Aquaponics is neither simple nor is it easy! We say this with respect for the complex Bio-ecology in aquatic environs, and after more than 15 years of in-depth research, trials and Aquaponics system development. It is nowhere nearly as simple as Hydroponics, but is far more efficient, lucrative and sustainable: this is not a marketing ploy, but a simple fact because we are harnessing Nature to leverage efficient financial returns.

Ask any of our many successful clients and they will verify that a thriving system can only be acheived by understanding the antagonistic macro and micro-biology in the system. Anyone who runs an Aquaponics system well, needs to have a sound knowledge of the Autotrophic and Heterotrophic biology that is responsible for natural, organic nutrient production from fish wastes and bio toxins. You need to have at least a working knowledge of water quality and the management of the critical perameters, and so Training is where we start. It is one reason why we have so many successful clients all over the world.

Practical Aquaponics S.A. offers unique practical training courses by Animal Nutritionist and Agricultural & Horticultural Consultant expert Martin Fick to help you achieve your aquaponic goals.

We offer a incredible value world-class aquaponics training experience at very affordable rates. We have masses of experience, and unique, innovative solutions to common aquaponic problems that are not dealt with on the internet, social media or on YouTube.

All images and media on this site are from our Practical Aquaponics SA systems in different locations all over the world.

In an age where our world is changing fast, especially after the Global Pandemic of COVID19 almost shut down our economies, we have come to realize more than ever before, the importance of food sovereignty, individual self-sufficiency, sustainability and financial efficiency in food production.

At Practical Aquaponics SA we have developed proven aquaponics systems that we showcase, and demonstrate at a practical level. The training is the gateway into the international closed WhatsApp and Telegram post-training support groups as well as the only way to access our proven system kits.

Aquaponics is described as the food production technology of the future. This is certainly true because it is an extremely powerful production system which harnesses the forces of nature but it is currently poorly understood by many. It is, in fact, an extremely complex ecosystem approach to food production, where the risks of failure are real because of any one of the following variables:-

  • Hydrology – specifically the way water behaves in the presence of Biology is very different to the way it behaves in a Biological vacuum;
  • Biology – The specific biology in the closed loop system that is responsible for nutrient production and plants utilize microbes to covert, transfer and transport organic nutrients to plants in complex cycles;
  • Biochemistry – The balance of biochemical elements in the system is delicate and impacts and influences the microbiology;
  • Water Quality – Including critical levels for Dissolved Oxygen, pH and TDS which enables the correct balance of the Biology;
  • Physics and Mathematics – Where to apply pressure, and where to use Gravity… The effects of Gravity, flow rates and Friction on all the elements above as well as stocking densities and system carrying capacity…

We at Practical Aquaponics also known as HPA have spent the last 15 years practically mastering the dynamics of aquaponics thoroughly in theory and in practice. We have designed and developed aquaponics systems of varying sizes that are tried and tested, and are appropriate for the conditions found in South Africa and further afield, and we have a unique, modular approach to aquaponics production that enables flexibility and maximum control of the business, while limiting risks, all of which sets us apart from other aquaponics industry players.

Our aquaponics training courses are aimed at equipping you with the necessary skills to build and maintain a healthy and productive aquaponics system. Whether you’re a DIY hobbyist or have commercial aquaponics aspirations, our aquaponics training courses are designed to aid you in your aquaponics adventure.

5,5 Day Comprehensive Practical, principled Aquaponics Training 

Salem, Eastern Cape PA SA HQ. R9700 per seat; (Click on the BOOK NOW button below to see the drop down menu for available dates)

Morning Star Cape Town R9700 per seat.  (Click on the BOOK NOW button below to see the drop down menu for available dates)

Ruimsig, Johannesburg West, Gauteng:- R10700 per seat.  (Click on the BOOK NOW button below to see the drop down menu for available dates)

Don't miss this

This in-person only intensive, premium course in all aspects of Aquaponics ends with an optional, internationally marked 3 hour EXAM which facilitates certification.

