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Open Source

Open Source
Open Source

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    HELIPONIX© is committed to combating hunger in the developing world.  According to the United Nations, global food outputs need to increase by 70% as the human population exceeds 9.7 billion people by the year 2050. Diminishing supplies of potable water and available farm land, both of which are threatened by volatile weather conditions, will become increasingly scarce as housing developments for this growing population are constructed, causing food prices to gradually increase.

      This instruction manual will show anyone how to build their own HELIPONIX© system. This manual has been open sourced by the engineers at HELIPONIX© in cooperation with the United States Department of State.

We are an American agricultural engineering firm on a mission to end world hunger. We only ask that you tag us in social media (@heliponix) posts with pictures of your own hydroponic system to track our progress.



Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using no soil, but only nutrient rich water. It uses 95% less water than conventional soil growing methods in a closed loop, and can produce crops three-times faster. It is ideal for leafy green vegetables in environments that do not have the soil quality, freshwater, or large amounts of liquid fertilizers needed to farm produce.

Aquaponics is a form of hydroponics that creates a symbiotic relationship between fish and plants. As the fish eat food given to them, they will release excrements rich in nitrites that will be converted to nitrates by anaerobic bacteria. Catfish are the most hardy fish to use in aquaponic system, but must be well fed due to cannibalism. 

Macro Nutrients are defined as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. These three nutrients are critical for plant growth

Secondary Nutrients are defined as calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.

Micro nutrients, there are 7 micronutrients needed to allow the uptake of the macronutrients for optimal plant growth. These are defined as Boron (B), Chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), and zinc (Zn)

pH is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. 1 is strongly acidic, 7 is neutral, and 14 is strongly basic or alkaline. Optimal pH values for hydroponically grown plants are slightly acidic between 5.5 - 6.5.

Flow rate is is the volume of fluid which passes per unit time. Often times measured in liters per hour or LPH. Optimal flow rate for a Heliponix™ system is 60 - 120 LPH.

Dissolved Oxygen (DO) is the amount of oxygen molecules dissolved into the water. Oxygenation of the water is crucial to prevent root rot, or suffocation of the fish in an aquaponic system which require oxygen for their gills.

Build Instructions


 This HELIPONIX© system consumes 4 m2 of space, and can yield 250 kg of vegetables annually.



  1. Begin cutting 64 mm holes with a hole saw on a drill 15 cm apart from center points in a consistent line on the 4 m long, 100 mm diameter PVC pipe. Be sure to make the holes in a straight-line pattern to prevent offsets that will spill water. If a drill and hole saw is unobtainable, then an old metal can heated over a fire can be used to make holes in the pipe.


  1. Locate three vertical pieces of wood the that will be used as structural supports. Trees or fence posts could also be viable alternative support structures. Make sure the base is anchored down with concrete if it is not in a secure area. Anchor the tops of the vertical supports with a nail and wire tightly twisted around it.

  1. Hammer nails into the vertical supports to give the horizontal PVC pipes a support to rest on. Make sure there is equal spacing between nails on the vertical supports.

  1. Use a level to make sure your PVC pipe is level to prevent water from spilling out one end.


  1. Use the metal wired twisted tight with pliyers to firmly anchor the PVC to prevent movement or theft. Concrete can also be used to anchor the vertical supports.


  1. Begin sanding the PVC reducers and elbows on their mounting faces with low grit sandpaper. This will ensure a more secure and water tight fit with the PVC glue.

  1. Use sandpaper to remove the plastic burrs from the holes on the PVC pipe made by the hole saw to give the holes a clean, smooth edge.


  1. Use a blow torch to heat up the ends of the PVC pipe until it is soft enough to change shape when touched. Then quickly insert the reducer that will be used, and wipe a cool, wet rag over the hot plastic to tightly form it around reducing insert. Add an inlet elbow to the top of the system with a 25mm elbow to receive the inlet hose.


  1. Slip the inlet hose over the PVC pipe to push water to the top of the HELIPONIX© system.



  1. Apply generous amounts of glue to ensure a water tight fit. BE SURE TO POSITION THE REDUCER HOLE SO THAT ITS CENTER POINT IS INLINE WITH THE MIDLINE OF THE PVC PIPE. This ensure that the pipe is half full of water to prevent plants from dying if the power goes out in the flood-drain configuration.

  1. Clean reservoir thoroughly with soap and water to remove any caustic chemicals that could harm plant growth. Be sure to rinse and wash thoroughly.


  1. Fill up the reservoir with freshwater, and place the submersible pump into the reservoir with the air stone from the air pump to provide dissolved oxygen to the nutrient solution.


  1. Place cotton, compost, or coconut fibers in seedlings trays to be transplanted into the HELIPONIX© system for higher production rates. Water to initiate germination, and place in a medium lit area.


  1. Use a hot nail to make holes in a plastic cup to be used as the net cup. Insert coconut fibers into the net cup which will give the plants growing media to hold moisture and root structures.


  1. Use a hot nail to poke holes in the cap of a water bottle to water the coconut fibers, and plant your seeds into the germination tray. Be sure to only use coconuts from the inland areas. Coastal coconuts will have too high of salt content from the ocean.


  1. Transplant the seedlings after the first sprouts are visible into the plastic cup with holes and coconut fibers. Seeds will have been  fully germinated in approximately 7 days, and will be ready to be transplanted to the HELIPONIX© system. BE SURE THAT THE NET CUP IS RECEIVING SUFFICENT CONTACT WITH THE WATER. 



  1. Protect your HELIPONIX© system from theives by building it on a rooftop, or buiding a fence around it.  


Email pictures and videos of your farm to to be featured! 





Bill of Materials 

Parts Quantity Price per piece Vender

Air pump CJY-2000

1 $22.00

CYJ-2000 Boyu Air Pump


Local aquarium store

submersible pump FP-1500


FP-1500 Boyu Submersible Pump

Local aquarium store

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220 L Reservoir tank

1 $23.00 local plumbing store

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5 mm hose for air pump

1 $5.00 Local Hardware store

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4 m 100 mm Dia. PVC pipe

4 $4.50 Local Hardware store

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3 m Wood Supports

3 $5.00 Local Hardware store

Image result for rubber hose

1 m 25 mm rubber hose

1 $5.00 Local Hardware store

Image result for 90 degree pvc elbow 25mm

25 mm PVC 90o elbow

1 $1.00 Local Hardware store

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40 mm to 25 mm PVC reducer

1 $3.50 Local Hardware store

40 mm to 25 mm PVC reducer

7 $4.00 Local Hardware store

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1 m of 25 mm PVC pipe

1 $3.00 Local Hardware store

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Heavy duty Nails 

15 $1.20/kg Local Hardware store

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40 mm PVC 90o elbow 

8 $1.40 Local Hardware store
Image result for pvc glue
PVC glue
1 $5.86 Local Hardware store
Image result for spool of wire
6 m Spool of wire 
1 $5.00

Local Hardware store

  Total $214.06





Parts Quantity Price per piece Vender

Macro and micro nutrient solution 

Add 2.5 grams per liter $75.00 per 25 pound bag


Lemon Juice

5mL per L of Water

$0.75 USD per lb


$1.70 USD per kg


coconut fibers

28 cubic inches per cup


470 cubic centimeters per cup 

Can be negotiated from coconut veders


bought for $18.00 for 10 X 10 oz bricks


pH test strips

2 orders per year, test water daily $5.50 USD Amazon

Plastic cups

1 cup per planting port 50 cups for $9.00 USD Amazon

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