Now for those of you who couldn’t watch the videos or who need a more detailed
breakdown of what is going on here or where to get the items you need, we will now
go into some of the specifics of the system, including an itemized list of the parts, their
costs, and where to acquire them.
Any 5 gallon bucket will do, BUT, it is extremely important to never use a bucket that is clear or allows any light through. Bacteria require light in order to survive, and you do not want bacteria growing in your bucket as it will fight with the plants over who gets to eat the nutrients in the water. Black is the best color in my opinion, but keep in mind black also insulates heat and you don’t want your water temperature to get up into the 80′s because, that’s right, it helps bacteria grow. The ones I bought from Lowes come in blue, and work fine as they do not let any light in, and do not insulate heat as much as a black bucket. You could even wrap your bucket in mylar or something reflective to keep the water even cooler, though I have never had to do this myself.
The key ingredient in this (and every other) hydroponic system is getting oxygen to your roots. Plants can NOT live in water, the roots require oxygen. Since we are growing them in buckets of water, we need to provide aeration so that the root get the oxygen they need in order to survive. We do this by using a simple air pump, which is attached to an “air stone” via a small 3/4″ tube. Turn on the pump (and leave it on 24/7), and it will constantly blow thousands of tiny air bubbles into your water so that it is appropriately aerated at all times. The pumps can be found at: a) Your local hydroponics store b) Your local fish or aquarium store c) Purchased online from any number of places. The one shown above has one hose outlet, and therefore is adequate for 1 growstone/bucket. If you are planning on setting up multiple DWC buckets to grow a variety of plants, you may want to consider buying a commercial air pump ($40) which has 4 (and up to 12) outlets. That way you can have one pump connected to all of your buckets, instead of having to plug in 4 different pumps (plus the commercial ones last longer).
The air stone is placed in the bottom center of your bucket, where suction cups keep it fastened to the floor. When connected to an air pump, it will break the air up into thousands of tiny bubbles which will in turn aerate the water. The stones can be found at: a) Your local hydroponics store b) Purchased online
The net cup is placed directly over the 5 gallon bucket, and has a depression in it where you can place your plant+growing medium. The cup has slits cut into the sides so that roots can easily grow through it. Where to buy the net cups: a) Your local hydroponic store b) Online at somewhere like amazon:. Here is one from amazon, but it is selling for $10. I bought mine yesterday for $3.50 a piece. So shop around.
You will of course also need a growing medium such as hydroton, perlite, coco coir etc (though hydroton works the best in this particular system, in my opinion). As always, you will also need nutrients and some method of checking your pH. Check our Product Review section for some examples of what options are available.