Join PA SA for a fascinating immersion into the Mastery of Aquaponics in every facet. We have designed our course material and modular systems with local conditions in mind that will save hours of reading, trials, research and frustrating internet searches, and provide all the skills and knowledge required to get the best out of YOUR aquaponics system! Our focus is on a continuous learning experience, and while it is not possible to learn everything about Aquaponics in 5 and a half days, we aim to empower you with a depth of understanding that will give the confidence to establish and grow your business using proven approaches and components successfully with the minimum risk.

The course is an engaging, comprehensive series of lectures and practical lessons on aquaponics fundamentals that provides ample time to deal with your questions. You will learn how aquaponics works, location considerations, system design fundamentals, fish and plant selection and care as well as starting and maintaining your aquaponics system for optimal health and productivity. We desire to partner with you on your journey to success, so we value the relationship that emanates from our course interaction.

As with all our courses, this is the gateway to our closed WhatsApp and Telegram post-Training Support group that is a vibrant forum where real-time help from existing successful and established Aquaponics alumni is available at all times.

Brian Dolan (Zambia): "More than a course! This was a rite of passage... An incredible experience that has empowered me to the point that I can proceed with my venture with confidence. This information is simply not available on the Internet!"

What our clients have to say about it...

George Fourie attended the October 2020 comprehensive course in Cape Town:
“This course greatly exceeded my expectations in value and the scope of knowledge. Martin and the Practical Aquaponics team have refined aquaponics and created a proven system which is so profound that I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of work and passion that went in to it!

I have done a lot of research, and I see so many failing or lack-lustre systems on the internet that leave me uninspired. Not with Practical Aquaponics however! they are unique! Aquaponics is a lot of things but it’s not a simple DIY project. In this course I learned the depth of complexity it takes to run a sustainable system that produces nutrient dense food.

Martin and his community are available every step of the way to assist you in your aquaponics journey and to make sure you’re successful and the support they offer makes the journey into the unknown so much less stressfull. I’m genuinely concerned about the looming crises of the chemical damage we’ve done to our environment, and Aquaponics adresses these concerns perfectly for me.

Doing this course connected me to like minded people who care enough to make a change and be part of the solutions which makes me hopeful about the future.

I wholeheartedly recommend the Comprehensive Course as a life changing experience.”

George Fourie


Cape Town

This is not simply a course - It is a life changing experience!
All facets of Practical Modular Aquaponics are covered in detail. Great value for money.

We have, as a result of popular demand, lengthened this empowering course to a 5 and a half -Day PA SA intensive Aquaponics training specifically designed for those contemplating Commercial Aquaponics, or those who are currently involved in the industry who would like to expand or grow their enterprise and access niche markets. The objectives of the course are to enable sound decision making in Design, Production, Management, and Market stage of an aquaponics business.

The course is also ideal for Lodge, Restaurant, Hotel, School, Local Community or Commercial Establishment Management where a commercial scale PA SA proven unit is envisioned for the supply of fresh, chemical-free greens and fish for use within the scope of business. 

Aquaponics is here to stay! The key is in getting involved and invested in the industry in a way that does not put you or your investment at risk. Training improves both your understanding of the fundamental principles, and the variables that must be controlled for profit. It also enables you access to a qualified post-training support network that is absolutely invaluable.

Itinerary - Day 1 Monday


  • 09:30 pm Introduction to Aquaponics –
  • Housekeeping
  • Expectations
  • What is Aquaponics? – Definitions & Laws of Nature
  • Plant Nutrition and interaction with microbiology at all levels – The importance of Oxygen
    • Why Aquaponics? – Rationale: The concept of Bioremediation in a recirculating system.
    • Why PA SA? – Unique focus on replicated modular PA
    • Video: The Power of One
    • Optimization to achieve efficiency
    • The relationship between Biology & Productivity


  • Demonstration of the Physics behind the Biochemistry of Aquaponics – Know WHY
Itinerary - Day 2

