15 Honest Difference Between Hydroponics and Aquaponics with Similarities

What is the difference between hydroponics and aquaponics?

Hydroponics and aquaponics are soil-free methods of growing crops. These hydroculture gardening methods are applicable in the greenhouse so that the grower can take care of environmental factors.

The main difference between aquaponics and hydroponics is that the former is the growing of plants in a soil-free medium and cultivation of fish while the latter is the growing of plants in a soil-free medium only.

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Difference Between Hydroponics and Aquaponics

Comparison Table (Hydroponics vs Aquaponics)

Basic Terms Hydroponics Aquaponics
MeaningIt is the technique of growing plants in a soil-free medium and it involves the use of waterIt is a combination method of growing plants in water and cultivating fish at the same time
Nutrient SourceChemical nutrientsOrganic matter released by fish as wastes provide nutrients
Cost-EffectivenessLess cost-effectiveness since chemical nutrients are increasingHigh cost-effectiveness as organic matter supply nutrients
Startup SpeedFast to startSlow to start
Operating TemperatureUsually lower to prevent bacterial growthHigher temperature to encourage the growth of nutrient-rich bacteria
ProductivityLower yieldsHigher yields
System UnloadingRequire regular flushing at lower intervalsIt is a looped system where nutrients pass around the system and are used
Ease of MaintenanceA higher degree of maintenanceEasy to maintain
Mechanical FailureLess prone to failureHighly prone to failure
Insect ControlEasy to eliminate insect infestationDifficult to get rid of pest infestations
Disease PrevalenceSusceptible to root rotNot prone to root rot
Electrical ConductivityCan damage the plants due to high conductivityNot a concern at all
EcosystemNot an ecosystemIt is an ecosystem
Plant typesHeavy feeder plantsPlants that need low nutrients
Grow Bed depthAbout 6 inchesAbout 12 inches

What Is Hydroponics?

It is a technique of growing plants without soil. But the plants will need nutrients and water to flourish. The method of cultivation works better than traditional gardening.

The type of gardening usually takes place in a greenhouse and it is quite easy to startup when compared to aquaponics. However, it is less cost-effective since you have to purchase chemical nutrients.

The water in the system is recycled after the filtration process. It’s something that is making hydroponics easy to maintain.

Some of the popular crops that can be grown using the techniques are tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, cabbage, cauliflower, mint, basil, lettuce, and green beans.

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Advantages of Hydroponics

  1. No soil is needed
  2. Stable and produce high yields
  3. Do not experience damages from pesticides
  4. It is an eco-friendly type of gardening
  5. Lower nutrients requirement
  6. Lower water requirements due to recycling

Disadvantages of Hydroponics

  1. Difficult to get organic certification
  2. Less cost-effective
  3. Not eco-friendly due to release of chemical nutrients

What Is Aquaponics?

It is a method of growing plants in a soil-free medium and also the cultivation of fish on the same platform. The plants utilize the organic waste release by the fish as the source of nutrients.

Aquaponics gardening is simple and easy to start. It has higher cost-effective since the grower does not need to buy chemical nutrients for the plants.

The organic matters unload in the system is eco-friendly. They do not contain chemical ingredients that might harm the environment.

Some of the popular crops that can be grown using aquaponics are kales, spinach, lettuce, radish sprout, wheatgrass, mint, basil, swiss chard, squash, pepper, cucumbers, arugula, and pak choi.

Advantages of Aquaponics

  1. An excellent marketing tool since many people prefer organically grown vegetables
  2. Attract the attention of many consumers
  3. It is exciting and rewarding in terms of yields
  4. Create an eco-friendly ecosystem

Disadvantages of Aquaponics

  1. Building the system is complicated
  2. Time-consuming when recycling
  3. Not suitable for beginners
  4. The high initial cost of building the system

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Main Difference between Hydroponics and Aquaponics

  1. Hydroponics involves growing plants alone in a soil-free medium while aquaponics involves cultivating both fish and plants in a soil-free medium.
  2. Hydroponics requires a supply of water and chemical nutrients while aquaponics requires a supply of water alone.
  3. Hydroponics is suitable for beginners and experienced hands while aquaponics is only ideal for experienced hands.
  4. Hydroponics is not eco-friendly whereas aquaponics is environmentally friendly
  5. Hydroponics is less cost-effective whereas aquaponics has a higher cost-effective
  6. Hydroponics have lower production yields whereas aquaponics has a higher production yield.

Similarities between Hydroponics and Aquaponics

  1. Both are gardening techniques that involve growing crops without soil
  2. Both rely on water as the main delivery of plant nutrients
  3. All nutrients will artificially be provided to the crops
  4. Both farming techniques experience less pest and disease damages
  5. Both experience less wastage of nutrients

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In Conclusion

Both hydroponics and aquaponics follow the same principle of gardening. The inclusion of the fish in the system is what sets apart these gardening techniques.

The hydroponic technique is suitable for beginners and the aquaponic is ideal for experienced hands. Take the time to read through the pros and cons of each technique to make an informed decision.

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