Modern technology allows us to do things that not so long ago were considered science fiction. Although the technologies discussed in this article are not very new, they have now reached a level that was not available when they were first invented.
The main difference between hydroponics and aeroponics is that in hydroponics the roots are submerged in water or water flows constantly through them, depending on the type of system. In aeroponics, on the other hand, the roots are moistened from time to time with very small drops of water rich in oxygen.
This difference entails a number of other differences, which we will discuss in detail in this article.
There are several different types of hydroponic systems, but their essence is that the roots of the plant are in constant contact with water. In some systems, the water flows over the roots, while in others the water fills the plant containers and then flows out of them completely.
Hydroponic systems provide constant moisture to the roots and a regular supply of fertilizer. As a result, you can get a good harvest quickly.
Aeroponics, on the other hand, delivers water and diluted nutrients to the roots under pressure. The pressure causes nozzles to spray the solution into very fine droplets.
The advantage of this method is that the solution is much richer in air. In hydroponic systems, the mixture is not as oxygenated and as a result, the plants grow a little slower and the roots may not be as healthy. This is especially true for large hydroponic systems where the air stones cannot handle the aeration of a large mass of water.
In aeroponics, it is easier for the roots to absorb the minerals that are in the water because the mixture is better dispersed. At the same time, hydroponics also delivers the nutrient mix to the roots but they are not able to consume it as efficiently as in aeroponics.
Read also: How to choose hydroponics correctly?
In general, an aeroponic system consumes less water than a hydroponic system. This is because aeroponics was developed for growing plants in space where the amount of water is very limited.
First, aeroponics has a smaller tank, which means that much less water needs to be poured into it at the start than in hydroponics. Some hydroponic systems can be very large with a significant amount of water.
Secondly, hydroponic systems are usually more hermetically sealed so there is less loss of water from evaporation than hydroponics. So you have to refill less water in aeroponics than in hydroponics.
However, it is worth mentioning here that some hydroponic systems are also quite hermetic and the evaporation of water from them is minimal. Also, less water in an aeroponic system is not always an advantage, but we will talk about that below.
The next difference is the health of the roots and therefore the whole plant. In aeroponics, the roots are under better conditions than in hydroponics. Aeroponics provides an oxygen-rich mixture and as a result, the root system develops faster and is stronger.
The nozzles of an aeroponic system pulverize the water into small particles, thus destroying the pathogens that are in it. In addition, vortices, i.e., air movement, are created in this system. As a result, it is much more difficult for rots to parasitize the roots.
Hydroponics, on the other hand, does not provide such an oxygen-rich mixture. In addition, water movement is less intense and air movement in this system is minimal.
Also, some hydroponic systems have an open tank. This makes it easier for bacteria and fungi to get in. This can lead to root rot and therefore the loss of the entire plant or slow growth.
Generally, aeroponics is cleaner than hydroponics. As a result, the risk of plants getting sick in aeroponics is lower than in hydroponics.
Modern research has found that aeroponics is slightly more productive than hydroponics. This is especially true for plants that have a short life cycle, such as spinach or lettuce. An aeroponic system can yield about 10-15% more than a hydroponic system.
This is because the water and nutrients in an aeroponic system are supplied to the roots in the form of microscopic droplets. As a result, the plant takes in more minerals and water. This leads to faster growth and therefore to a higher yield.
On the whole, aeroponics plants consume up to 50% more nutrients than hydroponics. This results in faster growth but also higher fertilizer costs.
Also if you grow larger plants with a longer life cycle in aeroponics this can lead to blockage of the nozzles. This is because in aeroponics the root system can become a big clump. As a result, the nozzles will not be able to supply the whole system evenly with a solution and some of the roots will suffer from a lack of it.
Usually, in hydroponics, there is no such problem. There, the roots look for water on their own and always have access to it.
From this, we can conclude that if you want to grow small, fast-growing plants, aeroponics is the best choice. But if your goal is to grow plants that bear fruit and grow for several months or more, hydroponics is more convenient.
Aeroponics is generally more complicated and expensive than hydroponics. The whole point is that you need special equipment to spray water into small pieces.
First of all, it concerns nozzles. Quality metal nozzles are usually not cheap. Plastic cheap nozzles will not give the desired effect and wear out quickly.
The second is the pump. Aeroponics needs a more powerful and productive pump, which is more expensive than pumps for hydroponics. In addition, all hoses and connections must be airtight and stronger than in a hydroponic system.
Another aspect of this issue is the cost of electricity. An aeroponic pump consumes more electricity than a hydroponic pump, so your monthly costs will increase.
The advantage of hydroponics over aeroponics is that it is more DIY friendly. This means that you can build a hydroponic system yourself quite cheaply. This can be done for example with an aquarium pump, buckets, and plastic cups.
Also, there are a lot more hydroponic systems on the market than aeroponic systems. You can buy a hydroponic system ready to use with LED lights in different sizes and shapes. At the same time, aeroponics does not yet have such a wide range of products.
Let’s summarize this article and briefly go over all the differences. I hope this will help you understand which system is best for you.
- Aeroponics is more efficient and provides better yields.
- The medium in which the roots are in is cleaner, which ensures a smaller percentage of sick plants.
- There is less water in an aeroponic system. There is less water loss during growth.
- Aeroponics is a more complex and expensive system than hydroponics.
- Maintenance costs are higher for the aeroponic system than for hydroponics.
- Aeroponics is more difficult to grow large plants with a long lifecycle. Roots can clog the nozzles and make it difficult to mist.
- Hydroponic systems are easier and cheaper than aeroponic systems.
- Hydroponics is more DIY friendly. You can create an inexpensive hydroponic system yourself.
- Hydroponics maintenance costs are lower than aeroponics.
- There is a wide variety of good hydroponic systems for sale.
- A hydroponic system is not afraid of clogging. Large plants with a long life cycle can be grown in it.
- A hydroponic system contains more water than an aeroponic system. There may be considerable water loss during the growing process.
- Hydroponics is less resistant to algae and bacteria than aeroponics. To provide a clean environment for the roots, the hydroponic system should be cleaned more frequently along with a complete water change
- Hydroponics provides a slightly lower yield than aeroponics.