Quotes from Hydroponic and Aquaponic Experts

To be the best hydroponic or aquaponic growers possible, it is important to listen to the people who have been there and done that.  We all have missteps along the way, but with the proper tools and advice, anyone can be a successful soilless gardener.

Here we offer you a page of quotes from a few of the hydroponic and aquaponic experts. Some are pioneers, educators, and visionaries, and while others utilize their growing knowledge by “getting their hands dirty” daily.

“Achieve the greatest volume and highest quality of produce possible, while reducing operating costs, and maximizing your profitability by growing smart.”

Tom Blount, Expert at US Hydroponic Association

“It’s a MacGyver’ hobby. You can buy prepacked packages, or you can get pieces and parts and tinker with them.”

Dan Lubkeman, President of the Hydroponics Society of America 

“Temperature in your home generally is favorable to most growing. However, if you have a larger hydroponic unit in a spare room or basement where you can control the temperature apart from the rest of the home, you can achieve more optimum ranges for your plants. Night temperatures should be about 5° to 10° F. less than day temperatures. For tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers a good temperature range is 65° F at night and 75° F during the day. For cool-season crops like lettuce the night temperature should be about 55° F and the day 60° to 65° F. Herbs will tolerate a wider range of temperatures than the above crops. During the summer with hot outside daytime temperatures your crops will benefit from air conditioning to keep temperatures within these ranges. However, during the summer you could also move your hydroponic system onto the patio or balcony or even in the backyard and take advantage of the natural sunlight and temperatures.”

Howard Resh, Author of Hobby Hydroponics   howardresh.com/

“Also, the plants can be grown close together, which means it’s easy to grow salad makings in your kitchen.”

Neil Watson, Spokesperson for General Hydroponics

“I think it could allow us to travel farther and be more comfortable, whether that’s underwater or above the atmosphere.”

Erik Biksa, Editor and co-founder of Grozine

“It used to be hydroponics was just a nod, nod, wink, wink, word for pot growing. Now it is accepted by consumers as a preferred method of growing high-quality food.”

Michael R. Christian, Founder of American Hydroponics

“You don’t need a tractor or a plow or other big implements, and you don’t need to inherit a farm. You can get in very quickly, and can maintain another job.”

Bob Hochmuth, Director of the Suwannee Valley Agricultural Extension Center at U. of Florida

“Maintain your humidity level between 40 and 60 percent. High humidity will encourage molds while low humidity can attract pests. Cover your reservoir to prevent algae growth. Any wet surface exposed to light will encourage molds so maintain a light-tight environment anywhere your nutrient solution flows. Air temperature should never go above 90 degrees. Keep it below 80 to promote and encourage growth.”

Danny Danko, Senior Cultivation Editor of High Times magazine

“Recirculating aquaponic and hydroponic farms are sustainable options that can have controlled inputs and known outputs, like other existing organic farms. In fact, many recirculating farms not only meet, but can exceed current organic standards. They can be eco-efficient and have versatile designs, and reduced use of water, fossil fuels, fertilizers and electricity.”

Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition

“Most nutrient problems are actually pH problems. For soilless mixtures, use a pH between 6.0 – 6.5. For hydroponic mediums, such as Rockwool or clay pellets, keep it between 5.8 – 6. Warmer roots respire faster, which releases more energy and grows larger root mass and plant size. Keep root temps between 66-70°F.”

Nico Escondido, Cultivation Editor at High Times magazine

“I also value the positive influence of hydroponics, urban farming, and controlled-environment agriculture in solving some of the big problems we face. This story should be shared and celebrated with the same romance as the biodynamic farm with pristine soil and coastal climate conditions.”

Erik Oberholtzer, Co-founder of local- and sustainable-centric restaurant group Tender Greens

“Hydroponics is the most efficient method of feeding plants through the introduction of pure nutrient salts into the water. When you cut soil out of the equation, you bypass soil-born diseases and the plant’s roots no longer have to search through the soil for nutrients. I like to say you can grow twice as much in half the space. There’s also zero run-off, which means fertilizers don’t wind up leaching through the soil and harming natural water sheds. And everyday garden pests are less likely to take up residence and require the application of costly and sometimes toxic pesticides. Typically, you see a two-to-one ratio of growth over conventional soil.”

Keith Roberto, Author of How-to Hydroponics

“In hydroponics, the plant roots we constantly provided with water, oxygen and nutrients–no searching for available nutrients or waiting for the next rain. The challenge for the grower is to keep up with the plants’ needs and to avoid damaging plants with excesses or deficiencies of minerals, extremes in pH and temperature, or a lack of oxygen. A few simple tools and techniques can make the difference between success and failure.”

