Tag Archives: bucketponics

Mini Aquaponics


Mini-ponics? Bucket-ponics? Either way, how cool is this?

I decided that my actual aquaponic tank need more fish (3 medium gold fish in a 40 gallon) but I hesitated to add new fish into my tank. You see, I love my goldfish. I don’t want to put them at risk by exposing them to the sick fish from Petsmart (we have the worst luck with fish). So I needed another temporary tank.

sidebucket  Enter the 5 gallon bucket turned fish tank! My bro lent me a little powerhead submersible pump so I had a way to move water, I just needed a filtration media. I rigged a little net pot with clay from my main system to run the water through, popped a few mint cuttings in there and BAM I had a biological filter. The water also came from my main system, so I basically had a fully functioning tank ready to go.

Of the 5 new fish I’ve only lost one in a week which is the best odds I have ever had with Petsmart fish. I’ve been concerned with the temperature flux since it’s outside and it’s been quite cold. My main tank has a heater which I added for the week or so that we were getting down into the teens at night. I actually had some ice on the surface one morning! Luckily goldfish don’t mind the cold temps. Over a week in the bucket and the fish are doing fine which is great news!

Aquaponics fish tank

So I can probably go ahead and add them to the main tank but now I’m curious to see if this little bucket system can function long-term. If so, it would be a really easy way for people to dip their toes into the world of aquaponics. I mean this could easily go on an apartment balcony or a sunny window. I also thought it would be cool to take the bucket to Ara’s school to introduce the kids to aquaponics. Wouldn’t that be so cool?

This image from the Aquiaponics Source shows the cycle of water from fish waste to plants and back to fish. I always mix up nitrites and nitrates and I wanted to get it right if we get to show it to the Montessori kids!

I am going to keep the bucket up and running for a while to see how stable it is. I have a feeling I need a larger ‘grow bed’ to really keep the water clean and healthy. I would like to see the plants really take off and have a good root system going. It’s a fun experiment! I’ll probably transfer these 4 fish to the big tank and buy 2 or 3 more gold fish for the bucket-ponics fun!


I need more fish anyway since I will be expanding my main system soon! EXCITMENT. I’ve been living with my clipboard of drawings and diagrams just planning and thinking about what I want to change and how to do it. My family got me two new 55 gallon containers and a big bag of hydroton for my birthday so this has been going on since the 1st of January.


Don’t make fun of my little math problems for simple addition! I’m looking for the perfect balance between fish and growbeds, the location that will provide sun for plants and shelter for fish, and whatever I can do to guard the fish from death should one part of the system fail (pump fail-drain clog-overflow). I really enjoy trying to solve the puzzle. Whatever I decide I am going to need to actually build something to hold my growbeds which is very daunting. I know nothing about building things with wood but it should be an adventure!


Pea pod seedlings in the growbed!


Re-growing celery!


Yay, little fishes!


To see the build of my original single barrel aquaponics click here.

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