·       WELCOME & RECAP 08:00am

  • Types of Aquaponics & Approaches
    • Media Systems Design Options

    Media Based Aquaponics

      • Beds
      • Buckets – IrriGravity
    • Flood & Drain – Impact on Nutrient availability & Oxygen
    • Continuous Flow
      • Towers
      • Buckets
  • Water Based – DWC
      • HPA Components & Design principles
  • Aeroponics & NFT & common problems
    • Combination systems
  • Legislation in South Africa
  • Questions
  • Water quality and testing
  • pH and nutrient availability
  • Understanding Carbonates
    • Buffering & KH
  • TDS & Electrical conductivity
    • Reverse Osmosis
  • Dissolved Oxygen and Microbiology –
    • Specific Surface Area
    • Biological Surface Area
  • Water Quality:
    • Balance & Management
Itinerary - Day 3
  • WELCOME & RECAP 08:00am
    • Aquaponics The PA SA Approach
    • Water Quality – Determines success

System components, Design & Construction considerations

    • Media beds, Towers & Buckets
    • Fish tanks
    • Sumps
    • DWC Rafts
    • Bell Siphons
    • Media
    • Pumps & Aeration
    • General Design
      • Appropriate Housing
        • Heating
        • Cooling
    • Energy and Backup power options
  • PA SA Economics
  • Primary Drivers of Aquaponics as a business:
    • Capex considerations – ROI & Functionality
    • Aquaculture and FCR
    • Waste management and running cost
    • Implications of FCR
    • Production Efficiencies in Aquaponics – Making money by saving money
  • Risk
    • determining Market price
    • SWOT Analysis exercise
    • INSIGHTS & Mistakes to avoid


  • Practical session – Fish Feeding and Handling.

Demonstration of component function in Aquaponics – the impact of design on cost

 Selecting crops

  • Market considerations
  • Fish
  • Plants
    • Strategic harvesting
  • Revisit Physics, Biology & Chemistry – Balance & impact of failure to cycle
    • Practical demonstration of Bell Siphon problems
    • Creating an anoxic Media bed – Knock-on effects
Itinerary - Day 4
  • WELCOME & RECAP 08:00am

      • System components & design
      • Water Quality
      • Economics & INSIGHTS
    • Real Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – The concept and detailed treatment options


    Real IPM continued

    • Companion planting
      • Dealing with specific pests in commercial aquaponics – Bio-Pesticides

    Site Location

      • System Location and Environment considerations
    • HPA prototype development Simple to complex – Practical session
      • Water testing
      • Macronutrients & Micronutrients, adjusting pH


    • Hands-on Activities
      • Planting and Harvesting
      • Plant maintenance
      • Insect control
    • Questions
    • Revisit Physics, Biology & Chemistry – Mystery no more
    • Farm visit to Client system – Modular Commercial Aquaponics System in operation
Itinerary - Day 5
  • Cycling, Routine Maintenance, Establishing micro-ecological Plateau, Importance of beneficial Heterotrophic Fungi, Plant nutrient signalling and exudates, Bio Teas and Bio tea brewing essentials


  • Cycling the system
    • Duration
    • Establishing Both of the microbial engines
    • Cycling without fish
    • Cycling with fish
    • Adding worms
    • Crop Selection, maintenance
    • Silent partners
  • Records and Routine Maintenance.

Purpose, Value and Format

  • Seasonal
    • Monthly
    • Weekly & Daily
  • Other topics to be covered:

Fish selection, grading and care

    • Plants selection and care
    • Insect control
    • Bacteria
  • Alternative feed sources
      • Worms, Black-Fly larvae, Duckweed, Algae and Crickets
    • Practical demonstrations on Worms creating particles
      • Worm farm design
      • Worm Tea
    •  worm and compost tea brewing.
  • Delegate Course assessment.

Course Exam starts 2pm and ends 4.30pm

Exam discussion


General discussion

Thanks & Closure

Aquaponics or Hydroponics?

