The AquaFarm is a continuous flow drip hydroponic system and was invented by Lawrence Brooke, founder of General Hydroponics in the USA. This company has been striving for more than 30 years to develop innovative techniques and products to cultivate in places that are not conducive to the cultivation of plants (space, deserts, ultra-urban areas, etc.). It promotes hydroponics and has successfully established itself as an industry leader.
At General Hydroponics, there are two continuous flow drip systems:
- AquaFarm : tank with a capacity of 45 L.
- WaterFarm : smaller 15 L tank.
These two systems work on the same principle , that is to say that an air pump circulates the nutrient solution. It then trickles down the roots and falls back into the tank. It is therefore also a recirculating hydroponic system.
How does the AquaFarm work?
The AquaFarm consists of a large opaque tank of 45 L in which a culture tray containing a substrate such as clay balls is inserted. The bottom of this bin is perforated and has a capacity of approximately 30 L.
A pumping column connects the tank to the culture tank. It consists of a PVC tube housing a flexible hose (see photos below). Thanks to an air pump connected at the level of the upper part of this tube, air is injected into it, thus forcing the nutrient solution to rise along the pumping column.
A distribution ring placed at the end of the pumping column and surrounding the base of the plant distributes the nutrient solution in the form of droplets. The latter therefore run off along the roots through the substrate before returning to the reservoir.
A small detail that is not the least, a transparent blue tube located on the front of the system allows you to check the level of the nutrient solution in the tank at a glance.
What can be grown in an AquaFarm?
The AquaFarm allows you to grow a wide variety of plants. Both amateur and seasoned horticulturists appreciate its versatility. Indeed, it is possible to grow plants of impressive size thanks to the stability offered by the 30L grow box. This means that you can use it to produce basil as well as to maintain and safeguard a Hawaiian palm. 1.50m.
The use of a pump to circulate the nutrient solution and thus oxygenate it, allows the plants to benefit from a dazzling development in comparison with the Kratky method where the nutrient solution is not highly oxygenated .
What are the advantages of the AquaFarm system?
- Recycled, solid and good quality materials make up the AquaFarm.
- The reservoir and the culture tray are opaque which protects the roots from the sun’s rays and light in general.
- Thanks to the use of a substrate such as clay balls and the trickling of the nutrient solution along the roots, this hydroponic system offers perfect oxygenation. In return, the plants have an incredible growth rate.
- Water saving thanks to recirculation.
- Low power consumption (2W).
- It is perfectly adaptable to any kind of culture but it is also modular. General Hydroponics has developed another system based on the principle of low pressure aeroponics . This system is the AeroFarm . A plate accommodating hydroponic baskets replaces the culture tray. And instead of using an air pump to circulate the nutrient solution, here we use a water pump connected to sprayers. The tank, on the other hand, remains the same. A conversion kit to adapt your AquaFarm to AeroFarm is available .
What are the disadvantages of the AquaFarm system?
- The AquaFarm is a recirculating hydroponic system, so it is subject to the vagaries of this type of system. Like the tide table, in this system there can be large fluctuations in the nutrient solution . It is therefore necessary to regularly check the nutrient solution and adjust it for better stability of the parameters.
- Finally, like all active systems, it needs electricity to operate. Without this, the nutrient solution can no longer circulate. Finally, if you want to grow with this system outdoors, it is very important to protect the pump from heat and humidity. Indoor use may be more suitable.