Aquaponics Aquarium 2017-06-13T14:22:19+00:00

Aquaponics Aquarium

Unlike hydroponics, aquaponics requires an aquaponics aquarium with living fish. Since fish waste is collected in a filter and then pumped into the grow beds as nutrients for plants, you must provide the optimal conditions for aquatic survival. Otherwise, fish will die, plants won’t get their nutrients, and the aquaponics system becomes non-operational. Having the correct aquaponics aquarium is therefore an essential component to successful aquaponics.

What is an aquaponics aquarium?

Since an aquarium is a container or tank where aquatic life is kept, an aquaponics aquarium is simply the aquarium used in an aquaponics system. Plant grow beds typically sit on-top of or beside the aquarium, completing a symbiotic aquaponics system.

When starting an aquaponics system, you have three option:

  1. Buy a complete aquaponics kit, which already includes an aquarium and everything you need to get started (see our aquaponics kits page for examples like the Microfarm and Fin to Flower)
  2. Buy an aquarium, then buy an aquaponics kit to fit on-top of your aquarium. This will instantly transform any 10 or 20-gallon aquarium into a ready-to-use aquaponics system (see our aquaponics kits page to learn about the AquaSprouts Garden and ECO-cycle aquaponics kits)
  3. Piece together an aquaponics system by purchasing an aquarium, then purchasing the other necessary components to complete an aquaponics system (such as grow beds, filters, pumps, etc.).

If you chose option 2 or 3, you will need to purchase an aquaponics aquarium. Let’s review what you should look for.

Some Considerations when Choosing an Aquaponics Aquarium

Aquaponics aquariums come in different sizes, shapes, and materials. Here are a few things to consider before purchasing an aquarium:

Size

First you must decide how must space you have available to house your aquaponics aquarium. Some are small enough to be stored on top of a living room table, office or in a bedroom. Others will require more space. If you wish to maintain a small system, a roughly 2-up-to-20-gallon aquaponics aquarium works well. If you are raising lots of fish or larger-sized fish, you may need something bigger. For those raising fish for food consumption, consider using a sizable (roughly 90-gallon or more), oval-shaped tub or stock tank as your aquaponics aquarium.

Material

Make sure any aquarium you choose is sturdy enough to support the weight and pressure of the water and fish. Metal tanks can corrode, so choose an aquaponics tank made from an inert, non-toxic substance which will not affect pH and ammonia levels. This will avoid introducing any harmful substance into the tank that may endanger fish. If you choose a galvanized steel stock tank, installing tank liners will help to prevent contamination issues. Also, leaks wreak havoc on aquaponics systems, so be sure any aquarium you choose is air-tight and waterproof. Glass and acrylic aquariums works well for smaller aquaponics systems. Tubs or stock tanks – made of molded foam or a plastic material – are typically used as an aquaponics aquarium for larger systems.

Shape

Square and rectangular shaped aquaponics aquariums work well for smaller systems.  Round and oval shaped tanks are recommended for larger-scale fish raising, as these shapes aid in water and nutrient circulation, and reduce the occurrence of dead zones. Be sure there are no hollow pockets on the bottom of the aquarium, as fish waste can accumulate into these areas. 

Ratios

Most aquaponics experts recommend beginners start with a fish-to-plant ratio of 1:1. As you become more accustomed to your aquaponics system, this ratio can be upped to 2:1 (two fish per plant).  A simple way to measure fish-to-water ratio – especially when raising larger fish – is this general advice: for every 1 pound of fish raised, use 5-10 gallons of water. Be careful not to overdue these ratios. When using larger aquaponics stock tanks or tubs, a sump pump can be added to prevent water levels from getting too low during flood cycles. 

Location of Aquaponics Aquariums

Your aquaponics aquarium should never be placed on unstable tables, as the weight of the system may collapse the structure. Store your tank in a location that does not receive direct sunlight. Algae build-up can cause contamination within the system, so direct sunlight into the aquarium should be avoided as much as possible. We recommend that you cover the aquarium to prevent anything harmful from falling into your aquaponics ecosystem. Also, be sure the room and water temperatures are stable enough to create adequate conditions for your plants and fish.

Purchasing an Aquaponics Aquarium

There are many options out there for aquaponics aquariums.  Below, we break down the most popular options, in a chart, and then in further detail below that.

