Nowadays everyone is growing plants into hydroponics system. But is it necessary to buy a ready to use hydroponics system to grow your plants. The answer is Big No. You can easily build a hydroponic system on your own. Yes, you read it right. I had tried and succeeded on building a deep water culture hydroponics bucket system. Here in this article you will get to know about what is Deep Water Culture Hydroponics System? How Deep Water Culture Hydroponics System Works? and Building A Deep Water Culture Hydroponics System using a Bucket.

What is Deep Water Culture Hydroponics System?

Deep water culture or also popularly known as DWC Hydroponics System is a plant production technique wherein the plant roots are suspended in a solution of nutrient rich, oxygenated water.

How Does Deep Water Culture Hydroponics System Work?

Deep Water Culture hydroponics System works on a simple technique wherein the plant roots float in the nutrient rich oxygenated water. This increases the oxygen availability helping the plants to enhance their uptake of nutrients, resulting into more growth. In DWC the roots are permanently suspended in the nutrient solution and the oxygen that they needs is also found in the solution so your plant gets constant feeding. Look at how it works

  • Plants are grown in net pots that are placed in the lids of plastic buckets
  • Usually, plants are firstly grown in Rockwool cubes which are then placed into the net pots which are filled with an inert growing medium, such as Hydroton or clay pellets
  • Then the bucket is filled with the required amount of nutrient solution
  • An aquarium air stone is placed into the bucket and an air pump is fixed using air lines
  • The plant roots grow downwards into the nutrient solution, becoming permanently suspended in the solution where the extra oxygen allows them to absorb the nutrients.

Building A Deep Water Culture Hydroponics System Using A Bucket

Deep Water Culture is one of the simplest, basic and least expensive types of hydroponic systems to build. It can easily be build using materials you may have in or around your house. DWC hydroponic Bucket System utilizes a bucket to grow small to medium size plants nicely. It can be made using minimal parts that make it inexpensive and very easy and fast to build.

Things & Material Needed

This system uses a bucket with a lid which serves as the reservoir to hold nutrient solution. It requires inter grow media for support, air pump, airline, and an air stone. Let’s have a look at a precise list for things and material needed for building a deep water culture hydroponics bucket system.

  • Five Gallon Bucket With Lid
  • Aquarium Air Pump
  • Air Line For The Air Pump
  • Aquarium Air Stone (Or Stones)
  • Net Pot For The Plant (You Can Use A Sturdy Small Plastic Plant Pot As Well)
  • Growing Media (To Fill The Net Pot Or Plant Pot With)
  • Black Spray Paint (To Light Proof The Bucket)
  • White Spray Paint (To Reflect Light/Heat)
  • Soldering Iron Or A Drill Bit
  • Rotary Tool

Pre-preparation for Building Deep water Culture Bucket Hydroponics System

Let’s get started on building a deep water culture hydroponics bucket system on your own. Have a step wise details on pre-preparing the system.

  • Take a sturdy plastic plant pot, if available at your home or buy a net pot. If you are using plastic plant pot you will have to add more holes to it. So use a handy soldering iron or a drill bit to drill enough holes into it.
  • Once the plastic plant pot ready, cut a hole in the lid of the five gallon bucket to set pot into it. The easy and fast way to make a hole is to use a rotary tool with a drill bit.
  • To make your 5 gallon bucket and lid light proof paint the outside of it black to block light coming through the plastic. Ensure to use a spray paint for plastic surfaces allowing it to stay there for long. Blocking the light is important to not allow growth of algae and other microorganisms.
  • Now take white paint and paint it over the black color to create the perfect surface that reflects light/ heat while blocking light to enter into the bucket.
  • Then cut a small notch on the outside top of the bucket to pass the air line. It should be at least 1/2 to 1 inch below the lid so you can move lid without bothering the air lines. You will have to take off the lid often to check pH, change the nutrients and many other things.
  • Place the aquarium air stone to aerate water in your DWC system. Now everything is ready to put the Deep Water Culture hydroponic system together.

Assembling and Operating the Deep Water Culture Bucket Hydroponics System

You have every material ready to put your deep water culture bucket hydroponics system to work.

  • Attach the air lines to the air stones and place them in the bottom of the bucket. Then plug in the air pump.
  • Place the lid on the bucket and insert the plastic plant pot.
  • Fill the bucket with superior quality nutrient solution, allowing 3/4 inch of the plant pot bottom under water.
  • Use permanent marker to mark few point inside of the bucket to keep a track of water levels. This will help you to know the nutrient solution level in relation to the pot and helps quick refilling. Water levels inside the bucket should be sufficient enough for the growing media and root ball to remain moist, but they should not be soaking wet. It is absolutely fine if the top inches of the growing media is completely dry, but bottom 2-3 inches should be moist and not soaking wet.
  • Now mix your nutrient solution in the water as per manufactures directions. Ensure you use nutrients that are meant for plants to grow hydroponically. Then check and adjust the pH as required.
  • After the nutrient solution is mixed, fill the pot with growing media and insert seedling or plant. Then place the pot in the bucket.
  • Now your DWC bucket hydroponic system is ready to work. Put it in a place to get enough natural sunlight. It will probably take around a week for the plant roots to start coming out. Ensure your water level is high enough for the root ball to get plenty of moisture. After the roots hang down into the nutrient solution then exact water level won’t be so important.


I am sure with the details mentioned above on building a deep water culture Bucket hydroponics system you can easily grow your favorite plant and eat its fruit all year round. This easy and simple hydroponic system can be build by both novices and experienced hydroponic growers. So what are you waiting for, gather the required things right away and start building.