Media-based aquaponics is a type of aquaculture farming in which plants are grown in a water/nutrient mixture, and a growing medium is used to provide the plant roots with an anchor point.
Many different types of media can be used in a media-based system, including beds of rock, gravel, expanded clay, growstones, rockwool, and many others.
Aquaponics has been around for some time, and is a system that allows plants to be grown without soil. This is an important solution for improving yield in areas where plants might not be able to grow naturally due to temperature extremes, a lack of available soil and other considerations. Over time, different methods of aquaponics have been developed, including media-based aquaponics.
Media-based aquaponics is nothing more than an aquaponics system in which a type of media is used to anchor plant roots, rather than letting them float freely in water. The opposite of this is called deep water culture – plant roots are allowed to float freely in the water, while the plant itself is suspended through a hole in a “raft” material.
Many different types of material can be used in media-based aquaponics. Expanded clay is one popular option. Others include gravel and perlite. One benefit of this type of system is that it eliminates the need for additional buffering and filtering of solid waste, as the media serves that job. In some instances, earthworms may also be added to help break down solid waste.
However, media-based aquaponics does not create yields as high as deep water culture aquaponics and other types of indoor growing systems, and it can take longer for plants in this type of system to mature.
The grow media is housed in a grow bed, at a depth of around 12 inches, with the top one or two inches being left dry to reduce algae and fungal growth. The grow bed and media sit on top of the fish tank, where roots have access to the water supply.