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A popular hydroponic method used by new and skilled growers alike is the deep-water culture (DWC) hydroponic system. Not only is it useful, but it is also easy to maintain and setup. It is quite simply the easiest hydroponic system, especially for new growers.

How does a DWC hydroponic system work?

In a typical DWC system, the plant's roots are submerged in a nutrient solution. A hydroponic reservoir houses the solution, and the roots are soaked in it throughout their life. Hence, a water pump is not required. The air pump and air stone attached to the system provide continuous oxygen that prevents the plants from drowning.

DWC hydroponics is a life-saver for new growers as it comes with very few components. Since there are no nozzles attached, you don’t have to worry about anything getting clogged. This makes it different from hydroponic drip systems and aeroponic systems. As a result, this system is considerably easy to use and reduces maintenance headaches drastically. Once you set it up, its relatively easy but by and large hydroponics require attention.

Pros of a DWC Hydroponic system:

  • Very few moving parts
  • Low maintenance
  • Rapid growing time

Cons of a DWC hydroponic system:

  • Fluctuation in pH and water level
  • Can be easily overfed or underfed
  • Challenge to manage consistent water temperature in the reservoir

Challenges of growing with DWC hydro systems

Most problems with a DWC system are due to operator error. However, these can be reduced to a great extent if the grower starts a soil grow. With the use of a pH pen and thermometer/hygrometer, you can easily avoid most issues.

Adequately dosing nutrients with the correct amount of hydro nutrients is crucial as the smallest mistakes can cause havoc with your grow. For big commercial DWC systems, it is better to use nutrient and pH dosers. These ensure optimal conditions in your hydroponic system and mitigates the risk of human error.

Now, let’s briefly discuss hydro nutrients.

How to feed nutrients in a DWC hydroponics system?

Feeding nutrients in a DWC hydroponic system needs a little attention. Generally, hydroponic systems specifically require Hydroponic nutrients are not to be confused with soil nutrients as these system specific nutrients help prevent clogs in your lines and keep everything running smoothly. Also, changing the nutrient solution periodically, according to the particular nutrients’ specs will ensure a trouble-free grow.

How to choose the right DWC hydroponic system?

Choosing the right DWC hydroponic system largely depends on three things: Your growing space, your budget, and the number of plants you want to grow. For hobby growers, we recommend a 5-gallon growth module as the best option to kick start a DWC hydroponic system. However, if you desire to grow high-yielding and huge plants, choose a 35-gallon growth module.

DWC hydroponic system – Single Vs. Modular

To simplify it further, DWC systems can be narrowed down to either: Single and Modular.

As the name implies, a single system allows only one growth module, i.e., it houses only a single plant. It is perfect for first time hobby growers as they can focus all of their efforts on a single plant.

Then there are Modular systems that are connected to a central reservoir and have several growth modules. These systems transport the water/nutrient solution to individual growth modules from the central reservoir, making the systems ‘active.’

Plant Count

If you are planning a small scale grow space, like a tent or a spare bedroom, a 1-10 plants system will be enough. For a commercial greenhouse or a largescale warehouse, larger systems than accommodate 30-40 plants will be an effective use of your space and resources .

For budget conscious or hobby growers we recommend a 5-gallon bucket system from Active Aqua For under $200 you can get a highly-functional eight plants DWC hydroponic system.

Commonly Asked Questions (FAQs) Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponics

Listed below are some of the most commonly asked questions about deep water culture hydroponic system. Give us a call or send us an email if you have any other questions.

How frequently should the water be changed in a DWC system?

Though it largely depends on the nutrient solution you are using, it is advised you change the water once every 14 to 15 days during veg. This is essential to prevent contamination from getting into the system and affecting the health of your plant.

During flowering, it is recommended to change it after every seven days. During this time, your plant’s nutritional needs increase. To push out the bud development, you must stay on top of your growing game by regularly changing the solution.

The correct water temperature for DWC hydroponics?

It is vital to maintain the temperature of your reservoir in deep water culture hydroponics. If the temperature drops too low, the plant interprets it as the time to stop growing. If the temperature gets too high, the oxygen levels will fall, and the plant will not absorb any nutrients.

To ensure that the plants live in a healthy environment, maintain a temperature range between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. For growers who live in a place where temperature can either drop down or get too high, hydroponic water chillers and heaters will do the job of keeping the optimal range for you.

Exact water level in a DWC system?

The only part that should be submerged in the solution is the roots. You don’t need to soak the stems or the leaves as it can burn them down or result in mold or fungus.

If you are using rock wool that can wick, the try keeping these an inch or so above the water line in your growth module ensuring, your plant won’t drown. Although you might need to hand feed your plants for a couple of days until the roots sprout deeper into the module.

Check out our learning center to learn more about hydroponic growing. Our Hydroponics 101 blog is a complete guide on hydroponic growing,

Our experts are ready to help you. Call us at 866 -GRO-INDR for any other questions you may have or for a commercial quote.

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