What’s The Difference Between Hydroponics And Aquaponics?
As farmers have started to realise that soil-based farming has too many limits, alternative methods of growing plants have been developed. Hydroponics and aquaponics are two innovative ways of growing plants without using traditional soil-based agricultural methods.
Both systems are used to harvest crops without soil, and although both involve the use of water as a growing method, that’s where the similarities end. Hydroponic systems grow plants in water while aquaponics include the use of fish in their plant growing system. The two systems should not be confused, and several distinctions tell them apart. Here are five of them.
- 1. Source of nutrients
Hydroponics uses minerals as a source of nutrients to promote plant growth. Aquaponics uses a looped system which converts fish waste (with the help of bacteria) into nutrients for the plants.
- 2. Cost-effectiveness
As hydroponic systems use minerals and nutrients as plant food, the system is less cost-effective than aquaponics systems, which use organic matter.
- 3. Ease of maintenance
Hydroponic systems require unloading (replacement of water) after a certain period. This is mainly to get rid of the accumulation of salts and toxic chemicals.
Since the aquaponics system uses only organically-sourced nutrients, there’s no build-up of minerals. Without the need for system unloading, aquaponics systems are relatively easier to maintain. In addition, the electrical conductivity in hydroponic systems needs to be checked daily, the pH and ammonia levels weekly and the nitrate levels monthly.
- 4. Start-up speeds
Especially-formulated minerals and nutrients are made immediately available to plants in hydroponic systems, which promotes a faster startup speed. The time in which it takes bacteria to convert fish waste into nutrients for plants is the reason why aquaponics systems take much longer to get going.
- 5. Productivity levels
Research suggests that once an aquaponics system’s biofilter is fully set, it achieves more efficient results. However, this can take up to half a year to occur. A hydroponic system maintains a steady level of efficiency.
These are just a few of the differences between hydroponic and aquaponic systems, with each system offering their own unique features. If you’re considering setting up a hydroponic system as a hobby or to begin your own agricultural business, Hyalite has everything both novices and experienced growers need. From carefully-formulated plant food and systems to pots, lighting and accessories, view our vast range of products online today.