Best Home Aquaponics Kit – Our Top Picks
New techniques and approaches to gardening are constantly introduced and while most of them end up as fads, others become a new way of doing things. One such innovation is aquaponics, which has consistently proved to be an enjoyable and successful technique.
To help discover the best home aquaponics kit, we’ve taken the time to research and narrow our choices to what we believe are the best home aquaponics kits out there. We also discuss the importance of maintenance and adequate planning.
Before we get on with our top home aquaponics kits, let’s quickly highly a few basics:
Home Aquaponics: Understanding the Components
When it comes to selecting the best home aquaponics kit, you first have to understand the main components of every aquaponics kit. Typically, each kit has three major components, which are:
These components work hand in hand to create a balanced ecosystem. The fish are fed, and their waste is transformed by helpful bacteria into nutrients that nourish the plants. The plants then filter the water for the fish.
A bacterium has a special role as it converts fish waste into the nutrients required by the plants. Water from the fish tank has high ammonia content due to the waste produced by fish.
The bacteria convert ammonia into nitrates through a process called nitrification. The nitrates are what the plants feed off of. This is why it is essential to have a healthy bacteria population in your aquaponics system. Fish tanks, grow beds, and biofilters are where the bacteria are present.
Fish play an integral role in any aquaponics system. This is because their waste acts as a natural fertilizer for the plants. To achieve maximum grow yield from the fish, you have to understand the fish type that’s best for an aquaponics system. This means taking into account which fish is readily available, easy to rear, and has a higher resistance for diseases.
Ornamental fish, such as koi or goldfish, can be raised. Edible fish like catfish and tilapia can also be raised in an aquaponics system. The majority of home aquaponics kits tend to thrive with goldfish and tilapia as they are capable of thriving in nearly all types of environments, thanks to their hardiness.
One of the many reasons why people choose to create their aquaponics system is so that they can organically grow plants. Plants play a pivotal role in ensuring the overall cycle of the aquaponics system is kept clean. They do this by ensuring the water is oxygenated. The plants also filter the water by absorbing the nitrates; cleaning the water before re-circulating it back to the fish.
Selecting the plants best suited to grow in your desired aquaponics system is crucial to the success of the system. You should avoid nutrient-hungry plants, such as tomatoes until the new aquaponics system has been fully established.
Herbs, lettuces, and leafy greens are better suited for a new system. If you aim to plant nutrient hungry-plants, it is best to wait for your fish to become large enough to sustain these types of plants.
Plants in an aquaponics system are grown in floating rafts, pipes, and grow beds. If you choose to use grow beds, ensure the grow bed is strong enough and the grow medium is sufficiently deep to support the plants while they grow.
If you use floating foam, make sure it is lightweight and buoyant enough to hold the plants upright. When planting, you need to ensure that the base is capable of holding the plants while they grow.
Net pots are recommended, especially for beginners. This is because net pots enable the plant roots to absorb sufficient levels of nutrients while holding the plant securely.
What Types Of Aquaponics Systems Are There?
There are four main aquaponics system types. These are:
In a raft system, which is also called Floating or Deep Water Culture System, plants are grown on raft boards typically made from foam or polystyrene. These boards float above the water in the raft bed. This causes the nutrient-rich water to continuously flow from the fish tank through the filtration champers to the raft tank to nourish the plants before heading back to the fish tank.
In most raft systems, the raft tank is situated away from the fish tank. This design is used by commercial farms, as it enables the plants to grow quicker and improves crop yield.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
In the Nutrient Film Technique, a long narrow channel acts as a growing medium. NFT has been adapted to general aquaponics because its effective design can function in most environments.
The method uses horizontal PVC pipes filled with shallow streams flowing through them. The shallow streams are nutrient-rich, allowing the flowers or veggies planted in pipe holes to access the nutrient-rich water.
In this technique, a thin film of nutrient-rich water continuously flows down every channel ensuring the plant roots are provided with oxygen, nutrients, and water. Once the water gets to the channel end, it is then pumped into the fish tank.
Hybrid Aquaponics System
This system combines various aquaponics system types. The majority of aquaponics systems used commercially are hybrid systems. This is mainly because of their efficiency and flexibility. Any system can be combined to suit your needs. Generally, these systems are DIY systems, and they can work well depending on their design, build, and how well they are maintained.
Media-Based Aquaponics System
These systems, also known as Flood and Drain, are the most common aquaponics systems used. They are popular among backyard home systems, commercial farms, and DIYers.
In this system, plants are grown in a planting media like expanded clay pebbles or gravel. The media helps to filter solid waste and ammonia waste. These systems are designed to be simple but efficient, making them a perfect choice for those just starting out in aquaponics.
