Aquaponics System – DIY Guide

If you haven’t downloaded the free aquaponics system plans yet, please get them. We put quite a bit of time and money into making plans that anyone can follow.

However, if you want to really kick start your aquaponics education and have a productive aquaponics garden immediately, you’ll need a bit of help and we have written a DIY guide for aquaponics that you can follow even if you are a complete beginner.

The Easiest Way to Get Unlimited Fresh Fish & Organic Vegetables

I started aquaponics because it struck something deep within my soul as something that I needed to learn and a worthy cause.

The journey to self sustainability has led us closer together as a family, and changed me personally in ways that I cannot describe.

On that journey to self sustainability we were given immense blessings of knowledge, friends, and opportunities to build something amazing. However, this wasn’t an easy task. We failed many times and had to try again when things didn’t work out. It was frustrating, and very costly. We killed more fish than we want to admit. We failed to have really productive crops until I learned how to correct those mistakes and do it right.

Don’t laugh, but our first tomato cost us about $419!

Our first harvest of jalapenos cost me about $17 each. Even to this day, my son talks about “the best tomato ever” on the jalapeno, chives, rosemary and jalapeno omelet we made from stuff we grew. I had tried many times before to grow things in dirt and I failed each time with nothing to show for it. However, even the worst of our first system designs produced a crop that we could enjoy. I was immediately hooked!

At first I thought it was simple – just put some fish in water and pump it on to the gravel.

Stuff grows in the gravel and poof, it just works! Well, that’s almost true, but there is quite a bit of a learning curve and very few expert level resources. We learned from biology books, youtube, formal studies, books on related subjects of aquaculture, organic gardening, permaculture, classes, seminars, agriculture studies, government studies, visiting other aquaponics operations and finally just by building systems and testing.

We’ve invested thousands of dollars in experimentations, and literally thousands of hours of research (so you don’t have to).

Now, with all this knowledge, I have really learned what is effective and what is a waste of time. So my son and I started building a website to share this information with anyone that would listen. I wanted to save my friends, family and neighbors the expense and headache we went through learning.

What started as a document to train our friends and families became a functional blueprint for everyone.

We’ve distilled the most difficult concepts, pitfalls, and best tips into a short, easy to manage training course that is better than any I’ve seen (and I’ve purchased almost all of them currently available). All of them were geared towards people that either wanted commercial aquaponics and had $100k to invest, or they were small, useless demo systems that didn’t actually produce.

This course is what you need to grow your food and even live off grid doing so if you wish.

We take you through everything needed to have a completely operational system within just a few weeks instead of the months or years of learning that you might otherwise need.

Can you trust the information we are going to Give you?

We don’t have amazing credentials.

We don’t have a PhD in biology (though I am passionately fascinated about the chemistry and biology of how aquaponics works), or a shiny certificate from any of the people that claim to be experts (some of them are, some of them are definitely not!). My son is only 13 now, but I’ve seen a change in him towards respecting life, building confidence, and understanding how “things” work. I don’t want to make this a bragging session about him, but he is so many years ahead of his peers. I want you to be able to say that about your children and yourself too!

They say that if you read only 4 books on any subject most people will consider you an expert. Behind me right now is 15 books related to permaculture, organic gardening, aquaponics, aquaculture, herbs, homesteading and related topics. There are an equal number of videos and other digital products only about aquaponics on our file share. I guess most people would consider that a pretty good start.

We will never say we are experts.

But I will show proof that the system we are teaching you works and is productive within only a few weeks. We have written a book of about 170 pages that we decided not to publish because of costs. We also give classes and demos to various meetup groups, schools, and community events.

Even the system designs we recommend are not superior to any of the commercial systems.

We use bell siphons, grow beds, sump tanks, fish tanks, and all of the things you would expect in an aquaponics system. However, we show you how to do it for a fraction of what a commercial system costs and even make your parts last up to three times as long as they normally would.

As a matter of fact, we’ve built less than 10 systems.

