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Deepwater Hydroponics System Pros & Cons

Deepwater Hydroponics System Pros & Cons

Whenever we talk about the hydroponics system then we should realize that this term is not different from the hydroponics system. In actual deep water hydroponics system is one of the types of hydroponics systems.

It is also known as a deep water culture system. Deepwater indicates that the plant should be cultivated in such a system where the system has at least a system that has a depth of 8-10 inches deep. This system is mainly used for where the plant had a deep root system.

Sometimes its looks like fiction to grow the deep-rooted plant in hydroponic condition. This article will help you with a complete understanding of the deepwater hydroponic system.

Click here to see the DWC I Personally Recommend

Why It Is Named Deep Water Culture:

This method is also called deep water hydroponics because of two main reasons.

  • One of them is, Sometimes you grow with a reservoir that may hold an honest amount of water. More water means more stability in your nutrient solution, which implies less monitoring and maintenance for you.
  • The second reason is due to what quantity of the basis mass you submerge within the water. Other methods expose your plant root zone to air and drench them in water just many times on a daily basis. In trouble culture, most of your plant scheme is submerged 24/7 in water.

Critical Parts to Take Care in Deep Water Hydroponics System:

There is three critical part of deepwater hydroponics system, you have to take care of these while establishing deep water culture.

Oxygen: In this system, roots are completely submerged in water, not in soil. In soil cultivation, there are gaps and holes where air resides. The water must be oxygenated that the plant does drown, otherwise it causes suffocation for the plant roots. This can be accomplished with a vacuum pump and air stone.

Water: Think of this method as if you are growing in soil and permanently watering your plants, this can be one amongst the explanations growing hydroponically is so beneficial, so you do not need to water again. The reservoir that contains plants must hold a good amount of water. The more water there is more stability in the nutrient solution and less maintenance and monitoring required.

Nutrients: A good quality soil contains all of the micro and macronutrients that a plant must require for its proper growth. Because we have got no soil, we would like to supplement the oxygen-rich water with nutrients so our plant can grow.

How Does Deep Water Hydroponic Work?

Some of you may fear that the chances of your plant become suffocated by too much watering. Sometimes plants also become dead when they subjected to overwatering. Besides water, you can provide plant roots with appropriate oxygen and environment (temperatures, nutrients, light) then plant will survive and thrive.

When the deep water system is full of oxygen by using an air pump, falling water so that there will be air bubbles rising up for nutrient solution and dissolve water in the reservoir. In this system, the plant absorbs sufficient oxygen while it is also able to take up the nutrients and water around it all day. It also helps to get fast growth and in many cases better than grown in the soil.

In it, plant roots submerged in the water for 24 hours per 7 days a week. To avoid rotting roots keep air pump and air stone runs 24 hours a day. If you do not install this system, then the plant will suffer from being waterlogged and run out of oxygen so the plant will be dead.

Different method of Deepwater hydroponics

Working of DWC System:

An air stone connected with the air pump via the airline is placed in the reservoir. Nutrients and water add to it. Then the plant is placed in the net pot above the nutrient solution in the reservoir. The bucket in this system basically looks like a cup that is made from reusable and rigid plastic mesh. This mesh allows your plant to have a strong and fast root system. If you have a normal cup with a hole in the bottom, there will be only one direction for your plant roots to grow. Sometimes roots spread out in a diverse direction. Spreading of roots is quite observable because this system helps in the promotion of roots.

Once the roots hit the nutrient solution, you will observe the remarkable growth of roots. By this system your plant does not need to find water pocket in soil, they can take it directly. Also, ensure that the roots get proper oxygen. If the root system gets proper oxygen, then they can stay in water for a long time. In this system, the plant fulfills the need for oxygen by nutrient solution and dissolved oxygen in the water.

In this system, more air bubbles are preferred. There should be enough bubbles in water as appear in boiling water. If the bubbles rise higher then caption of oxygen is more accessible. In this way, they can get oxygen by direct connection with roots.

Methods of Aeration in deep water hydroponics:

There are two ways to provide oxygen to the nutrient solution.

Air Bubbles:

In a hydroponics system and other different types of hydroponics, air pump and air stones are used to create an air bubble in growth media. For this purpose, the pump is connected to the air stone with an airline and is employed to supply the air volume. The air stone is created of rock-like material and had small pores that create small bubbles which will rise to the highest of the water. You will also use a soaker hose, which creates smaller bubbles than air stones.

