If you’ve made it this far into the article, we can assume you feel confident that this is for you. Here’s how to begin setting up your at-home system. Eartheasy advises that the first step is to construct your tank and dechlorinate the water inside by letting the pumps run it through the filtration system for 4 to 6 weeks. Next, you’ll put together your media bed, also called a flood table, next to or above the tank — this is where the plants will grow. Make sure the structure holding the media bed is sufficiently sturdy, then fill it with your choice of growing media (clay pebbles, coconut coir, etc.).
Once your tank and grow bed are set up and bacteria has had a chance to build up in the water, it’ll be time to introduce the fish to their new environment. The most common fish are tilapia, goldfish, and koi. Tilapia are considered the easiest to raise and care for, but goldfish are known to produce the most waste — i.e. food for your hungry plants.
Speaking of plants, your seedlings are the final component to your initial aquaponic garden setup. Eartheasy notes that leafy vegetables are indeed the easiest to grow aquaponically, so for the sake of encouraging early success, you might consider starting with lettuce, basil, or kale. Carefully situate seedling roots in the clay pebbles so that they touch the water and will be able to suck up the nutrients they need to grow.