Hydroponics and Aquaponics for cannabis are two extremely effective and excellent cultivation methods for spectacular plant growth and a great final harvest. In fact, it is well known that these two very particular crops will offer us considerable advantages in terms of the ease of cultivation of our strains. Find out in this article all the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of soilless cannabis cultivation compared to soil cultivation.
Hydroponics and its remarkable advantages
Hydroponics is a soilless cultivation technique. It is very special because it does not use the land. In fact, it usually uses inert substrates such as expanded clay, rock wool, and volcanic lapilli.
- Approximately 5 times higher yield;
- 80-90% less water use;
- Perfect food safety;
- Excellent efficiency for the use of fertilizers;
- Improvement of growing conditions;
- Ideal solution for arid areas;
- Decrease in the presence of soil pathogens;
What Does Out-of-Ground Cultivation Mean?
Off-ground is a cultivation technique which is in the absence of soil. Nutrients are generally administered through a perfectly complete nutrient solution of macro and micronutrients. Hydroponics and Aquaponics are two highly effective above-ground cultivation methods. These nutrients will be given in place of the modern and expensive chemical fertilizers given in soil cultivation, which in some cases could harm the plant.
Operation of Hydroponics
Hydroponics also has the particularity of always using the same water throughout the growth and flowering cycle of the cannabis plant. In general, there are three schemes of hydroponic systems.
DIY Hydroponic Cultivation
To start a DIY hydroponics, you will need a number of materials. In particular, you will need: Lamps, Cultivation tent, Porous stone and pump, Mesh pots, Carbon filter, pH and PPM meter, Hygrometer, Cultivation substrate, Tray and tank for hydroponic system, Seeds, ventilation and ducting pipes, oscillating fans and nutrients for hydroponics.
Use Substrate for Hydroponics
There are numerous hydroponic growing media available, it’s up to you to decide which one is best for your ganja grow. Among the many substrates, we have selected some that in our opinion are among the best:
This is the fiber that covers the coconuts. It is separated and used to improve ventilation and humidity. Coconut fiber is also very famous and used because it protects the roots from infections, all thanks to the strong presence of stimulating hormones of plant origin.
It is an excellent material that maintains optimal oxygenation of the root system. On the market you can also easily find the expanded clay already treated. It will be necessary to pour the expanded clay into a plastic basket for hydroponics, which of course must have slots through which the roots will grow and develop best.
It is a volcanic glass that has the special distinction of expanding when it comes into contact with extremely high temperatures. It is a super effective substrate for cannabis as it greatly increases aeration for the roots.
All of these types of plants are extremely similar because they use an aqueous solution rich in nutrients. However, the system can vary greatly due to certain factors, such as water exposure and circulation.
FLOW AND REFLUX
Ebb and flow consists of letting the water flow and return. These systems consist of multiple buckets suspended on trays with water inlets and outlets. Both openings are connected to an external water tank containing nutrients, a porous stone to provide oxygen to provide water, and a pump to move the water into the tray. In these hydroponic plants, the roots are not always submerged in water, but the trays are periodically flooded with fresh oxygen and nutrient-rich water. At the end of the pumping cycle, all the water is returned to the external tank. This system allows for regular fertilization of plants. The time the tray is empty makes it easier for growers to take care of the roots and harvest the plants.
DROP BY DROP
The drip irrigation system installed in the hydroponic system is very similar to the drip irrigation system for irrigating soil crops. It consists of a large tray filled with substrates such as expanded clay. Place the plants directly into the substrate and irrigate each plant via its own dropper located next to it. An external water tank with porous rocks and pumps can drip water onto any plant. The roots are continuously exposed to the air and the excess water droplets fall onto the substrate and then return to the external reservoir.
DEEP WATER CULTURE
The Deep Water Culture System is an ideal starting point for beginners and can also be the cheapest option. Put the plants in a bucket full of nutrient solution and an air pump that continuously supplies oxygen.
The Aeroponics system could be the most futuristic version of hydroponic cultivation. This special system works with water, which is nebulized and then dispersed in the air with the aim of greatly optimizing hydration and aeration. These plants are arranged at the top of a large water tank filled with 25% water. Immerse the pump in the water and push the solution towards the water diffuser located under the root system. The fine mist is continuously absorbed by the roots, allowing plants to receive a large amount of air and water at the same time.
What is aquaponics?
Aquaponics is the result of a combination of a hydroponic cultivation system and the reproduction of a natural ecosystem in which fish and bacteria, which carrying out their normal daily functions, produce perfect fertilizers for growing cannabis strains. With aquaponic cultivation we will have the opportunity to grow plants without the use of soil and to feed them thanks to what the fish produce.
Cultivating through Aquaponic Plants
Any hydroponic system can switch to being aquaponic through an investment of an aquarium for fish in order to create a real self-sufficiently equipped aquaponic system. One of the most common aquariums to use will be a typical 50 liter aquarium. This aquarium can easily be integrated into a hydroponic system, such as the Ebb and Flow. The typical and perfect cultivation substrate for aquaponic systems is expanded clay. The typical fish for aquaponic systems, and the most easily purchased, are the common goldfish.
Integration of Cannabis in an aquaponic system
It takes time to build a self-sustaining ecosystem. Nitrifying bacteria must become part of the system, otherwise the plants will have to face the most diverse nutritional problems. Creating beneficial microbial colonies for the root zone is not an immediate process. Most hydroponic cannabis growers prefer to create two root zones. The pot has the particularity of being placed on a bed of expanded clay where the root system will develop in the best possible way. The upper and lower areas of the root system are divided by a fabric barrier, generally made of canvas.
The main advantages, in addition to the economic savings in the long run, will be that you will get a 100% natural and organic cultivation style, without the chemical use of fertilizers as is known to do for cultivation on the ground. Aquaponics is the only cultivation system that will allow us to obtain so many buds and final yield with so few resources spent.
Despite this, we would like to clarify that before starting a cultivation in aquaponics, it is advisable to have a little experience in hydroponics. This given that the aquaponic system is not a completely simple system, so a little experience in hydroponics at least could save us problems during our future aquaponic cultivation. We therefore believe that Hydroponics and Aquaponics offer significant advantages in terms of final yield, and that they are two highly effective cultivation methods.