Deep Water Culture

Deep Water Culture: The best hydroponic set up information for DWC systems. Plenty of tips and techniques to make your system produce the best flowers or vegetables.

So how does hydroponics work regarding deep water culture?

It's the hydroponic method of suspending the plant roots in a solution of nutrient rich, oxygenated water.

But first, let's learn about the....

Traditional Hydroponic Grow System

Traditional hydroponic setups favor the use of plastic buckets with the plant contained in a net pot suspended from the center of the lid and the roots suspended in the nutrient solution.

An air pump-powered-aquarium-air stone oxygenates the nutrient solution; if sufficiently oxygenated, the plant roots can remain submerged indefinitely. Once the plants are ready to flower, the level of the hydroponic nutrient solution is gradually reduced to expose the roots to the air.

BUT, plants absorb lots more oxygen directly from the air than from the oxygen dissolved in water!!!

Deep water culture allows plant roots to absorb large quantities of oxygen while also allowing the uptake of nutrients. This leads to rapid growth throughout the life of the plant.

Recirculation Deep Water Culture

Recirculating-deep-water-culture-systems ( also known as RDWC ) use a reservoir to provide water for multiple buckets. Traditional hydroponic system plans using unconnected buckets require individual testing for ph and conductivity factor (CF).

This has led to innovations that have seen the removal of air stones from a hydroponic growing favor of connecting multiple buckets together...and recirculating the water. As the water is reintroduced to the bucket, it is broken up and aerated with the use of spray nozzles. Constant recirculating oxygenates the water and ensures a good mix of nutrients, CF, and stabilizes pH throughout the entire testing is required only at one point.

The solution is super oxygenized from an air pump, combined with porous stones. With this method, the plants grow much faster because of the high amount of oxygen that the roots receive.

It's simple hydroponics, but the deep water culture hydroponics system requires just adequate water + oxygen nourishing solution.

DWC Hydroponic System Usage

It is advisable to start this type of indoor cultivation with cubes of rock wool. Read more on Hydroponic Media.

Once the seeds are germinated in cubes of rock wool, put them into the DWC baskets previously filled with expanded clay pellets. Fill the DWC system with water and fertilizers that are hydroponic specific up to the level of the solution in contact with the base of the baskets.

In this way, the clay will be in contact with the solution that will be absorbed by the plants roots. Soon the plant will develop a large root system that will naturally immerse in the nutrient solution.

It won't be necessary to maintain the level of nutrient solution to the same level of the base of the baskets, but results will come with a lower level.


It is recommended replacing the nutrient solution approximately once a week and wash the container/tank with hot water to remove any algae, mold, and salt deposits.

Every time you fill the tank, measure the pH of the solution and ensure that its value is between 5.5 and 6.8. Revise with the pH indicator.

The well-oxygenated and enlightened environment promotes the development of algae. It is therefore necessary to wrap the tank with black film... obscuring all light.

Illuminate the system for a 21 day month of vegetative growth for 18hrs/day using a HPS lamp ( High Pressure Sodium Lamp.) After 21 days vary your light hours from 18 to 12hrs/day and this will start the flowering stage. The beginning of the flowering period may cause a sharp rise in the pH.....Revise with the pH indicator.

Want an easy way to get started in Hydroponics? Check out these hydroponic grow kits.

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