Growing Plants in your Fish Tank

Meet Bitty the Beta!

Need a fun activity to do with kids at home, or just by yourself? Try some simple aquaponics in your fish tank!

Meet Bitty the beta fish. She is part of our home aquaponics experiment. 

 Aquaponics For Beginners defines aquaponics as, “the combination of fish and plants.” The reasoning being that the fish poop will offer free fertilizer to your plants. In some systems, the fish also eat the plants, creating a perfect circle.


Step one: Build a Habitat

We bought a basic fish tank from the pet store and made a custom top for it by cutting a sheet of clear acrylic and 3d printing net cups. 

Step 2: Find your Fish 

Starting an aquaponics system on your kitchen table is a little different from starting one in a large production tank. When selecting fish for a larger aquaponics system, people choose popular edible fish, that way, they eat the plants and the fish. 


Since it’s not really possible to do that in a 10 gallon tank, we had to get creative. 

Pro tip: Put a little thought into your fish choice before you go to the pet store. If you just go into the pet store and say you need fish for your aquaponics tank they will think you’re crazy. (This advice given from personal experience) 

I had this great idea, that if we grew cat grass, our cat (who normally loves grass and any grassy type houseplant) would eat the cat grass and be happy. Thus adding another fun element into the aquaponics system. 

However, our cat is a wimp and would not go anywhere near the tank of water to get to the grass. So we just had pretty, decorative cat grass in the house. 


Step 3: Start Your Seeds.

We filled the net cups with leca (lightweight expanded clay aggregate), sprinkled cat grass seeds on top and covered them with moist paper towel to keep them wet.

Step 4: Germination! 

From this post

Found this simple system online for those that don’t have time to build their own. This system gets great reviews!