NFT Channel Kit Review
When it comes to choosing plants for your aquaponics systems, almost any species can survive in the ecosystem, which means there’s a seemingly endless list of choices. Some plants are easier to look after than others, and some may be better suited to certain aquaponic methods, nevertheless, there are at least a dozen go-to species are popular amongst growers.
With more popularity comes more readily available information, which in turn makes it easier to learn how to take care of your flora specimens, so it’s highly advisable to go with one of these popular options to ensure your chances of success as high as possible.
How Does Nutrient Film Technique Work?
Built upon the NFT hydroponic method, NFT aquaponics utilize the familiar raised grow bed channels, together with a reservoir/tank to raise fish, and a mineralization tank to filter water and convert waste into nutrients. The system leverages gravity by placing the grow tray on slight incline; a standard pump moves water from the bottom to the top, where it then trickles down the tray to create a thin film that flows constantly past the roots.
NFT aquaponics works in a similar way to the Ebb and Flow hydroponics technique; the main difference between the two being addition of fish to provide the nutrients for the plants and that nutrient rich water constantly flows through the roots.
The NFT nutrient film technique name refers to this thin film of nutrient rich water.
Whilst traditional NFT hydroponic grow trays are typically flat, hence the ‘thin film’ reference, NFT aquaponics grow trays are commonly constructed into channels so they direct the flow of water more effectively over. This particular configuration also makes the setup suitable for vertical farming as a number of grow trays can be mounted above each other.
The technique is typically best suited for smaller and/or quick growing plants like lettuce, baby greens, and strawberries, as well different herbs such cilantro, parsley, dill and basil. However, it’s also possible to grow plants that produce heavier fruits such as tomatoes or squash, just be sure to use a trellis, or other system, to support the plants.
Nutrient Film Technique Pros And Cons
There are many benefits and advantages provided by the Nutrient Film Technique NFT Aquaponics method. However, like with most things in life there maybe several trade offs and/or sacrifices you should take into account, to ensure you’ve chosen the most suitable aquaponics system design for your needs.
Advantages of NFT Aquaponics
- Suitable for beginners, easy to control, easy to diagnose problems
- Little growth medium required
- Low water and nutrient requirements
- Easy to health check, plant roots easily visible and accessible
- Fewer salt deposits due to constant water flow
- Easily scalable
- Environmentally friendly, no groundwater can be contaminated
- Easy to build
Disadvantages of NFT Aquaponics
- Not suitable for all plants
- Technical faults quickly become critical with devastating consequences
- Water must circulate permanently to avoid failure
- Susceptible to root damage from overexposure to sunlight and the resulting heat
- Susceptible to drain blockage by roots
- Higher energy demand (system dependent)
The Best NFT Aquaponics Systems Our Top 3
When it comes to selecting the best NFT systems under 100 USD, you’ll find a reasonable amount of choice out there. But wait, it appears that all these systems are hyrdroponics? So where are all the NFT aquaponics setups? Am I searching the correct term? Are these product titles correct? Do these systems even exist?
Yes they do, you did hear/read correctly, and yes, searching for a complete system to buy can be highly confusing. This is because NFT aquaponics is derived from NFT hydroponics, it utilizes almost the exact same setup and is therefore often incorrectly labeled as ‘hydroponics’.
Although aquaponics as a technique has been around for centuries, its recent rise in popularity means there’s been little time to develop more complete, all in one solutions. This leads to a distinct lack of complete NFT aquaponics kits on the market, which can then lead to a rather confusing purchasing experience, especially for beginners who’re still unsure how to spec out their system.
Difference Between NFT Hydroponics vs Aquaponics
NFT Hydroponics vs Aquaponics systems are so similar it’s possible to transform almost any NFT hydroponics setup into an aquaponics setup with minimal modifications. The only major difference between the two technique is the way in which the plants are feed; in hydroponics the nutrients are manually added to the water, whereas in aquaponics the addition of fish produces waste that is then converted into nutrients for the plants. Since these two aquaculture-based approaches utilize the same components, in most cases all you’ll really need to do is to add the reservoir complete with fish, and modify your flitration/mineralisation stage to accommodate.
