16 Simple DIY Aquaponic Systems for Beginners

LemonSlide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

16 Simple DIY Aquaponic Systems for Beginners

Having your very own aquaponic system is quite a big deal. It is an achievement that you can really be proud of, and it is also a great way to spend your free time and grow some healthy vegetables.

There are so many different ways to build an aquaponic system and so many different sizes and layout designs. If you are planning to build one by yourself, then you might need some help.

Below, I have collected a list of interesting and inspiring aquaponic systems from across the web. By going through them, it's my hope that you will be inspired to build something good too.

See this list of free plans like the ones you see below, such as plans that help you build a grow box, planter box, raised garden bed, tower garden, hydroponic system, garden container, cold frame, LED grow light, drip irrigation system.

Bookshelf Ebb & Flow DIY Aquaponics System Plan

Delivered in 7 steps, this guide leads you through the stages necessary to create a small aquaponics system by yourself. Jeffrey built this as an experiment.

It begins with a materials and tools list, which he both listed and also displays in a photo. The grow bed is built from a 15-gallon plastic bin, while many pipe sizes were used, including 2-inch and 0.5-inch PVC pipes.

This system uses a 100 - 130 GPH (Gallons Per Hour) submersible pump. Step 3 deals with its installation, while step 4 is the test phase. From all these tests, Jeffrey learned a lot of lessons, and he also lists them at the end of the guide.

2. Bookshelf Ebb & Flow DIY Aquaponics System Plan

Bookshelf Ebb & Flow DIY Aquaponics System Plan

This plan teaches you how to build an aquaponics system using a stackable bookshelf system. Having such a shelf allows you to build a system that is as large or as small as you need it.

You get a materials list, a 42-minute video tutorial, and a 14-step installation guide with lots of pictures. There is even a 3D animation to explain the design and make the plan easily understandable.

The lowest shelf contains the fish tank and of course, a submersible pump. This shelf aquaponic system is 57 inches high, 34 inches wide, and 14 inches deep.

3. Detailed 5-Part DIY Indoor Aquaponic System Plans

Detailed 5-Part DIY Indoor Aquaponic System Plans

There are 5 parts in this tutorial, with each part having its individual steps. It begins with the frame in part 1, the plumbing in parts 2 to 5, and finishing up part.

This system's frame depends on the Antonius frame from IKEA and on other extras from the hardware store. This includes a submersible 600 LPH (Liters Per Hour) water pump.

The plumbing part is well laid out with enough diagrams and instructions. Although there is no separate material list in this guide, you'll surely recreate the entire plumbing without issues by following this guide.

4. Simple DIY Aquaponic System Plan for Balconies 

Simple DIY Aquaponic System Plan for Balconies

With a height of just 18 inches, a width of 14 inches, and length of 25 inches, this simple and easy to assemble DIY aquaponic system is a perfect fit for balconies.

It is also a great project for anyone venturing into the world of DIY aquaponics. All you need are 2 plastic bins, the deeper one for the fish and the shallower one for the grow bed.

This guide shows you in a simple step by step manner, how to build an aquaponics system that is very simple and easy to maintain.

All you need to get this system working is a hole in the top bin and a PVC pipe with holes inside it to act as a filter. You can also have as many pipes and bins as you like combined into one system for a higher production rate.

5. Simple 10-Minute DIY Aquaponics System Plan

Simple 10-Minute DIY Aquaponics System Plan

If you love video tutorials, then you might want to take a closer look here. This system is so simple and easy to make that it will take just 10 minutes.

You will need 3 plastic bins stacked on top of each other, with the second one being cut out in 2 places. Although the video is shot in one spot, it is actually very good and offers you lots of information.

The engineer explains everything very clearly and in detail, making sure that you understand every step of the process, including the installation of the 15-watt water pump.

6. 20-Gallon Aquarium DIY Aquaponic System Plan

20-Gallon Aquarium DIY Aquaponic System Plan

Using a 20-gallon large aquarium and a 9-inch tall plastic bin, this aquaponics system is designed to fit into a shelving unit. This makes it safe for the indoors, where there are kids around.

You will also need silicone tubing and PVC pipes for the plumbing. This guide lists all the materials that you'll be needing and also includes a downloadable plan with a detailed diagram of the system.

It uses a 400 GPH pump to pump the water from the fish tank into the plastic tote and uses the EZ-T siphon system for the return trip.

7. Urban Bathtub Aquaponic Pond DIY Guide

Urban Bathtub Aquaponic Pond DIY Guide

This design takes aquaponics system's design to a whole new level. Unlike small indoor systems, it is designed for the outdoors and is practically a fish pond.

It starts with Ryan actually breaking ground and shoveling off the dirt to make space for the aquaponic pond. The pond is then decorated using rocks to give it a natural feel, while an old bathtub is used as the growing bed.

What makes this aquaponics system totally amazing is the finishing. With the rocks around the pond and the wooden enclosure for the grow bed, you get both a functional and a beautiful system, all wrapped into one.

