Selling Aquaponics to Women

By: Tawnya Sawyer

Are all you men out there listening? Let’s face it.  The typical aquaponics / hydroponics gardener is just like you.  My customer base is 75% male.  Why is that, especially given that gender is split evenly in outdoor, soil based gardening?

As both a woman, and someone who has been designing hydroponic and aquaponic systems for home use for over twelve years, I think I can answer that question with some authority, and some humor.  Obviously I’m going to need to speak in generalities – hopefully I won’t get myself into too much trouble!


Every so often I’ll see a forum thread or receive an email from someone who asks some variation of “Why do aquaponic systems need to be so ugly?”  These conversations are often punctuated with something like “my wife would NEVER let something like that in our house!” 

Are you a guy who will throw together an aquaponics system using recycled storage totes and old horse troughs and then stand back and revel in the bragging rights of how cheaply you managed to create your system  This may be an admirable and resourceful way to go, and may create an objet d’art in your mind’s eye. But to the woman in your life, this still looks like a pile of old, used containers.  Does this sound like your situation?

Never fear! There are still ways to have both an aquaponics system AND your lady’s buy-in.

Option 1 – Become a two system family

AquaDesigner Tranquility NiYour easiest option – just purchase her (and you) a beautiful aquaponic garden of her own.  If you get something that is pre-made from us like an AquaDesigner Living Fountain, you can be sure that it is going to be beautiful, and match her taste and decor, and will work well right out of the box.  However, as you and I both know, the real reason for giving her a beautiful living fountain of her own.   You want her to experience the magic of aquaponics and hopefully to view that IBC tote system of yours in a whole new light.

Option 2 – Make what you’ve got easier on the eyes and ears

In addition to bringing her to the aquaponics party with her own system, you may want to try doing something about the scrappy look of your current system.  Here are some ideas that I’ve seen or heard of over the years.

If it is an outside system:

  1. – Frame it in wood and / or integrate it into the deckpool to pond
  2. – Paint it to either match the existing yard décor, or in bright colors so it becomes even more of a conversation piece than it already is
  3. – Landscape around it, either with shrubs and flowers at the base or using pots of flowers
  4. – Erect an attractive privacy fence to visually separate it from the rest of the yard

If your system is inside:

  1. – Consider building cabinetry around it so it looks like living furnitureIndoor Aquaponics
  2. – Hide it in the basement or garage
  3. – Pay attention to sound! While the constant waterfall sound of an AquaDesigner Living Fountain is an incredibly soothing background sound, a large flood and drain system with bell siphons that “whoosh” when the siphons fire can be just too much in an indoor environment.  Make sure the rest of the household isn’t disturbed by your system

Ease of Setup and Maintenance

I’m willing to place a wager that any woman you ask will tell you that she is busy!  Probably too stretched with family and work obligations to realistically consider taking on a new hobby like aquaponics. So while the men I work with (and here I go making generalizations again) are often intrigued by aquaponics as a super cool DIY plumbing / gardening weekend project, the women mainly want to talk about the results, and be assured that the work level won’t be too high. 

Of course, we know the good news about maintaining aquaponics systems.  They are weed-free, and the watering and fertilizing is integrated into the system. But what about getting started?  The fact is that when you set up your aquaponics system well, and finish the first one to three months of cycling and introducing your fish and plants; aquaponics systems are actually remarkably easy to operate.  Tell her that.  Bring her to our showroom for a tour and have her talk to our staff about how we maintain our systems.  I think she will see that the bang for the buck is definitely there.


Because you are reading this blog you are probably already among the converted.  Your interest in aquaponics may stem from a love of gardening, a desire to be more self-sufficient, the appeal of being able to go fishing in your basement, or something else.  But unless you live alone, you are going to need to sell the other(s) in your household on adding this system to your lives.

The key to selling is to understand and address their concerns.  Fortunately, you now have some tools in your aquaponics toolkit to do just that.  Go get‘em!