Media-based aquaponics systems have a grow bed filled with lava rock, gravel, or pebbles which support the plants. The water transfer happens due to the force of gravity. Water can also be pumped into the grow beds to provide nutrients to the plants.
The growing media is designed to be porous to aid water retention. This promotes efficient nutrient uptake. It is also designed to filter the water. This prevents materials, organisms, and solids from infiltrating the fish tank. Think of the grow bed as a biological and mechanical filter, while doubling as the mineralization location.
Some media-based aquaponics systems are designed to flood and drain the grow beds. This is done with a bell siphon that drains the water until it gets to a saturation point. As soon as the water reaches a particular level, the bell siphon drains it off. This draws oxygen back into the grow bed benefiting the plants and microbes. It is a continuous process that ensures all the nutrients required by the plants are available.
What Are The Best Home Aquaponics Kit Systems?
The popularity of aquaponics has spurred the availability of home aquaponics kits. Just about anyone can have a home aquaponics kit with no hassle or mess. These kits are best suited for growing lettuce, houseplants, microgreens, and any other small but fast-growing veggies.
These kits can also be a great way to understand the basics before venturing into creating a large-scale aquaponics system. Now that you understand the various types of aquaponics systems out there and the essential factors that make them work, it is time to take look at the best home aquaponics kits on the market.
Huamuyu Hydroponic Garden Aquaponics
This kit represents a symbiotic system of plants, microbes, and fish. The complex combination enables you to sprout different types of seeds, which can be useful for the budding indoor grower. It is also suitable for growing flowers and plants.
The self-cleaning filtration system cycles the dirty water to the plant roots from the tank. The Huamuyu has been designed to require 50% less cleaning than other aquaponics systems. Thanks to the automatic siphon design, the tank’s water level fluctuates like a tide ensuring the roots can properly breathe without any addition of fertilizer or water.
- Siphon oxygen supply
- U-shaped design aids cleaning
- Ceramide stones
- Mini ecosystem
- Hydroponic filtration system
AquaSprouts Garden, Self-Sustaining Desktop Aquarium Aquaponics Ecosystem
This is perhaps one of the best home aquaponics kits available on the market. With a 28 x 8 x 17 dimension, the AquaSprouts Garden is a suitable size to grow your small leafy greens.
It is designed to be a fun project that helps combine the principles of farming without an outdoor garden. It can be used on just about any 10-gallon aquarium, transforming it into a self-sustaining ecosystem.
- Grow media
- Light bar
- Supports a variety of vegetables and plants
- 9.5-watt submersible pump
- Removable light bar
- Adjustable drain extenders
Aquaponics System Complete Kit, Genesis G-24 by Endless Food Systems
The Genesis G24 by Endless Food Systems comes with a massive growing capacity that isn’t seen in the majority of other home aquaponics kits. It is guaranteed to provide fresh produce for the entire year, thanks to its massive tank.
The Genesis G24 is 48 inches wide, 42 inches high, and 96 inches long, offering ample room for the 140-gallon fish tank. The fish tank is large enough to provide sufficient nutrients for two growing beds.
This home aquaponics kit can produce about 240 lbs of greens yearly, coupled with 25 lbs to 30 lbs of fish. This makes the kit a great investment for the budding indoor farmer. There is no complicated installation process with the kit.
- Plant supplements
- Water quality tester
- Air pumps
- Growing beds
- Pre-cut pipe connections
Back to the Roots Water Garden
This aquaponics system is the Back to the Roots Water Garden Duo. It enables even the newbie indoor grower to grow a houseplant or succulent garden all through the year. It comes equipped with everything you could need. The design is easy and convenient, enabling you to harvest organic microgreens in as little as 10 days.
The water garden is transformed into a self-cleaning fish tank, which also provides nutrients to the plants grown on the top. It can be considered a mini aquaponics kit that allows you to try your hand at rearing aquatic life and growing plants. The design is self-watering.
- Betta fish
- Included lessons on aquaponics systems
- Grow stones and gravel
- Fits into small spaces
- Silent submersible water pump
- 3-gallon fish tank
- Comes with organic wheatgrass and radish sprout seeds
Penn-Plax Aquaponic Betta Fish Tank
The Penn Plax Aquaponics Betta Fish Tank is a 1.4-gallon aquaponics system that provides additional beauty to any home décor. This design is specially created to promote a healthy ecosystem for both fish and plants.
The fish tank is constructed from high-quality plastic materials to ensure maximum quality. Inside its plastic bowl are planting stones made from a ceramic substrate. This material is perfect for indoor planting. The planter creates healthy habitat for fish by reproducing nature’s cycle.
- Ceramic substrate planting material
- Easy to clean
- Made from high-quality plastic materials
- Can be used as a planter only
- Comes with educational material on aquaponics
What Should You Consider Before Getting A Home Aquaponics Kit?
