Aquaponics is the ancient art of keeping fish and plants together, creating a symbiotic environment that is beneficial to both. Nowadays, kits exist that allow you to experiment with aquaponics in your home, allowing you to keep fish and grow plants in harmony together.
If that sounds like something you are interested in trying, here are our top picks for best aquaponics kit to help start your own symbiotic garden.
For anyone looking to take their first steps into the world of aquaponics, this kit could be a great place to start – it includes just about everything you need to convert an existing tank into a self-sustaining ecosystem.
With this kit, you get the AquaSprouts Garden that encloses your tank and gives you somewhere to grow your plants. There’s also a light bar that holds your grow light (the light is not included), a pump and timer and the grow medium (that replaces soil).
You simply install this kit on any regular 10-gallon aquarium. Once set up, fish waste is broken down into nutrients and transferred to the plants, creating a natural filter for the water.
With careful monitoring, you will have a healthy tank of fish as well as thriving plants growing above. The whole thing makes a great project that both adults and kids will enjoy. However, note that the tank itself is not included in the kit and needs to be bought separately.
Perhaps one downside to this kit is that it is on the expensive side for what it is. Although it features a well-thought-out design, the price is a little high for the materials included in the kit.
Furthermore, no top is provided for the aquarium (and with the Garden attached, you can’t use the original one that came with your aquarium), and there is also no light in the tank itself for growing aquatic plants.
These are a couple of minor design flaws that could be improved in the future.
However, despite these imperfections, this kit is still a great introduction to aquaponics, and if you are looking for something that will teach you the basics and help you get started, this could be the ideal choice.
Here is a compact aquaponics kit that would make a great gift for kids – and could also be a lot of fun for an adult to look after.
The kit includes a fish tank along with the growing trays for the garden on top. You also get the pump, special gravel that encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria and even the seeds to start growing your own plants. It also includes fish food and a coupon for a fish.
We like how simple this kit is to set up. You can have the whole thing ready to go in only about ten minutes, and your first plants will be ready to harvest in just ten days – the plants are guaranteed to grow, and if they don’t, you can get a replacement or full refund.
This product is made in the USA, and the company prides itself on giving great customer service – if you have any problem with your kit, Back to the Roots will do everything they can to help make it work.
On the downside, like the Aquasprouts Garden above, although this kit is well designed, it is a little expensive for what you actually get.
Furthermore, although in theory everything you need comes with it, you will probably find you need to buy a few extra pieces to make it successful.
Specifically, although the recommended type of fish to keep is the betta, this species will only thrive if you add a water heater – and the water heater is not included in the kit.
Also, the gravel included is barely enough to cover the bottom, and you will probably want to add a few extra stones.
All in all, we like this kit a lot. If you want a simple aquaponics kit for your child – or even for yourself – this would be a great place to begin. However, be aware that you will probably need to purchase a few extras to make it work well.
This is another version of the Back to the Roots Aquaponic kit we looked at above – and if you like the sound of that kit, this one contains all the same great features too.
That means you get everything you need to get started, including the gravel, the pump, the aquarium itself, the garden grow trays, fish food, water purifiers – and even a coupon to go out and find the perfect fishy friend to put in the tank.
With this kit, you also get an 11-page STEM curriculum with loads of fun details and facts about the history of aquaponics going back to the traditions of the Aztecs and ancient Chinese – this is a highly educational kit as well as being a lot of fun.
However, like the previous version, despite the fact that this kit is very well-designed, the price still seems a little high for what it is.
Another issue is that this kit doesn’t appear to be so different from the first version we looked at, and there isn’t really much to distinguish between the two – other than a slight difference in size and the STEM curriculum that’s thrown in.
Despite these minor complaints, we’re big fans of this kit. It’s the ideal option to give to curious kids who want to learn about nature the hands-on experience of looking after their own fish and plants. Another kit that’s well worth checking out.
With the Penn Plax aquaponic kit, you get a 1.4-gallon tank, a plastic plant holder where your plant grows above the water and some ceramic substrate planting material for the plant to grow in.
This is designed to replicate nature’s cycle, providing a healthy and beneficial habitat for fish and plant alike.
The attraction of this kit is that it is so simple. With a one-plant garden on top and a small tank below, you don’t have quite as much to think about as with some other kits – this is more a decorative piece than an education item, although you can still learn from it.
