novice. I could not even ask the question you have asked because I know so little. I saw a video soliciting purchase of a "Aquaponics Startup Kit" for $37.00 and it made me very curious. This led me to Google searches, which led me to this site. I have just become a member and I am eager to get started.

Do any of you think there is value in buying a "startup kit" book of this type? I placed a hold on a book from my local library that is in order processing and may be weeks before it is available. It is one of the "Complete Idiot's Guide to..." series of books. They did not have a "... for Dummies" series book on this topic. I like to read up on new things before plunging into deep waters so to speak.

The video for the startup kit claims that it will show me how to get started for as little as a $250 investment. Is this realistic? I am on a very limited budget and do not want to get into a mess I cannot extricate myself from without doubling my initial investment to correct my mistakes. I live alone so I do not believe I need a large setup to begin with. If I am successful, I would also not mind having a small surplus to share with my sister who is pregnant with her first child. It would be great to be able to supply her with fresh vegetables to save her time at the grocery.

I have had quite a green thumb when I have owned my own homes. Even had neighbors stop by to walk through my yard to check everything out. I no longer own my own home so I would want to build something small and reasonably transportable.

Well, enough about me. I am happy to be here among all of you knowledgeable aquapons. Any help or pointers to more novice level information is most welcome. Your patience with me as I ascend this learning curve is appreciated and I thank you for it in advance.


Hi Gregg,

Welcome to our site. If you're interested in AP kits you can go here

If you have questions you go here

Gregg, I highly recommend you pick up Sylvia's book "Aquaponic Gardening". Its a great read for anyone interested in aquaponics. Plus it's pretty cheap, usually around $20. Tell your sister I said "congrats" on expecting her first child :)

Thanks so much Alex! I will try to pick up this book. After doing some research of my own, it is clear to me that the guy online is a modern day snake oil salesman. There is no way one could set up a functioning and productive aquaponics system for $250. It is absurd. I am hoping it will not be thousands to get started, but $250 is as unreasonable as it initially sounded to me. Thanks also for your warm thoughts regarding my sister and her new baby!

It depends on what size you want. I started just over a year ago with 3 *20gal totes, 2 for biofilters and 1 for fish.  $45 at WalMart. I already had a decent size pond pump, but was looking at another today 850gpm@5' head for $83. 1/2" ,3/4", and 1" piping cost $65. The hydroton I used was the most expensive item. $45/50L *3 bags. Bulkhead fittings @$4.50 ea * 2, 10 feeder goldfish @ .35 ea. . and the most important item was the API Master Freshwater test kit. about $35. Now I realize that prices differ considerably and up here we pay a premium for a lot of stuff, so I am prepared to scrounge and experiment. Been eating fresh swiss chard, lettuce, radishes and herbs since last May. Its all inside for the winter, under lights. In the spring it will all go outsjde again.Don't be surprised to have a great time doing this, and above all when a question arises ASK!

Thanks for the information. This is definitely better than thousands! You didn't get everything at WalMart I assume. If I get the book recommended, will it help me to learn enough so I can make the right purchase decisions? I have no idea what kind of pump I need or where to get one. I am the true novice, never even had a fish tank of my own. Helped a little with one that belonged to a friend. When looking online it seemed like even the fish were expensive to buy when you add the shipping costs. I was hoping to find a local source for the live fish. I do not particularly like catfish, tilapia or blue gill and I am wondering if there are other fish that work as well for aquaponics? Myself, I like Walleye for fresh water and orange roughy and salmon for saltwater. I imagine salmon would be difficult to raise in such an environment, but maybe there are other fish folks would recommend. I probably should go with freshwater to start with so as to not introduce added complication. Anyone out there agree? Disagree?

Seems to me you can't go to far wrong buying Sylvia's book. By all means, read, read and read. I lurked here for almost a year before joining. No, I did not get everything from walmart. Its to far away. Most stuff came from my local building store, the hydroton and pump came from a friendly greenhouse supply store. Working part time in a hatchery did not hurt either. I gave me a good grounding in fish health. By golly, what I would not do for a shore lunch of walleye again. Its been years and years. As far as fish are concerned, check out the fish topics, it has a lot of good info and knowledgeable folks posting there. I'm sticking with goldfish for now until I expand this spring, then will probably change to something else.

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