Whether you are planning to purchase a ready-made aquaponics system or a DIY guide to build it yourself, it is important that understand the types of aquaponics design available, which design suits you best and whether what you are getting from the manufacturer is what you really want.
Do not make the mistake of not knowing what you are paying for!
The design of aquaponics can be as simple or as complicated as you make it out to be. You can personalize the designs based on your goals and constraints. However, the basics are simple.
Essentially, there are 3 main types of aquaponics design – media-filled bed, deep water culture (or raft) and the nutrient film technique.
Media-filled bed can be considered to be the most common and simplest aquaponics design. This is typically the design adopted by most backyard aquaponics gardeners.
In this design, plants are grown directly in a media-filled grow bed. The growth media used can be expanded clay or gravel. Water rich in nutrients (ammonia-rich waste and nitrates) are pumped from the fish tank to the media-filled grow bed.
The media-filled bed aquaponics design can be further subdivided into 2 configurations – continuous flow system and the flood and drain system (also known as ebb and flow cycle), based on the way the water is being re-circulated.
Deep Water Culture or raft is predominately used for commercial system. Holes are drilled on floating boards or foam rafts for the pots. The plants are then grown in these pots with their roots immersed in the water.
The raft can be floated directly on top of the fish tank. But the more common approach is to rear the fish in a separate tank, pump the nutrient-rich water through a filter and into long channels where rafts filled with plants are floated on the water surface to absorb the nutrients.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is the least commonly practiced aquaponics design. However, it is widely practiced for hydroponics. Nutrient-rich water is pumped down small enclosed channels. The amount of water trickling through the base of the gutters is so small that it only forms a very thin film.
Plants are grown in little pots or small plastic cups, with their roots in the channels. However, NFT system is not suitable for growing all types of plants. It is generally suitable for green leafy vegetables but not for larger plants that have invasive root system or become too heavy for the light-weight channels.
Which aquaponics design suits you?
Now that you have a better understanding of the basics of aquaponics design, do you have a better idea of which design suits you best?
Tip: If you have done some research or taken a look at some online forum, you might have realized that the simplest and most reliable aquaponics design has proven to be the flood and drain configuration of the media-filled bed design. It requires minimal care and can be set up very easily using containers of a wide range of materials and sizes. Hence if you are a beginner to aquaponics, you might want to give it a shot!
Hopefully the information and tips on this page to be useful. However, this is still not enough for you to design and build your own backyard aquaponics system.
After deciding on the aquaponics design to adopt, you will still need to understand the various components of the selected aquaponics system and size your system. Sounds tough?
Find out more…
I highly recommend you to check out Aquaponics4you to find out more about the step-by-step guide to help you personalize, design, plan and build your own aquaponics system.
You can get all the information you need here:
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