8. Free Vertical DIY Aquaponic System Plan

Free Vertical DIY Aquaponic System Plan

Using PVC pipes for the plants and 50-gallon drums for the fish tank, this plan shows you how to create an aquaponic system that is both expandable and space saving.

It starts off with a list of needed materials, which includes plastic cups and aquarium tubing. It also recommends plants and fish for you including trout, tilapia, and tomatoes.

There are lots of clear pictures which show you exactly what to do. You will need about 2 hours to complete this project, a drill, saw and lots of electrical tapes.

9. Detailed DIY Aquaponic System Plan Video

Detailed DIY Aquaponic System Plan Video

This video is a little more detailed than the rest. First, it shows you a very smart aquaponics system and how to build it, then it also offers information on the best things to grow.

The 2 lovely presenters are truly fascinated by aquaponics and offer lots of information on their site too. You will also get the material list and downloadable plans on their site.

One more nice thing about this system's design is how easily expandable it is. You can even use the idea for a high output or commercial system.

10. Simple & Expandable DIY Barrel Aquaponic System Plan

Simple & Expandable DIY Barrel Aquaponic System Plan

This page offers a wealth of information concerning aquaponics. It lists so many different types of equipment and materials and allows you to make your own choice.

What you have here is not a step by step guide, but rather an introduction to aquaponics, with all the necessary information that you might need.

In addition to that, you get a very simple plan at the end of the page, which shows you how to design and build your own barrel type DIY aquaponics systems.

One more nice thing about this plan is how expandable it is. You can use it to start a small DIY aquaponics system, as well as a much larger system or even commercial application.

11. Japan Aquaponics Easy DIY Aquaponics System Plan

Japan Aquaponics Easy DIY Aquaponics System Plan

You can set up your own aquaponic system in just a few hours using this DIY guide. The project tutorial is delivered in 7 steps, beginning with frame setup and ending with the filling up of your growth container.

Everything is well laid out here. The DIY guide features an easy navigation system, which lets you select the building stages to look at. The pictures are big, bright, and clear.

There are 3 stages of the plumping. You are shown how to install the standing pipe, male and female adapters, as well as the siphon and media guard.

12. Large-Scale DIY Free Aquaponic System Plan

Large-Scale DIY Free Aquaponic System Plan

You might have enough outdoor space and decide to really scale things up with your aquaponics system. In this case, this guide can be of much help to you.

It shows you how to set up a fish tank, 2 fish-food growing tanks, 2 growing beds for your vegetables, as well as how to bring it all together.

You should know that this is not a simple project and that you will have to invest time and resources into it, but if you are excited about aquaponics, and you really want to scale things up, then this could be it.

13. 10-Gallon Aquarium Aquaponic System Plan

10-Gallon Aquarium Aquaponic System Plan

Amanda loves growing plants, but with as little money as possible. She decided to make this aquaponic system with a 10-gallon aquarium for under $50 on her birthday.

This guide documents her progress, from the purchase of the materials to the cutting of pipes and the installation of all parts.

The PVC pipe sits on top of the fish tank and is the grow tank. It has holes drilled underneath for water to flow back inside. Not the most efficient aquaponic system, but it is simple and easy to build.

14. DIY Aquaponics System Video Tutorial

DIY Aquaponics System Video Tutorial

For those who love video tutorials, this one will surely be very helpful. It uses a 3D animation to guide you through the building process.

There are 3 possible configurations here, including PVC pipe growers, a bathtub system with gravel, and a floating raft system.

Saeid's video is a really in-depth tutorial. It touches on everything you need to know in order to get building and also teaches you how to make a good swirl filter.

15. Arduino Controlled Aquaponic System Plan

Arduino Controlled Aquaponic System Plan

Arduino is a very popular, powerful and little computing system. It is like carrying a computer in your wallet. If you have a thing for both electronics and aquaponics, then you can combine the 2 passions to create an automated aquaponic system.

Knowing when to pump your fish tank water and for how long, is an issue most people deal with in DIY aquaponics. With this guide, you will have everything managed by Arduino, giving you total freedom from the tank.

The project steps are well laid out and detailed, you will also need a sensor and a little understanding of computer programming to finish this project.

16. Simple Floating Raft DIY Aquaponic System Video

Simple Floating Raft DIY Aquaponic System Video

Although this is not the most efficient aquaponic system that you can build, it is still very easy to build and it does not require many materials.

The idea is simply to have a raft on top of a fish tank. The raft will contain plastic cups with holes underneath so that the plants inside can have access to fish water.

There is no way to circulate the water here, and you might have to always take the raft out in order to manage the fish water, like bringing down its pH. Still, it's an experiment worth trying out.

We have reached the end of our free DIY aquaponic system plans and your head should hopefully be buzzing with ideas right now.

Feel free to pin anything here and to share this list on social media.

You can also reach out to us and let me know what kind of aquaponic project that you have decided to build.