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My aquaponic journey and how it all started

My aquaponic journey was not easy. There is so much one can learn from my mistakes and develop their own aquaponiic systems. This will enable you to produce healthy organic food for your family or build commercial aquaponic system and make a profitable business out of it. In this article, I would like to share with you a story about my first aquaponic systems and how it all started.

The very beginning of my aquaponic journey

Several years ago I wanted to create a small garden pond. My first intention was to use it to grow koi carp fish so I started searching the internet for the best ways to design and construct a pond. This search produced some interesting results and information. This was the point when I realized that the biggest problem in garden pond design is actually water filtration. Many good and bad practice solutions were flashing in front of my eyes and all this made me very confused.

Koi carp fish is an ornamental variety of domesticated common carp that is grown for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens. Koi varieties are distinguished by coloration, patterning, and scalation. Some of the major colors are white, black, red, yellow, blue, and cream.

A large number of people enjoys growing koi carp fish in their garden ponds. There are many beautiful images of gardens and koi carps on the internet. This gave me the impression that this fish is quite easy to grow in garden ponds. 

So I started digging my first garden pond. At the start, I had many questions about the whole idea and project but everything seemed so easy. I was quite naive in my obsession. The first garden pond was made with small garden pump and first fish was swimming and enjoying in it.

koi fish in my first pond

My first aquaponic failure

My joy did not last long as the water in my first garden pond started to blur and got really dirty. I remembered that when I was researching for how-to information on the internet this was the problem many people were talking about. It turned out that this is going to be quite a big obstacle in my endeavor. This was the first time I was thinking about giving up.

Besides the research, I was doing about garden ponds and how to design and make them, I also started to research the ideas about growing strawberries vertically. My thinking was that if I can’t make my water in the garden pond clear I will use it to water strawberries in pots. At that point, I had no idea where this will take me.

my first pond

Detailed search about water filtration in garden ponds and research about growing strawberries vertically was taking me into uncharted waters. Those were the topics I had no knowledge about. I realized that these two topics are connected but I could not have suspected that this connection will become my obsession and occupation.

At this point, aquaponics became a primary keyword I was searching for on the internet and probably the most important word for me in next couple of years. Garden pond water filtration has become my serious profession.

It seemed in the beginning that all I need to do is to grasp a couple of details and I will have my first aquaponic system in my backyard. This aquaponic system will be able to clean the water in my garden pond. The fish were impatient and they did not enjoy the filthy water of my pond.

It was hard to look at my first failure. At first glance, it is hard to believe that water can cause such a headache. First fish pestilence was the uncomfortable experience for me and by just looking at the dirty water of my garden pond made me feel like a big failure. That was my first crossroad. I realized that I have to get into this big dragon called science to be able to enjoy in a beautiful garden pond.

A bit of progress

Important lesson – Never give up

The whole world was opening in front of my eyes. Aquaponics became my obsession that took a lot of my time for research and learning. I had two things that pushed me forward. One was a wish to accomplish my goal and have a nice garden pond. The other was a great collection of beautiful examples and good practice I was finding on the internet. Those examples proved to me that all this can be done and can look beautiful in the end.


My first aquaponic system I created quite easily. I was hoping that this was my final success as in the beginning it seemed like it. My second crossroad was a bit tougher. Before I came to it all seemed to be working perfectly and I thought that I will not have any more problems. However, the plants that were growing in my first aquaponic system did not look perfect and at this point. I started to notice problems in their development. Fish was not quite happy yet and the water in my garden pond was still blurry and dirty. Those were sufficient reasons to give up on everything or to get back to research and learning.

On the other hand, one thing encouraged me to continue. I noticed that many people are fighting to overcome each and every obstacle they encounter on their journey to perfect aquaponic system. No one has ever said that this was an impossible thing to do.

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Related article:  Profitable aquaponics, marketing and costs

Scientific approach

In my fight with the great challenges, of my first aquaponic system, I had one big advantage. I became aware of this only when I wanted to give up for the second time. I realized that I have learned the hell a lot about aquaponics during my first attempt and all this knowledge was not cheap.

First aquaponic grow bed

At this point, I started to observe. I had to forget all the wrong facts that I have learned up until that moment and to focus on the science itself. Furthermore, I needed to look for the ways science can help me make my project possible.

Many different sciences are involved in aquaponics. Especially relevant are :

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Hydraulics
  • Agrotechnics
  • Ichthyology

To make one perfect aquaponic system from scratch, it is necessary to know the basics of all those sciences. Personal experience is of great importance but the experience of others that are also working on aquaponic system designs is just as important. 

A bit of science

As a result of my research, all the effort I have put in the learning process have paid off in the end. Looking at my first aquaponic system products was an unforgettable experience for me. My first miniature aquaponic system, and straight after that my bigger commercial system, were working flawlessly. One can always find details that might be better but that’s just a matter of personal perfectionism. Aquaponics takes some time and money to be built but the end results are justifying all the investments.

Vertical strawberries

Finally, I have managed to overcome all the obstacles with the help and support of my family, friends and great faith in success and end results. My first fully functional aquaponic system have given us the fruits of our efforts that we all enjoy now.

aquaponic journey collage


In the lights of all my ups and downs, I hope that this article will encourage and motivate you to get into aquaponics.

Therefore, in our next articles, we will share with you all the knowledge, techniques, tips and tricks how you can design and build your own aquaponic system in which you can produce your own healthy organic food for you and your family and also develop commercial systems that can make you money.

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