Small-Scale Aquaponics Pruning: More Room for Fish and Constant Supply of Organic Greens


There aren’t too many choices when it comes to desktop aquaponics systems. The reasons being: the hefty price for hydroponics technology and the lack of public hydroponics knowledge.

Everyone I’ve ever exposed aquaponics to had always shown peculiar interest in his or her newfound knowledge. Aquaponics is cool – there’s no doubt about it; however, it’s not exactly accessible to everyone.

Most hydroponics and aquaponics systems are in commercialized agriculture. You may not be aware, but much of the produce you may buy from the market has been grown hydroponically. Hydroponics perfects the growing environment and maximizes efficiency by saving water and controlling micronutrients. Aquaponics replaces these micronutrient solutions with fish waste.

Mason Jar Fish Added

3 Mason Jar Aquaponics indoor herb garden (organic lettuce and mint)

Luckily, there are desktop aquaponics kits out there. These small-scale systems are not so much to provide you or your family with all the food you eat, but instead to supplement your food supply with organic, home-grown greens. Most of these desktop aquaponics systems utilize betta fish.

When it comes for caring for small-scale aquaponics systems, like Mason Jar Aquaponics, there are some factors that you should keep in mind:

  • Fish need room to swim
  • Plant roots need room to grow
  • Deep Water Culture (DWC) system has fish and plant roots sharing the same environment
  • Small System plant roots may need pruning

In hydro/aquaponics, plants will grow much faster than in traditional soil gardening techniques. This is because plant roots are exposed to more oxygen which enables them to grow more quickly. This can become a problem in a small-scale aquaponics system if the roots take over the entire water environment, leaving little room for the fish. In this case, pruning roots, or trimming, will be required. This also helps you keep a constant flow of greens if you decide to prune the leaves as well.

It doesn’t take much time to prune roots. Utilizing aquaponics will still save you time because you will hardly need to replenish the water in your system.

How to prune plants to give your fish more room to swim:

  1. Remove the net pot from the system to expose the roots
  2. Take a pair of clean scissors and trim the bottom portion of the roots
  3. Dispose of the roots (or compost) and replace the net pot back into the system
  4. Recommended: harvest from your plant
    1. Prune the green portion (leaves, fruit, herb) of your plant to balance the roots:greens ratio.
    2. Add to your next cooked dish

pruned unpruned~2

After I pruned the roots of this loose-leaf lettuce, I pruned some of the outer leaves and made myself an organic salad for lunch 🙂 This way, you can keep your fish happy and also have a constant supply of greens.


It’s really easy to prune your plants to manage growth – both for your system and your fish environment. Once you start breaking down the steps in order to maintain a hydroponics system, it becomes much simpler to manage.

Have any questions? Ask in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for reading. Follow my blog to subscribe to my posts.

Mel from Green PLUR


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