Alternative growing systems are becoming widely popular in the dry herb industry. With aquaponics and aeroponics both fighting to reach the top spot, it is high time you understand the differences between these systems.
On one hand, aeroponics involves the roots of the cannabis plant hanging in the air while a sprinkler sprays nutrient-based water instead of submerging the plant in it. On the other hand, aquaponics also follow the same process. However, there is a difference in the process of creating the plant nutrients.
Many people think that aquaponics and aeroponics are the same because of their overall sprinkling system. But, there are still a few differences that you should know about.
This hybrid system is a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. It follows a system that resembles a hydroponic system. However, instead of using a main reservoir containing the nutrient solution, this system derives nutrients from a pool of live, swimming fish. This is a unique method of growing dry herbs because the source of nutrients comes from fish.
Fish excrete waste that contains ammonia. So, when you feed them, their excreta mixes with the water they live in. With increased ammonia, the fish may die. So, experts keep an eye on balancing the ammonia levels in the water. They also use medication so that the fish stay safe and healthy. Many farmers also use biological filters to neutralize the ammonia. This helps to reduce the impact of fish feces in the water.
In this setup, the water coming from the fish tank gets recirculated in the system. As it makes a circle, it goes through the grow box where you keep the dry herb plants. So, if the grow bed is on top and the fish tank below, the water flows from the fish tank to the grow box and back to the tank again. The cannabis plant absorbs the nutrients that fish tank sends. It processes the ammonia so that it becomes less toxic for the fishes in the tank.
However, since the plant doesn’t absorb all the ammonia, it is essential to keep filters in the tank to absorb the excess portions. The good bacteria from the roots of plants and the gut of fish help to keep a balanced ecosystem. This self-sustaining system survives on its own after a year or so. Farmers only need to focus on controlling the ammonia in the fish tank.
Benefits of aquaponics
• Aquaponics is like hitting two birds with a single arrow. You not only get a good yield of dry herbs but also raise fish.
• Most people find cleaning fish feces a daunting task. They don’t like to take filters or nets to clean the tank every week. But, once they set up and aquaponics system, they don’t have to worry about cleaning or anything. The fish waste will become an essential food for the dry herb growing on top. These nutrients will help produce a healthy yield at the end of the growing period.
• The dry herb plants, on the other hand, control the ammonia levels so that it doesn’t harm the fish in the tank.
Aeroponics slightly varies from aquaponics. There are no fish or fish tanks in this system. Instead, the dry herb plants hang from a grow bed, and the roots face a sprinkler system underneath. A tank containing the nutrient water connects to the sprinkler. So, whenever the plant needs water, the sprinkler sprays water on to the roots.
Imagine hanging a few empty bottles from the branches of a tree and spraying water on them from below. That’s precisely the system that aeroponics follows. The media used in the water depends on the plant.
Since dry herbs needs nutrient-based water, the farmer mixes the media in the tank so that the sprinkler sprays water at regular intervals. Cannabis plants need enough oxygen to thrive and grow quickly. Aeroculture is one of the most successful methods that improve the productivity of dry herbs.
One of the reasons why aeroponics is so successful is that it allows the roots to contact pure air while it gets constant water supply. The combination of water and air allows the plants to grow quicker than expected. That is why farmers grow twice the crops when they have an aeroponics setup. The roots of cannabis plants grow firm and strong as a result of pure air and nutrient-based water.
Benefits of aeroponics
• Crop growth is quicker in this system than aquaponics. With higher yields, the farmer can expect a better income.
• It doesn’t use a lot of water. Since the sprinkler sprays water periodically, you don’t need gallons of water to support the plants.
Both systems have their advantages and limitations. But when it comes to growing dry herbs, both of them are highly efficient in delivering a significant yield.