How Do I Get Started in Aquaponics?

by Bob on March 2, 2012

You will get a variety of answers to this question. My advice is as follows:

Identify Your Why

What is your goal with your Aquaponics activity?

  • Just interested in learning?
  • Want to grow food in your backyard
  • Want to participate in Community supported agriculture (CSA) or other group grow goal?
  • Want to learn to make a small business income from growing ecologically sound organic produce.

Why AP Why Garden


Do your homework, research on Google and YouTube, learn about Aquaponics in general. Get a good book and read it. AP 101  AP Links


Attend local meetings and trainings, like those on or other local groups

Find and attend classes, especially those that provide hands-on experiences.

Learn how to operate an AP system


Ask questions and keep good notes of the answers you get.
Local systems likely operate just a little differently than those in “far away lands”. Example: It gets much hotter, for longer, here than other places. How does this effect the system design and operation.
It is much less painful to discover a common mistake by listening to and learning from others, than to make it yourself.

Aquaponic System Flowcharts Nitrogen Cycle

See Systems

See several Aquaponic systems that are functional in your local area

Volunteer at a community gardens, system construction events, etc.

Summary Year One FAP Fish Tank IBC

Choose your system

Identify the system you would like to have to start

Find a local or web hero to follow and learn specifics from.


Order the plans, read them all the way through twice, Gather materials and build the system you have researched and like.


Make regular measurements when you start. Keep good records so you can learn from them.

Start Your System

  • Start up your system by running it through the Nitrogen Cycle
  • Measure and maintain your system’s pH and chemical balance
  • Start or add plants
  • Get fish
  • Make sure you know the logical sequential steps for success and follow them.



Aquaponic Meetings & Groups

Dave Pennington

Adam Cohen

Example System types and designs

Travis W. Hughey, Barrel-Ponics

500 gallon System pictures
click photos tab

Aquaponics Book

Aquaponic Gardening, Sylvia Bernstein


Aquaponic Kits at the Aquaponics Store

Steps for Planning your System

good summary and rules of thumb regarding your Aquaponics system,

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