Type of Systems

Aquaponic systems come in many different types. In this article, we will discuss the most common types of Aquaponic systems used.


Media Filled Beds

Media Filled Beds

By far the simplest form of Aquaponics consists of media filled beds. Media filled beds make use of containers that are packed with the rock of expanded clay or any medium that is similar to this. Plants are able to grow in the rock media as water from a fish tank is pumped to the media filled beds. This unique system can be run in 2 distinct methods, with an uninterrupted water flow over the rocks or by saturating and draining the grow bed, in an ebb and flow or flood and drain cycle.


Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)2

Another famous hydroponic technique used is called Nutrient Film Technique. However, this technique is not very common in Aquaponic systems. In Nutrient Film Technique Systems, water rich in nutrients are pumped into tiny covered gutters and because of its small size the water that flows through these gutters consists of only a very thin layer. The plants are placed in miniature plastic cups but their roots are allowed to have access to the water so they can absorb the nutrients from it. It is important to keep in mind that the Nutrient Film Technique is only applicable to certain kinds of plants usually only the leafy green vegetables. Larger-sized plants usually have root systems that are way too invasive and way too huge and so they become too weighty for the tiny gutters.


Deep Water Culture (DWC)

Deep Water Culture (DWC)

In Deep Water Culture, the concept is very simple. You just allow the plants to float on the surface and let the roots hang below the water’s surface. This method can be done in several ways. The Deep Water Culture method is one of the most commonly adapted commercial methods today. An example of Deep Water Culture technique is by putting a foam raft and allowing it to float on top of a fish tank. But a more common method is to allow the fish to grow inside the fish tank and let the water pump through a filtration system channeling it into long conduits where the floating rafts are occupied with plants on the surface of the water so they can extract all the nutrients they need.


What Type of Style Is Best For Me?

So basically, these are the fundamentals of Aquaponics. Aquaponics can range from very simple to very complicated depending on what you prefer. If you like to start off with the simple and small we suggest you get a piece of polystyrene and create some holes in it. Insert watercress cuttings or mint cuttings into the holes you created and let it float on the surface of your pond or your aquarium. In no time, you will have tons of floating herbs and your water will be cleaner for your fish. Over the years and through numerous experimentations and through innumerable trials of members in online forum discussions, it has been discovered that the simplest and by far the most dependable system of Aquaponics is the fold and drain media based system. This is especially true among beginners. The system is very simple since you can make use of a wide assortment of containers. The nice thing about the flood and drain media bed system is that it isn’t demanding when it comes to maintenance.

In here we will be concentrating on the media bed style system. You can actually mix various system styles but as of now straight media filled beds would already suffice. And even if you only have straight media beds there are various ways you can run the system. (Click here to learn about Aquaponics)