Ensure that the size of bubbles should be smaller because smaller bubbles give more aeration for the nutrient solution because they need more contact surface with the water. The contact between the air bubbles and therefore the water replaces the dissolved oxygen by plant roots.

Falling Water:

This method is not highly regarded in the at-home water culture system. By using this method, the surface agitation produced from falling water splashing around. it will create aeration for the oxygenation. The larger the degree of water and therefore the higher the water is falling the more downward force it produces when it hits the water surface. When the downward force becomes stronger, the deeper is the agitation and therefore the more dissolved oxygen. This method is more popular in a commercial deep water culture system because they use a bigger amount of water than the home grower does.

Different method of Deepwater Hydroponics (DWC):

There is different method used to build deepwater hydroponics.

Traditional Method:

Traditional deep water culture is the easiest way to build. These material is required to build the system.

  • Five-gallon bucket
  • Air pump
  • Airstone
  • Airline tubing
  • Net pots
  • Growing media
  • Hydroponics nutrients
  • pH control kit
  • PPM meter

Let’s build:

Firstly, you have to fill your reservoir with the hydroponic nutrient solution that is just above the bottom of the information superhighway pot. Then check the pH level of your system. Maintain the pH range between 5.5 to 6.5. if it drifts from the above level, then you can regulate it by using a pH kit.

This system is simple, just connect the pump to tubing. Then attach tubing to the air stone and place the air stone in the bucket. Fill up the bucket with water and add proper pH also add proper nutrients to the water. Then place the plant which has visible roots growing out of the Rockwool into the reservoir. You will either surround your plants with the aforementioned expanding clay growing media. Then activate the pump.

When the plants are young, the Rockwool must contact with the nutrient solution and absorb the nutrients from it to water up the plants, because the plants mature, the basis system will develop, absorbed more nutrients and therefore the level of the nutrient solution may be reduced.

Once plants start growing larger and the roots start to hit the water, you will see an explosion of growth in the plant. Rather than spending energy on growing roots to look for pockets of water in the soil, your plants can simply suck up the maximum amount of water and nutrients as they have directly in touch with the media. If the water is correctly oxygenated, there is no reason why your plants' roots cannot remain submerged deep within the water for the complete life cycle of the plant.

Here's the DWC I Personally Recommend:

The Atwater HydroPod DWC System

Benefits of Traditional DWC System:

It is a highly oxygenated and nutrient-rich solution. The plant grows in an exceedingly traditional deep water hydroponic system that is often harvested up to twice as fast as normal soil-grown plants. I have personally harvested a head of lettuce in 30 days after germination normally in the soil it takes about 60 days to harvest.

Recirculating Deep Water Hydroponics System:

The traditional method of hydroponics is great for beginners or small scale growers. If you want to upgrade your hydroponic garden to the next level, then use a recirculating deep water hydroponic system. To develop a recirculating deep water system, you require 10 individual buckets but in the traditional system, you require calibration and adjustment for each system. In the traditional system if you grow one type of plant in the different bucket it does not make sense you have to maintain each bucket. For such a condition this system is best.

You can calibrate all the 10 buckets by a single maintenance system. As water moves from bucket to bucket, it is shuttled around via spray nozzles that oxygenated the water. The beauty of this alteration to the classic deep water culture system is that you only have to standardize, oxygenate and add extra water from one central location and it gets fed out to all buckets instantly. The best similarity here is the power grid. Power is produced from centralized locations and then sent out through the power grid to our houses.


Many do not understand the difference between bubbleponics to that of traditional deepwater hydroponics. This system had its own certain advantages than the traditional deep water system.

In this system, instead of waiting for your plant to germinate and roots to hit the top of the water in your reservoir, bubbleponics aims to speed up that process by top feeding the nutrient solution to your plans for the first few weeks. You can add a water pump to the system, with drip lines running up out of the tank to the net pots that your plants are sitting in. Simple but very effective in speeding up the germination and seedling phase of a plant cycle.

