One of the confusing factor in hydroponics is t determine the ideal water level. Since the container/reservoir capacity is different, it is difficult to measure it by gallons or liters. It is also not good to fill the tank completely. This has made easier by stating that each hydroponic technique will need different water levels. The same is also dependent on the type of growing media used, as some media has more absorbency as well as water retaining capacity than others.
- Deep water culture hydroponics will have its roots immersed in the nutrient water. The water level concern is important in this hydroponic system. Here only the root system needs to be submerged, the growing media should be above the water level. Having a good enough air bubbles will keep the media moist and watered. Keep 1-2 inches between the water level and the net pots. This is a safe distance as well as space enough for the bubbles to burst open at the top.
- Flood and drain system will have the water flooded at the root system of the plants. Here the water level should be just 2 inches below the top layer of the growing media. The root system must be submerged along with the grow media, but not completely. If the media used is rockwool, reduce the water level by an inch as it gets saturated faster. Soaking the media can lead to stem rot, so try to keep the top layer of the media as dry as possible.
- NFT systems have a thin layer of nutrient water running along the roots. Here the usual water level runs in millimeters. The variation occurs when the used media has higher water absorbing ability, in which case the water level should be about a centimeter. Here the water must be flowing faster and in reduced quantity. The saturated media exposed to water for longer time can harm the roots and plants.
- Drip system is not a big issue as the water is provided in drops. Here there is no water level to be concerned about. As long as the growing media gets enough moisture to keep up the growth of the plants, it is fine. The excess water is flowing back into the reservoir will prevent any water excess problem. Here the main problem would be to have proper drainage otherwise the root system will be clogged. The root system is the main culprit here so keep track on the root growth and check if it is blocking the water flow.
- Wick system is another hydroponic system where the water level is not a big issue. Here the wick would be the one that is in touch with the water and the grow media is nowhere near the water level. Here there is no threat of the grow media getting saturated or submerged. The pace of the water drawing can be adjusted with a large, small or with number of wicks used. Here a grow media that has better water absorbing capacity like that of coco fiber would be ideal choice to retain the moisture.
- Aeroponics system will never have to rely on the water levels. The nutrient water is supplied by spraying on to the roots and the water level is restricted to the reservoir only. It has got nothing to do with the root system or the grow media. Here only the timing of water needs to be checked and must be done at an ideal gap that prevents the drying of the roots.