13 DIY Aquaponics Systems to Suit Any Budget

I’m fascinated by aquaponics systems. It’s a fantastic way to grow a variety of crops year-round while raising fish simultaneously.

Plus, the entire setup requires little maintenance. You can have large installations or small which also makes it a viable gardening option for people regardless of the amount of land they have.

The only downside to aquaponics gardening is many of the installations look expensive and complicated.

Thankfully, the internet has allowed those who are gifted in the DIY department to share their ideas on how they built their own aquaponics structures.

If you’re interested in creating your own aquaponics system, here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Shipping Container Aquaponics Garden

container aquaponics systemcontainer aquaponics system

Are you trying to grow as many of your own crops year-round as you can? Turning a shipping container into a greenhouse with an aquaponics system inside could be the way to go.

This tutorial walks you through the process of transforming a basic shipping container into a stackable aquaponics set-up which can be as tall or short as you desire.

2. The IKEA Indoor Aquaponics System

indoor aquaponics systemindoor aquaponics system

This idea requires a wire cart from IKEA. If you don’t have an IKEA near you, it’s a common piece of furniture. You could probably find something similar at a different retailer.

The writers of that post were able to put fish in the bottom, a grow space in the top and add some plumbing to pump the necessary water to the fish and the gardening area.

3. The Patio Planter Aquaponics

patio aquaponics systempatio aquaponics system

Are you working with limited space? You’ll love this idea for an aquaponics system which can fit on your patio or balcony.

It requires two pots which are plumbed and piped to have water rotate between the top growing area and the pot with water below. It’s creative and compact. You can watch the video here, or visit the site for instructions (scroll down quite a bit.)

4. Aquaponics Greenhouse Build

Do you have a larger budget to invest in an aquaponics greenhouse? This could be the project you need.

This video walks you through the entire DIY process of building an aquaponics set-up inside a large greenhouse. It could be used for total self-sufficiency or even for commercial use.

5. The Glass Jar Aquaponics Herb Garden

If you’re someone who wants to grow a few small items in their kitchen, why not grow some fresh herbs? You can easily accomplish this in a Mason jar.

This miniature aquaponic system uses one small beta fish to produce the nutrients the plant needs. Be advised; you may have to maintain the cleanliness of the jar by rinsing it occasionally.

6. Simple Aquaponics With an IBC

Have you ever seen one of the large IBC water tanks? People use them to store rainwater. You can also use them in an easy DIY aquaponics system.

The system cuts the IBC in half and covers it in pallet wood to make it look decorative. The plants grow in the top section while the bottom holds large amounts of water. The water is piped back and forth to water plants and is filtered back to the fish living below.

7. $150 Easy and Affordable Backyard Aquaponics System

If you’re working with limited space to grow food, this set-up would be perfect. They use two trays to produce food under a grow light and with grow media to filter the water and hold nutrients.

Under the trays is a fish tank which provides the water and fish. The plants will help filter the fish water, but the fish will provide the necessary organic nutrients. There’s a video to help you construct this system.

8. The Bamboo Aquaponics System

If you must keep an aquaponics system indoors, it should look good, right? This setup is amazing! Though there is no tutorial for constructing it, you can use your imagination and certainly use it for inspiration.

It appears they used bamboo as piping to hold the plants and as a channel for the water. The fish live in the large box beneath the plants.

9. Gravity Based PVC Garden

If you have a tank you could fill with water and fish (such as a stock tank) and a few pieces of PVC pipe; you could easily have a PVC gravity fed aquaponics system.

It’s easy and affordable to construct. Plus, there’s a video to walk you through each step of the building process.

10. Brilliant Vertical Aquaponics System

I love aquaponics systems which can fit into almost any space and take only a few resources to bring the whole idea together.

With this system, you place a fish tank on the bottom shelf. Place trays with grow media on each shelf above the tank. Pipe the system together, and you’re ready to start growing your own food.

11. The Goldfish Aquaponics System

If you’d like to have a small aquaponics system for a bedroom, office space, or maybe as décor only, consider this design idea.

There’s no tutorial, but the idea is to place herbs in a grow container which allows the plants to be watered by the fishbowl and to filter the water of the fishbowl. It looks cool and could be a functional option for a small space.

12. The $99 System

small aquaponics systemssmall aquaponics systems

This DIY system is cost-effective and takes up limited outdoor space. It requires being propped up on cinder blocks and steadied on a few pieces of wood.

Add a tray with grow media to plant your herbs or leafy greens in. Use a stock tank beneath the tray to hold the water and fish. If you’re working on a budget, this design idea could be perfect for you.

You now have multiple ideas on how you can construct your own aquaponics system. There are ideas which will work for those with huge areas and very small.

Plus, there’s a variety which should mold into any kind of budget. If you’re trying to be more self-sufficient and produce your own food, then an aquaponics system could be what you need.

These systems could help you achieve your goals and live a healthier life. Good luck in all of your efforts as you explore the world of aquaponics!

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