Since the planter is easy to remove, the whole thing is also easy to clean, making maintenance a quick and simple chore.
However, having said that, since there is no pump or filter, you will still need to clean it quite regularly, perhaps once every two weeks or so – this is not a “self-cleaning” fish tank in the way that some other more advanced aquaponic kits are.
Also, note that you may need to buy some extra items to get the most out of this kit. You will probably want to add some extra stones or other decoration, and if you want to keep tropical fish like a betta, you will also need to purchase a water heater.
Overall, this will appeal to someone who is interested in adding an aquaponic aquarium to their home as a visual element. It is easy to look after, looks great and is budget-friendly too. If that sounds like what you need, it should be on your list of possibilities.
This is essentially the same as the Penn Plax kit we just looked at above, just as a smaller version. This means if you like the sound of the 1.4-gallon version above but don’t have the space for a larger tank in your home, this could be the ideal alternative.
Like the larger version, this kit comes with all the necessary equipment to get started, including the tank, the planter and the ceramic substrate. You just need to add the water, the plant and the fish.
Setup is quick and easy, and the tank is simple to care for. It will provide a striking and original touch to your interior space – as well as a conversation piece when entertaining guests.
As with the larger version, it is easy to take apart and clean – something you will have to expect to do every two weeks or so.
On the downside, some people might consider this tank to be on the small side for keeping fish. However, for smaller solitary fish, the size should be fine – as long as you make sure the water is kept clean.
Also, be ready to add a couple of extras – like a heater for tropical fish – if you really want to get the most out of it.
In sum, a great option if you like the idea of an aquaponic garden but don’t have the time to look after a more involved project and don’t have the space for a larger tank.
The Sweetsea hanging fishbowl is a very simple solution if you want to experiment with some basic aquaponics. It can be attached to either ceramic or painted walls – there are instructions for how to do both – and it provides an attractive home for a plant and fish combo.
One of the biggest advantages to this system is its pure simplicity. The single-plant garden sits in the top, the roots grow down into the bowl below and the fish lives in the water, making its home among the roots and whatever else you place in the bowl.
It makes an original alternative to a simple plant pot or aquarium, combining both to make something that is attractive and stylish.
However, if you are interested in experimenting with a true aquaponics system, this is probably not the best option. Aquaponics is about creating a truly symbiotic environment where the fish and plants help each other thrive.
With this version, the emphasis is much more on the visual aspect rather than the symbiosis, so if you want a project rather than something that just looks pretty, you might choose something a little more advanced.
Also, some people will claim that the bowl is too small to keep fish in, and you will need to select your species carefully if you don’t want your fish to be cramped and restricted.
In short, an interesting idea if you want something different to decorate your home or office – but perhaps not the best choice if you are interested in growing edible plants or learning about the intricacies of true aquaponics.
This kit from Huamuyu is a great educational introduction to the art of aquaponics. It allows you to keep your fish healthy in the tank below while converting the waste into natural nutrients for the miniature garden you grow above.
Everything you need to get started is included in the kit – apart from the fish themselves! The tank holds up to three gallons of water, and you also get the seed sprouting tray, the pump, a filtering sponge and seeds – as well as a manual that tells you how everything works.
One installed, the pump sends fish waste up to plants, cleaning the water – you will only need to clean the tank around half as often as with a regular aquarium. It’s easy to look after and maintain, and this kit would make an ideal gift for curiously-minded children.
There are few downsides to mention. As with most other similar kits, you will need to add a separate heater if you want to keep tropical fish. Also, make sure the fish you place in the tank are not too small – or they may end up being sucked into the pump.
If you are looking for a fun and fascinating project for your kids, this aquaponics kit could be just what you need. Children will love this original way of caring for their pets while also growing their own plants. Another option that’s well worth considering.
If you are looking for a complete starter kit that will allow you to start experimenting with aquaponics at home, this package from Ecolife has just about everything you need – all you need to supply yourself is the tank (and the fish, of course!)
This kit is designed to be compatible with any regular 20-gallon fish aquarium. You place it on top of your tank and the kit turns the waste from your fish into valuable nutrients for your plants, allowing them to thrive while also keeping your tank clean.
