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Water Culture System

Convert an aquarium to a low-maintenance hydroponic system. Suspended above the plants is a floating Styrofoam platform. This method is popular in classrooms because it allows students to see the roots of the plants hanging below the floating platform.

Water Culture systems are the most straightforward of the six hydroponic system kinds. While they are technically simple, they are extremely effective for hydroponic plant growth. Not only do many home hydroponic growers enjoy using water culture systems, but many commercial growers do as well. Mostly because water culture systems are a straightforward concept. Additionally, it is a relatively inexpensive system to construct, which contributes to its popularity among home growers. Even though the concept is straightforward, there are numerous inventive ways to utilise and construct water culture systems using a variety of materials.

Material Required

  1. Container for the nutrient solution (reservoir)
  2. Aquarium air pump
  3. Airline/hose
  4. The Air stones (or soaker hose) to create small bubbles
  5.  Pots, or cups, Baskets to hold the plants
  6. Some type of growing media

It’s simple to understand how a hydroponic Water Culture system works. The plant is actually hung in baskets just over the reservoir’s nutrient solution. Typically, using a styrofoam floating Hydroponic DWC Water Culture System on top or through holes made in the reservoir’s lid. The roots extend downward from the baskets in which the plants are growing and directly into the nutritional solution in which they are immersed. 24/7, the roots remain submerged. The roots do not suffocate because they obtain the necessary air and oxygen from both rising air bubbles in the nutrient solution and dissolved oxygen in the water itself.

The more air bubbles in a water culture system, the better. The rising bubbles should give the appearance of water boiling at a vigorous rolling boil. To be most effective, the bubbles should rise through and make direct touch with the roots as they ascend to the top of the water. There are actually two methods for aerating and oxygenating the nutritional solution.

Types of aeration

Air Bubbles

In water culture systems, as well as other types of hydroponic systems, an aquarium air pump and air stones are generally utilized to provide air bubbles to the nutrient solution. Air volume is supplied by the air pump, which is connected to the air stones by an airline/tubing. The air stones are constructed from a porous rock-like material; the microscopic pores form small individual air bubbles that rise to the surface of the water (nutrient solution).

Additionally, a soaker hose can be used in place of air stones to generate the air bubbles. The soaker hose further reduces the size of the air bubbles. The smaller the air bubbles, the more effectively the nutritional solutions are aerated. Smaller air bubbles have a greater surface area in contact with the water. The contact of the air bubbles with the water helps replenish the dissolved oxygen taken up by the roots of the plants.

Falling Water

Though not popular in water culture systems for home growers, surface agitation from falling water splashing around is another extremely good means of aerating the nutrient solution. The higher the water is falling from, and/or the more volume of water descending, the more downward force it has as it hits the water’s surface. The greater the downward force, the more agitation occurs and the more aeration (dissolved oxygen) is provided. This type of aeration is more prevalent in commercial water culture systems due to their higher water requirements than home growers.

Recirculating Water Culture systems

A recirculating water culture system is another variant of the standard water culture system. The recirculating system operates similarly to a flood and drain system, except that it never empties. You may link as many growth containers (water culture reservoirs) as desired to a central reservoir. Each growth container has its own fill line and drain/overflow tube that connects to the central reservoir.

Some growers prefer to utilize buckets rather than large shallow containers. Each bucket contains a single plant and is naturally filled with a fertilizer solution. They may have several of these buckets in a row. Pump the nutrition solution up to each bucket using a fountain/pond pump. As the buckets fill, the excess water overflows into the overflow tube and returns to the reservoir, where it is recirculated through the system.

The majority of gardeners who recirculate nutrient solution in this manner for their water culture systems do so via a central reservoir rather than an air pump in each individual bucket (mainly to save money). They left the water pump running 24 hours a day. However, if each bucket contains air bubbles, as in a conventional water culture system, you can adjust the water pumps on time. Additionally, the plants would benefit from direct touch with the ascending air bubbles that come into contact with the roots.

Recirculating the water enables you to use falling water as an aeration source in the system. Additionally, you no longer need to check the water level in each container to replenish the water consumed by the plants (you simply check and replenish the water in the central reservoir), which is a good feature when growing large, or several plants in the same system. Almost all commercially operational large-scale water culture systems recirculate water throughout the system.

DWC (Deep Water Culture)

The term “DWC” is frequently misused when referring to water culture systems. Thus, what is “DWC,” and why is it not one of the six hydroponic system types? That is because it is not a new sort of hydroponic system. As the full name “Deep Water Culture” implies, it is really a modification on an already established form of hydroponic system known as a water culture system. The term “Deep” is only used to identify certain types of water culture systems. When the water depth in the system exceeds 8-10 inches, it can be classified as a true DWC system. Regardless of the depth of the water, DWC systems remain water culture systems.

Generally, the depth of the water/nutrient solution does not need to be greater than 8 inches. That is actually only necessary for larger plants with large root systems that require additional room and/or consume significantly more water. Or when using a container such as a bucket that must be sufficiently filled to reach the plant’s primary root ball near the top. Plants the size of the majority of lettuce kinds can be easily grown in water culture systems with as little as 4-6 inches of water.

With that said, there is no difference in how a standard water culture system operates or performs compared to a DWC (deep water culture) system. They are identical; the only difference is the depth of the water in the system. Whether you’re using a standard water culture system, a genuine DWC system, or even a recirculating standard water culture or true DWC system, you want to ensure that you have enough water volume and adequate oxygenation to the root system to support the plants. Even when they reach their full potential.


The hydroponics water culture system is a new way for producing fruits & vegetables which provide some impressive outcomes.

The water culture system operates by filling a reservoir with nutritional solution and enabling the roots to bathe in it, with an air pump providing oxygen to the water and roots.

The materials which are required for water culture system are

  1. Reservoir
  2. Aquarium air pump
  3. Airline/hose
  4. The Air stones to create small bubbles
  5.  Pots, or cups, Baskets to hold the plants
  6. Some type of growing media

Frequently asked questions

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