Most aquaponics growers don’t use NFT. But why?
Well, NFT – or nutrient film technique – delivers nutrients to plants in gutters via a thin film of water. That water is sent down the trough from one side of the gutter to the next, gently and slowly flowing over and through the plant roots that line the gutter.
Now imagine that you’re running an aquaponic NFT system. The system water from the fish tank is pumped into the gutter to create the nutrient film. Unlike hydroponics, however, there are solids in aquaponics water. They get trapped in the root zone and cause oxygen levels.
The lack of oxygen isn’t caused by lack of diffusion – after all, the air in the gutter has oxygen in it. What actually happens is that because of the accumulation and decomposition happening with those solids, the temperature of the solution rises. There’s not much thermal mass to keep the solution cool. Oxygen is less soluble in warm water, and suddenly you have an oxygen deficiency.
This is why NFT is used primarily for hydroponics.
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