Fish Tank Aquaponics: A Self-Cleaning Tank & Indoor Garden!

Galen Schultz small
Galen Schultz
, Witness This Editor

Fish Tank Aquaponics Project (image:

Fish Tank Aquaponics Project, Image:

I first got really excited about the idea of fish tank aquaponics after following the above project on Kickstarter a couple of years ago. The project described the idea as “a self-cleaning fish tank that grows food” and that’s exactly what home aquaponics or fish tank aquaponics is all about!

I think it’s safe to say that fish tank aquaponics is somewhat trending. The Kickstarter project was a huge success – getting 249% funded by the end. Setting up your own home aquaponics garden is also something that is really easy to do and can be quite rewarding.

How Fish Tank Aquaponics Works:

How Fish Tank Aquaponics Works (image:

How Fish Tank Aquaponics Works, Image:

Fortunately, fish tank aquaponics doesn’t require a degree in quantum physics to understand. Fish produce ammonia-rich waste and nitrates as they go about their daily business; this waste-water is pumped into a planted growing bed, which fertilizers / feeds the plants; and the resulting water (which is now pure and waste-free) is filtered back into the fish tank. The beauty of fish tank aquaponics is that it is a closed system, which means that if one gets it 100% right, you will never need to clean your fish tank or water your plants!

A Cylindrical Lettuce Patch (image:

A Cylindrical Lettuce Patch, Image:

I’m taking a bash at setting up my own home aquaponics using a 100 litre fish tank, a herb box and some ferns. The idea is that the ferns will eventually grow around the fish tank – creating something rather aesthetically pleasing. But have a look at what some others have come up with. I’m particularly inspired by the multi-layered fish tank aquaponics setup. It’s a good example of indoor vertical farming or windowfarming.

A more eccentric home aquaponics setup with water snakes! (

A more eccentric home aquaponics setup with water snakes! Image:

A mult-layered fish tank aquaponics setup (image: aquaponicsplan .com)

A multi-layered fish tank aquaponics setup, Image: aquaponicsplan .com



My Own Attempt at Home Fish Tank Aquaponics (image: Galen Schultz)

My own attempt at home aquaponics (a work in progress), Image: Galen Schultz

Fish Tank Aquaponics - my first baby fern! I call him Fred ;) Image: Galen Schultz

My first baby fern! I call him Fred ;o) Image: Galen Schultz

It’s important to note that one does not use soil with fish tank aquaponics, but rather small stones of between 5-10mm in diameter. The plants instinctively wrap their roots around the stones and don’t require soil at all. Also, if you’re not making use of a flood tank, it is important to consider choosing plants that enjoy being constantly hydrated, which is why I decided to go with moisture-loving ferns. Aquaponics Achievement unlocked! 🙂

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