If you are interested by aquaponics and want to start small, this article is for you. You may wonder what type of equipment it involves (and what budget). We already talked about the budget linked to aquaponics in other publications (https://aquaponicsrevolution.com/cost-of-aquaponics/) but here we will focus on the type of material you will have to gather to start your aquaponics journey.
In this article we will not talk about complex aquaponics systems such as Deep Water Culture (DWC) or Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). We will focus on the most basic kind of aquaponics to begin. The flood and drain backyard grow-bed aquaponics system. The list of equipment will be the minimum required in order to start building an aquaponics system. (see the video there: https://youtu.be/wlS94s6Myag)

1. Fish tank

The first equipment you will need to start aquaponics is a fish tank. By fish tank we can understand a tank able to receive water with the following characteristics:
-Water proof
-Food grade
-Doesn’t affect the water parameters (no direct concrete, no metal).
-In good structure (able to hold the grow-bed as this one will seat on it)
-Volume approximately twice the size of the grow-bed tank
-At least 45cm high
You also have the possibility to work with liners or food grade paints.

2. Grow bed

A grow-bed will seat on the fish tank. In order to find the good grow-bed, the tank must be:
-Water proof
-Food grade
-Doesn’t affect the water parameters (no direct concrete, no metal).
-In good structure
-Volume approximately half the size of the fish tank
-At least 30cm High (40cm is better)

3. Water pump

The water pump must simply be able to move approximately twice the growbed volume per hour. (more information about water pump there

4. Bell siphon

Get or design a bell siphon adapted to your pump flow. It can be tricky to design so for your first system it can be a good idea to get it online.

Bell Siphon

(more information about bell siphone there: https://aquaponicsrevolution.com/flood-drain-aquaponics/)

5. Media

Select a media with the following specificity:
-Offers a large surface area (porous)
-Doesn’t affect the water quality (food grade, no metals, no limestone)
-Durable and will not breakdown with time
I recommend volcanic rock such as “scoria” or “puzzolane” when available

6. Potentially an air pump

An air pump is not always needed but will be necessary. However, it is a good equipment to have for the well-being of your fish. Furthermore, if you plan to keep big oxygen consumers, you will need an air pump to fulfil your fish needs. (you will find a wide choice there: https://www.aquagardening.com.au/fish-ponds/pond-pumps/pond-air-pumps/)

Here you are, you have everything needed to start your first aquaponics system. Keep an eye out and start collecting the material to start aquaponics when available (second hand/free). Try to reuse and recycle the material. With a bit of luck, you will be able to get your first backyard aquaponics system for a very low budget.

You will probably be interested to discover Jonathan’s six steps to build and manage an Aquaponics system. Click here to access for free!  Thanks and good reading 🙂