Many wonder and question what is hydroponics and how complicated is it.
First off Hydroponics is growing plants without soil and the use of water as the carrier of the nutrients and minerals need to stimulate plant growth
A means to support or hold a plant sand gravel and expanded clay pellets or even food-safe rock wool are all types of supports.
And a light source of natural or artificial light to assist in plant growth.

Types of hydroponic growing systems:

Deep-water culture Deep water culture (DWC): a vessel such as a bucket or bin holds a premeasured water nutrient solution that plants' roots grow down into. A small aquarium air pump is recommended, but there is debate over whether it is an advantage or disadvantage of its use. If you grow in deep water culture and lack oxygen in the root area, a fungus called Pythium could cause root rot.Advantage: lower cost to grow; no worries if you have power loss that could cause a lack of water circulation as in other systems. The disadvantage is that once roots are established, an air space at the top of the bin is required to ensure oxygen to roots and reduce the chances of drowning plants, and it is more susceptible to root rot.(One unique style that falls in this same general group but is not as deep as a true DWC is the Kratky system, which uses a shallower water depth.)

Nutrient film technique NFT: The grow bed is set up so water enters via a controlled amount at one end and flows freely out the opposite open end to a reservoir, where it is recirculated with a pump and timer back to the grow bed. The benefit is that you can control a set flow rate with tubing and a valve, and there is little to no risk of root rot due to a lack of oxygen and poor standing stagnant water.has one of the highest oxygen exposures for roots, helping it to promote healthier plant and root growth. The disadvantage is that if you lose power for any length of time, your plants will be deprived of water and may suffer from stunted growth or even die back if the outage is prolonged, as well as a higher initial cost of system setup due to the number of fluid lines and flow valves required to supply nutrients to plants.

Ebb and flow, also called flood and drain, implies a growing vessel that a pump fills and then slowly drains back to a reservoir. Two ways this is done are: either plants are supported in a net pot or similar and suspended in a vessel that is filled, or plants are fully grown in a medium like clay pellets that support the plant and wet the roots and growing media. In both cases, the nutrient drains back to a reservoir for recycling and, like in other systems, a pump and timer are used.Some go to the extent of using a bell siphon to control the water level before it starts to drain to ensure adequate wetting of roots and growing media. Advantage plants do not have constantly wet roots, so there is less chance of root rot, and their roots receive adequate oxygen.The disadvantage requires the use of a pump and timer and an emergency overflow if the pump and timer overfill the vessel or a float valve to turn the water off once it reaches a preset height. Pump power loss is not as critical as in some other systems if plants are fully supported in a growing medium such as clay pellets, as they will hold more moisture, but power loss can still cause problems.

Drip irrigation: The nutrient is pumped up and drips from an emitter at each plant; it then flows down through the grow medium or pot and over the root system, collects in a tray or vessel, and drains back to the reservoir. Advantageous roots tend to get one of the highest oxygen exposures of most systems and have a lower chance of root rot. As with NFT, the disadvantage is a higher initial setup cost.

Wick system: A wick is used as a capillary system to bring nutrients from a holding tank or tray under the plants up to the plants. One of the simplest systems but also one with limited use has a slow rate of nutrient solution transfer, is sensitive to nutrient levels in the holding reservoir, and is limited to the types of plants that it works with for nutrient transfer ability. Good for herbs like rosemary that don't need a lot of water and don't work well with large plants or plants that need a steady supply of water.

High-pressure Aeroponics: A plant's roots and, in a few cases, the whole plant are suspended in a chamber or vessel. A high-pressure pump moves nutrient liquid up to a metered nozzle, where a fine fog disperses, filling the chamber and wetting the roots and/or whole plant. The unused part condenses back into droplets and returns to a collecting tray and the reservoir. (Warning: do not mistake this as systems that call themselves aeroponics on the web or YouTube where nutrients drip down through a tower; these are no more than a vertical NTF system.) True aeroponics requires high-pressure pumps (80 psi or higher depending on the nozzle) to push water through a nozzle to form a pre-determined droplet size (20 to 50 micrometers) that clings to the roots of plants more readily than a large droplet; this is the system used by NASA in growing in Skylab and the International Space Station.
The advantage is the highest oxygen exposure to roots and the lowest required reservoir requirement because plants utilize moisture and nutrients better as a direct mist. Disadvantage: one of the highest start-up costs of any system is the requirement of high-pressure pumps and lines, regulators, and safety blow-offs; the container for the plant's mist area needs the ability to be sealed so mist does not escape; and higher maintenance time and cost are required as nozzles can plug or clog from nutrient; nozzles can also wear as fluid nutrient flows through, causing droplets to gradually get larger over time.