Aquaponics Aquarium Important Features Size

LED Aquarium Kit

by Marina

• all-glass tank, LED lighting module, fish food, water conditioner, supplement, fish net

• 10-gallon compatible w/ AquaSprouts Garden, 20-gallon w/ ECO-cycle

• popular and complete all-around aquarium kit

Available in 5-gallon, 10-gallon and 20-gallon
Check Prices

Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kit w/ LED Lighting

by Aqueon

• glass tank, heater, thermometer, low profile LED, filter, cartridge, fish food, fish net, water conditioner

• compatible w/ AquaSprouts Garden aquaponics kit

• great package to start an aquaponics aquarium

10-gallon
Check Prices

Regular Aquarium

by Aquarium Masters

• distortion free glass, diamond polished edges, black framed, silicone sealed

• 10-gallon compatible w/ AquaSprouts Garden, 20-gallon w/ ECO-cycle

• high quality, basic aquaponics aquarium

Available in 10-gallon and 20-gallon
Check Prices

20-gallon Glass Aquarium Tank

by Carolina Biological Supply Company

• triple-glass bottom for strength, welded with silicone rubber for preventing leaks

• 10-gallon compatible w/ AquaSprouts Garden, 20-gallon w/ ECO-cycle

• quality, basic aquaponics aquarium for the classroom or the home

Available in 10-gallon and 20-gallon
Check Prices

30-gallon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank

by Deep Blue Professional

• thick, distortion-free glass, diamond polished edges, injection molded frames, tempered bottom and non-tempered panels

• high quality and durable basic aquaponics aquarium

• various sizes available, from 1.9-gallon and up

30-gallon, various other sizes available from this manufacturer
Check Prices

50-gallon Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set

by SeaClear

• acrylic aquarium, reflector and 24” electrical light fixture

• stronger and lighter than glass, impact and crack resistant

• larger aquarium with stunning visual effects

50-gallon
Check Prices

85-Gallon Oval Tub

by Tuff Stuff Products

• 100% recycled LDPE plastic, ¾” brass drain plug.

• sturdy, impact-resistant, leakproof

• Tuff Stuff manufactures many sizes of tubs to be used as aquariums in aquaponics

85-gallon, various other sizes available from this manufacturer
Check Prices

100-Gallon Poly Stock Tank

by Behlen Country

• made from FDA-approved, food-grade poly make this excellent for raising fish for consumption

• 1 ¼-inch poly drain plug and an aluminum drain fitting

• heavy-duty, impact resistant, corrosion-free, recyclable, UV protection.

100-gallon, plus 50 and 150-gallon options available
Check Prices

150-gallon Structural Foam Stock Tank

by Rubbermaid

• seamless structural foam construction and oversized drain plug kit

• durable and easy to drain and clean

• Rubbermaid’s stock tanks are a popular option for creating large aquaponics aquariums

150-gallon, various other sizes available from this manufacturer
Check Prices

Aquariums in Depth

Mini Aquaponics Aquarium

indoor aquaponics system

If you are searching for a 2, 3 or 5-gallon mini aquaponics aquarium, many of these tabletop systems already include a tank with purchase of the kit. While these aquaponics aquariums are too small to raise more than a couple fish or produce a bountiful crop yield, mini aquaponics kits are fun, educational, and come complete with all the essentials to start a small aquaponics system (including the aquarium). See our aquaponics kits page to learn more about Fin to Flower, EcoQube, and Back to the Roots.

Standard 10-gallon, 20-gallon (and up) Aquaponics Aquarium

Many people find that a standard 10-gallon or 20-gallon aquarium is a perfect size for an aquaponics aquarium. These sizes are small enough to fit comfortably in any indoor environment, be it the living room, bedroom, kitchen, or office. They are also large enough to raise numerous small fish (or a couple larger fish) and capable of growing a variety of high-quality plants.

Setting up an aquaponics system can be accomplished by first buying an aquarium, then piecing together other components for your aquaponics system (such as a pump, timer, and grow media). Another option buy an AquaSprouts Garden or ECO-cycle kit.  These kits – which include grow beds, pumps, timers, grow media, etc. – fit on top of any standard 10 or 20-gallon aquarium, instantly transforming a basic aquarium into a complete aquaponics garden.

Let’s look at some of Amazon’s top selling 10-gallon and 20-gallon aquaponics aquariums:

Small Aquaponics Aquarium

LED Aquarium Kit, by Marina

Marina’s LED Aquarium Kit is one of the most popular aquaponics aquariums on Amazon. There are 3 sizes to choose from: 5-gallon, 10-gallon, and 20-gallon. The LED Aquarium Kit features an all-glass tank, LED lighting module, fish food, Aqua Plus water conditioner, fish net, and a supplement to create a healthy environment for the aquarium.

Recommended aquaponics kit add-on:

  • Marina’s 10-gallon aquarium is compatible with the AquaSprouts Garden
  • Marina’s 20-gallon aquarium is compatible with the ECO-cycle Aquaponics Kit
Check Prices
Aquaponics Aquarium

Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kit w/ LED Lighting, by Aqueon

Another great option for an aquaponics aquarium is the 10-gallon starter kit by Aqueon. This model sports a glass tank, low profile LED, filter, cartridge, heater, fish food, fish net, water conditioner, and thermometer. Included are all the aquaponic aquarium essentials, plus a few bells and whistles.

