Characteristics of Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) grow bed
Shallow water depth
Plants are placed in small plugs, made of coconut coir, tree bark, rockwool, soil, or clay pellets.
Plants are placed into channels made of PVC pipes or gutters
Advantages of NFT grow bed
Shallow water channel allows NFT beds to be constructed with minimal materials, and light weight allows channels to be stacked vertically on top of one another to save space.
Use of plugs or small net pots are labor efficient — easy to seed/transplant and easy to remove for maintenance and harvesting
Disadvantages of NFT grow bed
Shallow water depth means less water in your aquaponics system — less water means less oxygen and less total water volume, meaning your system can handle fewer number of fish.
Shallow water depth means any solid waste will get stuck in plant roots. NFT systems must have excellent mechanical filters to remove solid waste.
See below an example of a NFT grow bed by Rufus King High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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