As aquaponics continues to develop we find many different of systems available However there still remains only a few primary methods that are most commonly used. The media-filled bed system, which many backyard enthusiasts or small scale growers use. And Raft type systems. The normally preferred by commercial growers.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most command used. Again there are many different ways but this article will only address the basics of a few.
Media filled beds are the simplest form of aquaponics, they use Grow beds filled with medium of expanded clay or similar. Water from a fish tank is pumped over the media filled beds, and plants grow in the rock type media.
This style of system can be run two different ways, with a continuous flow of water over the rocks, or by flooding and draining the grow bed, in a flood and drain or ebb and flow cycle. With the simple but very good system anyone can have a working aquaponics system.
This is also the system most of us started with. Once you see that you can produce clean chemical free food most wish to go on to build larger system. Great for the first timers. As well a great back up system to keep.
The raft system uses filtration components that allow higher stocking densities of fish and, therefore, a higher production of plaints.
One of the unique advantages of the raft system is that high volumes of water in the system acts as a buffer for the fish. In a typical recirculating aquaculture system (RAS), fish are stocked at a higher density.
This high stocking rate makes managing the water quality and health of the fish very important. In raft aquaponics, all of the water is recirculating all of the time. Monitoring and managing water quality is a must.
In the past this was concerted the dirty part of the job. Now with improved filtering and use of materialization process this can be done more efficient and without a lot of manual work as in the past. Since the largest surface area (the raft tanks) is covered by the rafts, evaporation is minimal.
Every day you replace the water that has been used in transpiration by the plants, a small amount used in cleaning the filter tanks and what is lost to evaporation.
NFT (nutrient film technique) is a, less popular method of aquaponics with the small scale (hobbits) only due to its cost and limited root space making it a system for only small plants such se salads and herbs.
In an aquaponic raft system, all of the water is continually recirculated from the fish tanks through filters and large, water-filled, shallow tanks. Plants sit on rafts in these tanks, with their roots dangling down into the water.
The solid waste from the fish tanks is removed using a clarifier or other solids removal device. With new developments in filtering such a bio bubble bead filters managing waste is now much easier and efficient.