How to Build a Hydroponic System At Home; DIY Hydroponic Systems

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The gardening landscape is continuously changing as technology advances and many gardeners have embraced indoor gardening methods such as hydroponics gardening. It involves growing of plants in a hydroponic system using nutrient-rich solution and growing medium instead of using soil.

Hydroponic gardening is more productive compared to other traditional farming methods and one is able to enjoy full-year supply of fresh and organic vegetables in-and-out of the season. Today, there are commercial hydroponic systems for sale on the market.

But what do you do if you are on a tight budget and you want to start hydroponic gardening?

The answer is simple. You can build a simple functional hydroponic system at the comfort of your home. This article will provide a step by step guide on how to make your own homemade hydroponic system.

How to Build a Functional Hydroponic System; DIY Hydroponic Systems

Step 1; Decide the Type of Hydroponic System That You Want To Build

There are 6 types of hydroponic systems. Each functions using different techniques and they require different components and level of expertise in order to function. As a beginner, it’s advisable to go for a system that is cheap to construct and which does not require high level of expertise to operate.

For our illustration, we have chosen Deep Water Culture hydroponic system. This system is not expensive to build since it requires fewer and easily available materials.

DWC hydroponics system

Step 2; Assess the Materials and Tools Required

A deep water culture hydroponic system functions by suspending the plant roots in a reservoir filled with nutrients. An external air pump is also used to oxygenate the nutrient solution. Therefore, for DIY homemade hydroponic system, you will require;

  • Nutrient basket/tank reservoir
  • Air line/tube
  • Air Pump
  • PH testing kit
  • Garden Hose
  • Styrofoam
  • Net pots
  • Tape measure
  • Sharp knife/power drill
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Step 3; Choose Your Preferred Basket/Tank Reservoir

Although we are building a low-cost hydroponic system, it’s important to ensure that the reservoir that you have picked is leak-proof. A fish tank or lightproof bucket can serve the purpose. If you reservoir is not light-proof, make sure you have painted it to avoid growth of algae when you start growing your plants.

hydroponic system

Use a rectangular or a cube reservoir for ease of operations. At this point, you can decide to take a tape measure, spray paint and label the tank vertically from the top to the bottom. This will help you easily monitor the nutrient levels from time to time when you start using the system.

Related; Best Grow Tent Kits for Indoor Hydroponic System

Step 4; Take Measurements of Your Reservoir and Cut Styrofoam Accordingly

This step involves determining the exact length and width of our reservoir tank. It’s thorough this measurements that we shall be able to determine the size of Styrofoam that we shall cut.

For instance, if your tank measures 30” in length and 20” in width, you are required to cut your Styrofoam by ¼” less on either sides. A 30” by 20” tank will have a Styrofoam measuring 29 ¾” by 19 ¾” inches.

The Styrofoam will fit nicely while creating enough space to move up and down when the water solution levels changes.

Step 5; Make Some Holes on the Styrofoam for the Net Pots


Once you have cut your Styrofoam in the right measurements, the next step is to create holes for the net pots. Here, you will have to first of all determine the number of plants that you want to grow.

The number of plants will also depend with the size of your system and the type of plants that you want to grow. Remember that plants require proper spacing so as to absorb sufficient nutrients and grow healthy.

You can start by creating trace lines that matches the bottom part of the net pots. You can create marks using a pencil or marker.

Once, you have ear-marked the sections where you want to make holes, use either a knife or other cutting material such as drill that can help you create perfect well-rounded holes.

After you are done with creating net pot holes, make another small hole on either end of your Styrofoam. This will allow the air tube to run into the reservoir.

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Step 6; Connect the External Air Pump

The size of air pump matters. Always go for an air pump that has enough capacity to supply oxygen to your plants without any failure. Determine the capacity of your reservoir tank in gallons and this will help you in choosing the ideal air pump that match your hydroponic system.

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Step 7; Connect the Air Line/Tube to the External Air Pump

Once you have selected the right air pump, it’s time now to connect it to the air line. Ensure that the air line is big enough and the air stone is attached to the free end. This will ensure that the air line is able to supply sufficient oxygen to every plant roots in the reservoir.

The air stone should either reach the bottom of the tank or be submerged so as to allow faster movement of oxygen bubbles to every corner. Most of air pumps comes with specifications of the ideal air lines that they can be used along with.

Once you have reached this stage, your inexpensive homemade deep water culture hydroponic system is complete and ready for installation.

Hurray!! You did it. Check yourself on the mirror and smile!!

It’s just that simple.

The next step is to learn how to set up the system and start enjoying fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers at your home.

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