Aquaponics, in which water from fish grow ponds or holding tanks is used, is also included in these grow systems. The ebb and flow along with drip systems are the two most commonly used, but be aware of this difficult-to-balance size to supply adequate nutrients for proper growth of many plants unless you have a high fish loading in tanks or ponds.Also requires the ability to balance the eco-system for the fish and can have drawbacks getting biofilters set up to maintain nitrites-nitrates-ammonia in water at levels fish can thrive in, but if successful has the added benefit of not just plants but fish raised as an additional food source or sold.

Depending on the crop, temperatures range from 60 to 78 F (15.5 to 25.5 C).

Fertilizer guidelines, as a general basic starting point Based on the use of Masterblend 4 (18–38),
By weight, 2 grams of masterblend, 2 grams of calcium nitrate, and 1 gram of Epsom salt per gallon of the volume of water for lettuce
2.4 grams Masterblend, 2.4 grams calcium nitrate, and 1.2 grams Epsom salt is a general starting point for tomatoes and peppers.
Another viable fertilizer in Australia is Diamond Blue nutrient.

I mix enough concentrate to make 100 gallons at a time. using two opaque plastic water jugs of 1 gallon volume.
One contains the masterblend, Epsom salt, and water to make 100 fluid ounces (solution A). The second contains only calcium nitrate. Because calcium nitrate doesn't dissolve very easily, a small spice grinder or mill is used to grind the calcium nitrate to a fine powder, which is then mixed with water to make 100 fluid ounces (Solution B). To mix your hydroponic solution, shake jugs well until dissolved, then take 1 fluid oz of each concentrate per gallon of the final volume. Fill a 20-gallon reservoir with 20 oz. of A and B, then top it off with water to a final volume of 20 gallons.

For seedlings, until they form their first true leaves and start a second set of true leaves, I use straight water, then gradually increase the concentration to 1/8 strength once they have a second set of true leaves, and gradually increase the concentration over a week. Herbs and some lettuces vary slightly, some requiring a lower solution concentration.
As I transfer them to a larger flat, I increase the concentration to 1/2 oz of each per gallon after the 1st and 2nd true leaves show at the final, and you will find the size that works best for you. go to full strength at the 3rd and 4th sets of true leaves and move them to my hydroponic NFT system.


PARTS NFT system the style I build ( all available on amazon )
Orbit 69000D 8 port drip manifold qty 2 $9.96
vivosun 800 GPH submersible pump $18.74
total pond vinyl tubing 1/2-inch 20 feet $21.09
drip irrigation vinyl tubing 1/4 inch $19.99 ( i used the 1/4 tubing from this kit )
36 x 12 x 3 in. - Classic Grow Slab - $37.06 ( i cut my grow plugs from sheet its cheaper than buying precut plugs)
100 Pack 2 inch Net Pots $18.99 ( seller is Garden Pots by Tmtamye )
BN-LINK Short Period Repeat Cycle Intermittent Timer $26.99 ( this is for pump set at 30 minutes off 5 minutes on )
indoor mechanical outlet timer $11.69 ( timer for lights )

Scale to weight fertilizer blend $18.99
Materblend 4-18-38 $24.99
Calcium Nitrate $15.99
Epsom salt buy at local store
Vegi-bee wand for pollination of fruit-bearing plants $39.19
Barrina LED 6500K lights $48.99
TDS/EC , PH meter combo pack $15.99,pH-Temperature/dp/B09H64MWC6
PH up and PH down - 2 1 Qt bottles combo price $26.55

online site with weights for masterblend/calcium nitrate/Epsom salt mix :


2x3 inch vinyl downspout tubing (10-foot cut in half )
1/4 inch drill bit and cordless drill
2-inch hole saw
misc pvc fittings and pipe
(2 ) 1 x 2 wooded strips primed to span the width of the final assembly ones screwed through lip to also support irrigation manifold one at the exit for spacing
(1 ) 2x4 ripped to 2 1/2 wide for slope elevation
24-gallon plastic tote with lid for reservoir

the following photos series show an overview of my NFT system.

2 pcs 10-foot downspout cut to 5 feet for a total of 4 channels
( 2 ) the holes start 5 inches from the end and are spaced 8 inches apart ( 7 holes in the rail )
( 2 ) the holes start 9 inches from the end and are spaced 8 inches apart ( 6 holes in the rail )
26 plant holes total channels are spaced 3 inches apart so center-line to center-line is 6 inches ( spaced to fit my frame )
heat and fold inlet end as shown 2 inches back from end same as thickness of channel
outlet end is heated and a spout form on the outward exit end where it pours back into reservoir

each channel is drilled with one hole 1/2 inch in from ends on each end to attach then to spacer strapping with a screw, the outlet end after the spout is heated and form you can reach screw easy to attach to strapping, Each head has 8 adjustable hose outlets that swivel and are adjustable and an internal filter slots ( i cut out slots because run filter on pump )
Image(12).jpeg Image(13).jpeg Image(23).jpeg