If you are reading this, then you are certainly interested in getting a home aquaponics kit. Before purchasing, however, there are some essential things you need to consider. These factors can help you create and plan a system that suits your needs and preferences.
You should first consider the type of aquaponics system you aim to implement. This means choosing a raft system, NFT system, a media-based system, or any combination of the three systems.
Also, it is important to think about why you want a home aquaponics kit to begin with. Here are two simple but essential questions that can help you figure out your goal for getting a kit:
- Do you have an idea of the type of fish you intend to rear?
- Do you intend to eat your fish?
Answering these and a couple more questions can help you plan your system correctly. It will also help you meet your goals.
Another personal consideration is whether you want to toe the path of DIY or buy an already-made home aquaponics kit. This is perhaps one of the most pertinent factors you have to consider when planning the home aquaponics system that is best for you.
While you might be a handy person who likes to create things for themselves, you should note that DIY aquaponics kits are more trial and error than anything else. The entire process can be a fun and rewarding learning experience. You should also be aware that it might take a bit of time before you can completely figure out what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
If you prefer to have something that is up and running on the first day, with adequate technical support should you run into any issues, it is best to purchase a proven system from the best home aquaponics kits listed above.
Lighting is a crucial factor, as all plants require light to grow. Photosynthesis, the process that converts oxygen, water, and light into carbohydrates requires sunlight. This energy is required by plants to grow, bloom, fruit.
While the best light source for plants in an aquaponics system is sunlight, a home aquaponics kit is generally indoors, which means you will need to create an artificial source of light to meet the requirements for photosynthesis.
This consideration is important as plants can absorb wavelengths at both ends of the light spectrum. That being said, fish prefer to be shaded from the light. And while they do not require sunlight to survive, they require dark and light periods.
When fish go without light for an extended time, they can become lethargic, and that can cause them to stop eating or become ill. This means that you need to provide light to your fish daily, be it direct sunlight or from an artificial source. You should consider how you can find a balance between the light needs of both your fish and your plants.
You also have to factor in humidity, considering that an aquaponics system requires constant water flow. This means you will have to increase the moisture in your selected space and account for what the temperature difference could be.
Leaks and Spills
You have to take into account factors such as water spillage as an aquarium can leak. You will want to situate your home aquaponics kit in an area where water leaks or spills won’t be a problem.
Maintaining your home aquaponics systems can be simple if there is an active plan. To accurately plan for maintenance, you must consider the following necessary steps:
- Oversight: It could be easy to think that the plants in a home aquaponics kit do not require as much oversight as those in a traditional garden. This notion is incorrect. Other than having no weeds to deal with, you need to tend to the plants as you would a conventional garden. This means checking for insects and plant diseases. Remember to plant new crops after harvesting to ensure the system remains balanced.
- Water Temperature: You must monitor the water temperature to ensure it remains in your chosen fish’s ideal range. It is equally crucial to adjust the water temperature to the appropriate range to keep your fish safe and comfortable.
- Feeding: Feed your fish every day. The fish must be properly fed to continue enjoying optimum health. This means feeding your fish a high-quality diet twice a day. When feeding the fish, it is important to monitor their behavior. Fish should be fed only the amount they can consume within 5 minutes. Any uneaten food should be removed after feeding to minimize the chance of reducing the water quality.
- Nitrate and Ammonia Levels: Ammonia levels have to be checked every week. This frequency can help you detect any issues before they become irreversible. A sharp surge in ammonia levels could be an indicator that a fish might be dead. Ammonia levels should never exceed 0.5ppm.
Also, nitrate levels need to be checked regularly; at least once a month. Doing this will ensure that it does not exceed 150 ppm. When the nitrate level goes higher than this, it could mean that the plants aren’t absorbing all the nitrogen produced. This can be solved by harvesting some fish or adding more plants.
- pH levels: Check the pH level weekly. One of the most important factors in ensuring your home aquaponics system works effectively is ensuring the pH level remains at a safe rate. The water’s pH level should be neutral, staying between 6.8 and 7.0. This range is ideal for bacteria, plants, and fish.
Adjustments can be made using pH balancing products that contain potassium carbonate (down) and potassium hydroxide (up). You can also add a little water until the water’s pH is raised to the appropriate level.
You can create the optimum setup if you carefully decide on the type of aquaponics system you want. In choosing the best home aquaponic kit, it is important to factor in your maintenance culture, your budget, and the types of fish you intend to cultivate. This will help you achieve your goals given your preferences.
Also, it is important to consider the type of design you want, as this can make the process easier. If you are not a fan of DIY projects, you can save yourself the hassles of trial and error by purchasing any of the best home aquaponics kits on our recommended list. Why not get started today?