DIY Aquaponics: Top 5 Books on Aquaponic Gardening

Aquaponics is a revolutionary yet time-tested system for growing plants by fertilizing them with the waste water from fish in a sustainable closed system. Aquaponics is something that many commercial farmers have known about for years, and ancient societies used long ago. If you want to grow your own organic herbs and vegetables with as little effort as possible, you just need a bit of know-how and investment of time and resources to get started.

Essentially a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, aquaponic gardening is an amazingly productive way to grow organic vegetables, greens, herbs, and fruits, while providing the added benefits of fresh fish as a safe, healthy source of protein. On a larger scale, it is a key solution to mitigating food insecurity, climate change, groundwater pollution, and the impacts of overfishing on our oceans. Aquaponics systems are completely organic. They are four to six times more productive and use ninety percent less water than conventional gardens. Other advantages include no weeds, fewer pests, and no watering!

The best way to get started in DIY aquaponics is to first learn everything you can about it – the basic science, how a basic system works, and what and what not to do. Spending a few days reading up on aquaponics will save you many days of fixing the design later or worse — having to live with a leaky or clogged system that you made without having the proper knowledge of how to design a good flowing system. Save time and money with these very thorough books on Do-It-Yourself aquaponics.

5 Best Books on DIY Aquaponics

#1 Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together

sylvia bernstein aquaponic manual
Learn more about this book on

Aquaponic Gardening is the definitive DIY aquaponics home manual, focused on giving you all the tools you need to create your own aquaponic system and enjoy healthy, safe, fresh, and delicious food all year round. Starting with an overview of the theory, benefits, and potential of aquaponics, the book goes on to explain:

  • System location considerations and hardware components
  • The living elements–fish, plants, bacteria, and worms
  • Putting it all together–starting and maintaining a healthy system

Anyone interested in taking the next step towards self-sufficiency by implementing aquaponics will be fascinated by this practical, accessible, and well-illustrated guide.

Sylvia Bernstein is the president and founder of The Aquaponic Source and the Vice Chairman of the Aquaponics Association. She also manages, the largest US-based online community site dedicated to aquaponic gardening. An experienced speaker and internationally recognized expert on aquaponic gardening, Sylvia writes and blogs on the subject for the Aquaponic Gardening Blog, Growing Edge and more. Her inspiration is a large, thriving aquaponic setup in her backyard greenhouse in Boulder, CO powered by tilapia, catfish, and other creatures-that-swim.

#2 Aquaponics: How to Build Your Own Aquaponic System

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Buy How to Build Your Own Aquaponic System on kindle for $3

This Celine Walker’s book contains everything you need to know about growing your own fish and food simultaneously. If you just want to start small or go commercial, this book has all you need to know about the process that makes aquaponics so ingenious. This is a great introduction to setting up your own DIY aquaponics system. We’ll tell you what the right ppm measurements in your tank are, what crops grow best, tips to stop you making common mistakes and how to make use of that dark space underneath to grow extra things.

In this book you’ll find the answers to these questions and more. Just some of the questions and topics covered:

  • What is Aquaponics?
  • Introducing Aquaponics at Home
  • Designing a System
  • Animals and Plants
  • System Maintenance
  • Making a profit

Celine Walker is an American chef and gardener. Her best-selling books on aquaponics and different diets have received much praise. First appearing in the bookstores with her book on Keto, she had become a well known chef in American popular culture, and, along with other world-class food writers, she has influenced readers in regards to nutritious substances and gardening. As a chef, gardener, and best-selling author, Celine is known for her honest thoughts and trustworthy advice. Her mission is to help people live a healthier life by both inspiring readers to change and giving practical guidance along the way.

#3 Aquaponics: A Comprehensive Guide and the Best Ways to Grow Aquaponic Plants (2 In 1 Bundle)

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Learn more about Sheila Brown’s Aquaponics 2 in 1 Book

Book 1: Master a System that Can Feed You, Your Family, and Even Give You More than Enough to Sell Afterwards if You Want

Like most comprehensive guides, this book starts with the basics and goes from there. She makes this information make sense even if you’ve no previous science or agricultural knowledge. After reading this book, you’ll master a system that can feed you, your family, and even give you more than enough to sell afterwards if you want.

Just some of the questions and topics covered include:
  • Why I Chose Aquaponics
  • In Depth: The Nitrogen Cycle & Aquaponics
  • Designing Your System
  • Before You Start
  • Getting The Bacteria Right
  • Choosing Living Creatures
  • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Book 2: Discover The Best Ways To Grow Aquaponic Plants

Aquaponics is a great way to grow fish and food together, but the biggest question for most people is how to grow. Since so many plants do well with aquaponics, it’s easy to get over enthused and try to grow everything! With the right set up, you can do this, but it’s also much harder to have healthy plants if you’re a beginner, so it’s a good idea to start out small. Similarly, even if you’ve picked out plants already growing them in a system that fits your space can be the bigger challenge.

In this book, Sheila Brown looks at a few creative ways to grow your plants and tackle the common problems that plague many growers so that your plants will be the best they can!