The Kratky Method:

It is not a new or different type of hydroponic system but it is just a variation of the standard water culture system. It named Kratky because the variation is dubbed by B.A Kratky at the University of Hawaii. It is also known as a non-recirculating hydroponic system.

Non- recirculating hydroponic system does not circulate water or nutrient solution from the reservoir to the plants and move back again to the reservoir. They just pump water from the reservoir to the plant, but then allow water to move into discard off the drain. It seems like this method is wasteful but in reality, the non-recirculating system can be very efficient and do very little runoff. The deepwater culture system is non-recirculating but they can be modified to be a circulating system as well.

This hydroponic cultural system is run without the air pump as well as part of the nutrient film technique. It is a water culture system because the plant hangs above the water and roots hang down into the nutrient reservoir. It is also part nutrient film technique system because like the NFT system it had a gap between the basket holding the plant and water in the roots. This gap is an air pocket and supposed to replace the air pump in a standard water culture system.

While the plants are small, the basket is meant to touch the water therefore the roots can be being growing out very cheap because the plants grow and also the roots get longer. In addition, plant drinks up plenty of water. That lower the water level leaving an air gap. Without the vacuum pump which switches to dissolve oxygen and oxygenate the water, the plant needs the air gap which enables them to get oxygen. This kind of system is designed to be helpful in places where electricity is non-existent or unreliable.

This method has a distinct drawback. The vacuum pump does more than just supply dissolved oxygen in the deep water culture system. The rising bubbles also keep the water in circulation. When the water and nutrient solution is stagnant, the mineral salts settle near the lowest. As a result, the nutrient media balance becomes uneven (strong near the lowest and weak near the top). The rising air bubbles from the vacuum pump create movement within the water that keeps the nutrient solution mixing all the time and thus nutrients evenly distributed throughout the water as well.

By adopting this method plant roots are able to get oxygen while the roots above the water line cannot get nutrients and roots below the water line cannot get oxygen because they already have depleted the dissolved oxygen in the water early on and there is nothing to replace it. It acts as a source of stress for the plant.

Plants are adaptable and can always attempt to adapt to their environment and surroundings as best they will. But the conditions provided when using the Kratky method are far away from ideal conditions. While they are far away from ideal conditions and also the cost to run a vacuum pump is 24/7 or you can replace the dissolved oxygen at an extremely low level. In areas where the electricity is incredibly unreliable or non-existent, this method will be a useful and beneficial option.

Plants Suitable For Deep Water Hydroponics System:

The plants that are most fitted to grow with deep culture systems are anything that does not have to be compelled to flower including many sorts of lettuces and much of various herbs. These plants grow super-fast and healthy. Besides that, you will also grow some vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and even large fruits like squash but they take a small amount more effort.

Advantages of Deepwater Hydroponics:

It is popular for many different reasons. It is one of the simplest methods to start the system. Simplest of deep water hydroponic system is a wicking system.

Here are a few advantages of growing plants in a deep water culture system.

Low maintenance: it required very low maintenance, once you start this type of cultivation system.

Increase rate of growth: Cultivating plant in this system, extremely increase the rate of growth as compared to cultivate the plant in soil. For example, lettuce takes 30 days to harvest as in soil it requires 60 days to harvest.

Little movement: It requires little moving parts and assembly.

Increase cell growth: Aerating the roots improves plant, absorption and increase cell growth rate within plants.

Reduced cost of fertilizer: Plant submerge in deep water hydroponics then there is no need for fertilizer.

Disadvantages of Deepwater Hydroponics:

However, it is not all sunshine, there are some disadvantages of deepwater hydroponic systems which ultimately cause a problem. You can avoid these advantages if you are maintaining the system properly.

  • In the initial small system, the pH of water and nutrient concentration may fluctuate widely.
  • In small scale cultivation, the opportunity to overcome the under calibrate is very easy due to small scale production.
  • If you have got an electricity outage or a pump failure, your roots may drown in low oxygen nutrient solution.
  • It is often difficult to keep up a regular water temperature.
  • If you are using a non-recirculating trouble hydroponic system then it is difficult to keep up the temperature, the water tends to induce too hot from the submersible pump running continuously.
Robert Davis

Robert Davis

What started as a personal experience to improve my overall health by growing my own food has turned into a mission to share my experience and my own research. Growing your own food and eating healthier food is something that everyone has to try.

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