I’ve heard a lot of questions about what is hydroponics? How do I get started with hydroponics? How it difference from aquaponics? Generally, hydroponic production is soilless plant production. Aquaponics is a form of hydroponics. All aquaponics is hydroponics but not all hydroponics is aquaponics because hydroponics is using a formulated nutrient solution instead of using fish waste. We’re actually using fertilizer for hydroponics, we’re mixing fertilizer into our water at certain levels to keep our plant growth really cranking along.
For that reason, hydroponics are a lot easier than aquaponics. It can be much, much simpler than aquaponics because instead of dealing with fish, now we’re just dealing with plants and the nutrient solution. We don’t have to worry about keeping fish alive, fish temperatures, keeping stocking densities where they need to be, harvesting, all of that stuff. All we’re worried about is the plants.
Plumbing these systems can be very simple, think of it just as an aquaponics system without the fish production element. You’ve got a sump typically and then you’ve got your plant production systems, whether a grow bed, towers or whether you’re using a RAS system or something else.
Now it’s simplified in a lot of ways because instead of having to plumb in all of this fish production stuff. Now we just basically drop a pump in our sump tank, run tubing up to our towers and run nozzles off of our towers and by the way, we can run filters because unlike aquaponics, we don’t have lots of solids circulating in our water. So, we can take that water and we can filter it down with just a standard inline filter, run it up and we can actually run pressure compensating drippers.
Another benefit along those lines is that you don’t need to cycle it. With the hydroponic system instead of waiting six weeks to get your system cycled, instead of waiting three to six months to have that real productivity bump that you see maturing aquaponics systems. With a hydroponic system, we add our solution and things are growing as good as they’re ever going to grow.
In short, hydroponics is much simpler and can be a little bit easier than traditional aquaponics for those of you that are already doing aquaponics. For those of you that are just interested in getting started, hydroponics can be a very simple and inexpensive way to get started growing plants without soil.