A Cost Effective Modular Approach To Aquaponics


Aquaponics systems need stable environments in order to thrive. In this regard, it is imperative that the systems be housed in setups such as screen houses.

However, the cost of a conventional screen house can be above reach to many farmers.

To overcome such high initial costs, custom made miniature tunnels can be implemented in a modular design to eventually become the case of “Not all eggs in one basket” approach.

Below: PVC pipes holding up mini tunnels of custom lengths, making a cost effective tunnel design, as opposed to the conventional metallic full scale screen house.


A Single Module Floor Plan Design

Miniature Screen-house Tunnel 5m by 30m

In the above modular design, farming units can be setup incrementally. A potential farmer can choose to start with one module, harvest, and use the proceeds to setup more modules.

Harvested produce can be sold off to the identified markets to aid with the running costs of the system during the fish grow out period, negating “out of pocket” expenditure.

This module features the following:

  1. A miniature Screen-house with gutters sitting on 5m by up to 30m using PVC pipes.

  2. A 15,000L buffer water tank. This will reserve rain water for an average of up to 5 months.

  3. A self watering timer for automatic plant irrigation.

  4. One (1) submersible water pump to aid in re-circulation of water.

  5. A fish pond able to hold up to 1500 fish.

  6. A 0.9m by 24m soil-less grow bed able to grow up to 500-1000 plants depending on plant variety and spacing.


The controlled environment provided by an aquaponics screen-house solves obstacles to food production caused by climate change. Growing vegetables and fish are known practices in our communities. With Aquaponics combining the two activities, efficiency in food production is achieved.

Below: A system in construction using locally available material.

Introducing this technology to communities through practical ways will motivate the building of more climate smart farming systems in Africa, which eventually promotes healthy protein uptake through the inclusion of readily available fish as a preferred source of protein in our diets.

Produce harvested from Aquaponics systems can be considered 100% organic.

As long as you keep the fish alive, the crops will be healthy and strong.  And so will the consumer be!!!

Below are photos of herbs, leafy vegetables and fruits vigorously growing in an aquaponic system.