DIY Deep Water Culture System – The Best Guide 2023

DIY Deep Water Culture System - The Best Guide 2023 Hydroponics

Today let’s check our DIY deep water culture system guide. Deepwater hydroponic systems for culture are a type of hydroponic system that has been in use for many years.

Deepwater Culture (DWC) can be described as an improved form of hydroponics since DWC requires less water than the other kinds of hydroponic systems.

In this blog, we will cover how you can set up your own deep-water culture hydroponics system!

A DWC system is an excellent method to enter the world of hydroponics and learn more about one of the well-known varieties of systems on the market.

DIY Deep Water Culture System - The Best Guide 2022

You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to set up the perfect Deep Water Culture type Hydroponic System!

Disclosure: You can also buy the items through the links listed below in this article. We make a small amount of commission on qualified purchases, but it will not affect your purchase price. This helps us provide useful information to our visitors.

What Is Bubbleponics or Top-Fed DWC?

Bubbleponics systems referred to as top-fed DWC are similar to standard DWC systems. But, they feature one tiny difference that enhances root aeration, uptake of nutrients, and the growth rate in the beginning which is the vegetative phase.

What Is Bubbleponics or Top-Fed DWC?

Bubbleponic systems include an internal water pump in the reservoir, which is connected to tiny irrigation tubes. These tubes are put into the net pots suspended on the upper part of the system, exactly where the roots of the new plants emerge from the beginning block. This ensures that the young plants receive an adequate amount of deep-water culture nutrients and oxygen before their roots get to the reservoir below. This results in faster growth and more established plants.

This method, however, could have its drawbacks once plants age. The heat produced through the system, though small, could increase the temperature of the environment that is growing. Additionally, top-fed systems may result in deposits building up in the upper part of the root zone, which can lead to issues. To avoid this, farmers are advised to stop using top-fed DWC when the roots of the plant come into contact with the water below the.


Now that you’re familiar with DWC but have you thought of recirculating deep-water cultivation (RDWC)? While DWC plants are grown directly into a reservoir beneath, RDWC systems feature a standalone reservoir that contains a nutrition solution. They are able to supply multiple plants simultaneously with the same solution. Pumps are employed to disperse the solution across several different plants, before returning to the reservoir by an array of pipes.


RDWC systems are ideal to manage multiple hydroponic systems at the same time, but they cost a lot more to install since they require plumbing, pumps, and a water chiller. In addition, it is that they incur greater operating expenses due to the electricity required to power the pumps and transfer the larger volume of fluid.

9 Materials Needed For DIY Deep Water Culture Hydroponics

Materials Needed For DIY
Hydroponics vegetables

To begin a DIY deep water-based hydroponic system, it is necessary to make sure to gather the following supplies:

  1. Seed/seedling
  2. A lid for the bucket (Pro Tips: Look for Food-safe plastic bags)
  3. Plastic or Styro cups
  4. Medium for growth
  5. The hydroponic nutrients
  6. Air pump
  7. Water
  8. Cutter
  9. Hole driller/soldering iron/electric saw

You may already have a bit of these at home, but it’s best to confirm what you’re lacking prior to heading to the market. By doing this, you will save time as well as money, and effort.

Deep Water Culture Hydroponics: How It Works

Deep Water Culture Hydroponics

Deep water cultivation, also called DWC is one of the most popular kinds of systems for hydroponics. In deep water cultivation, the plant’s roots are enclosed in an enclosed pot or cup and suspended from the lid, and the roots are suspended toward a liquid nutrient solution.

Hydroponics for deep water cultivation can be set up as either a passive or active system. These concepts will be discussed in this post.

How to Set up a Deep Water Culture Type Hydroponic System?

The following is a step-by-step guide for installing a deep water culture hydroponics system:

Step-By-Step Guide
  1. First, you must pick the ideal spot for your hydroponic setup. It is essential to ensure that the area you choose has ample light and is situated in a warmer area.
  2. It is the next thing to do, which will be to install your garden beds. You can purchase them or build them yourself. Make sure they’re solid and watertight when you’re creating them yourself.
  3. Make holes in the container to accommodate your airstones and plants with about one-inch space between them so that there is plenty of room for bubbles.
  4. The next step is to install your nutritional tank. This is the place where you’ll keep the nutrient solution that you’ll be using within your hydroponic system. It is important to avoid anything higher than seven inches as it can hinder the air pump’s ability to move air efficiently throughout the system (there must be a minimum of three inches between the very top and the bottom of the cultivation medium).
  5. Then, make sure to fill the nutrient reservoir. It is recommended that you employed a pH-adjusting agent as well as a chlorine removal agent so that your water is fresh and ready to utilize within your system. If you’re making use of tap water be sure that it’s been laid in the refrigerator overnight so that chlorine has time to dissipate before introducing the water to your hydroponics system. After you have left your water set for an overnight period it is necessary to test the pH with a pH test kit. If the pH is lower than 7.0 and you are not sure, then apply the proper methods for raising the pH to somewhere in the range of 6.5 or 7.0.
  6. Once the water you use has tested positive, it’s time to include the necessary nutrients to nourish your plants. There are many nutrient-rich formulas available that supply everything your plants require for a specific time. You can purchase these formulas already-made or make your own. If you’re making your own ensure you are using the right ratio for the kind of plant you be using in the system. You should also check every time you add nutrients that have been mixed multiple times! However, you need an ingredient that has a well-balanced NPK ratio.
  7. The next step is to include air into your system using an airstone and air pump. Find a location for your airstones! It is best to place them at the corner of the container or toward the bottom (if you are using a deep-water cultivation system with a lot of plants). Place your airstones into the container, then turn on the air pump for approximately an hour as you set up the system in order to avoid leaks.
  8. Airstone tubes through holes you’ve made in your container (make certain they’re 4 inches over the level where your medium for growing is) and drop them in the water until they’re on the top.
  9. Additionally, you will need to include a water pump and filters for ensuring that the nutrient solution gets removed and returned back to your tank with no difficulties. It is crucial that whatever you pick has enough capacity to transport the quantity of water you’ll be dealing with. The larger the Deep Water Culture System gets the stronger the air pump you’ll need. It can handle five to six gallons of water.
  10. If you’re using an electronic timer you plug in into the wall close to the area where your plants are (or in a wall nearby) and connect everything else to it: an air pump, bubbler, and lights.
  11. You must now place your seeds and plants (if utilized) in your garden beds or net pots along with the growing media prior to adding them to the water pump.
  12. Once your plants have been put in their pots After that, you must connect the air hose that comes from the airstone to the air pump and then place it at the base of your growing pot or bed so that you have a continuous stream of bubbles that are rising up throughout your system.
  13. Plug into your air pump and allow it some time to start.

4 Steps on How to Use Your DIY Deep Water Culture

To utilize the DIY deep water-based hydroponics system, you must first) make sure that the bucket is filled with water) mix in the hydroponic nutrients, 3,) place the seedling on its growing medium onto the lid, and four) secure the container using the lid.

1. Fill the Bucket With Water

The bucket (reservoir) with water until it reaches the point at which the lower part of the roots will be floating in the water.

If you’re not certain about the distance between the roots from the water, don’t be concerned! You can easily alter that later on.

2. Mix the Hydroponic Nutrients

Hydroponic nutrients that are liquid or dry are then mixed into the water of the reservoir for hydroponics. Make sure you only mix the right quantity of nutrients into the water to suit your plant.

How to Use Your DIY Deep Water Culture

In this process, it is possible to use measurement cups, or even syringes in order to determine the exact quantity of nutrients you must mix with the water.

Remember that the most effective mix is that which is stated on the label of your nutrient. There isn’t a universal formula for all nutrients.

3. Position the Seedling in the Net Cup

Place the seedling into the net cup, and then include sufficient growing medium to secure the position of the seedling. The roots must be in the bottom of the cup to allow access to the water that is nutrient in the DIY deep water cultivation hydroponic system.

In this stage, you’re now able to collect your seedling. Be sure to treat them with care at this point, as any injury to their body or its roots could cause their death.

One of the most important aspects to consider in this process is to position the roots of the plant in a way that they have a connection to the water.

Plants with roots that are long like leaves, may be placed into the slits in as to ensure that the roots are suspended.

However, for plants with shorter roots, such as cauliflower, it is possible to position it further away from the water.

Another alternative for plants that are similar to this is to choose a medium that has a high capacity for holding water such as coconut Coir. In this way, you can ensure that the water gets absorption by the medium below, and can then be pumped up to the plant’s root system.

4. Cover the Bucket With the Lid

Build the DIY deep-water cultivation hydroponic system by inserting the lid and seedling in the hole you have drilled.

Once you have done this, you’ll have two options to run your deep-water culture hydroponics. We’ll go over these in the following section.

Methods of Aeration in DWC

There are two ways to add aeration as well as dissolved oxygen to the solution of nutrients such as air bubbles or falling water.

Air Bubbles

In deep water-culture systems and other hydroponic systems, air pumps and air stones are employed to form air bubbles for the nutrients in the solution.

