Types Of Aquaponics Systems

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

The nutrient film technique is most commonly used in commercial hydroponic applications and is used to grow large quantities of leafy vegetables that have small root systems. The water to feed the plants is pumped through small narrow troughs. The NFT system is generally not used in aquaponics.

Deep Water Culture (DWC)

The deep water culture application is much like the NFT system except it doesn’t use a thin film of water it uses a deeper bed of water using a suspended float.  Just like the NTF system there are only a certain types of plants will thrive in a system where their roots  are continually submerged.

Media Filled Grow Beds

The most commonly used growing method in aquaponics is media filled grow beds. With this system the medium,  otherwise known as gravel or clay pellets, is used to suspend the plants. The media from the  grow beds keeps the nutrients where the roots are located.  The gravel or clay also naturally recycles the waste from the fish.

Another benefit from using the media filled grow bed method is the fact that you can grow more of a variety of plants and vegetables.  Actually, you can grow just about anything when you use media filled grow beds than you can any of the other systems.The other two systems work best for leafy greens but have a harder time with anything else.

You will have to decide whether you want to use gravel or clay pellets.  Many people pick gravel because it costs less and is easier to get. However, they later come to realize that perhaps gravel was not the best choice.  Gravel is very heavy and you have to keep in mind that you will have the weight of the gravel, as well as, the water and both of these will have an effect on your structure.  Gravel could also affect the pH of your water.  But this will depend on the type of gravel you use.

Clay pellets are a much better choice. Clay pellets are lighter than gravel and won’t affect the pH of your system because the pellets are pH neutral.  Additionally, the pellets retain moisture but will still allow air to get to the plants roots.  This is what makes the clay pellets the preferred product among most people who maintain an aquaponic garden.

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