Just some of the questions and topics covered include:
  • Creative Growing with Aquaponics
  • The Basic System
  • What Plants?
  • Grow Beds
  • Strawberry Towers
  • Freestanding Z Guttering Wall

#4 Aquaponic Design Plans, Everything You Need to Know: from Backyard to Profitable Business

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Aquaponic Design Plans, Backyard to Profitable Business on Amazon

This 550+ page user-friendly book by David Dudley shows you how to easily produce an abundance of fresh organic produce and healthy fish. Feed your family healthy food, barter and/or sell surplus. Everything from beginner basics to operating a profitable aquaponic business, Step-by-Step Instructions and SO much more is included in this VALUABLE resource. Expensive university courses and lengthy on-site training workshops which cost thousands of dollars do not provide as much valuable material as presented in this comprehensive user-friendly ‘how-to’ book.

This how-to resource consists of three important sections:
  • Aquaponic Design Plans
  • Instructions
  • Everything You Need to Know about Aquaponics

This book provides detailed directions to create and maintain different types of aquaponic systems of all sizes so you can consistently feed your family environmentally friendly sustainable healthy organic food, substantially lower your food cost, and even earn extra income. In addition, this book will show you how to successfully barter and earn extra money from your aquaponic harvest; and even transition your aquaponic operation into a profitable business.

Included within this book are:
  • design plans
  • nearly 400 photos and illustrations which show you how to set up and operate different types of aquaponic systems of any size
  • how to scale-up in size to produce even more organic vegetables and fish as you desire grow
  • real-world aquaponics business plan — everything you need to know so that you can to easily turn your aquaponics operation into a profitable venture

The author, David Dudley, is a professional aquaponics consultant who has helped many individuals and companies develop aquaponics systems. His accomplished career in aquaponics, hydroponics, and aquaculture includes serving as the Construction Manager of the Oklahoma Aquarium, Engineering Manager of the nation’s largest caviar producing company, overseeing life support systems of four large aquaculture facilities, designing a $5M aquaculture operation for white sturgeon, and Project Manager of a large fishing clinic facility for the U.S. Department of Wildlife. David holds advanced degrees in civil engineering and nutrition/dietetics, owns a commercial nursery, and has several decades of experience in vegetable gardening. David understands every facet of aquaponics and clearly communicates aquaponics in a way that truly helps others.

#5 The Bio-Integrated Farm: A Revolutionary Permaculture-Based System Using Greenhouses, Ponds, Compost Piles, Aquaponics, Chickens, and more

best DIY aquaponics book The Bio-Integrated Farm: A Revolutionary Permaculture-Based System Using Greenhouses, Ponds, Compost Piles, Aquaponics, Chickens, and More
The Bio-Integrated Farm: A Revolutionary Permaculture-Based System Using Greenhouses, Ponds, Compost Piles, Aquaponics, Chickens, and More by Shawn Jadrnicek

Last but certainly not least, The Bio-Integrated Farm is not just about aquaponics — it’s a comprehensive DIY manual for sustainably managing nature’s resources in ingenious ways. This groundbreaking book brings “system farming” and permaculture to a whole new level. Author Shawn Jadrnicek presents new insights into permaculture, moving beyond the philosophical foundation to practical advanced designs based on a functional analysis. Holding his designs to a higher standard, Jadrnicek’s components serve at least SEVEN functions (classical permaculture theory only seeks at least two functions). With every additional function a component performs, the design becomes more advanced and saves more energy.

A bio-integrated greenhouse, for example, doesn’t just extend the season for growing vegetables; it also serves as a rainwater collector, a pond site, an aquaponics system, and a heat generator. Jadrnicek’s prevalent theme is using water to do the work. Although applicable in many climates, his designs are particularly important for areas coping with water scarcity. He has created permaculture patterns ranging from raising transplants and field design to freshwater prawn production and composting. These patterns have simplified the operation of the 125-share CSA farm while reducing reliance on outside resources. In less time than it takes to mow his two-acre homestead, Jadrnicek is building a you-pick fruit farm using permaculture patterns. His landscape requires only the labor of harvesting, and the only outside input he buys is a small amount of chicken feed. By carefully engaging the free forces of nature―water, wind, sunlight, convection, gravity, and decomposition―Jadrnicek creates sustenance without maintenance and transforms waste into valuable farm resources.

The Bio-Integrated Farm offers in-depth information about designing and building a wide range of bio-integrated projects including DIY aquaponics, aquaculture, hydroponics, reflecting ponds, water-storage ponds, hydronic heating, water filtration and aeration, multipurpose basins, greenhouses, compost heat extraction, pastured chicken systems, cover cropping, and innovative rainwater-harvesting systems that supply water for aquaponics, drip irrigation and flushing toilets. The most ingenious, comprehensive survival book I have come across.

Shawn Jadrnicek has nourished his interest in sustainability through work as an organic farmer, nursery grower, extension agent, arborist, and landscaper, and now as the manager of Clemson University’s Student Organic Farm. From his earliest permaculture experiments with no-till farming in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California to his highly functional bio-integrated designs in the Southeast, Shawn has learned how to cultivate food in a variety of climates and landscapes. He shares his creative solutions through teaching, consulting, and design work.


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