Small Round Tank Aquaponics

Here’s a look at our second aquaponics design. Small, efficient and perfect for a balcony or any other small space.

Small Aquaponics Side


Fish Tank

We purchased a  280 lt round pond from the local hardware store to be used as the fish tank. A wooden frame was built to cover the top on which the growbeds were placed.

Tank Covering

A layer of shading net was added to minimize evaporation and to help keep the water at a constant temperature. A piece of bamboo screen around the base adds a nice touch.


Small Aquaponics Front

We combined 2x 100lt recycled plastic storage boxes with pvc pipes to act as one single growbed. Initially we experimented with individual siphons for each growbed but they tended to clog and it was near impossible to get the timing synchronized. Now the simpler configuration works a lot better and requires no maintenance at all. Just the way we like it.


The growbeds have been filled with Hydroton Clay Pellets as this is much lighter than using gravel and it also makes planting a breeze.

U-bend Drainage

At the bottom of the growbeds, the two 25mm pvc drainage pipes join together into a T-junction and drain through a simple U-bend configuration. The height at the top of the U-bend determines the water level in the growbeds and is easily adjusted by tilting the pipes to the side. It doesn’t get easier than this! A little drainage hole at the bottom of the first bend allows the growbeds to drain completely when the pump switches off.


Aquapro Pump

We’re using a 18W  Aquapro Water Feature pond pump that runs on a timer for half an hour every 2 hours. The water gets pumped up through 15mm irrigation tubing and with a T-junction splits into the two growbeds. The water draining from the growbed is angled to create a circular current in the tank which provides plenty of exercise for the fish and it also forces all the fish manure to the centre where the pumps located. The pumps filter has also been removed to allow solids to be pumped up into the growbeds.



About 15 goldfish now inhabit the tank and generate plenty of manure to feed the plants. The water level in the tank does tend to drop when the growbeds fill, but this doesn’t seem to bother the fish too much as the U-bend drainage forces a lot of air bubbles into the tank, much more than what the classic bell siphon would.

Dark Goldfish

We feed the fish with pellets from the pet store but also supplement their diet with Azolla, Duckweed, worms, caterpillars and black soldier fly larvae. We’ve also noticed them grazing on algae that has grown in one sunny spot in the tank.


Aquaponic Plants

Over the year a lot of different plants have made an appearance in this aquaponics system. We use the aquaponics for growing annuals like lettuces, kale, brazilian spinach, rocket, coriander ect. depending on the season. There’s a few strawberry plants in there too and we’re amazed that they seem to fruit throughout most of the year! This aquaponics system has provided us with the most delicious strawberries we’ve ever tasted.

Aquaponic Strawberry

As per usual all the tinkering, adjusting and re-adjusting was quite fun but be warned, designing your own aquaponics system can become rather addictive! There’s plenty of information about aquaponics available on the interwebs so why not give it a go yourself!


~ by Jake on January 19, 2014.

7 Responses to “Small Round Tank Aquaponics”

  1. I can almost taste the strawberries, looking ready to eat. Neat post

  2. Hey Bev and Jake, hope you’re well. Would it be possible if I used some pics from you blogs for our food festival event until we get some better ones of our own? Chris McDonald Venue Manager BOHEMIAN BAR & RESTAURANT 35 Dukes Walk, South Wharf South Wharf VIC 3006 E: P: (03) 9682 0566 M: 0420 949 168 W:

  3. Hey Jake, That’s certain one tidy unit you’ve got there :-)… Most aquaponic systems look more at home in a science lab ;-)… I would be really interested if you were able to monitor its electricity usage over a week?… Seems like 18w should be pretty efficient… Thanks for the post… Chris

  4. Hi Bev & Jake, I’m hoping to talk to you about asking permission to reproduce your photo of your aquaponic set up in a book I’m working on. (I’m a picture researcher). This is the image I’m interested in: It’d be great to hear from you as soon as you get a chance! Ta, Linda

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