With this kit, you won’t need to clean your fish tank very often – if at all – your aquaponic “garden” will take care of it for you.
One of the outstanding features with this kit is the LED grow light that comes with it. It is fully programmable, with four settings, a remote control and a built-in timer. Few other kits include this, making this a big selling point.
The downside to this is that this kit is also one of the most expensive available – although if you want a top-end, self-contained package, you have to expect to pay more, and we still think it’s great value for money.
Another minor gripe is the fact that the pump and water can be a little on the loud side – although some people may even find the sound relaxing.
In sum, one of the best all-in aquaponics kits available that will allow your fish and plants to thrive together. If you are willing to meet the price point, this is an option that should be on your radar.
This is a slightly different concept for aquaponics than the other kits we’ve looked at in our review – and in some ways, it’s closer to the original idea of keeping fish and plants together.
These floating baskets are designed for outdoor use in a garden pond. They allow you to grow plants on your pond, and the plants benefit from the nutrients created by the fish below while the fish can enjoy the shade and habitat provided by the plants above.
If you have a pond that lacks anywhere for plants to grow, these planter baskets could be the ideal solution. These floating islands of life will contribute to the ecosystem of your pond, allowing your fish and plants to flourish together.
On the downside, these planter baskets do not offer the same kind of educational experience some of the other kits provide, so these would be a better option if you just want to grow plants in your pond rather than share a project with your kids.
Also, the planter baskets are a little on the expensive side for what they are – but they still won’t burn a hole in your pocket, and most people will be happy paying for such a useful item.
A great option if you want to add some vegetation to your pond – and your fish are sure to enjoy them too.
The Joyfay fish tank is another kit that gives you just about everything you need to get started in basic aquaponics. The 3.2-gallon tank gives you plenty of space to keep fish below – and their waste is turned into nutrients and pumped up to help your garden grow above.
With an attractive, minimalist design, it will look great in most homes, and it also provides an interesting project for kids who want to learn about plants and fish. It’s an ideal option for young children who are ready to look after their first pet.
One complaint we have is that, compared to some other kits, you don’t get quite as much for your money. The tank, pump and stones are all in there – but unlike some other kits, you need to provide seeds, water purifiers etc. yourself.
Furthermore, the instructions are poor – and mostly in Japanese – so you don’t benefit from the educational element as much as with some other kits.
To summarise, this could be a good choice if you want a basic kit to get started with aquaponics and are willing to pay for a few extras yourself. Perhaps not the best option if you are looking for a pack that gives you everything you need to get started.
If you are curious about aquaponics and you want to give it a go, you’ll probably want to know which features to look for when choosing the right kit. Let’s think about some of the most important ones now.
When choosing an aquaponic kit, the first thing to pay attention to is what’s included in the pack.
The best kits include everything you need to get started, with the tank itself, the grow trays, the growing medium, the seeds and the water purifiers all in the box.
However, others might not include all these elements, and you will need to supplement what comes in the kit with some additional purchases.
For this reason, you should look carefully at exactly what is included and what isn’t.
The size of the tank that’s included is an important consideration – fish need a certain amount of living space, just like anything else, so you should make sure the tank is large enough for the species and the quantity of fish you want to keep.
Not all kits include the tank – if you are buying a kit that converts an existing tank into an aquaponic garden, make sure you choose the right size for the tank you have.
The degree of symbiosis created varies between aquaponic systems. With a true aquaponics setup, the fish waste is transformed into nutrients, naturally cleaning your tank and feeding the plants at the same time.
However, others are merely decorative items that simply have a fish and a plant sharing the same space. These versions are fine if that’s what you want – but be aware that you will need to clean this type of system regularly, just as you would with a normal fish tank.
Grow light included?
Most kits don’t include a grow light – only one in our review has the light as part of the package. Pay attention to this and be aware that you may need to buy a separate light if your plants don’t see enough natural sunlight.
Aquaponic kits make great educational projects for kids. If this is what you are interested in, make sure you choose one that comes with plenty of information and educational material so your kids will be able to gain the maximum benefit from the project.
Some great options to pick from
As you can see, there are plenty of great options to choose from. If you have decided you want to try your hand at aquaponics but don’t know which kit to go for, any of the options in our review would be ideal for helping to get your aquaponic garden off to a perfect start.