Hydroponic and aquaponics designs: an overview

There are two categories of hydroponic systems: aggregate and non-aggregate. Non-aggregate hydroponic systems are designed to support plants with their roots hanging into the nutrient solution. Aggregate hydroponic systems use substrates to provide support for the plants. In aggregate hydroponics, the systems may be a closed or open system. An open system denotes that the system does not recycle the nutrient solution whereas a closed system does recycle the nutrient solution (non-aggregate systems are mostly closed systems).

The first non-aggregate system is the float bed (deep raft, raft, deep flow, and deep channel) system. The float bed generally uses a large piece of Styrofoam with 2 or 3 inch holes cut into it. Net pots are inserted into these holes. The net pots provide support to the plants and the Styrofoam provides the floating feature to the system in a large tub of water. An air pump outside of the tub is connected to an airstone inside the tub via plastic tubing. This setup provides the roots with air, which is necessary for growth, nutrient uptake and respiration.

Read more at the Stuppy Aquaponics Blog (Scott Moore)

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