From my soil grows I moved into hydroponics. I started out with lava rocks (20 years ago) and that worked decent. However, I found hydroton clay pellets and I was hooked. There is no other medium I would choose (except rockwool for seeds and clones, but after they root they go directly into the hydroton).
Many years ago I ran an ebb & flow system with a table full to the top of hydroton. No net pots or anything just straight clay pellets. It was a great and worked for my SOG operations. Much like @Worcestershire_Farms I also used organics in my res to create water culture beneficial to the plants. And yes, once your res is stable it runs itself, I checked it maybe once a week.
Just switch out the water, add fresh nutrients, and clean the res every 2 weeks. I usually top off the res inbetween changes with plain water, but you can add in nutrients to bump it back up to the PPM mark you want for your plant if you’d like.
I use it now in my DWC buckets now and they work great. (its the same hydroton from 18 years ago). I’m currently building a custom ebb & flow table for my flowering tent with the same concept of a hydroton flower bed as I had all those years ago.
Hope you get to experience it yourself @MadScientist, might change the way you grow forever