Once you’ve decided that NFT aquaponics is right for you, there are a few things you’ll want to take into consideration when choosing your setup. Since most setups in a similar price range will have comparable specs and performance, it’s likely that the shape, dimension and footprint of the system will determine how suitable it is for your needs.
You’ll want to consider the form factor; whether vertical or horizontal, the control configuration; if it’s mechanical or electronic, and the durability; a spec that’s harder to determine from product listings, but easy enough to figure out by reading reviews, and using a little bit of common sense.
Here we’ve selected two similar capacity systems; one with electronic control unit and the other sporting classic mechanical control, and a third larger capacity system that produces a lot more yield from a very similar footprint. As you’ll see, specifications are equivalent to each other, and relative to the size. They’re also some of the best in-class, for the price, hence our choice. What sets these models aside from each other is the form and function, eg.: horizontal or vertical; mechanical or electronic.
3 Best Home NFT Aquaponics Systems
VEVOR Hydroponics Growing System
- 1 layer (horizontal), 36 plant sites, wheeled planting frame
- 10W Water Pump, fits 20L water tank (not included)
- 24 hour plug-in Mechanical Timer
- 36 planting baskets & 36 sponges
- Hydroponic system size: 37.4″ x 13.8″ x 16.9″
- Hole size:1.26”; Pipe Size: 2.5″; Spacing between Holes: 2″
Also In The Box
- 4 Wheels
- 1 Hose
- 1 Power Plug
- 1 Tweezers
- 1 Rubber Hammer
- 1 Instruction Manual
Best plants to grow include:
WEPLANT Hydroponic NFT 36 Holes Growing System
- 4 layer (vertical), 36 plant sites, Food-grade PVC planting frame
- 12V DC Brushless Pump for quiet operation, fits 15L water tank (not included)
- Electronic Timer with power supply/adaptor
- 36 Square Net Cups & 36 Sponges, Food Grade PP Material
- Hydroponic system size: 38.6″ x 20.4″ x 42.5″
- Hole size: Side length 1.18” / Pipe Size: 2.48″
Also In The Box
- Hose x 1
- Timer manual x 1
- Planting tutorial x 1
- Installation tutorial x 1
Best plants to grow include:
- Leafy vegetables
- Butter lettuce
- Little Gems Lettuce
- Oak leaf lettuce
LAPOND Hydroponic Grow Kit
- 2 layer (horizontal), 4 Row, 72 plant sites, food-grade PVC-U planting frame
- 12V Water pump, fits 15-20l tank
- Electric Pump Timer Controller
- 72 Square Planting Cups & 72 Planting Sponges
- Hydroponic system size: 31.75” x 11” x 9.1”
- Hole size: Side length 1.18” / Pipe Size: 2.48”
Also in the box
- Tweezers x 1
- Hose x 1
- Installation Instructions x 1
- Implant Instruction x 1
Best plants to grow include:
- Leafy Vegetables
If you’re on the hunt for most suitable NFT aquaponics system, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration. Unless you have any special requirements, the setup configuration, type of control unit and the durability of the system are the most important factors to consider.
Each of these three systems check all the necessary specification boxes, and all can be easily transformed into effective NFT aquaponics systems with minimal modifications.
This is made possible thanks to the use and placement, of the fish tank reservoir. Utilized solely to contain the water in hydroponics systems, the very same reservoir can be used to raise fish, which in turn can provide nutrients for the plants.
In general, most NFT Channel kit models, despite originally being designed for hydroponics, should also be sufficient for the aquapoincs mod. The three kits we chose are all similar performance and efficiency; hence them being our top picks. The difference essentially comes down to configuration, e.g. vertical or horizontal design, mechanical or electrical controls, and which combination of these features suits your circumstance best.
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