Introduction to hydro growing


Hey all. As I’m looking on the forum, I know a lot of you hydroponically grow. I have a basic understanding how most of it works. My question is
In deep water culture there’s an air stone involved, but is the water maintained at a certain level, or does it “ebb and flow”?
Second question, when growing with out the air stone, but water is sprayed onto the roots, what is the name for this type of system?
Is there any system combination of air stone, sprayer/deep water culture?
Are there any drawbacks or more beneficial than the other?
Is this more costly than soil growing? Or do you save?
What is the preferred growing medium?
Are there shortcuts compared soil growing?
What are the typical start up costs?
What are some affordable everyday objects that can be used?
When the budget allows what should be upgraded first?
Minimum size pumps? Air/water
Any comments are appreciated. It’s just becoming more of a consideration for future growing possibilities.

@Donaldj @Screwauger @Dumme @bob31 @Niala @MAXHeadRoom @anyoneelse


Water is aerated but doesn’t ebb&flow it can have pump to recirculate

Aeroponics or NFT


Thanks @Donaldj


Most systems employ more than one method or theory and can be any combination of airstones misters and or flowing water. Most are based on one’s plumbing skills :wink: budget and desire to get creative lmao any bucket or water tight container can be used high and low pressure pumps aquarium parts or hydro parts.
But main concept is quite simple give roots both air and water with nutrients added enough support it won’t topple.
I use a system which combines NFT and Aeroponic roots are misted at set intervals the nutrient solution runs down roots in film fine enough to let air into both solution and roots. This system requires less water and nutrients than soil or DWC in that water is contained in system and only what plant consumes is evaporated unlike in soil nutrients and ph at roots is easily adjusted and controlled plants are fed constantly though actually using less nutrients and water since res changes are less often than standard soil watering



I’m working on building a single plant DWC system right now with @Bogleg

I have not installed any airlines yet, you can just see how it circulates through the chiller, grow pot and header pot using a sub pump…

I’ll probably start adding air lines and the top feed in the next several days…

By the time it’s done I guess you could say it’s a combination top feed/ recirculating dwc??? But it won’t be an undercurrent recirculator I guess, to many hydroponic names too lol


@TDubWilly thanks for a posting that. Anything for a simple visual of what’s going on. I have an idea, but sometimes seeing it in action is helpful. I really want to try this, but I want to make sure I understand everything before I jump in.


Ya, I also have a pvc and uni seal setup

Not sure which one I like the best yet.


I thought about doing under current DWC at one point but my goal has been more a way to reduce water and nutrient use rather than stick with DWC which is one of the simplest yet least efficient systems. Yes it works but takes more nutrients and water than top feed misters NFT or even Ebb&Flow in many cases I don’t have running water in my shed during winter so res changes involve packing buckets across snowy icy yard. The nicest part of recirculating systems is it keeps nutrients suspended and gives option of locating main res outside of space where ice packs can easily be added to cool without interfering with roots


So, NFT or top feed misters are a more efficient system? So it sprays the root zone on a timer, drips down the roots, drains to reservoir and then is pumped again? Just making sure. @Donaldj @TDubWilly


I have to tote mine up a six foot ladder up to the second story of my garage lol


I will incorporate a top feed on mine and a 950gph air pump…

I’m running dwc right now it’s just not as sophisticated as my new little system I built in the pictures. I have been collaborating with @MacGyverStoner for some time picking his brain and with what he had told me and my own ingenuity this was what I eventually came up with. What’s nice about this system, if you don’t want to spend the money on the chiller, then just route your plumbing straight into the “grow bucket” like the chiller was never even there, this will recirculate it.


@TDubWilly this all very good info, so if you’re using a chiller, this is to offset the heat from the pump that’s created correct? So, if I make a heat exchanger and place it in cool water say a stream I have running past the grow area, (say maybe 15 ft away) this would work also yes?
If I were to go with the misting set up, there’s no need for an air pump though. Is this correct? Would the roots be getting enough oxygen inside the bucket? @Donaldj @MacGyverStoner


The point of using the chiller is to offset the heat created by anything, not just the pump…

Thing is, your plant has these optimum temps to grow in right!!! I think they say something like 70-77 or something like that is optimum…for your vegetation.

Your rhizosphere or root zone is a little different, it likes temps a little lower, I think they say something like 62-71, with about 65-68 being super optimal. Once the temps exceed about 72-73 degrees, the water doesn’t hold the same amount of dissolved oxygen anymore, especially in comparison to water temps of 65 degrees.

If the water doesn’t have much oxygen, then the roots don’t have much oxygen, and, much like soil, if the roots don’t have their oxygen, then any number of things can arise like root rot and sad plants.

