Aquaponics System Design – Flood And Drain

There are several aquaponics system designsranging from the most basic to more complicated ones, and some can be implemented in your home and backyard depending on how much space you have.

The flood and drain aquaponics system design is the most common for home use and also the simplest, which I’ll be going through in this article.

Bear in mind that this will be based on a media bed system, not a DWC (deep-water culture) or NFT (nutrient film technique).

Click Here To Learn How To Build Your Own Simple & Low-Cost Home Aquaponics System

The Flood And Drain System

Not only is the flood and drain aquaponics system design the easiest to build, but it’s also the easiest to understand, so it’s obvious that this is most suited towards beginners.

aquaponics system design

As you can see from the diagram above, it’s a very basic system and works well on a 1:1 grow bed volume to fish tank volume.

Here are the key points of a flood and drain system:

  • Water is pumped up from the fish tank into the grow bed (either from the bottom of the bed if drained from the pump, or (A) above the bed). Ammonia rich waste is produced by the fish and accumulated in the water which the plants feed on.  
  • When the siphon trips or the pump is switched off by a timer (B), water returns to the fish tank by gravity  (the plants filter the waste water and contains nutrients for fishes before returning to the fish).

aquaponics system design

The pros of this system are:

  • It’s very basic to build and maintain
  • It’s easily customizable
  • It doesn’t require a sump tank (a low space used for collecting undesirable liquids or/and increasing water volume)

The cons of this system are:

  • If you decide to customize your system by adding more grow beds, you will go from a 1:1 to a 2:1 bed to tank ratio. As a result, there will be too much water drained in every flood cycle from your fish tank unless you use an indexing valve. Low water levels could mean more stress for your fishes.


For a home use, a flood and drain aquaponics system design is the most suitable, especially if you’re just starting off. However, if you wish to increase your food output then you would need a more sophisticated system in place.

You would need another grow bed, add a sump tank and possibly reorganize the location of the various components in your system. If you want to learn more about this and different aquaponics system designs, I recommend that you visit here.

To get the most out of your aquaponics system, I highly recommend the following articles, where you can decide from the highest rated and bestselling products for aquaponics.

  • + Easy! DIY Aquaponics (simple guide on how to build a home aquaponics system for cheap)
  • + Aquaponics 4 You (another step-by-step guide on building a low-cost aquaponics system)
  • + Top 5 Best Water Pump For Aquaponics
  • + Top 5 Best Grow Lights
  • + Top 5 Best Aquaponics Grow Media
  • + Top 7 Water & pH Test Kit Best Sellers
  • + Top 5 Best Aquarium Heater Products
  • + Top 10 Best Fish Food
  • divider-leaf

    Click Here Now To Visit Easy! DIY Aquaponics