Aquaponics: How to Grow Your Own Food in Water

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

An individual is using an aquaponic system to grow their plant.

Just because you live in an urban setting without adequate yard space, or in an especially cold or inhospitable climate, doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain a delicious selection of fresh fruits and vegetables year round. By setting up a proper aquaponic growing system, you can almost guarantee a healthy payoff. The costs and difficulty associated with aquaponics, hydroponics, and other soil-less gardening techniques have plummeted over the past several years, and today, you can set up an entire garden for a small fraction of what it cost in the past.

What Is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a technique for growing plants in a controlled environment using recirculating water in place of soil. It is similar to a hydroponic growing system—both are soil-less gardening methods that use recirculated water to grow crops. In hydroponics, nutrients to sustain plant growth are added to the water. In aquaponics, these nutrients come from animals living in the water.

Fish (or similar aquatic animals) are kept in one portion of the system. Their waste is carried to the plants which use it as fertilizer. This detoxifies the water so it can be safely re-circulated back to the fish. If properly maintained, this symbiotic loop can continue almost indefinitely.

Why Choose Aquaponics?

Food from Aquaponics System

The basic principle behind the technique is not new by any stretch. In fact, in its most basic form, it dates back to ancient times and beginnings of human agriculture. It even has some advantages over traditional farming methods—not only does it allow the grower significantly greater control over the nutrient supplied to the crop, it also cuts costs as no nutrients lost to ground absorption. The lack of soil also makes it significantly easier to harvest and control pest infestations.

Early adopters of the technology were forced to spend long hours designing and building their own custom aquaponic rigs, but now you can purchase a number of high-quality growing products that are more or less ready to go right out of the box. The best part is, not only does aquaponic gardening make it possible to grow your favorite produce any time of the year, it makes it easier to grow bigger, healthier, and more nutritious foods as well.

How Do You Make An Aquaponic System?

Of course, when using soil-less gardening techniques such as aquaponics, certain foods are easier to grow than others. Tomatoes and leafy green vegetables grow especially well in aquaponic systems. Tilapia, perch, and cod are popular choices for fish. Crustaceans such as small crabs and crawfish are also well suited for such systems.

While there may be some initial costs involved with building an aquaponic garden, this expense is quickly offset by the food it produces. And knowing exactly where the food you and your family consume comes from gives added piece of mind that’s priceless.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • It is interesting to know that you can grow plants via aquaponics. Glad I came across to read this article. I also have vegetables grown in small planters. They are good for home consumption.

  • Ronald Alveraz

    I have a friend that has his own aquaponic garden set up in his garage. He grows alot of his own produce right there, and it tastes better than anything you can ever buy in a grocery store.

    Great article Dr. G!

  • James

    Moving toward self sustainability is great and I am a big hydroponics advocate, but the biggest drawback to aquaponics and aquaculture is not knowing the exact proportion of nutrients your plants are getting.
    This is where hydroponics is superior, this way your plants get everything they need in the right amounts and nothing they don’t.
    Hydroponically grown plants grow faster and healthier than any other method hands down.

  • Hi Dr. G

    Great article on aquaponics! I have been doing this typw of gardening for a couple years now and I love it. It’s really easy once you get the system going. I use trout for my fish (Yummy) and I even grow some root veggies with my system (beets, onions, and radishes – I’d like to see a hydro system do that!).

    Have you seen this great resource on Aquaponics?

    http://www.Aquaponics4YouReview.com

    Keep up the great work – love your site

    Take care,
    Dwayne

  • Games

    I would really like to make a setup like this so I could have my own produce, but it seems like the effort involved for a smaller family would not be worth it. It seems more suitable for a truck farm or production facility.

  • Mike

    I never heard of aquaponics before. But now that I did and reading that it shouldn’t be to difficult I am tempted to try it out myself.

  • Frank Andrews

    I found this new liquid organic fertilizer at Home Depot called Kelp Green. It’s seaweed and fish, seems to work pretty good on my plants.

  • Josey Rabbit

    As I have a lot of Rabbits, I find their Wast the Best, as I put it in water at a 5gal of straw and wast to 50gal water .


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