Lawrence Brooke, Founder of General Hydroponics

“There are a tremendous number of growing systems you can buy that would be scalable — anywhere from a household- or restaurant-sized operation, to something that could feed a community of people (just two floors on top of an apartment house would be enough to supply around 40 percent of the green vegetables the residents would consumer over a year).”

Dickson Despommier, Author of The Vertical Farm and host of the Urban Agriculture podcast 

“We can grow produce right where is going to be purchased and right where it’s going to be eaten”

Josh Hottenstein, Arizona Director for the Cleantech Open 

“In the next 40 years, there’s going to be a 70 percent increase in demand for food worldwide. There’s not a lot of models for how sustainability can capture that increased demand and those increased pressures.”

Jason Reed, Founder of Seedstock

“I think the future of aquaponics is small, decentralized growing systems that will be set up in cities and towns throughout the world. I see that there will be large aquaponics facilities, like there is for say hydroponic tomatoes, but the major use will be small systems in urban areas.”

Dr. Wilson Lennard, Australian scientist and ‎Director at Aquaponic Solutions

“Just one square metre gives you more yield than in one acre of land. That’s an ideal system for a developing country. [It] will produce up to 300 cucumbers a year.… A system like that can supply a family with fresh vegetables and with vitamins and also with protein”

Dr. Nick Savidov, Aquaponics researcher and leader at the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence at Lethbridge College 

“[Plants] grow extremely rapidly because they have all the nutrients and water they need. It’s much better than field production because in the soil, you have insects and not enough water or nutrients,”

Dr. James Rakocy, “Father of Aquaponics,” and former professor at the University of the Virgin Islands

“[Plants] grow extremely rapidly because they have all the nutrients and water they need. It’s much better than field production because in the soil, you have insects and not enough water or nutrients,”

Dr. James Rakocy, “Father of Aquaponics,” and former professor at the University of the Virgin Islands

“Recirculating aquaponic and hydroponic farms are sustainable options that can have controlled inputs and known outputs, like other existing organic farms. In fact, many recirculating farms not only meet, but can exceed current organic standards. They can be eco-efficient and have versatile designs, and reduced use of water, fossil fuels, fertilizers and electricity.”

Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition

“You can convert 1.2kg of fish food into one kilo of fish. The lost 0.2kg is dissolved into nitrogenous waste. For every kilo of fish you rear, you grow about 10kg of plants and vegetables. All of a sudden, you’re producing a lot from very little.”  “We are potentially taking a natural system that’s evolved over millions of years and we are just copying it, rather than exploiting it. While it can be seen as complex, it is incredibly simple.”

Charlie Price, from the social enterprise Aquaponics UK

“The technology that is accelerating this (soil-less) trend is the proliferation of extremely effective and increasingly energy-efficient grow lights,” said Sylvia Bernstein, owner of The Aquaponic Source in Longmont, Colorado. With today’s grow lights, any space can become a year-round garden. I’ve worked with people who are growing in basements, garages, laundry rooms, warehouses and classrooms,”

Sylvia Bernstein, Author of Aquaponic Gardening 

“Well there’s various levels that you can start at aquaponics. There are people – the do-it-yourselfers and they want to be able to use some kind of recycled material if possible and then there are those who would rather buy something that is nice and new to work with and build a quite secure food production system. So they’re the two ends of the scale. Then there’s all kinds of alternatives in between.”

Murray Hallam, Founder/Director of Practical Aquaponics Australia 

“Only by adopting a mentality that focuses on maximizing conservation and ethical food production techniques, can we establish a future of production that works. We have to intensify production. But it needs intensifying the right way, not just relying on finite resources, because in the long run it won’t work. It’s a false economy, we’ll run out.”

Antonio Paladino, Founder of Bioaqua, biggest integrated aquaponic trout farm in Europe

“The flavor’s more intense for the amount of vegetable you’re getting, so it’s like a little, compact, high-nutrient flavor burst. Microgreens by definition are a high-turnover crop, and they don’t take up a lot of space, which is perfect for urban ag.”

Bowen DornBrook, Founder of Central Greens, a 15,000-square-foot urban aquaponic farm in WI

“This is why we think aquaponics and vertical farming is the right combination. You are making the most effective use of space, while looking at food production holistically.”

Kate Hofman, CEO of GrowUp, London’s first aquaponics farm

“When human designs are rooted in nature and diversity, education and regeneration, abundance and stability emerge.”

Max Meyers, Permaculture and aquaponics educator and founder of the Mendocino Ecological Learning Center