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One of the most popular systems for growing plants indoor is the ebb and flow hydroponic system. The main reason behind the system’s popularity is its operational simplicity. So, if you are new to hydroponics, ebb and flow is a great place to start!

What are ebb and flow systems?

Ebb and flow systems, commonly referred to as flood and drain method of growing, is an intermediate form of hydroponic system that can grow colossally robust plants. The ebb and flow system comprises of three main components; a grow tray (flood table), a stand or rolling bench, and a hydroponic reservoir.

The plants are held in place by the grow tray, which is supported by the stand or rolling bench. The rolling bench allows you to maximize space for growing the plants while getting rid of unnecessary aisles. Underneath the tray, rests the hydroponic reservoir, which holds water and hydroponic nutrients.

How you wish to place the plants in the grow tray is entirely up to you. You can grow the plants in individual net pots or fill the grow tray with hydroponic grow media.

How do ebb and flow systems work?

The working of an ebb and flow system is pretty simple. It is like a cycle that starts by flooding the root zone with hydroponic nutrients and then slowly draining it back to the reservoir. The nutrients are transported to the flood table by a water pump. These cycles occur 4-6 times a day and are timed by a controller or a timer. The roots soak the nutrient solution for about 10-15 minutes in each cycle.

Oxygen (aeration) in an ebb and flow system

In the flood cycle, it is essential to check the amount of oxygen that the plants are getting. This is because when the roots are soaked in the nutrient solution during the flood cycle, there is almost no oxygen for the plants. Introducing oxygen to the reservoir using an air pump and air stone helps keep the plants growing and healthy.

How to choose the best ebb and flow system

When choosing an ebb and flow system, the two things you need to consider are the number of plants you want to grow and your budget.

For most leisure growers, systems rated for 1-10 plants will suffice. However, if you are looking to grow more, then choose a system designed to grow upto and more than 40 plants.

Also, keep in mind how big you want your plants to grow. If you are in a tight space and plan on growing small plants, the ideal growth module would be 2 gallons. But if you want to grow big heavy plants, consider the 5 gallon bucket.

If you wish to learn more about the ebb and flow systems, check out the hydroponics section in our learning center or call us at 866-GRO-INDR


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