Our Practical Aquaponics systems are proven over 8 years of experience, trial and research under South African conditions.
We believe in the power of One! And when one is successful and is multiplied, it becomes an army that can change the way the world does food.

What it’s all about

What it’s all about

Aquaponics. The word has a certain mystery to it. I find myself often needing to explain the term to those who peer at my logo or stop for a chat in the hardware or health section of our specialty food store. Aquaponics is actually all about you. It's about your...

HPA Vertical System

HPA Vertical System

For the last 13 months or so we have been trialling this compact, vertical Aquaponics system for home and Hobby users in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This is a bit of feedback on the system performance and issues we have encountered so far.

Itinerary - Day 1 - Tuesday
  • Day 1: (8:00 – 17:30)

      • Housekeeping.
    • Introduction to Aquaponics 
      • What is Aquaponics?
      • Why Aquaponics?
      • Why PA SA?


    • Types of Aquaponics
      • Applications
    • System Design
      • System Types
      • Media based Systems
        • Flood & Drain
        • Continuous Flow
        • Design Options
      • Deep Water Culture (DWC)
      • Aeroponics and NFT


    • HPA Economics basics
      • Primary Drivers of Aquaponics as a business:
        • Feed Conversion Ratio
        • Implications of FCR
        • Waste management and running cost
      • Production Efficiencies in Aquaponics – Making money by spending wisely
    • Legislation in South Africa


    • Site Location
      • System Location and Environment
    • Components
      • Media Beds
      • Buckets
      • Towers
      • Fish Tanks
      • Grow Media
      • Pumps
      • Aeration
    • Media Bed Plumbing and Bell Siphons
    • Visit to Alan Weyer. Client run Home System
Itinerary - Day 2
  • Day 2: (8:00 – 17:00)
    • Recap
    • Crop Selection, and Silent partners
      • Fish selection and care
      • Plants selection and care
      • Bacteria and Worms
    • Water Quality management
    • pH & TDS/EC


    • Managing & maintenance of the system

    Hands-on sessions

    • Hands-on Activities 
      • Water quality testing
        • Macronutrients & Micronutrients and adjusting pH
      • Fish Feeding and Handling
      • Planting and Harvesting
      • Plant maintenance

    Workshop: Practical Aquaponics System design and location consideration.

Itinerary - Day 3
  • Day 3: (8:00 – 15:00)
    • Recap
    • Integrating the System 
      • Cycling & Start-Up
      • Fish stocking protocols
      • System maintainence and Routine checks


    • Management & maintenance of the system
    • Course Test/Exam for those requiring certification

    Workshop: Practical Aquaponics System design and location considerations.

    • Bio Pest, Disease & Insect control
    • Bacteria and Worms

3 Day Intermediate Aquaponics Training R4700pp Salem, Eastern Cape PA SA HQ and Cape Town in Morning Star (See drop down menu for available dates)

This intensive 3-Day PA SA Aquaponics course is specifically designed for those interested in Modular small-scale, hobby or home use Aquaponics, or those who are interested in the industry who would like to understand the principles for build their own hobby or DIY aquaponics systems and grow their enterprise to access niche markets.

For Investors who would like to understand the risks and benefits of Aquaponics without needing to complete the comprehensive training, this course is ideal.

The fundamentals of system Biological function, system design, system management and Bio-Pest and disease management are covered in the course, and a shortened, less in-depth treatment is given to the Business aspects, Micro-Biology and Water Chemistry.



2-hour Site visit Fundamentals R300pp or R100pp if in a group of 5 

A cursory talk on Aquaponics Basics including a tour of our facilities. This tour is for the beginner or home Aquaponics user demonstrating how to get the most out of our proven Aquaponics Kits.

Click on the Book Now Button for prices and Availability.

Learn what aquaponics is all about and discover how easy and affordable it is to setup and maintain your own system.  Growing your own great tasting, fresh, organic veggies and fish using aquaponics has never been easier.


Contact Us

Martin Fick
+27 83 2784 201