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Deep Water Culture System | How Efficient It Is

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Deep water culture system or DWC system is one of the few types of hydroponic system in which water is the main trigger. There’s no use and reliant of soil but effective in growing certain species of plants.

Deep water culture system is not limited to commercial growers and farmers. It can be also adapted by urban home owners and small gardeners. So the notion that this method is expensive isn’t entirely true.

It all depends on how large the space is and how many plants you intend to grow. The more plants the more money is needed for sure.

Deep Water Culture System
Deep Water Culture System via Wikimedia

A Simple Setup of Deep Water Culture System

Also known as the bubbler system or bucket, deep water culture system is not only cheap to build but also easy and quick to set up. You need only a few items to get this started and going for years.

The following items are needed to create a DWC system:
  • Container or reservoir – holds the nutrient solution
  • Air line, tube or hose
  • ​Aquarium air pump
  • Air stones – creates small bubbles
  • Pots, baskets, cups or other small containers – hold plants
  • Clay pebbles
  • Other certain growing media​
  • ​The 3-Part Solution

Keep in mind that three parts of the nutritional solution are involved. These are water, oxygen and nutrients, particularly nitrogen, phosphate and potassium. Obviously, a plant won’t grow without sufficient water and this is the main ingredient on how hydroponic system works in the first place.

For this method, the water should be at least 8 to 10 inches deep in the reservoir, which means this should be big enough to accommodate a large quantity.

On the other hand, oxygen is basically an alternative to soil and allows the plant to float than drown. Through the use of air stone and pump, water is oxygenated throughout the process.

Whether planted in soil or water, nutrients are a required tool to grow plants but there are intended packs of minerals and properties for this method.

The How-It-Works Guide

There is little maintenance required to grow plants through a deep water culture system. You place the reservoir filled with water and nutrients, while on top of are the suspended containers that hold the plants.

The roots of the plants should submerge in the solution to have a direct absorption of the needed nutrients. While exposed to water all the time, the oxygen is circulated so the plants don’t suffocate or drown and die.

Remember that more bubbles should be created to ensure a good cycle and eventually results to quicker and healthier growth. You can easily monitor through the presence of bubbles that similar to water boiling.

As a form of aeration, air bubbles are developed with the use of an aquarium air pump and air stones. Without either of these, there is no oxygen or amount needed may not be enough.

The air stones should be lined well with the tubing or hose and must be connected to the air pump. The difference between air line or tube and soaker hose is that the latter creates smaller bubbles.

Some people get confused on how the container for the plant should be positioned. They are not sure whether it works when hanged above the water or touching it. Truthfully, both work but each has its own benefits and disadvantages.

If the planter is hanged above the water, droplets allow the growing media to remain near the bottom of the damp. This again works with the help of the air bubbles produced.

If it’s touching the water, air bubbles come out on the surface. It also creates droplets that splash around it.

When it comes to the absorption of water, the container touching the water is more advantageous as it quickly receives water. In contrast, the growing media can cause a difference depending on the amount as they tend to push a faster absorption of water when the container is hanged above it.

The Benefits

Deep water culture system has benefits, that’s for sure. It is not only inexpensive and easy to build, but also requires little work. You do not need to water regularly since this element is already set.

However, you must make sure that the plants are submerged well so they don’t end up dying from suffocation or drowning.

Another advantage of DWC is the fact that plants grow much faster and healthier. All the nutrients required are provided and it’s simply a matter of controlling the right amount.


The big question now is whether you’d go for deep water culture system or stick to the traditional growing method? After weighing the pros and cons, you should be able to answer that question by yourself.

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1. Deep Water Culture Hydroponic Bucket Kit

2. HTG Supply Bubble Brothers (6-Site)

3. General Hydroponics pH Control Kit