Kijani Grows Mini DIY Aquaponics Kit


Smart Aquaponics is a fun way to study STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) and to grow your own food.  We designed this kit for Makers of all ages as a tool for reducing friction in integrated and project based learning.

This kit is designed to make learning STEAM easy by focusing on fundamental knowledge, which is the foundation to creating great engineers. The Mini DIY Smart Aquaponics Kit combines aquaculture, farming and robotics to build an internet-enabled aquaponics garden ecosystem.

What is Smart Aquaponics

Aquaponics uses bacteria to break down fish waste to grow plants in a recycling water system. Aquaponics grows organic healthy food while using very little water and without soil. Smart aquaponics brings the power of the internet, robotics, and software to aquaponics by using microcomputers and sensors to convert the physical garden into digital data. This kit helps students understand how the basics of art, math and sciences— as building blocks can integrate with engineering—to build systems that solve significant human problems such as hunger.

The physical kit comprises of three parts: the garden construction, the controller electronics assembly and the software configuration.

What’s in the Box

Garden kit

The aquaponics garden kit consists of:

  • 8 laser cut garden lumber pieces
  • Fasteners – 1” #6 machine screws & nuts
  • Garden liner
  • 28 zip ties
  • ¼” tubing
  • ¼” connectors – 3 tees, 3 elbows and 1 end cap
  • drainage kit (1 bulkhead fitting, 2 extenders, 1 screen)
  • assembly tool
  • 2.5 gallon glass fish tank
  • 5v dc pump
  • 9v 2A power adapter

Controller kit

The smart aquaponics controller kit consists of:

  • v2 smart controller electronics board
  • sensor box laser pieces
  • Fasteners – ½” #6 machine screws & nuts
  • 5 sensors – humidity, room temp, water temp, light level, tank level, gb capacitive sensor
  • connectors – pcb headers, pins
  • wires
  • corrugated enclosure
  • Documentation

What you will need

What you will require to install garden

  • Masking tape
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Long nose pliers
  • Fish
  • Seeds
  • Pea gravel
  • Water conditioner / or rain water

What you will need to install the electronics kit

  • Soldering iron
  • Solder wire
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire stripper

Garden installation instructions

Garden kit parts


Assembling the Garden

  1. We will begin the installation with the irrigation tubing. Locate the black irrigation tubing and cut them to the following lengths 10cm, 2×12.5cm, then 10cm,10.5cm, 12.5cm, then, 4cm, 8cm and 18cm,  as shown grouped below:



  1. We will begin by connecting the two short pieces from the 3rd group with elbows as shown below;


  1. These will connect through the storyboard and base panels as shown below:



  1. Insert the elbow connector with the longer tubing through the front of the storyboard panel hole as shown below:




  1. Insert the tubing with the shorter elbow into the elbow passing through the storyboard as shown below:



  1. Insert the storyboard into the base board by aligning the the panels so the slits and the irrigation tubing holes fit together as shown below:


  1. Push the elbow through the irrigation hole in the base board. Add some painters tape to the t-slots for securing the fastening nuts as show



  1. We will now secure the storyboard to the baseboard temporally using the tank sensor clip, nut and bolt shown below


  1. Begin by inserting the hidden nut into the upper side of the storyboard as shown below. Painters tape on the storyboards t-slot will make it easier.


  1. Mount the tank sensor clip underneath the baseboard by aligning the clip’s slots with the fingers at the bottom of the storyboard.


  1.  Insert bolt into the mounting hole and secure the storyboard against the bolt  as shownbaseUnder4.jpg


  1. Next we insert the pump tube at the bottom of the baseboard as shown below:


  1.  Push the tube securely into the elbow underneath the baseboard


  1. The baseboard, storyboard and tubing assembly is shown below with tubing securely in place to prevent leaks later


  1. Next add the side panels, typically shown below


  1.  Begin by adding the captive nut to the baseboard as shown below


  1.  Align the baseboard fingers with the slots on the side panel and insert them together


  1. Insert the bolt and secure the side leg firmly to the baseboard assembly as shown below




  1. Next we add the second side panel as shown below


  1. Align then firmly insert the side panel into the baseboard/storyboard assembly as shown below



  1.  Insert the captive nut then secure the bolt using a screwdriver as shown below


  1. The baseboard, storyboard and both side panels are shown mounted below


  1. Next we will add the back panel. Locate this and add the captive nut into the t-slots with the sticky tape


  1. Align the slots on the panel with the tabs  on the garden assembly and mount the rear side panel using blots as shown below


  1. Secure the rear panel with the nuts on the face and sides as shown below



  1. The assembled rear panel is shown below


  1. Next we add the front panel shown to the garden assembly



  1.  Align the front panels t-slots to the tabs on the garden assembly and fit together as shown below


  1. Secure this using the captive nut and bolt as shown below



  1. The garden with the assembled front panel is shown below



  1. We can now add the water pump typically shown below (note your pump may look different from the used in this documentation)


