Aquaponics & Aquaculture Manuals by the FAO

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has produced some informative manuals for both Aquaculture and Aquaponics. We find it extremely helpful in our context (developing countries) as they are both informative and applicable and don’t require lots of proprietary components. We have been working with the FAO to get these up as articles and in a more interactive digital format so it’s easier to consume. You can find the links below.


Hello! I have built all models of the small systems in the FAO manual in Africa. All of the information in all nine chapters of the manual is excellent. All of the information in the first eight appendices is excellent.

However, there are real systems design issues, and the parts called out for the designs proposed in Appendix 9 are not generally available in developing countries, or in any location where there is not a highly developed commercial small scale/ home landscape irrigation tradition, which is rare, even in many OECD countries. You therefor may have to import all of these parts with you from a developed country, and interfacing with local parts will probably not work well.

For example, note that many of the parts combine imperial and metric dimensions, like " PVC adaptor (25 mm × 3/4 in) female". This means that you need both imperial and metric connectors and/or PVC pipe. Please work carefully with your on- site team to confirm availability of schedule 40 PVC pipe, and that the specified diameter of the pipe available locally is true. Most “PVC pipe” in developing countries is low- pressure thin- wall, and therefor has an unexpected ID, even when they specify a familiar OD, which might also not be what you expect. Sometimes all that is available is high pressure grey thick- wall pipe for large irrigation systems. If the pipe is offered in imperial dimensions, for example, a “2 inch OD” pipe will actually be 50mm, not 50.8mm, so your connections will either not fit, or will leak.

I am happy to assist anyone who finds themselves in a jam because of these issues.