Hardware Learning Stuff

Aquaponic Tools

Do you have a favorite tool? Today’s episode is all about the common tools used in aquaponics.
We don’t cover everything tool related, but we cover enough to get you started with the ones you’ll need for your aquaponic adventure!

You’re listening to Fish Grow Plants—A podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.

Hello, and welcome to Fish Grow Plants! In today’s episode we’re talking about aquaponic tools.

Do you carry a multitool? Like a Leatherman or something similar? Do you remember when and why you first started carrying it?

If you’re like me, you do.

I can still remember quite clearly the rack outside the restroom at Cabela’s that held the $5 multitool. There were many options available, but the cheap one was small and I figured for $5, I wouldn’t worry about losing it.

Well, that was 9 years ago and I wonder everyday if this poor little tool is finally going to fall apart on me. I just love it!

No, it’s not the best or most ideal tool all the time, but it’s with me, I know it, and trust what it can do—and I’m comfortable with it.

That’s a big part of this episode—to help you know you don’t have to have every tool known to man to do aquaponics, but rather, to trust and be comfortable with the ones you do have.

So, how about a list of aquaponic tools!?

Certainly, but let’s be clear about a few things to start with.

First, I know some of you may interpret a tool specifically as something you hold in your hand to perform some manual or mechanical type task. I’m going to ask you to open that definition up a bit to include anything that is useful to you to perform a specific function.

And secondly, I want this list to cover a lot of aquaponic practitioners and soon-to be practitioners out there, so we’re going to cover a fairly wide path, but not dive into any one specific area; meaning we won’t be going over tools specific to indoor growing only, or the needs of a commercial grower.

Make sense?

OK, here we go:

  1. Shade cloth—to regulate air temperature over you plants. I like something reflective like Aluminet.
  2. Back-up Power/Air—to keep your fish happily breathing when the grid is down. I’m currently using a booster battery pack and a small inverter.
  3. pH meter—yes, strips do work, but a meter is more accurate, and some can compensate for temperature changes so you get a better reading throughout the year.
  4. DO, Dissolved Oxygen, meter—if you have good air bubbles, odds are you’re good, but this is insurance to KNOW you’re good.
  5. Water test kit or strips—to check the other critical parameters of your system water and make up water. Things like chlorine/chloramine, total chlorine, bromine, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and maybe even hardness and alkalinity.
  6. Seedling trays and domes—to start your seeds off in a great way—economically and conveniently. 1020 trays are all over the place, but lots of options are out there. Bootstrap Farmer has some good stuff to check out (
  7. Substrate—for starting all your seeds. There are a lot of options here too: coco coir, vermiculite, perlite, rockwool cubes, hemp, clay pellets, and more!
  8. Net pots/slit pots—to hold your substrate and seeds or seedlings. Lots of options to choose from here too. Recently, I came across some 2-inch net pots I really like from Cz Garden (
  9. Cutting tools—think knives, scissors, box cutters, exact-o’s, etc. You may not need them all, all the time, but I always seem to need a sharp edge for something!
  10. Fish net—yep, I tried to not need or use one, but man, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t have one—just be sure to size it for your fish and tank.
  11. Brushes—and rags, and sponges, and other useful clean-up devices (like towels) to wipe and soak up messes.
  12. Storage—be it drawers, bins, or an open shelf system, getting all your stuff organized not only makes you feel better, but it makes you more efficient too.
  13. Watering devices—I’m talking about the small hand-pump type sprayers and misters as well as little cups and waterers that let you gently water small plants, transfer a small amount of water, or are used for dipping and soaking things, like seeds.
  14. Buckets—I’m almost to the point of saying you can’t have too many of any kind, shape, or size. I use them all the time and always seem to be looking for another one when they are all in use.
  15. Connectors—this list includes tape, Velcro, ties, wire, or another device to hold things together. You’d think this tool and the cutting tools would cancel each other out, but it’s odd how many times I use them both! Together even!
  16. Hand tools—here are your basic “tools” like hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, etc. Having a small set around makes adjusting parts and pieces much quicker and easier than by hand alone (I probably use the channel lock pliers and a small crescent more than the others).

Alright, that’s the list!

16 tools that are useful in helping you perform specific functions when it comes to your aquaponic system.

Again, it’s a bit broad, but these are tools I use routinely, some obviously way more than others, but they are all valuable.

If you have a handy tool you use often on your aquaponics, let me know! I’d love to hear how a tool has made your life easier—and may make mine easier too!


Questions! Let me have them! Do you need clarification, more information, or maybe you just have a tangent thought—send all your thoughts my way. See the website for episode details, or just fire off an email to and I’ll get back to you.


So, was this episode good, bad, ugly, or other? Let me know! Comment, email, smoke-signals it doesn’t matter! I love to hear from you. Your feedback is immense, and I am always grateful for it. Likewise, thank you for taking the time to listen and share your thoughts. Have a wonderful day.

This has been another episode of Fish Grow Plants—the podcast all about practicing and sharing the love of aquaponics; hosted by Logan Schoolcraft.

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