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What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponic vegetables
Practical Aquaponics

Aquaponics is the creation of a complete cycle of symbiotic relationships where the fish help plants and the plants help fish. It uses no chemicals, requires one tenth of the water needed for field plant production and only a fraction of the water that is used for fish culture. (Aquaculture)
This is truly a remarkable system, because it works so well. The fish actually supply nutrients to a bed of plants, (called Grow Beds) and plants clean up the water that the fish live in, making a mutual beneficial environment for both. The only external input to the system is food for the fish. The plants grow in a Grow Bed.

Both Aquaponics systems compliment each other as a single unit, not as separate units. The fish water is pumped to the Grow Beds, and is evenly distributed by a simple system of pipes. The fish water feeds the plants, such as tomato's, cucumbers, lettuce and other green leafy vegetables, then filters through the grow bed that is filled with gravel / round river stones, finally returning to the fish tank by gravity or by pump. The water is returned to the fish tank cleaned ready for use by the fish, and so the cycle continues.

So an Aquaponics system is made up of a tank containing the fish of choice, and a series of Grow Beds for vegetable production.

Aquaponics is suitable for ornamental fish, Barramundi, Bass, Jade Perch, Golden Perch, Silver Perch, Murray Cod. In Australia we are blessed with a wide choice of Native Fish Species (some listed above) that are perfectly suitable for Aquaponics and are wonderful eating as well. In other parts of the world Tilapia and Carp are grown very successfully.

Broccoli in Murray Hallam's Aquaponics
Broccoli growing in an Aquaponics System.

What is amazing in Aquaponics, once the system is initialised, it works really well, just as it should being a natural system.

The water is basically recycled, with a small amount of water added weekly to compensate for what is lost by evaporation, and transpiration by the vegetables. Therefore Aquaponics uses only about 10% of the water required for traditional gardening or fish farming. Aquaponics is the future of home gardening and commercial fresh food production for a dry land like Australia.

Aquaponics is a balanced, self-contained eco system that works!! No chemicals fertilisers are added what so ever. It istotally organic. In fact, insecticide chemicals cannot be sprayed or added to the vegetable part of the system, because if that happens, the fish will die. Aquaponics has an inbuilt organic policeman. Garden pests are kept to a minimum by housing the system in a green house and eventually a natural balance is achieved.

Earthworms can be raised to feed the fish and the earthworm compost is used in other parts of the garden or perhaps planter box gardens. The worm farm is fed on excess vegetable material from the Aquaponic system.

This "Practical Aquaponics" article was first published July 30th 2006.

Murray Hallam's Practical Aquaponics.

Posted By Murray Hallam on 8th December 2011

Updated : 28th June 2019 | Words : 500 | Views : 6274 | Comments : 8

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Thank you.

Posted By William Schenk on Friday 12th April 2013 @ 08:48:07


Hello, I found expanded clay balls that I can get delivered for about $1 US per liter. I have access to Expanded Styrene Foam blocks and wonder If it is safe to use in a Flood and drain system to reduce the weight and cut down on the amount of media needed. Have a 20' X 4' above ground pool that I hope to be stocking with Blue Tilapia soon.

Posted By William Schenk on Friday 12th April 2013 @ 01:17:53


The foam will float and not work very well....sorry

Posted By Murray on Friday 12th April 2013 @ 01:17:53


Good day everyone!

My name is Jeriel and I am new to aquaponics. In fact I am new to gardening in general. I've never grown anything. I am here to learn as a result of the growing food prices around the world, the rising concerns about food related health issues, and simply because aquaponics makes so much sense as a way of life. Mr. Hallam thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experiences. I hope one day learn under you in person. Do you welcome visitors/students to your country as guests?

Posted By Jeriel Outlaw on Friday 30th March 2012 @ 15:18:54


Hi Jeriel
Thanks for your comment. We are members of WWOOF Australia which is an organisation that matches students / volunteers with organic farms and the like. Although we are members we are not in a position at this time to take students of that kind. We are working toward this system of things but it will be some time toward the end of the year before we start doing that.

Posted By Murray on Friday 30th March 2012 @ 15:18:54


I came across aquaponics autopot, whereby the water sent to the plants do not return.

It is claimed that water is delivered only when required by the plants

What is the advantages and disadvantages of this them?

When should a grow bed or a floating system be used ?

Posted By noddy mustafa on Thursday 2nd February 2012 @ 10:56:44


Auto pot is a good product but very expensive. It works well as a hydroponic system but not really necessary in an Aquaponic system. In Aquaponics we like to circulate the water constantly giving good aeration and filtration for the fish all the while delivering nutrient to the plants.

Posted By Murray on Thursday 2nd February 2012 @ 10:56:44


Nutrient Deficiency in Aquaponics Systems

Tomatoes are such a wonderful indicator as to what nutrient may be missing in your Aquaponics system . . .

Posted By Practical Aquaponics on 24th February 2020

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Plants With Wet Feet

An Aquaponics Papaya or Pawpaw tree heavily laden with fruit. I want to be able to grow fruit trees . . .

Posted By Murray Hallam on 11th August 2014

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Aquaponic Tomatoes, Lettuce and EC

A run through our greenhouse where we are in the process of building out a new section .  The growt . . .

Posted By Murray Hallam on 27th April 2012

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Additional Information


Murray Hallam is probably the best-known face in the world-wide Aquaponics movement. Murray is by nature an innovator and in his Research & Development facility has perfected many new methodologies for commercial farm Aquaponic systems.


Learn Aquaponics

At Practical Aquaponics, we have a range of information suitable for the novice to the expert. Browse our blog, register for our Aquaponics Courses, Workshops and Seminars or buy kits, books, DVDs and many other aquaponics necessities in our shop.


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Proven and tested, there are hundreds of our kits in operation in every state of Australia and we have exported our kits to the USA, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Nassau. The wonderful thing about Aquaponics is that almost anyone can participate and get to grow some clean, healthy vegetables and fish.



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