Media-Based Aquaponics – Where the filtration (both bio and solids) takes place in the media (inert plant growing material such as a gravel or other aggregate) within the grow bed. The water delivery can be constant-flow, timed or flood and drain. The functions of a media bed are:
1-a media bed supports the plants
2-a media bed provides solids filtration
3-a media bed provides bio-filtration
4-a media bed provides a home for worms
NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) – A method of growing plants in which a thin and even film of aerated nutrient solution flows down a channel into which the roots of the crop are suspended. It is very important to filter the water well before sending it to an NFT trough since fish waste in the trough and on the plant roots will negatively impact the plant’s growth. NFT aquaponics requires separate solids and bio-filtration. While the reduced amount of water needed to fill the system may seem like a benefit, it can mean greater temperature and water quality fluctuations in a short period of time.
DWC (Deep Water Culture) – DWC is often referred to as Raft where the plants grow suspended over a tank of water in which nutrient-rich water flows with supplemental aeration. In most situations, filtration needs to occur before fish water is sent to the raft area of the system.
CHIFT PIST (Constant Height In Fish Tank Pump In Sump Tank) – Maintaining a constant volume/height in the fish tank with a sump tank at the lowest point and a fish tank at a higher point. The pump lifts water from the sump tank to the fish tank and water flows from the fish tank to the grow beds which drain back to the sump tank.
CHOP (Constant Height One Pump) – Basically the same thing as CHIFT PIST. With CHIFT PIST there has not normally been a distinction between the variation where the fish tank drains back to the sump directly and the pump pumps to the grow beds and they might drain to the sump or the fish tank. With CHOP it was normally assumed that the fish tank got the water from the pump and drained to grow beds which drained to the sump.
CHOP2 – The variation of CHIFT PIST where both the fish tank and grow beds drained to the sump and the sump pumped to both the grow beds and fish tank
Constant Flow – Same as the Simple Flood and Drain, except when you remove the timer, the system is constantly flooding
Flood and Drain– The plant growing space is allowed to flood and then drain either by the use of a pump on a timer to fill the bed and then allow it to drain while the pump is off or by the use of a siphon or other intermittent outflow device where the bed is constantly filling and then the siphon will drain the bed quickly.
Advantages: providing ample oxygen to plant roots and bio filter bacteria without the need of extra aeration. Many plants like some dry time especially if the water is not super aerated.
Disadvantages: Water level needs to fluctuate in the system to provide the water for flood and drain. Flood and drain offers more media to air than media to water interface which can have an exaggerated heat exchange effect on water temperatures.
Ebb and Flow – The same as Flood and Drain except you are usually pumping up through the bottom of the grow bed and then when the pump turns off, you are draining back down through the pump.
IPPM – integrated production and pest management