Aquaponics Project Update till March 2012.

For studding possibilities of Aquaponics systems under Indian scenario initial trial experiments are going on in Vigyan ashram from July 2011.  During last 7-8 month, we were testing its basic working principles, different fish and plant growing parameters, water / growing media qualities and possibilities of developing entrepreneurship for rural as well urban/semi-urban youth. In short we try to complete same initial Home Work before entering into actual commercial field testing’s.

Following are the important work we did during last 7-8 months in this regard-

  • We established one small NFT (Nutrient film technique) based system having 500 liters water tank and 0.21 Sq M growing area with tilapia/guppy/rhoau fish.
  • In this system leafy vegetable like fenugreek / Spinach and fruit vegetables like Tomato / Okra where planted.
  • Small pump of 2.0 meter head was fixed for water circulation.
  • Apart from this we also tried to build one small system based on flood & drain system, but system failed due to very small water tank & growing area.

Following are the important learning for last 7-8 months-

  • Fish grows well in fixed range of parameters like pH, NH4/NH3 and dissolved oxygen level in water. If fish are growing well with all above parameters then Aquaponics system will work fine.
  • Following table shows water quality parameters of our system Vs water in Thitewadi Dam ( from where we brought fish)-

Date of test

Aquponics system water

VA farm Tank

Thitewadi dam water

  pH NH4 DO pH NH4 DO pH NH4 DO




4.0  PPM





less than 0.5

6.4 PPM






  • From above table we learn that even though pH of water is same but dissolved oxygen level is much less in aquaponics system water and that is the reason for less fish growth & much higher fish mortality. (DO should be more that 5 ppm and NH4 should be always less than 0.5 PPM).
  • In case of VA farm tank even though level of oxygen is good but level of NH4 is very high which is mainly because of accumulation of fish waste (NH4) in tank. (Need to reduce by replacing water or by aquaponics).


  • Periodical water analysis of aquponics system was done do check bio-filtration process and its efficiency in relation with root (growing bed) surface area. Following table shows effect of more root surface area on level of NH4 –

Date of testing

Testing Parameters

Grow bed surface area
  NH4 NO2 NO3 DO pH  
14.01.2012 0.5 PPM 0.4 PPM 0.40 PPM 6 PPM


Growing bed SA = 0.039 Sq m
20.02.2012 0.3 PPM 0.5 PPM 0.50 PPM 6 PPM


Growing bed SA = 0.21 Sq m


  • From above table this is clear that when we increase growing bed area / root surface area bio-filtration increase, resulting in better plant/fish growth.



  • Similarly information about fish rearing (water parameters) / fish breeding / fish feed / plant growing media in aquaponics system / plant to be grown / different system consonants etc is also gathered from internet and by personal visits during these 7-8 months.

From all above learning’s new system for with commercial aspect is designed. Following are important features of this system –

  • Water tank – 1000 Lit with fingerlings (No.500) of Cyprus fish.
  •  Growing bed area 1200 Lit (half cut blue barrels).
  • Depth of Growing bed 0.30 M (Aprox).
  • Growing media – cocopit + vermicompost + sand (1:1:0.5).
  •  Plants to be grown – Leafy vegetables – Fenugreek, Spinach, Coriander. Fruit vegetables – Tomato, Chili, Capsicum, Brinjal.
  • Present water analysis report –

Water pH Remark MH3 (Ammonia level) Remark DO Remark
7.0 – 7.5 Fine 4.0 PPM More than prescribed level  (should below 1.0 PPM) 3.0 PPM Less than prescribed level (should more than 5.0 PPM)


  • Total carpet area required for system- 300 Sq Ft.
  • Expected cost of system – Rs.9000.00.
  • Expected month of regular harvesting – Veg –June / Fish – Sep.

Probable modifications / work need to be done –

  • Dissolved oxygen level need to be more than 5 PPM for proper fish growth.
  • On time Nutrient deficiency rectification for proper plant growth.
  • Checking feasibility of project on the basic of total production Vs investment.