Recommended aquaponics kit add-on:

  • Aqueon 10-gallon aquarium is compatible with the AquaSprouts Garden
Check Prices
Aquaponics Aquarium

Regular Aquarium, by Aquarium Masters

If you are in the market for a basic, yet high quality 10-gallon or 20-gallon aquaponics aquarium, check out the models offered by Aquarium Masters. It features distortion-free glass, diamond polished (smooth) edges, black framed tops and bottoms, and is sealed with commercial grade silicone to ensure the aquarium is watertight. Note that these basic tanks do not include lights, filters, etc. but are still very compatible with an add-on aquaponics kit (see below).

Recommended aquaponics kit add-on:

  • Aquarium Masters’ 10-gallon aquarium is compatible with the AquaSprouts Garden
  • Aquarium Masters’ 20-gallon aquarium is compatible with the ECO-cycle Aquaponics Kit
Check Prices
Basic Aquaponics Aquarium

20-gallon Glass Aquarium Tank, by Carolina Biological Supply Company

Carolina Biological Supply Company has been supplying classrooms with scientific tools since 1927. They offer a standard 20-gallon glass aquarium, welded together with silicone to create a waterproof and airtight tank. The bottom is triple-strength glass, making this a strong, long-lasting option for an aquaponics aquarium. Also available in 10-gallon.

Recommended aquaponics kit add-on:

  • Carolina Biological’s 10-gallon aquarium is compatible with the AquaSprouts Garden
  • Carolina Biological’s 20-gallon aquarium is compatible with the ECO-cycle Aquaponics Kit
Check Prices
Glass Aquaponics Aquarium

30-gallon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank, by Deep Blue Professional

Deep Blue Professional makes several high-quality tanks in various sizes, all suitable for use as an aquaponics aquariums. This 30-gallon aquarium features thick, distortion-free glass, diamond polished edges, injection-molded frames, non-tempered panels, and a tempered bottom. Deep Blue manufactures aquariums as small as 1.9-gallons, so they may have a size that suites your needs.

Check Prices
Small Aquaponics Aquarium

50-gallon Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set, by SeaClear

SeaClear prides itself on the vibrancy of their tanks. Made with acrylic, these models are much stronger and lighter than glass. And because acrylic is more impact-resistant, this aquarium is less prone to chip or crack. This 50-gallon Combo Set includes aquarium, reflector and 24” electrical light fixture.  Since practically any aquarium can be used in aquaponics, this model may appeal to those looking to create a visually stunning aquaponics system in the home.

Check Prices

Tubs and Stock Tanks used as an Aquaponics Aquarium

Oval tubs and stock tanks are an alternative to glass and acrylic aquaponics aquariums. Their circular shape allows for better circulation within bigger systems, so these products work well for raising larger fish or for piecing together a large aquaponics system. Although they do not display as nicely as the clear aquaponics aquariums, these tubs and stock tanks are highly effective for raising fish.

Tuff Stuff Aquaponics Aquarium

85-Gallon Oval Tub, by Tuff Stuff Products

Tuff Stuff Products manufactures several popular oval tubs to be used as aquaponics aquariums, including 30, 40, 50, 75, and 140-gallon. This 85-gallon oval tub is made of 100% recycled LDPE plastic, giving it a rubbery – yet sturdy – quality. It is impact-resistant, watertight, and has a ¾” brass drain plug.

Check Prices
Behlen Country Aquaponics Aquarium

100-Gallon Poly Stock Tank, by Behlen Country

If you plan on using an aquaponics aquarium to raise food-grade fish for consumption, you will need a (roughly) 90-gallon tank, or larger. This 100-gallon option from Behlen Country is made from FDA-approved, food-grade poly, is heavy duty, impact-resistant, corrosion-free, recyclable, and has UV protection. A 1 ¼-inch poly drain plug and an aluminum drain fitting complete this aquaponics aquarium stock tank. Other sizes are available, including 50-gallon and 150-gallon.

Check Prices
Large Rubbermaid Aquaponics Aquarium

150-gallon Structural Foam Stock Tank, by Rubbermaid Commercial Products

If you are looking to create a huge, versatile aquaponics aquarium, consider Rubbermaid’s 150-gallon stock tank, made of structural foam. This model features an oversized drain plug for cleaning and draining water, seamless construction for durability, and is comprised of crack-resistant, molded polyethylene. Smaller sizes are also available, as is a massive 300-gallon option.

Check Prices