How to Build a Deep Water Culture Hydroponic System
For each “bubbler” as they are called you will need a 5-gallon bucket with a lid. A regular fish tank air pump or two, the more air to the roots the better. An aquarium airstone (use a airstone that produces the smallest bubbles possible to more effectively oxygenate the water). Finally a six inch hydroponic growing net (this can be found at a local Hydroponic store.
To prepare the bucket cut a whole in the lid so your grow net fits perfectly inside the whole, with the lip of the net resting on the buckets lid. Use a small blade and outline the cut before hand to ensure no extra light will get into the water supply.
Next cover the entire bucket with 4-5 layers of duck tape to completely keep out light. If any light was allowed to get to the resevoir algae growth would occur choking the roots of much needed air.
Fill the net with any kind of hydroponic grow medium ( i.e. gro rocks, expanded clay, rock wool). Also cut a hole just big enough for the air hose in the side of the bucket, rather than in the lid where it will get in the way of taking the lid off.
Run the air line through the whole from the pump to the bottom of the bucket. You may have to weigh down the airstone depending on its size.
And that’s it you have just built your own hydroponic system. After you gather your materials you could make several in just an hour. Remember the more air to the roots the healthier the plants.
These systems can be maintained in most any environment with sufficient light. Deep water culture setups even though they are simple can be the highest producing system of all considering other systems inability to maximize nutrient and oxygen levels. The most effective place to grow is of course outside or in a greenhouse. While there are many specialty lights made today for growing, none match the energy of the sun.