The first aquaponics system was a complete failure, and the next 3 of them were… sub-optimal. However, our current systems have been tested and are able to produce about 1 lb of fish and 20-30 lbs of organic vegetables for every $1 of fish food, electricity and water that we spend. We are very confident that this is what people are looking for and what they want out of aquaponics – production!

My son and I will let others talk about us, using their own words, and let you decide for yourself if we are the real deal.

You MUST Fix these X problems if you want to be productive immediately in Aquaponics

The aquaponics teacher on youtube might be teaching you only part of what you need.

You know to get a container but did you know there are some containers sold new, that are made of things like oil bottles, chemical bottles, and other recycle material that contained toxic materials? These toxins don’t go away! They stay in your aquaponics system contaminating everything inside. Even containers commonly known as IBC totes are often used by companies to store very toxic materials, washed then used to store other toxic materials, over and over again.

We’ll show you how to find safe containers for a fraction of the cost you would normally pay, and how to even get free, food safe containers and materials for assembling your system.

The truth about E. Coli and Salmonella

In general aquaponics is safe. We do use fish waste, which is broken down into ammonia and then further broken down into nitrates. Cold blooded animals, like fish still contain certain bacteria that might be dangerous if it were applied to your plants. However, they generally cannot pass warm blooded parasites directly to us. There are exceptions, which we’ll show you how to prevent. Another danger that most do not talk about is the source of the water. A common popular partial info that is given in “survival” type blogs and articles about aquaponics is to use rainwater run off. E. Coli from a rodent that left a mess on the roof could easily infect your system and some plants will directly absorb the E. Coli through their roots!

But don’t worry, there are multiple ways to prevent these from ever being an issue. Our course teaches you how.

Most people kill their fish

The hardest part and least forgiving is the health of your fish. We recently went to a aquaponics seminar and the advice on fish was: Let them die and replace them. We were both shocked that people attended to hear this!

We provide you with best practices in aquaculture, and a list of the top mistakes people make when caring for fish. Once you know what to do, and what to look for you might not lose a fish again!

The additives that kill either your fish, or possibly you

Maintaining an aquaponics system is similar to maintaining a fish tank. Sometimes you have to adjust the pH up or down (very possible at first). The older your system is, the more acidic (lower pH) the entire system will be, this is natural.

The plants might get aphids, fungus, or bacterial growth (unlikely, but possible). Both plants and fish have a list of things that can go wrong if you don’t pay attention to the system, especially at first. The problem is when an article on fish care recommends a solution that is ok for fish, but might kill you when you eat the fish!

We’ll provide you with a list of safe additives that even maintain organic certification. You will learn organic methods of simple water purification that actually helps cycle your system. They cost only a few dollars to implement, and will keep you, your plants and your fish happy and healthy.

How to cut the cost of your aquaponics system almost by half

Commercial aquaponics and kit sellers will often recommend things that they make a profit from when you buy it. There are alternate solutions to most recommendations that make the aquaponics system build, and maintenance cost less than 20% of what a recommended “kit” will cost you.

For example, river rock, crushed granite, and expanded shale are all perfect alternatives with only the disadvantage of weight over the fired clay balls that most commercial kits recommend. These alternatives also provide minerals that you won’t get any other way. Both the fish and plants need them too. However, if you get the wrong type of rocks it could lower your pH to dangerous levels where your plants cannot absorb nutrients.

We’ll show you a simple test that allows you to see before you use them if the rocks will work or if they will ruin your system. The test costs less than $1.10 and is available from almost any grocery store! There are other cost saving ideas and methods that we implemented and will also show you how to implement in the aquaponics system course.

Solar power sounds great, but is it feasible?

Several of the commercial kits we investigated required a solar system that costs in excess of $3000 to operate off grid.

For example, if the pump is rated at 60 watts or less you will need a several solar panels and a few battery backups in addition to the charge controller and inverter. A system like this costs about $1200 if you build it the way we show you.

A pump that is rated at 110 watts needs about $2500 in solar equipment for 24×7 operation.

