How to Make an Indoor Aquaponics System

Aquaponics is a method by which you grow plants and nurture aquatic animals together in a system that recirculates the nutrients produced, to the benefit of both plants and animals. The aquaponics approach is gaining in popularity as a sustainable gardening method and if you’re curious to try it out for yourself, there are some great hacks for building your own system. This article is one such example using commonly available components from IKEA and a few extras from your local hardware store. The system looks good enough to keep in your living room or bedroom, just to keep your family happy!

More tips and suggestion about aquaponics you found them here.


Visit IKEA to purchase the frame. You’ll need the Antonius frame from IKEA for the main frame. It will be combined with one or two wire baskets and two of the plastic containers. Use the 50 litre container for the fish tank at the bottom, and the 25 litre container for the growbed at the top. Assemble all the parts based on the accompanying packaging instructions.

  • If you can’t find the frame at IKEA, ask around to see if friends have a spare one, or make a request on a site like Freecycle.


Use the wire basket as support for the 25 litre plastic container that will house the growbed. It is not strictly necessary to have the 50 litre plastic container fish tank at the bottom if you just put the container on the floor. You may want to trim the plastic lip on the top container to ensure a better fit; in this tutorial, the handles have been cut off the ends of the container as well. However, this is not strictly necessary. To cut the plastic, use a small saw or some standard wire pliers.


If you want to personalise the system to fit in with your home decor, now is a good time to do it. The photo shows an example of a fish tank that has been decorated with a strip of PVC plastic sheet:

Method 2 of 5: Plumbing Part 1: The standpipe

The plumbing for the aquaponics system is not too complicated and you can rely on a few basic principles to help make the system as efficient as possible.


Use a small 600 lph (litres per hour) electric submersible pump in one corner of the fish tank which takes the water up to the growbed. The water flows through the growbed and exits in the opposite corner to which it entered. As the water then flows back to the fish tank, it pushes any solid waste over towards the pump, ready to pulled up into the growbed.

Use a bypass ball-valve on this system. This item diverts some of the water from the pump straight back into the fish tank. This lets you control the amount of water going into the growbed, and the diverted water also creates some water movement in the fish tank, as well as providing additional aeration. In this tutorial, 13mm PVC pipes were used throughout. Initially, it’s recommended that you too start with the growbed and the siphon used here.