The 6 Most Common Types of Hydroponic Systems Found in Modern Grow Rooms
  • Deep Water Culture
  • Ebb and Flow
  • Nutrient Film Technique
  • Wick System
  • Aeroponics
  • Drip System

This is a method of getting nutrients directly to your roots. Explosive growth is an attribute of this method of farming, a broad and diverse filed. With different options, such as DWC (deep water culture -the roots are directly suspended in a nutrient system permanently), Ebb & Flow (also known as Flood and Drain), NFT (Nutrient film technique) a hydroponic technique where a shallow stream of water is re-circulated past the bare roots of plants in a watertight gully, also known as channels and Aeroponics -a newer style of hydroponic system. The roots remain suspended in air which allows for maximum oxygenation. These systems are more complex than soil, with a steep learning curve and you also have less room for error.

With traditional growing, soil acts as a buffer. A common mistake new growers make is overfeeding nutrients, which can lead to toxicity. The soil helps absorb nutrients and dampen the effects of overfeeding. However, if you overfeed in a hydroponic system, you are directly overfeeding at the root zone. This will lead to issues with nutrient toxicity, and can drastically affect your grow almost immediately. Also, a big consideration is “Single Point of Failure”. A bad reservoir, solution or issue (bacteria, mold, Ph, PPM, EC ) can take you down real quick.

While you may benefit from prior experience growing cannabis in soil, even a beginner can grow good hydroponic cannabis. Indeed, when it comes to indoor growing, some people believe that superior yield in a shorter amount of time is one of the advantages of growing hydroponically. Soil growers, on the other hand, will argue the opposite and claim their method is superior, and when grown organically, the final product tastes better and has just as much or more potency (higher potency is another common claim of hydroponic growers as well). No doubt this debate will continue to rage on well into the future. The objective truth of the matter is that both growing methods have their pros and cons


There are many grow-light options, and the best lighting choice largely depends on the size of the garden. High-intensity discharge (HID) usually in the form of high-pressure sodium or metal halide, compact fluorescent lights (CFL), and light-emitting diode (LED) will all grow cannabis just fine, depending on the grower’s preference and needs.

Grow Table

This important and large piece of equipment will take up much of your growing space. The function of the table and its tray is to contain and return excess water to the reservoir. The table will have a low point where water collects and travels back to the reservoir before circulating back to the plants again.

pH and PPM Meters

Growing hydroponically—or with soil—requires evaluating the water source used and making adjustments if necessary. Water adjustments may prove necessary with pH boosters and reducers.


Hydroponic nutrients are available in liquid and powder form. The majority of cannabis growers prefer organically grown flower, so organic nutrients are the best choice. Bottled nutrients are the easiest to use. There are organic options available—or as close as you can get to organic out of a bottle.

Support Media

Although the plants are fed directly from the circulating water, a medium is necessary to provide mechanical support of the plants. A variety of substances are commonly used, including coco coir, gravel, and clay pellets. Rock wool cubes make a good starting foundation for young plants when they first go into the system.

Net Pots

Depending on the scope of the cultivation project, a range of pot sizes will work. Something in the 2- to 7-gallon range should suit your needs.


This reservoir tank holds the water that circulates through the hydroponic grow system. The size of the tank depends on the size of the grow.

Air Pump and Air Stone

The air pump should always be running to guarantee the water is agitated and well oxygenated. You want the water to be oxygenated and moving.

Water Pump

The pump drives the water circulating through the system, so you want to make sure it’s high quality. Again, the appropriate pump largely depends on the number of plants grown. Generally speaking, the larger the size of the pump, the better.


Usually constructed of plastic, tubing will be necessary to keep water circulating throughout the system, moving it between the reservoir and the plants. The plastic tubing will eventually have holes drilled into it and serve as a drip line. Make note here – There is a lot to say for CLEAR vs BLACK vs GREEN tubing to prevent the formation of algae. At least with CLEAR, you can see the algae film and cleanse your system before it becomes a problem

Drip Line Emitters

You will want at least one drip-line emitter per plant.

How Much Water Does A Marijuana Plant Require? Water droplet on marijuana plant.

Setting Up the System

After purchasing all of the necessary parts and assembling them, it’s time to build your system. Your equipment supplier may have good advice or instructions to share, so explore that as a possible resource. You want to take the necessary time to make sure it’s working properly well before introducing any plants.

The All-In-One Alternative for Growing Hydroponic Cannabis

If do-it-yourself projects aren’t your bag, there are other ways to grow hydroponic cannabis. Just like grow tents and cabinets made for growing cannabis in soil, there are all-in-one self-contained systems for hydroponic cultivation. For people just starting out with hydroponic cannabis cultivation, these systems make a lot of sense and are a great introduction to the hydronic-growing process.

If you’ve been intrigued by hydroponic cultivation and always wanted to give it a try, by all means do so. The practice is not as difficult as it may seem, and most likely you will be a pioneer among your circle of cannabis friends. Before you know it, you will be sampling high-quality cannabis grown with the hydroponic method!

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