What is Aquaponics and Hydroponics?
Our growing system will include both hydroponic and aquaponic systems. Both systems are soil-less and can be used together in one system or separately to grow commercial scale and small scale crops. For Here We Grow, these two systems will be a apart of our overall system but will be decoupled from each other for maximum control of our system. Our hydroponics system will be a deep water culture pond (also known as, DWC), and we will also have an ebb n' flow aquaponic system that will provide nutrient-rich water for our crop in the DWC system. Together the system runs aquaponically. Separately, we have our recirculating hydroponic deep water culture pond and our aquaponic ebb n' flow system with our fish tanks.
Hydroponics is a soil-less growing system that utilizes nutrient-rich water, beneficial bacteria, and aeration by directly applying it to the roots of the plant. Hydroponic growing has static fundamental principles for successful crops, but a farmer can use many different types of systems and techniques to achieve the same result. For the nutrients to reach the plant roots, the farmer has to add water soluble nutrients in the water reservoir of the system.
Deep water culture and ebb n' flow systems are just a couple of many hydroponic / aquaponic growing techniques that can be used.
Understanding that Aquaculture is the practice of raising fish and marine life, will help clarify what Aquaponics is.
Aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture and hydroponics that raises fish and grows plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water that the fish occupy. In combining both systems, aquaponics capitalizes on benefits and eliminates the drawbacks of both aquaponics and hydroponics.
The Nitrogen Cycle, A Symbiotic Relationship: An important factor in aquaponics is the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle then gives life to cultures of beneficial bacteria that are also important to a successful aquaponics system. A symbiotic relationship is then created within the system between the fish, the bacteria, and the crops. The organic nutrient source for the plants is provided by the fish's waste. The water carrying the waste, or what is called solids, is then filtered out and then sent through a bio filter full of bacteria which in turn start the nitrogen cycle. This process provides the plants the necessary nutrients to grow and then returns fresh, waste-free, water to the fish.
Other growing techniques for both aquaponics and hydroponics include:
- Deep Water Culture (DWC)
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
- New Growing System (NGS)
- Vertical towers, vertical growing
- Flood and Drain, or Ebb n' Flow