  1. Begin by insert the adapter tube into the pump outlet nozzle


  1. Insert the pump and the adapter tube into the main pump tube as shown below


  1. This should typically look as shown


  1. Secure the tubings with a zip tie as show


  1. There is a wire channel on the bottom of the baseboard by the pump pipe hole as shown below.


  1. Insert and run the pump wires through the  wire channel as shown


  1. Secure the pump wires to the tubes with  zip ties as shown


  1. From the inside of the garden insert and run the pump wires through the wire channel  in the storyboard as shown


  1. Pull the wires through into the  control chamber and secure with a zip  tie as shown below


  1. Bundle the wires together and store these in the control chamber for how as shown (with front panel removed for clarity)


  1. Next we add the waterproofing liner shown below


  1.  Spreading the liner with shiny or dimpled side up. (this side is designed to encourage bacterial growth due to the increased surface area) as shown below


  1. Starting with drainage hole side, fold one of the end corners in the middle over one another similar to folding a paper airplane. Align the first 3 holes as shown below.


  1. Fold this corner over itself again as shown below. Align the three holes from the first fold to the lower closest three holes as shown below


  1. Insert the cable ties in the three aligned holes to keep the double folded end together as shown below


  1. Repeat for the adjacent edge similar to a paper airplane fold as shown below


  1. Align the three slotted holes to the lower holes and insert cable ties to hold the lining folds in place as shown


  1. Just like folding a paper airplane


  1. Keeping the liner together on the folded end, lift and insert it into the garden assembly as shown below. Ensure that the drainage hole in the liner and baseboard are oriented correctly


  1.  Insert the zip tie ends into the slots in the side panel, ensure that the zip ties face upwards as shown


  1.  Straighten out the liner folds  to allow the drainage holes in the liner and baseboard to center  naturally as shown below.



  1. The upper liner flap at the folded end should be ready for tucking if the zip ties were laced correctly as shown


  1. Fold the flap and lace the zip tie ends through the side panel and liner holes as shown


  1. Now we begin to fold and zip tie the other end of the liner starting with one corner as shown below


  1. Fold the corner in half into a triangular so the zip tie slots align as show below


  1. Fold the corner over again so the zip tie slot align with the low holes in the inside fold


  1. Add zip ties through the three holds that align to hold the liner folds in place as shown


  1. Fold the remaining corner into a triangle and folder over aligning the zip tie slots as shown


  1. Align the liner holes and insert the zip ties into the folded liner


  1. Align the lner with the side panel and insert the zip ties through the garden side panel holes as shown



  1. Fold the top flap over the  side panel and lace the zip ties through – facing up as shown below


  1. Insert zip ties through the lower holes in the liner and back side panel as shown


  1. Fold the liner flap over the back panel and lace the zip ties through the  panel and liner as show


  1. Lace the zip tie through the lower holes on the liner and through the storyboard panel. Fold the flap over the storyboard panel and lace the zip ties through as shown below. Ensure all the zip ties are facing up and that every zip tie hole, especially the triangular ends are laced correctly.


  1. Next we insert and secure the drainage. This consists of the bulkhead kit and standpipe shown below


  1. Insert the drain kit through the drain hole in the liner and garden baseboard. As shown below


  1.  Straighten out the liner to remove any kinks so the drain kit rubber o-rings sit flat against the liner pushing through completely as show from the bottom



  1. Secure and tighten the other part of the kit with your hands only (you can break the drainage kit tightening with plumbing tools)


  1. We will now complete the top part of the irrigation. The tubing pieces (we cut earlier on while assembling the  storyboard and baseboard panels) and the connectors required to connect these together are shown


  1. Insert the tee connectors between the long pieces and interconnect the short pieces using the elbow pieces and terminate using the end plug. An optional elbow piece is used to interconnect with the tubing from the pump if we have not already put one as show earlier on.


  1. Place the irrigation fittings onto the top of the garden liner as shown


  1. Align the open end of the irrigation tubing with the tubing from the pump


  1. Connect the irrigation tubing securely with the pump tubing in the control chamber as shown


  1. Align the irrigation tubing over the garden edges and fasten the zip ties around the irrigation fitting, loosely at first then progressively tighten maintaining the tube alignment


  1. The end and begin should appear as follows


  1. Secure the irrigation fitting and rotate all the zip tie lock ends to the outside of the panels apart from those on the storyboard panels which are rotated inside as shown


  1. Using a cutter, snip out the cable tie ends as shown


  1.  A closer look at a snipped zip tie is shown


  1. We can now complete the rest of the drainage kit stand pipe pieces shown below. Notice that one one of the extension pieces has holes drilled on it’s side


  1. Assemble the standpipe with the piece with the holes on the side at the bottom


  1. Insert the stand pipe into the drainage hole as show


  1. Next we add the control chamber cover as shown


  1. The slotted end goes around the irrigation tubing


  1. The slotted edges go around the zip ties


  1. We can now add rocks and water.


  1. The following connector is used to terminate the pump wire connection


  1. Strip both ends of the pump and insert them into the connector terminals as shown


  1. This connects to the power supply connector as shown