Building a small scale integrated aquaponic system can produce more food with less energy, space, time and resources. With the increasing demand for food and growing world population, building an integrated aquaponic system could be the answer for feeding everybody around the world.

The world’s ocean fish stock has already been depleted and overfished. Today, over 40% of the world’s demand for seafood is supplied through aquaculture. Experts believe that this demand will keep on increasing. So, aquaculture could really become the answer to the global food crisis.

Building an integrated aquaponic system would allow you to feed your family with home grown organic vegetables and fish.

Aquaponics can be done on any scale and the system you build is attractive enough to be placed anywhere, indoors or outdoors. Many people have setup attractive systems in their living room, basement, backyard, on roof top, balcony, patio – anywhere where they have some additional space.

We will give you a simple step by step by step instruction here on how you can easily build your aquaponic system that integrates fish and vegetables together.

Basics of an Integrated Aquaponic System

The main principle of the integrated aquaponic system is to grow fish and vegetables together in the same place. Waste from the fish tank is used by the plants as food and purify the water for the fish. So this is a circular system where waste from one system benefits the other. It utilizes energy and feed more efficiently than conventional farming.

Building the System

There are many ways to build an aquaponic system where you could raise fish and grow vegetables at the same time, without soil. This system is profitable, sustainable and reliable way to grow your own food.

What you will need the following to build your system:

1. Hand tools

  • Grinder
  • cordless drill
  • Hacksaw or electric circular saw

2. Materials

  • 15-20 ft. of 4-in. diameter PVC
  • Four 4-inch elbows
  • Four 4-inch T connectors
  • Two 50-gallon drums
  • 15-20 ft. of aquarium tubing
  • Plastic cups
  • Strips of cloth and cable fasteners
  • Scrap wood to make the system stable
  • Electrical tape
  • Water and air pumps

Water pump – An aquarium pump is enough to keep the flow going.

Air pump. This system can produce more if it has an air pump to supply oxygen.

How To Build a Gravity-Based PVC Aquaponic Garden Very Easily

Video by This American Bacon

The construction

Step #1. Cut the PVC pipe into six pieces of one foot sections for the sides. Cut two 14 inch sections for the ends. Drill two 3 inch-diameter holes in each of the 1ft side pieces. Drill a 1 inch-diameter hole into the side of one of the end pieces. Connect the pieces with electric tape.


Assemble the pieces with electrical tape. Source: Engineering for Change

Step # 2. Cut the vertical pipes to suitable length. Drill 1 inch-diameter holes in the vertical pipes evenly. Insert the vertical pipes.

Step # 3. Make holes in the bottom of plastic cups and place them in the holes you made in your side PVC pipes.


Cut the vertical pipes to the length that suits you. Drill 1in-diameter holes in the vertical pipes, evenly spaced. Insert the vertical pipes as shown. The photo on the right shows the mostly finished structure to give you an idea of how it looks. Source: Engineering for Change


Step # 4. Make a one inch diameter hole in the side pipe. Cut a piece of one inch diameter pipe for drainage and insert it in the hole. Drain should pour into a 50 gallon drum or you can use any other kind of container or aquarium for raising fish.

Step # 5. Place your circular pipe structure on top of your drums.

Your system is ready. Fill your tank with water and fish. Start circulating water throughout the system. Place plants in your cups and fish in the drums or aquarium.


Adjust the structure’s balance and support its joints with wooden boards. You could tilt the structure slightly toward the drainpipe to improve the water flow. Most systems will have vertical columns of equal height, but these are cut at different heights to show the range of options available. Source: Engineering for Change

This is one of the simplest ways to make an integrated aquaponic system. These systems can scale up to a commercial size, so if you have enough space, you could easily generate a steady income from home, in addition to feeding your family freshly grown vegetables and organically raised fish.

We will give you more information on aquaponics and farming systems in our later blogs, so please keep reading our blogs. Please provide your feedback on our Facebook page or in the comment box below.

Want to learn more about aquaponic system? We can help. Please contact our office at 303-495-3705 or Click Here to book a meeting with us.

Source: WorldWide Aquaculture

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