CRAFT stand for Constant Return Aquaponics Feeder Tank System it is a modular concept of practicing aquaponics for urban enviroment. It is suitable for area where you don't have much space or where you are starting new and want to later expand as you gain more experience.

CRAFTS utilize growbed over fish tank approach, one of most common and easiest approach towards media base Aquaponics. The starting point is a single fish tank of about 100 gallon capacity with 1 or 2 growbed over it.

As you progress first step is to add more growbed to the limit of fish tank to growbed ratio. Shown below 4 growbed to a single 100 gallon fish tank.

Actual running installation below of above theoretical concept.

Additional Fish tank can be install and this is the start of CRAFTS components on your set. Tank can be added one by one progressively with growbed follows to accommodate the extra water volume available.

Above CRAFTS with a Return tank most growbed drain into it and a Feeder tank where water feed pump is located and under certain circumstances can have water return to it.

Feeder tank can use a single pump if capacity is enough or multiple pump as needed to support multiple growbed.

Water in Return tank is always at its maximum level since it has an over flow which ensure this level is maintain. Return tank over flow will send water into the Feeder tank as growbed drains which will then pumped back to the growbed completing the cycle.

More tanks and growbed can be added over time, and each Return Tank with its Growbed set is called a Node. Each Node can be self contain if needed and can form a network similar to a Star topology  with Feeder Tank as a centralize Collector-Feeder unit.

Each of this CRAFT setup is limited by the Feeder tank capacity to ensure adequate water is supplied to all growbed while maintaining a minimum level of water in the tank.

This is not much of a problem since a 100 gallon Feeder tank can supply many growbeds. In situation where further expansion is required Return tank can be converted to a Feeder tank with minimal of work to it.

Fish tanks are physically isolated from one another its possible to rear different fish in the tanks and feeder tank can be use to keep Fingerling in safety away from bigger fish.

CRAFT will ensure fish will have at all time constant volume of water and various nodes of Growbed and Tank may house different fishes and feeder tank can contain Fingerlings.

Update : 21 July 2015

After operating CRAFT for more that 2 years, I am very please with the outcome. Water feed and return distribution has no issues.

Fish solids migrate to center (feeder) tank by water movement and so far I only scoop up few solids and pebbles once during the two year of operation.

Water has been very clear and odourless.

A short presentation of CRAFTS

CRAFTS and CHOPS the difference : Here
My 1st CRAFTS Installation : Here


  1. Love the site and have posted it up on our Glenribbeen Facebook page as something that would interest our more eco-minded fans.
    One point I feel i should make is that by using a small PV panel and a 12V waterpump (for caravan or RV vehicle) one can get the water to circulate or pump on high for 'free'.
    We use one (cost €35,- 5 years back) for pumping rain-water to our upstairs toilet. Works fine if cleaned each year.

    1. Hi Pfiddle, thanks for your comment. Solar power is something I am seriously looking into too to achieve better sustainability, this is one reason why I try my best to ensure siphon can be operated with very low water inflow which then need only very small watage pump per siphon.

      Each siphon currently able to operate with about 500 liter per hour water inflow which translate to about 10 watt of electricity and I practice pump off during nite further reduce power consumption, however aeration is then needed during this pump off period.

      A good solar power system able to supply about 100 watt as an estimate is needed to run a large enough system with power reserve during night aeration. Solar power is the way to go for Aquaponics.

  2. Affnan,
    Great stuff, I like the idea of having the fish tank in the ground to try and keep the temperature at a stable level. In the drawings above, are the fish in the feeder tank or the constant level tank? I assume they are in the constant level tank, so that would make a below ground level tank difficult. Also, if the fish are in the constant level tank, how do you get the waste off of the bottom and into the grow beds?
    Thanks for all your work here.

    1. Most fish will be in the constant level tank and fingerling would be in the feeder. Still not fully stock with fish yet except for few tilapia as starter fish in the return tank. I yet to see how it turn out, fish solid waste do tend to accumulates, if its too much I'll siphon hose it out. GB don't require those solids, only the ammonia will do from fish excretion.

      It will probably similar to CHOPS in term of its solid waste management, because that system too depends on water overflow.

      I'm trying out other fishes, on this set since Tilapia is already known to be good for Aquaponics, I want to check out other species.

      Good point you brought up there on solid waste, I'll keep a close eye on it.. :)

    2. After more than 2 years of operating this CRAFT set, solid waste is not a problem. They do migrate to the center tank after running it for 2 years I only manually remove the solids once during that period.

  3. I ended up putting the SLO (think that's what it's called) overflow system that seemed to hep move the solids into the grow beds where red worms take care of the rest.

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