Aquaponics and hydroponics are somewhat related to each other simply because these systems both focus on using water in order to grow plants. Their similarities however, does not really go far because these two systems use different principles and they make use of different methods.
In general, aquaponics focuses on the hydroponic system where plants are grown without the use of soil. However, it also takes advantage of the water and plant’s relationship with fishes. Since both can benefit from each other through the water, aquaponics creates a system where both can thrive.
Hydroponics on the other hand will focus only on growing the plants without the use of soil. This is done by creating a controlled environment that provides the plant with all the nutrients that it needs for growth. It does not deal with fishes and it focuses mainly on how the plant can grow faster for harvest.
Determining which system is better will depend primarily on what your needs are. If you love caring for plants and if you have an aquarium at home, then you might want to try out aquaponics especially because you are familiar with how the mechanics of taking care of plants and fishes work.
But if you are more into plants, I highly recommend that you focus your time and energy into hydroponics. This is because you will need to spend on a lot of materials and you will also need to know a bit of how it works on a technical perspective. Nevertheless, the results can be very rewarding.
These two systems do have their own advantages and disadvantages. What makes one better than the other actually depends on personal preference and needs. Both systems also have their own proponents and advocates as they are known to provide a lot of benefits to people in their own right.
Both hydroponics and aquaponics will require you to build a system with the use of materials which are quite expensive. Many of the parts needed for these two systems are similar simply because aquaponics borrows them from hydroponics. What makes aquaponics unique however is its use of fish feed.
In hydroponics, the user will need to buy a nutrition solution each year. These chemical nutrients can be very expensive especially because they are getting harder to find. With aquaponics on the other hand, you will just have to use fish feed both to make the fish grow and to give nutrition to your plants.
Although hydroponics will only need very little water, the water needs to be unloaded from time to time especially when there is too much chemicals in it. This can be costly especially for those who own a large hydroponic systems. In aquaponics, the water is never replaced, only topped up if evaporation occurs.
Although you do not have to weed your plants if you use hydroponics, you will need to check its electrical conductivity almost on a daily basis. But because you are making a miniature ecosystem in aquaponics, all the elements will balance out. Maintenance checks will be done only once per week.
Plants grown in hydroponics will be able to avoid soil-borne plant diseases, but there are certain diseases such that can run rampant in hydroponic systems. Because it is a sterile environment there are no microbes to combat the disease. Contamination can therefore cause damage to the entire system.
With aquaponics on the other hand, bacteria is present in the entire system. This however, is what will help make the plants resistant to diseases. The water used in aquaponics can also be easily discarded if necessary. Waste water from hydroponics contain a lot of chemicals and should be disposed properly.
Both aquaponics and hydroponics can provide you with fast growing plants. This means that you can easily get more harvest cycles each season. Both systems also boast of being able to produce healthy fruits and vegetables. Proponents of aquaponics, however, say that they can grow plants faster.
Unfortunately, when it comes to aquaponics, you will have to wait for several months before the bio-filter stabilizes. Unless this happens, the plants will not be able to grow as fast as you want it to. In hydroponics, once the system is built, you can easily grow plants in amazing speeds right away.
Of course, while hydroponics will only allow you to get fruits or vegetables during harvest season, in aquaponics, you can actually get fish as well. This means that for all your hard work and patience, you will also be able to serve meat in the table after a year or so.
When it comes to Aquaponics vs hydroponics, you need to understand that both systems will require you to put in a lot of hard work before you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. When using hydroponics, you will be limited to growing only plants in a sterile environment using expensive chemical nutrients.
On the other hand, with aquaponics, you can easily grow both plants and fish at the same time. Although it uses fish food instead of expensive chemical nutrients, you will need to wait for the waste to break down in around 6 months before you can expect fast growth from your plants.
With that said, both systems are actually more efficient than traditional methods of growing plants. Finding the one that is better should not depend on whether which one is cheaper or which one can produce better crops, this is because both systems rely heavily in the user’s passion for sustainability.