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Open AccessArticle

A Comparison of Plant Growth Rates between an NFT Hydroponic System and an NFT Aquaponic System

School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Campus, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
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Horticulturae 2019, 5(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae5020027
Received: 8 March 2019 / Revised: 29 March 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 9 April 2019
A comparison of leafy green plant species’ (lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), dill (Anethum graveolens L.), rocket (Eruca sativa), coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.), and parsley (Petroselinum crispum)) growth rates was performed between an Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)hydroponic system, using standard commercial nutrient solution, and an NFT aquaponic system, using fish waste from Grass Carp, (Ctenopharyngodon idella) which provided the majority of the nutrients required by the plants. The results demonstrated that the aquaponic method performed well, and, in many cases, the growth rates produced were similar to those of the hydroponic method. Lettuce growth was compared across three seasons (summer, winter, and spring), and, in all cases, the aquaponically-grown lettuce equalled, or bettered, the hydroponic equivalent. Herb growth was compared over a five-month period (February to June—summer/autumn), and in 17 out of 23 comparisons, the aquaponic method produced results similar to those of the hydroponic method. Thus, while the NFT method may not be the most appropriate technical approach for aquaponic integration, the results suggest that the overall aquaponic method has the potential to produce plant growth rates at least equal to those of standard hydroponics. View Full-Text
Keywords: aquaponic; aquaculture; hydroponic; integrated agri-aquaculture; Grass Carp; Lettuce; Herbs aquaponic; aquaculture; hydroponic; integrated agri-aquaculture; Grass Carp; Lettuce; Herbs
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Lennard, W.; Ward, J. A Comparison of Plant Growth Rates between an NFT Hydroponic System and an NFT Aquaponic System. Horticulturae 2019, 5, 27.

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