Modifying an Outdoor Solaris Garden to an Aquaponics Set Up

Aquaponics is the complete cycle of utilizing waste from fish to add nutrients to the water, in which the plant’s roots will absorb and use as natural fertilizer. The plants also produce oxygen rich water, creating the perfect ecosystem for healthy fish. 

Below we will go over the 3 main steps in converting an outdoor Solaris Garden 18 into an aquaponics set up. 

Step 1: Fish Housing – Determine what size pond you would like to start with. This can be a large container such as the blue 250 gallon tub pictured above or you can dig a small pond in ground and use a liner to hold water in. Make sure that your water container is large enough to house small fish comfortably and low enough so that it sits at least three inches below the bottom of your planting tray. You will be relying on gravity to drain the water from your plant tray back into the pond. Place your small pond and Solaris Garden in an area that does not get more than 6 hours of sun a day to avoid overheating of your fish and plants.

Step 2: Plumbing – The outdoor Solaris Garden 18 includes a pump that can be used for an aquaponic set up as well. Place the pump in the bottom of your small pond and guide the 1/2 inch tubing from your pond up to the planting tray and attach to the left side when viewing your planting tray from the front. You may need to purchase a longer tube depending on the size of your pond and how far the water needs to travel before reaching your planting tray. Then on the right side of your planting tray (when viewing from the front) you will see a 3/4 inch drain tube that can be guided back into your pond. Again, you may need to purchase a longer drain tube depending on ow far it needs to travel to reach back into the pond. Make sure your drain tube retains a downward slope as it leads from the plant tray back into the pond. 

Step 3: Grow – Your plants will not need supplemental fertilizer, as they will rely on waste from your fish. This being said, make sure to invest in a high quality fish food that is rich in vitamins in minerals and feed daily. Add a shade tarp to your Solaris Garden, as pictured, to protect your plants from overheating in the hot afternoon sun. 

Bonus Tips: 

1. The size of your aquaponics set up will determine the type and size of fish you can support. We recommend only using guppies or gold fish with any set up fewer than 500 gallons. 

2. When first getting started, you may add a dose of beneficial bacteria like this one to the water to kick start the natural cycles of turning over fish waste.

3. Placement of both your pond and Solaris Garden is key to long term success. Choose a location that receives 4-6 hours of morning sun and is shaded during the afternoon heat.

Watching both your fish and plants grow is a fascinating hobby and will lead to many bountiful harvests of fresh food. Contact us at with any questions or feel free to call and chat about how we can make your aquaponics dreams come true!

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