The chiller, from my understanding because I have not used one yet, will do a much better job of keeping dissolved oxygen at the roots and preventing root rot which in turn will produce happy plants :crossed_fingers:



I thought about doing an aeroponics “root mister” system for a bit but opted against it…

Here was one of the simpler ones I was considering…

I built my system based off this article that MacG had shared with me, then started tweaking it to fit my taste…
Of course it for 1 plant only, you would have to improvise for multiple plants


Watched the video @TDubWilly that’s kind of what I was invisioning but on a multi plant system, you would have a separate reservoir for water with a pump, leading to the misters, and drains leaving very little in the bottom. This is the more efficient system correct? @Donaldj @MacGyverStoner


I’m not sure what is most efficient, im just trying to grow the single biggest plant possible that my ft² will allow, and this system made allot of sense…


This is pretty much correct.

Leaf temps are ideal at about 75F to 78F and hydro reservoir/root zone temps are ideal at about 67F to 70F in DWC and similar forms of hydro.



That would be the ideal the system I built on my thread is for 2 plants and stand alone but could easily be adapted to a multi unit single res system with some simple plumbing changes and gravity. The reason for chiller would be warmth from plant environment and pumps raises temps of nutrient solution a heat exchanger would be good idea but you may find yourself needing to warm nutrient solution if it gets too cool. Once res temp gets below about 64f your roots want nothing to do with it and will almost stop right above solution favoring the mist off it rather than dip their toes in it :wink: Most hydro systems are a case by case thing for me in winter my res needs warming not cooling the floor in my shed does all the chilling I need so my pump serves duel purpose warming res and misting roots. My space and 3 light rotation also dictates that units be portable since I don’t change light cycles around plants I change plants under light cycles so units move 3 times on average which if kept small could be done simply moving basket but given feeds at stages are also different still requires separate res for each stage and root systems and plants get rather large hopefully before final move to make viable.
Does a misting system need air pump yes and no at beginning no but once roots are submerged in res it doesn’t hurt I actually use a mesh to keep my roots right above surface of nutrient solution as long as possible since my goal is hybrid system combining benefits of aero and NFT favoring the nutrient running in film over my roots to roots soaking in solution this provides duel root zones and provides nutrients to each zone equally as well as lots of air. A additional bonus is that DO is based on surface absorption and the greater the surface area of water the more o2 it absorbs the mist collects air as it falls the solution on mesh collects air and the surface of main res collects air also since solution is thin film the roots are able to breathe. My last run with similar test unit which I improved on this round had no root issues without air pump and the roots were not on mesh just dangled their way into solution inevitably forming 3" mat on bottom of res after 12 weeks :wink:

First thing you need to know about hydro is it’s an obsession which is constantly evolving and changing each little tweak is to try and add a tiny advantage here and improve results each cycle much like soil growing. It is a system of growing where you are constantly researching and evolving taking information and adapting things to meet your own space and it’s needs once a plant is rooted there is no faster way to get massive plants.


I could not imagine anything being more true. Different areas of the world at different elevations and different temperatures and humidity changes the whole picture as far as your approach…

You can plan as much as you want @Covertgrower but in the end, jumping in and getting your system up and running and making your tweaks from there will be your best bet. I don’t know what system is right for you and chances are you probably don’t know either.
I would come up with a preliminary plan, run with it, and time and experience will show you where you need to make changes.
My system above hasn’t even grown 1 plant yet. As much as I like it right now, I know I will make subtle changes to it when I’m actually using it. All my DWC setups right now have no “control reservoir” that I can work out of. I always have to lift lid and plant to get to the reservoir and I hate it!! Also I was tired of always adding stuff to control root rot therefore incorporated the chiller. These are the two main reasons I decided to build what I did above, I wasn’t looking at efficiency.
After using this system for a grow or two it might all change lol


@TDubWilly @Donaldj that’s what I have figured out, is that you can do the basic setting up, but dialing it in is a case by case scenario. I can do the plumbing, no issue there, but I was concerned with some to smaller details that you guys provided. Like making sure the roots get oxygen, misting compared to deep water culture. Both have their place, and both have their similarities. I think if so try this it’s best maybe to try a plant or two and make the rest soil for now, that way I can dial it in with out risk of losing all of it if I fail. I feel the misting set up would be the most beneficial. As @TDubWilly explained that it’s a real pain to lift each plant to feed. I just want to ask enough question to make sure when I try this I get it right. Thanks all.


Actually @bob31 I started this topic for that sole purpose of getting familiar with hydroponic forms of growing. Feel free to post a question I haven’t. More information the better, for this subject. Hope this helps!