Wanting to make a hydroponic system

Checkout my beginnings in DWC:

and more advanced

and ask any questions you want…


I hear it all the time, hydro is difficult… It is not. Just take notes on your initial mix and water hardness and PH test and PH adjustment if necessary and just repeat it. My water is soft so I dont need adjustment. I dont use PH pens, I use color based PH kits.

Put a small plant in a 20-30 gallon tank, you can go a long time without doing anything. I like to use DWC for mothers that needed rapid growth because of constant cutting, Not unusual for me to get 20+ cuttings a week off a DWC mother. In some cases the DWC mother would drink 75% of the volume, and I didn’t bother to keep topping it off, based off Dr Kratsky method of hydroponics using air gapping. But I still pump air.

In fact Dr Kratkskys method is a non powered version of DWC, but I generally dont recommend it for a high value plant like cannabis.

I dont try to rebalance solution, there are plenty of hungry plants around me like ornamentals. I just dilute with equal volume of water and use it instead of dumping it, There is zero waste stream its all usable.

One thing that is useful is DWC mothers need an occasional rootball trim. This is easier in hydroponics, I think its easier to prevent rootbound conditions in. DWC.

The one thing I dont like about DWC is having a bunch of strains connected… I dont care for that like in RDWC setups I’ll keep the bonzai moms in soil or coco, A few inf DWC is manageable, 20-30 mothers in DWC is not. Then again I dont need 100+ cuttings a week.


I did start with hydro, as it looked easiest to me, I had to get acquainted with soil for motherkeeping reasons and I can’t stand soil… Hydro IS easier… And when going straight hydro I never got any pest too… Add soil somewhere in the room and a pestfest start… And any time I think about trying a soil grow, I then look at 20/25 days old plants vegetating in soil… And I remember why I do love hydro… :wink:
Obviously, IMHO


The pest issue is a huge selling point with me, soil is a vector…

For many years I grew hydro from seed. I never saw anything, I never kept any pesticide or used any biologicals at all. Clean from start to finish, no pest pressure at all.

From a waste standpoint, this is a big deal, you wont have to use “chemicals”, biologicals… etc. the budget is used for production, not fixing problems.

I’m not saying that hydro is promise for pest free gardens but its a clean start.



I agree with Lotus, if this is your first go, don’t try to do it the hard way. Limit the number of things that can go wrong and you are less likely to have everything go wrong…


Of course, when you know what you are doing hydro is easier, but you have to be on the ball sometimes twice a day. Soil is more forgiving when you are learning.

Hempy is by far easier then soil imo. And the biggest plus of hempy for a beginner is less likely to get pests if you use perlite.

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When I found the original OG back in 1999 or early 2000, the very first system I copied and built, The NewGanjaBoy Stealth box, taught me, not only hydro bubbleponics, but how to build my light kits from security lights. How plumb for air, for solution, and to keep it all functioning.
I ran my ran my box for a few years, and it gave me and my wife plenty of personal smoke, cut to cut, or cycle to cycle.
That guy is my personal hero, so much packed into a tiny footprint.
I made many changes to it, false floor, reservoir on the floor, all stuff that is so easy to buy now.
That box was amazing to work.


I am only getting fresh back into hydroponics. I personally think that once you have hydroponics down pat it can be easy, that was my experience in the past. But initially there is a lot more to think about with hydroponics until you learn it all. If you have not grown indoors before then I would suggest starting with soil which is more forgiving. That way you can focus all your efforts on the grow space, the lights, the fans, etc. Once you have those all figured out you can then migrate into hydroponics and focus your efforts on that. However, if you are very studious and like attention to detail and have plenty of time to watch the setup then you can go all in and do hydro straight off the bat. I will be interested to see your grow space develop if you post a grow room diary. Good luck whichever path you take.

PS: I will not give advice on how to go about creating your new project as I am also re finding my feet and a lot of my knowledge is decades old and superseded. There are many others here very willing to give great sound advice.