It is connected to the airstone using an airline. It is then used to create the volume of air. The airstone is a rocks-like material and has tiny pores, which produce small bubbles that rise up over the surface of the water. It is also possible to use a hose that soaks that creates smaller bubbles than air stones.

The smaller the air bubbles, the more aeration they can provide to the nutrient solution since they have a greater surface for contact with the liquid. The interaction of the air particles and water replenishes the oxygen that is absorbed by the roots of the plant.

Water That is Falling

This technique isn’t very common in water culture at-home systems. This method is a good one, as the surface agitation caused by splashing water falling around will result in the aeration of the nutrient-rich solution.

Methods of Aeration in DWC

The greater amount of water, and the higher the rate at which it falls, the greater the downward force it creates when it strikes the surface of the water. The more powerful the force downward is, the more intense the agitation, and the greater oxygen dissolved there is.

This technique is more common in commercial water systems since they consume more water than growers at home use.

Variations of Deep Water Culture

Besides the traditional Deep Water Culture, as explained above, there are some varieties of this system type.


Bubbleponics works just like DWC using the same setup and the same equipment (air pump and airstone).
It can be upgraded only by adding an air pump within the hydroponic reservoir that moves the nutrients up to the top of the net cups which hold plants and then return to the reservoir. It is therefore a top-feeding DWC and a Recirculating system.

Bubbleponics is a great option in the initial phase of your plant when the plants roots aren’t quite as long and do not reach the water below.
The provision of nutrients and water in this stage can help the plant roots to grow more quickly, and once they get deep into the reservoir’s nutrient solution there’s no reason to continue.

But it’s definitely worthwhile since it will accelerate the seedling and germination stages of your crops.

The Kratky Method

In essence, it is the Kratky Method is the Deep Water Culture however, it is no need for an air pump. It is a passive method without electricity.

How do plants get oxygen and nutrients?

The most important thing is to create air space between roots as well as the surface of nutrients. This means that some of the roots get submerged in the water while others are exposed to air.
For more details on this fascinating hydroponics system, you can check out our previous article here.

Recirculating Deep Water Culture (RDWC)

If the conventional DWC has its own drawbacks and isn’t scalable this is when the recirculating deep-water culture is born.

It functions as a drain and flood but the nutrients do not drain or get out of the system.

There is the possibility of having multiple buckets or containers and all of them have to be connected to the central reservoir.
The greatest benefit is that you can build large and only need to add oxygenate, and water and set the central reservoir to the right level. The nutrients and water that are used to feed the plants will flow between buckets.

Typically, you should have around 1-3 plants in a bucket. Anything more than that can result in the roots blocking the air stone and causing less oxygen that be absorbed by the plant.

How Do I Light This DWC System?

If plants are grown in open fields, setting they up to receive sufficient sunlight straight from the sun during the day, and sleep at night.

However, if the plants are kept inside there isn’t sufficient light in marine cultivation systems. For instance the larger systems, like the deep-water culture recirculating system, artificial lighting is utilized to provide illumination for seeds.

How Do I Light This DWC System?

Experts say that growers must look for light sources which do not emit heat since the system produces enough heat from compressors that are running all the time.

The kind of artificial lighting you should invest in for the setup to grow is determined by the size of the area to be grown and the kind of plant growing in the area and the type of lighting and the stage of growth.

The lighting supplement should be running for approximately 16 hours per day. For the remaining 8 hours, the plants must be kept in a dark, dark area.

Look also – DIY Ebb and Flow System — The Best Guide 2023

DIY Deep Water Culture System Conclusion

Now that you’re armed with the right knowledge, it’s time to create your own hydroponic gardens.

In addition to being easy to set up, hydroponics it’s simple to keep pests or diseases harm plants.


How deep should a deep water culture be?

To answer the inquiry, Deep Water Culture System, also known as DWC can be described as a way of cultivating plants where roots are suspended within oxygenated and nutrient-rich water. It is known as "deep" since the water has to have to be at least 10 inches deep.

Which is better DWC or RDWC?

The main distinction is the fact that DWC is a single reservoir, in contrast to RDWC using multiple buckets and a single reservoir. Additionally, when the DWC container is huge there is an effect of thermal mass having more water in it and buffering temperature fluctuations which occurs more quickly in RDWC.

How do you make deep water culture?

Easy-to-Follow Steps in Making DIY Deep Water Culture: 1. Create a Hole in the Bucket Lid. 2. Cut Slits Below the Styrofoam or Plastic Cups for the Net Pots. 3. Fill the Bucket With Water. 4. Mix the Hydroponic Nutrients Into the Water. 5. Fix the Seedling's Position Using the Growing Medium.

Rate article
Hydroponics Herb Garden
Add a comment