Growing My Own Food 5

I originally started my miniponics project as a proof of concept in improving the quality and access of food even if only by a small percent. After several months I can say that it was a success and have decided to expand on it. I wanted more fish more water and something would unobtrusive in my living room.

Some of you may be familiar with The Survival Podcast (TSP) where I first proposed building such a system on a budget of $250. Jack, TSP’s host, outlined a convincing build that guided my ideas on building this system. If you want to listen to that episode you can find the show here. After the show aired I kept an eye and started gathering materials for the build.

The first component I came across what the stand that I decided to use to hold the tank and grow bed. I was at the local Good Will to donate some clothes and the light bulb went on when I saw this rack.


This is the Ultrazinc Bakers Rack from Seville Classics that I found for only $15, a massive savings compared to retail. The size, shelf strength, adjustability and flexibility made this rack a great choice for this project. The second component that I picked up was a size 20 long fish tank at the local PetCo. That month they were running a dollar per gallon sale on aquariums and that size fits on the baker’s rack perfectly.

The next thing to tackle was finding a container for the grow bed and this is where I ran into some issues. The top shelf has 33” X 14” of useable space and this was awkward size to find a tote to accommodate. I tried using two dish tubs from Walmart based on measurements. The problem with this idea was that the tubs tapered in at the bottom leaving a lot of unused space on shelf. At around $10 a piece that was a non- starter. After some more trial and error with under-bed and other totes I settled on a 25” X 18” Sterilite tote in black from Walmart. It’s far from ideal but was already the color I wanted and sturdy enough to drill through. I’m still keeping an eye for a container that more closely fits the size of the shelf for aesthetics.

That covers the major components of the system. There were additional small items that I have listed below along with the prices and parts reused from the mini system. In my next posting I’ll go over the build as well as changes and improvements implemented from the mini system.


Seville Baker’s Rack – $15 Good Will
Aquarium – $20 PetCo
Sterilite tote – $15 Walmart
Drain pipe – $5 ACE Hardware
Clip Lamp – $5 Good Will
LED grow light – $12 Home Depot
Additional lava rock – $4 Home Depot
Pea gravel – $4 Home Depot
Additional fish – $3 PetCo
Plants – $15 Home Depot
Decorative rocks – $5 Dollar Tree

Total so far – $83

Parts reused from last build
Water Pump (temporary)
Lava rock
PVC for bell siphon
Floor lamp

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