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The best thing you can do with DWC, is just take a clone and throw it in a bucket and get some experience with it… Black 5g buckets are like 4 bucks at the paint store and a small pump and airstone/airline/netpot is like what?? 25 bucks max? What do you got loose if you treat it as a learning experience and not a serious grow? You might actually be surprised at how easy it really is if you can keep track of few things like ph and ppm’s and water level. It’s really not that big of a deal. It certainly sounds more daunting then it actually is and how people make it out to be. The results from DWC speak for themselves… HUGE massive trees can be grown in those 5 gallon buckets, you just gotta be a detailed type of person because there’s a lot of small details to take into account and keep track of if you want a nice crop… Once your system is dialed and you got the products that work for your setup, no soil is going to outperform a DWC bucket. Not a chance! Ph can be very stable if you find the right nutes for your setup. I was running a particular brand of nute for awhile in DWC and would always have some wild fluctuations in flower out of nowhere and I switched nutes and the wild swings went away… so I think a lot of times people have a bad experience and it’s simply the line of nutes they are running that gives them all the ph issues. I run Canna Substra and it is super stable for me. Something to consider.


A lot of pH swing issues are due to small reservoir sizes. A 5 gal bucket can fit 3 gal tops with a 6" netpot lid. That is not nearly enough for a flowering plant. I used to get full point pH swings using bubble buckets. I now use 27gal totes that fit 15 gal. Much less swings. I can go longer between checking and adjusting pH. Means less time chasing pH and more time focusing on the plant.

I started on hydro and it was a learning curve, but I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. Didn’t get my first harvest until 7 months later, but it was worth it.


So not that you need my 2 cents but hydroponics or DWC to be specific really can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it. Recirculating systems pumps reservoirs chillers ph meters levels nutrient lines ppm meters all of those things and more are important and take time and money to master but dwc is easy to start just get a bucket a pot a pump etc and some grow material like hydroton or rocks lol follow whatever instructions the nutrients you are using recommend remember less is more and the more oxygen on your rootmass the better other than that experiment learn as you go nothing is more fun

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I was thinking hydro I do believe you have altered my decision.
Thanks :+1: Think I’ll start with soil for the beginner.
Yes I understand this is an old post. I’m an old man lol


Hey PP
I have 3 soil grows under my belt now but am eagerly anticipating my first hydro grow probably in a week. The soil grows are probably a good way to get acclimated to the needs and techniques that you will need.
Hopefully this will go well I’ll let you know!


Anyone know what would be in there opinion be the best Nutrients for hydro? A kit would be nice. Anyone ever use the General Hydroponics “FloraSeries Performance Pack”? Or GH’s “General Organics Go Box”. FoxFarm “Nutrient Trio - Hydro”? Soul Synthetics “Player Pack”. What about Technaflora’s “Recipe For Success Kit”. Last one that I can find Hydrodynamic’s “Iconic Tote Starter Kit”


I highly recommend you stay away from, and DO NOT USE anything organic when running hydro. That includes any organic ingredients, and organic additives like CalMag, etc.

Ive tried Fox farm, General Hydroponics, Mega Crop, Advances Nutrients PH Perfect. ALL caused major issues with bacterial growth, algae, slime, smells, PH swings, etc.

The reason is nasty crap that likes to grow in your hydro system just loves organic anything and will grow like crazy if it has food that it really likes.

I recommend Jacks 321 hydro formula. After switching to Jacks, I have had zero mold, bacteria, algae, slime, bad smells etc. Its also far far easier to control PH in the rez. Turns out, those nasty bacteria are a major reason for PH swings.

I like this guys products. He ships fast and you can buy in smaller quantities if you are like me and do small grows. This kit has everything you need except PH up/down.

I got the 4 lb kit and its lasted me several grows and still going.

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I use GH Flora series and have been for 20 years. I have used all 3 components but usually only use the Micro and Bloom. I make adjustments in the amounts of each part depending on the strain I’m growing and how they respond to the nutrients. I have had great grows with these nutes. BTW, the flora series are not organic.

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What I meant to say was made from anything with an organic source - like worm castings, seaweed, etc. I didnt mean organic as in ‘organic’ eggs.

It looks like your right abuot the GH products not having any organic ingredients. I got that wrong for sure :slight_smile:

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I was only pointing out the flora series were not organic. I don’t have any information on the other GH products.
And I totally agree that organics in hydro is seriously problematic.

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Hey P.P. This is a link to the hydro DWC that I used.
I built 4 of these holding two large netties each.
I did add two air stones to each tub and used black air tubing and black tops to stop the light.
Man they are growing fast! After 4 weeks I have switched to flower in soil I vegged for 7-8 weeks so quite a diff. Don’t think I will go back to soil any time soon


Oh yeah
I didn’t do the drain hose in the video, I just use another water pump with a garden hose attached to pump out the reservoir and reverse it to fill back up