However, if you only need 4 hours of backup, instead of 24×7 solar, we have a solution that is about $150!

We also have designs for pumping systems that run on 25 watts. This brings the solar cost down to about $750 for a complete off grid solution with a 3 day blackout run time.

None of the commercial kits we investigated took this design into consideration. We are still baffled why unless they are looking to mark up the price of the solar kit too.

We’ll show you all of these options and how to build them yourself to save $500 to a few thousand.

Heating Fish is critical for more than just the fish

Fish and plants are the obvious things that an aquaponics system needs. But the real magic happens in the bacteria. Without a proper bacteria colony you have no way of getting the fish waste into the plant roots.

The ideal temperature for this process (and most fish and plants) is about 78F. The best fish to use for aquaponics is tilapia, but tilapia will die in water less than 55F. So, even though you can use fish that take cold water (like trout), the bacteria and plants still need warmer water or else the system won’t be in balance.

So just throw a fish heater in and be done with it right? If you would like to spend $300 a month heating your tanks, go for it. But, what happens if you could do it for only less than $20 a month, or perhaps you live in a area where passive solar heating will do it all for free?

The whole point in aquaponics is to save money, not show off to your friends (but they’ll think you are a wizard anyway). Our course shows you how to make it cost effective and simple.

Big brother wants to control your life (especially your food)

If you have a single source of food, you have to eat exactly what is available, or starve. Or, more devious, you have to pay whatever they are charging for their poison, artificial food designed to reduce population and life expectancy. I digress….

Big brother has laws about exactly how you are allowed to feed yourself, and even stricter laws about how you are allowed to feed others. If you are not a big food corporation lobbying for laws that hurt organic farming or force people to purchase your GMO food, then it’s actually difficult to sell food legally.

Did you know that a tilapia can produce up to 1200 fry every 6 weeks? Those fry if fed 1 pound of food over a 9 month period will grow to almost a full pound. The fry are currently selling for about $1 to $1.50 EACH! Adults sell for up to $4 per pound, and breeding adults (pretty much all adults) go for up to $35 per fish just for identifying their sex.

Do that math.

A single 96 plant system can produce 96 heads of cabbage per SIX weeks. We are not making these numbers up! You can of course grow anything you want, but cabbage is a simple example to prove the point.

We had our hopes and dreams dashed when we learned of all of the stupid government meddling fees, and ignorance taxes as well as laws designed to keep food production out of the hands of the people and to keep profit in the big food industries.
Like all things though, there are loopholes, and we know them! You’ll learn how to sell your fish and vegetables for a nice profit if you choose, and how to make it tax free, legally.

Breeding Fish

The idea of sustainability is great but there are two problems.

Once you eat the fish, it’s gone and how do you feed the fish?

It’s already been mentioned that a single female tilapia can produce up to 1,200 fry per 6 weeks, but getting them to breed requires special knowledge that NONE of the aquaponics courses we found provided. They all expected us to buy new fish every season. This is still a good deal. 100 lbs of fish for only $100. Yes please.

However, if you knew how to breed the fish, you could have a true self sustaining ecosystem. There are only a few things that need to be “just right” for the fish to breed, and of course we’ll show you how to do it.

Feeding the fish also requires you to purchase pond pellets or other commercial fish food. This is not expensive, but the ingredients of these pellets is questionable. Cows unfit for slaughter because of disease and sickness are often used as part of the meal. Left over slaughter products and even FISH from the sea (a non renewable resource at current fishing rates), are used.

By the way, this food is not nutritionally complete. Trace minerals required for blooming such as phosphorous and calcium for fruiting are not present in significant quantities in commercial food like this.

So, you can buy dead cow and extinct fish if you want to feed your fish the human equivalent of Twinkies and peanut butter… but we offer a few suggestions to raise part or all of your food using organic, sustainable methods that actually decrease your ecological foot print further. We’ll show you how to provide exceptionally high quality food from your kitchen scraps and other things that would normally go to the local dump.

This is truly wicked cool stuff you get to learn!

