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Aquaponics

The word "Aquaponics" is a unique combination (portmanteau) of the words, "Aquaculture" and "Hydroponics". Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines traditional Aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with Hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In the typical Aquaculture system, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. This water is led to a Hydroponic system where the by-products from the Aquaculture are filtered out by the plants as vital nutrients, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the aquatic animals.

De Luz Farms & Nursery is proud to be at the forefront of a science that is considered to be at the early stage.

Saturday
Feb252012

Nutrient film technique

Nutrient Film Technique, or NFT, is a hydroponic technique wherein a very shallow stream of water containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth is re-circulated past the bare roots of plants in a watertight gully, also known as channels.

Future Organic farmers admiring our NFT Hydroponics system. Photo credit: Karima Salmi. Click to enlarge.In an ideal system, the depth of the recirculating stream should be very shallow, little more than a film of water, hence the name 'nutrient film'. This ensures that the thick root mat, which develops in the bottom of the channel, has an upper surface, which, although moist, is in the air.

Because of this, an abundant supply of oxygen is provided to the roots of the plants. A properly designed NFT system is based on using the right channel slope, the right flow rate, and the right channel length.

The main advantage of the NFT system over other forms of hydroponics is that the plant roots are exposed to adequate supplies of water, oxygen and nutrients. In all other forms of production, there is a conflict between the supply of these requirements, since excessive or deficient amounts of one results in an imbalance of one or both of the others.

NFT, because of its design, provides a system wherein all three requirements for healthy plant growth can be met at the same time, provided that the simple concept of NFT is always remembered and practiced. The result of these advantages is that higher yields of high-quality produce are obtained over an extended period of growing.

Overall, NFT is one of the more productive techniques used in hydroponics.

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