And No, I don’t mean the fish part of it. But vertical Plant Growing, Vertical Aquaponics usually means that the Hydroponic component is vertical as in some form of towers.
There are Pocket tower where one cuts 3 or 4 inch or bigger PVC pipe and heats it to push in and create pockets where the plants and media can reside. Biggest challenge I see with these is the water generally needs to be at least partially filtered or it will tend to gunk up the top of the tower and clog, also they are kinda hard to re-plant since there isn’t much space for digging in the media.
There are also several different kinds of stacker pots (vertigrow or hydrostackers), most of which were designed for run to waste hydroponics but some people have managed to adapt them for use in recirculating Aquaponics. Media choice in these pots is very important since in aquaponics the water is usually sent to the pots farm more often than the run to waste hydroponic version and people also don’t like the coloration of the water that tends to happen from some of the hydroponic media normally used in them. Now those stacking systems are mostly designed to be supported by a pole in the ground which makes it really challenging to re-capture the water for recirculation, especially when the pole is usually metal which would be a bad combination for fish water. However, I know some one who figured out a way to hang the towers and still have them able to spin (which is needed since you plant in all sides and if you don’t turn it, some of the plants may be growing in too much shade.)
Now there are some other Hydroponic towers that have been developed where the plant roots hang down in the air inside the tower and the nutrient water dribbles down on them. I have seen these towers in a few places lately but only at Disney was I impressed by the growth they had (which at Disney I think it was actually set up as an aeroponic system where the roots were intermittently sprayed with a mist of nutrient solution instead of the home hydroponic tower dribble.) These are the towers that sit on a tank and there are custom tiny net pots that the seedlings are placed in around the tower. These ones also have the issue of plants being on all sides so need to be turned. (The Disney version was actually hanging and being driven around the exhibit on an overhead conveyor so all sides of the tower got sun in their greenhouse.)
I have seen some other very creative vertical aquaponics and vertical hydroponics done with custom curving of pipes and while those looked really cool, only a few of the designs I’ve seen, seemed very practical.
What about green Wall technology? I don’t know if many people have tried any of it for vertical aquaponics or vertical recirculating hydroponics for that matter.
The version of Vertical Aquaponics or Vertical Hydroponics I’m trying out is the Zipgrow™ Towers. These towers were specifically designed and developed as aquaculture filtration that happens to be good for holding plants. Which I suppose made it the first invention specifically for Aquaponics (Most other things used in Aquaponics were originally developed for something else like aquaculture or hydroponics, though I suppose there have been some Aquaponic system components designed like grow beds though I don’t think any of those are likely to get a patent.)
The towers themselves are fairly simple. They include the special housing that grips the special media and a way to hang them up. Many people ask me if I just whent and cut up pvc fence post covers, NO the housings were specially made for this purpose. I do not know if fence posts would function for this purpose and I don’t know if they are food grade either. The media matrix is also specially developed for this purpose to have the right density to filter the water without clogging while also supporting the plant roots.
Individual Zipgrow™ towers can be purchased here
Here is a video of me planting a tower