Best Book For Aquaponic Gardening For Food, Survival & Doomsday Preppers




Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together Paperback


Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together Paperback



Aquaponics is one of the best ways to grow fish and vegetables at the same time without using a ton of space. This is a great do-it-yourself book on aquaponics.  The author is an internationally recognized expert on aquaponic gardening. 


Why you might need it

Aquaponics is a revolutionary system for growing plants by fertilizing them with the waste water from fish in a sustainable closed system.  This book is a comprehensive guide to aquaponic gardening, from choosing a setup to selecting fish and vegetables.  A combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, aquaponic gardening is an amazingly productive way to grow organic vegetables, greens, herbs, and fruits, while providing the added benefits of fresh fish as a safe, healthy source of protein.  This book will save you months of effort trying to locate and compile the information that you need, and the author also provides links to the most popular and successful Aquaponic sites including her site plus the other best sites on this subject.

Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together is the definitive do-it-yourself home manual, focused on giving you all the tools you need to create your own aquaponic system and enjoy healthy, safe, fresh, and delicious food all year round. Starting with an overview of the theory, benefits, and potential of aquaponics, the book goes on to explain:
  • System location considerations and hardware components
  • The living elements--fish, plants, bacteria, and worms
  • Putting it all together--starting and maintaining a healthy system
This book contains proven steps and strategies on how to plan, set up and maintain an aquaponics system right in your own home or backyard.  Aquaponics systems are completely organic. They are four to six times more productive and use ninety percent less water than conventional gardens. Other advantages include no weeds, fewer pests, and no watering, fertilizing, bending, digging, or heavy lifting--in fact, there really is no downside! Anyone interested in taking the next step towards self-sufficiency will be fascinated by this practical, accessible, and well-illustrated guide.

The author Sylvia Bernstein is the president and founder of The Aquaponic Source and the Vice Chairman of the Aquaponics Association. She also manages AquaponicsCommunity.com, the largest US-based online community site dedicated to aquaponic gardening. An experienced speaker and internationally recognized expert on aquaponic gardening, Sylvia writes and blogs on the subject for the Aquaponic Gardening Blog, Growing Edge and more. Her inspiration is a large, thriving aquaponic setup in her backyard greenhouse in Boulder, CO powered by tilapia, catfish, and other creatures-that-swim.

Easiest Fish To Raise For Food With Aquaponics

  • Tilapia is the easiest species of fish to grow in an Aquaponic system for food.  They are an extremely hardy fish, quick to breed, they grow very fast, they can withstand poor water situations, they are resistant to disease and parasites and can tolerate typical beginner aquaponic mistakes.  As a result, a beginner will have a higher success rate starting with Tilipia, and these fish can be harvested sooner than most other fish.  The downside to keeping Tilapia fish is that they do need warm water and some colder climates may mean they can be unsuitable.  Tilapia thrive in water temperatures between 60-80 degrees F.  They prefer the 80 degree end of the range but they are usually raised in temperatures between 72 to 74 degrees F to better accommodate the plants. Tilapia can overrun other fish populations.  This explains why the Tilapia has been outlawed in some communities and states. If you are considering culturing Tilapia, you need to check your local jurisdiction before doing so.  The Blue Tilapia is a good choice.
Blue Tilapia

Blue Tilapia

Most Nutritious Fish To Raise For Food With Aquaponics

Although Tilapia is the most popular fish to raise for food with Aquaponics, the two most nutritious species of fish to raise are:
  • #1 for Health:  Freshwater trout, recommended by the American Heart Association, is high in omega-3s and low in mercury.  Rainbow Trout is a great choice for aquaponic systems where water temperatures are a little cooler. Trout prefer water temperatures between 50°F and 68°F. They have extremely fast growth rates and excellent food conversion ratios.  Some growers who reside in colder climates, especially in the winter, will grow Trout during those months. But the cold water makes the selection of plants more limited as many plants prefer the more tropical water temperatures. Trout need pristine water conditions.
Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout


  • #2 for Health:  Catfish. Although it doesn’t contain as many omega-3 fatty acids as fattier fish, catfish does contain beneficial omega-3s, and very low amounts of mercury.  Channel Catfish are the most widely farmed aquaculture species in the United States, and they are available in many areas of Australia. Catfish don’t have scales so they need to be skinned, they are quick growing and have a good food conversion ratio.  Channel Catfish are Olive Brown to Gray in color and some are spotted.  The catfish is a hardy fish that is resistant to both disease and parasites when living in quality-controlled water. But if oxygen and ammonia levels aren’t properly maintained, they will have problems. Catfish thrive in warm water and prefer a temperature of 80 degrees F.  They are bottom fish, meaning they occupy only the bottom part of the tank which provides for a lower fish crop (comparatively to other species) if you raise them alone.  Some farmers raise them with other species for that reason.

Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish

Editorial Reviews

This isn't just another book for dummies; this is a comprehensive handbook on how to grow real food...so meticulously documented, that failure is not an option. --Jeff Edwards – President, Progressive Gardening Trade Association (PGTA)

I have always wanted to put my money where my mouth is and figure out how to do sustainable aquaculture in the context of my home garden. Finally I’ve got the book to help me do it. --Paul Greenberg - Best Selling Author, Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food

This is a delightful book to read! ... I’ve been involved with hydroponics and aquaculture for 30 years and still learned from reading this very thorough how-to book. --Henry A. Robitaille, PhD - Former General Manager, The Land Exhibit, Epcot Center

Learning how to garden through the creation of a completely balanced ecosystem is now clearly understandable, even to inexperienced gardeners. -- Michael C. Metallo, President and CEO, National Gardening Association

Sylvia Bernstein has provided the "aquapons of the world" with a clear, impassioned, and elegant "Bible" to spread the good news about aquaponics. --James J. Godsil, co-founder Sweet Water Organics Sweet Water Foundation

Aquaponic Gardening is an excellent primer for anyone considering home-scale aquaculture. Whatever your location or methods, the information should prove invaluable. Fish are within reach! --Peter Bane, Publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine

Now the thousands of people who are discovering aquaponics every day have a resource for moving from the dream to the step-by-step reality of raising fish and food in their homes, yards, and even businesses. --John Thompson Sr. VP Sales and Marketing (and Basement and Backyard Aquaponist) AeroGrow International, Inc.

This book is a vital resource for urban homesteaders. --Sundari Kraft, author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Homesteading"

The science is so well explained, it is easily understood. I am ready to start. I love this book! --Jeff Lowenfels, Author, "Teaming With Microbes"

Selected Amazon Feedback

"I just finished this amazing book. I already knew a good deal about aquaponics - at least I thought I did - when I decided I had to read this book to see what the buzz was all about. What a great decision and what a great read..."

"I've built and operated two large hobby system this last year and this is THE book I was looking for when I started.  Everyone seems to make Aquaponics (AP) a DIY project. Although its not hard to build, operate and grow your own produce, there are a lot of places where you can make it challenging if you don't have access to good info. Learning AP from the Internet is a mixed blessing. Too much conflicting and misleading and even mis-applied info for a beginner.  Sylvia's book takes the guess work out of building your first or 50th system and rapidly makes it a success. It will be an invaluable resource for you, whether you are the novice, the follow-the-instruction type, the impatient ADHD prone, or the Do It Yourselfer.  All the info is in the book, well categorized, and easy to understand so you can be eating back yard grown, natural, organic, and delicious produce ASAP!  This book will help you create your own customized AP system, that will work and work well."

"...Sylvia Bernstein has collaborated with Aquaponics experts from around the world (including Murray Hallam of Practical Aquaponics in Australia) to create a definitive how-to guide for the everyman. In addition to the encyclopedia of knowledge gained from intense research, Sylvia also includes colorful pictures, illustrations, an easy to understand guide, and humorous quips based on her own experiences growing vegetables and fish together.  To say that I am impressed is an understatement. Whether you are an Aquaponics beginner who just wants to grow food in your backyard, or a seasoned professional, you will want to have this book in your library."

"I wish I had read this book 4 months ago, I would have saved money and time. Started building the system 4 months ago and just got this book. I have made several mistakes that she covered in this book I could have avoided. Darn. Better late than never. With such a new system I'm sure there will be many more disasters she has saved me from in the future.  Well written, easy to read and an exciting process. Finally got my system to "cycle" and the plants are growing... fast."

"This is emphatically not just another "here's how I made my backyard aquaponics setup". Rather it's a good collection of the wisdom of this nascent pursuit. It's pretty evenly balanced between initial considerations, start up and maintenance, and is very easy to read and digest. Despite the fact that the author has her own aquaponics websites and products, she frequently refers to other websites and forums and never really tries to push her own brand of products.

There are plenty of forums, blogs and videos online to learn how to construct a basic small scale aquaponics system. Bernstein does a good job of over viewing the basics for this, but I believe most readers would want to seek outside info to augment what she describes. Fortunately she provides links to the most popular and successful sites.

Where this book shines is that it goes into detail of what she calls the software of aquaponics. These are the fish, the plants, the worms and the bacteria. I instantly relate to her description of aquaponics farmers as bacteria farmers. I know all too well that growing ruminants, one is primarily a grass farmer. And that growing a conventional garden or using a greenhouse, one is primarily a worm farmer and a compost engineer. So, it makes perfect sense to me that in aquaponics one is primarily a bacteria farmer since it's the crucial bacteria that perform the necessary ammonia to nitrite, nitrite to nitrate conversions. I also really appreciate her detail about such topics as cycling the system and what to do in times of chemical imbalance crisis.

This book has given me the confidence to try small scale aquaponics with an eye towards eventually doing it on a much grander scale without feeling like I might just be killing fish in a barrel. It is true that much of what's in the book could eventually be found online in various forums, but I feel like this compilation of info in such an accessible format saves months of looking. If you are thinking of getting into aquaponics, or if you already have but aren't quite sure what it means when your system seems out of balance, this book is for you."


YouTube Videos

The following YouTube video shows the key element to a successful aquaponics system, and its more than just the fish and the plants. This video is taken at the Aquaponic Place in Waimanalo, Hawaii and you'll learn exactly what is Aquaponics, and how it works. 

What is Aquaponics? How it Works & Why an Aquaponic Setup Can Fail


The following YouTube video is an introduction to the recommended practices and guidelines for starting a successful aquaponics operation. The video is supported by Purdue Extension, NOAA, & Sea Grant Illinois-Indiana.

The program is an introduction to the recommended practices and guidelines for starting a successful aquaponics operation .



Other Recommended Aquaponics Books