The following is a basic checklist designed to get you thinking about some important considerations when planning your aquaponic system. This checklist is for home, hobby and school scale systems such as our Aquabundance or Space Saver series which have 100 gallon fish tanks or larger. This checklist does not comprehensively cover the planning required for small farm or commercial scale systems.
Whether you are planning to build your own system or purchase a complete system, we recommend you go through this list to help you plan your system accordingly. Gathering this information is extremely helpful for our team when we are assisting customers so we can ensure that we are providing the best possible solution to meet your goals and objectives.
The Hardware (materials and equipment needed to build your system)
- Fish tank(s)
- Grow Bed(s) – Media beds, DWC, Wicking beds.
- Grow Bed stands – Something to support the weight of your grow beds, see our AquaArchitect line of modular grow bed stands.
- Sump tank – Optional depending on number of media beds.
- Plumbing pipe and fittings – Will vary depending on number and type of grow beds, system layout and other factors.
- Siphons or Stand pipes – Components required for flood and drain media beds, we recommend bell siphons and use them in most all of our systems.
- Water Pump – Size depends on desired tank exchange rate, pump head height, number of grow beds, plumbing lengths, widths and number of fittings.
- Aerator, airlines and air stones – For fish tank and DWC beds.
- Liner – Optional if you are creating your own DWC troughs or custom tanks.
- Grow Lights – Optional depending on your location and available sunlight.
- Heating Elements – Optional depending on your target water temperature, fish species, ability to maintain consistent temps etc.
- Grow Media – Expanded clay, shale or other inert media
- Vertical Systems – Optional if you want to use vertical space more effectively.
- Monitoring Systems – Many options here depending on your situation and desire to receive alerts and maintain remote control of system parameters.
- Backup Systems – Optional but recommended in the event of a power failure a backup system can maintain power and could save your fish.
- Timers and Controllers – For lighting, pumping and other systems requiring intermittent operation.
- Filtration System – Typically an active carbon filter or de-chlorination solution to de-toxify the incoming water from chlorines and chloramines that can kill your fish and bacteria.
The Software (supplies needed to manage and optimize your system)
- Water Quality Test Kit – Our Master API kit is a simple affordable kit to test critical water quality parameters.
- Cycling Kit – A source of ammonia and nitrifying bacteria required to initiate the nitrification cycle and prepare your system for the safe introduction of fish.
- pH Adjusters – Adjusting pH in aquaponics is a necessary part of managing a system and there are specific pH adjusters that are only suitable for aquaponics. See our line of AquaUp and AquaDown products for more information.
- Testing and Monitoring Equipment– There are a variety of water quality parameters that are important to monitor beyond what the Master API test kit provides such as temperature, iron, dissolved oxygen to name just a few.
- Fish Food – You’re going to need a supply of fish food. We offer a USDA certified organic fish feed as well as traditional feeds. Feeds are offered in specific pellet sizes and are designed to meet the nutritional requirements of the fish at various stages of growth. Learn more
- Fish Care Products – Fish nets, therapy solutions, thermometers etc.
- Gardening Supplies – Items such as pruning shears, gloves, sprayers and more.
- Pest Management Supplies – There are a variety of pests that can impact your plants and there are very specific aquaponic safe products that should only be used in your system.
- Seeds and Seed Starting Supplies – You’ll need a regular supply of seeds, germination trays or a seed starting kit to help your plants get off to a good start.