Hey Skiball, I used to do DWC and then switched to Medium-less Ebb and Flow (I mean no hydroton whatsoever, the roots are hanging mid air).
I made this setup only because I didn’t want to deal with any media. Here’s a schematic of my setup
So my setup worked by turning the pump ON for about 2 minutes (in my case for the tank sizes I had) and this will completely empty the tank inside the tent to the nutes tank outside the tent, then turning the pump OFF for about 10 minutes and the water will slowly flow back to the tank inside the tent through the now-turned-off pump and so on and so fourth indefinitely.
1- The nutes tank is outside the tent which made the water temperature much cooler than when I was using DWC.
2- I believe this setup helped me further avoid any root-rot problems. I can’t make a clear statement on this as I was using Benes (Great White) which got rid of my root-rot even when I was using DWC. But all in all, I believe the temporarily exposed roots should help reduce the root-rot problem anyway.
3- I could very easily access the nutes tank to measure EC and PH or to add water and nutes without disturbing the plant or even opening the tent.
4- Specific to my Ebb and Flow setup, if the electricity goes out for any reason or the pump malfunctions, the pump will shut down and the water would naturally flow back to the tank inside the tent, saving the plant from dehydration.
5- I didn’t use an air bubbler nor an air pump. The pump I got had a Venturi which I connected to an air hose and it would make bubbles on its own. Note that the air inlet should be above water level at all times.
Now for the Cons:
1- It’s a little more involved setup as I had to get a timer for the pump On-Off cycle but that’s not a big deal really!
2- Not using a hydroton made me run the pump cycle much much more frequently (2 Munites ON, 10 Minutes OFF) compared to a normal Ebb and Flow where the pump might run only twice a day.
I didn’t notice any difference in grow times or yield from the DWC, actually I might have noticed that this setup made my plants grow healthier but I didn’t do a side by side comparison.