Drill 4 holes 1/4 diameter to slide tubing at the inlet end on top, the end of each tube is cut at a 45-degree or more angle so if it contacts the inside of the channel it won't block it off, orbit head is opened to the max to start with then adjusted. with the current pump and 5 feet of 3/4 id pvc - 6 feet of 1/2 vinyl tube- all 16 pieces of 1/4 tube are cut 24 inches in length so each channel flowed between1.9 liter to 2.2 liters per minute this was then adjusted so each flows 1.5 liters of solution, this number will vary depending on the plant you grow and growing conditions. The nutrient solution will oxygenate as water flows back into the reservoir, a 2x4 cut to 2 1/2 inches high is slid under the inlet end so all channels have slightly more than a 4-degree slope down to the tank. The timer is set 30 minutes off and 10 minutes on at present but may need to adjust as plants grow.
Water usage is normal as per growth, there will be a small amount of evaporation from the tank at the slot where nutrient runs back in, and plants respire and will give off moisture to the air. So you will lose some but it's equal to growth for normal losses. Yes, any system regardless of type will need to be cleaned at some point I run a mechanical screen to filter where the water runs back into the tank to remove and lose pieces of root that may come down. The nutrient is not exposed to light except in one tiny area where the liquid leaves the end of the growing channel and runs back into the tank so less chance of algae which means fewer cleaning issues and better plant growth. I will be installing a wire mesh at the return slot in the tank with a filter sheet to collect small particles or dust, stop any household insects out of the tank, and block any light entering the tank so no algae growth or sediment will accumulate in the tank so less chance of any fungus to grow affecting nutrient use or affecting plants
As the solution exits the end of the channel and returns to the tank splashing in the filter and tank helps oxygenate the liquid, this setup allows for adequate nutrient and water flow and with a timer allows for the maximum oxygen to roots with the aeration at tank plus the on/off cycle allows the drainage of liquid from roots and oxygen to permeate the root area so overall less chance to get pythium growth ( root rot ) due to stagnant standing water.


Primer on light spectrum for reference Blue spectrum light ( cool whites ) 6500k generate healthy roots and foliage growth
Red spectrum light ( warm whites ) 4500 encourage Blossoms and fruiting
Lights Test panel i have been running a mixed spectrum of light color frequency 4000K and 5000K full spectrum bright white Led's. all strip's are on/off switchable plus dimmable so I can vary the light spectrum for root growth - foliage - or flowering fruiting plants along with overall intensity of brightness.
The light panel is 4 foot by 2 foot 1/4 inch thick lexan sheet from the local hardware store on a wood cross arm with self adhesive LED strips purchased from
one roll P/N STN-A50K80-C3A-10B5M-12V 5 meter roll ( 16.4 feet total ) 5000K ( Warm white ) 18 LEDs/ft $39.99
two rolls P/N STN-A30K80-C3A-10B5M-12V 5-meter roll ( 32.8 feet total ) 4000K ( Warm white ) 18 LEDs/ft $39.99 each
Each roll is cut into 4 strips each 4.1 feet long for 2 strip total, 6 light strips per power supply
2 Meanwell LRS 100Watt 12V power supplies $21.99 each
Current light panel Uses the above light strips plus 5 Barrina LED T5 Integrated Single Fixture, 4FT, 2200lm, 6500K (Super Bright White), 20W, Utility LED Shop Light, bought as a pack of 6 off amazon $48.00 ( claimed 2200 lumen ) I will be replacing the Barrina lights in near future with 6500K Cob led strips from super bright led

HomeDepot also has a series of Led Shop light that work for plant growth and mixed with the Barrina lights
4 ft. 64-Watt Equivalent Integrated LED White Shop Light Linkable 3200 Lumens 4000K Bright White $37.97 each
4 ft. 200-Watt Equivalent Integrated LED Shop Light Ceiling Light 5500K Bright White 4500 Lumens (5 pack $69.62 )
other option include twin bulb Plant grow lights for aquarium.
Best results if you do not have time to mess with building your own,
Spider Farmer Grow lights

Your lights come down in part to the size of the area to light and personal choice of type and availability, simple florescent aquarium fish tank light, led shop light cfl, or purchases grow light.

Plants as you see in the photo were started from seed 11 days ago and in low light with 6500 Barrina off ( image16 ) and then in the final with 6500 Barrina on ( image19 ) you can notice the camera pics up more of the bluish cast of the light with the 6500K lights on but human eye only see it much much bright about the difference of 2 100watt incandescent builds in the visual amount of light