Want a Free Aquaponics System?

Without going into detail, we’ll show you the quick and easy way to save more in taxes for your aquaponics system than you will pay in building it and maintaining it. You’ll probably actually make money that would of otherwise been spent on someone elses health care, or a welfare recipient cell phone, or one of their free abortion clinics.

I’m all for paying taxes, but only as much as I’m legally required to pay.

Get our course and you’ll learn things that nobody else in aquaponics is going to teach you.

Don’t have the space for a green house/shade house?

Well – sorry, you’re out of luck if you want year round production. Some people winterize their systems or swap the type of fish to match the weather. That’s too much work! It’s not feasible or productive to grow aquaponics without a greenhouse or without perfect climate and at least a net to protect your crops.

However, if the price of a greenhouse is an issue, we have designs for less than $300 in parts that will allow you to grow year round in almost any climate!

We have a design specifically for climates that are perpetually frozen that keeps the green house HEATED and full of sun and at a temperature in the 70F-80F … with only passive solar heat – not even solar electricity!

This same design COOL the greenhouse to about 80F even when it’s over 105F outside and it doesn’t matter what the humidity is.

For the extremes or for the 2 months of cold, you need a greenhouse / shadehouse!

We’ll show you how to use solar heat, geo-thermal heat/cooling, solar ray energy for heat AND cooling, rocket stoves for heat, compost for heat, and other natural cost effective methods that will protect your crops and keep temperatures almost the same, year round.

You won’t believe the simplicity and ingenuity that we’ve found out about from people trying to survive in these types of environments. Our research paid off though, and now we can share it with you.

Want Unlimited Barter Power? (Be a Prince)

We don’t believe that the zombies are coming, but still we do believe that food prices will continue to rise and that self sustainment movement will pick up incredible momentum over the next several years.

You see, food cannot be produced fast enough to feed the world. At some point there will be a shortage that everyone will feel. There is already a depletion and complete ecosystem change of the oceans. You won’t really understand the personal impact that has upon your family and your children until you try to balance an aquaponics system, but you’ll have to learn that anyway, so I’ll skip that topic for now!

Food prices in the last few years have tripled on some items and is up on all of them. Our family needs about $1000 a month to afford walmart type foods. As food prices continue to rise (because of various shortages), and as GMO food takes over (because it’s more profitable, even if not as healthy, or lacking most nutrition), we’ll see that the people who know how to take care of themselves and their families without relying on the walmarts and government will grow in power.

Even now, without a crash, wouldn’t your neighbor be more friendly to you when you invite them over for a dinner made of the fish, zucchini, tomatoes, berries, carrots, and other things you’ve grown? How about if you just gave them a bag of excess vegetables once a week or so? I assure you, that the scriptures are true when they say, “A prince is not without friends” because that prince is able to get his friends things they need: food.

The barter and networking power that abundance provides is nothing short of miraculous. Tremendous goodwill is enjoyed as you build up a network of friends and allies. You aren’t going to walk to your neighbor and give them $20 a week (or would they accept it hopefully), but who would turn down a bag of fresh organic vegetables that you have an abundance of? I wouldn’t!

With your own backyard food production, you gain this power and at such a negligible cost – all the while being self sufficient!

Exactly What to Plant, and When to Plant it

This is the most common question we get, so we devoted an entire section on answering it in the course.

You will learn the best types of vegetables and fruits to grow in your aquaponics system when it’s first starting, and when it’s mature as well as what the environment and weather dictate.

You will see proven example rotations that allow you to have fresh vegetables year round. There are also harvest methods you’ll learn to encourage the exact type of garden and produce you want.

For example, did you know that there are some types of tomato plants that will produce indefinitely for as long as you trim the lower leaves off? You can also encourage more tomatoes simply by cutting off the right suckers from the plant. It’s easy once you know how.

The foolproof technique we teach you shows how to find this information no matter where you live and even get automated email reminders about when to plant and when to harvest!

Once you know what to plant and when to harvest it, everything else is simple!