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Which Are The 6 Types of Hydroponic Systems

Which Are The 6 Types of Hydroponic Systems?

In a previous blog, we discussed which are the most beginner-friendly hydroponic systems. Still, there are other options to explore and to expand. They all require different elements and are best suited for certain plants you want to grow, area, etc. It can also determine other factors like the hydroponic lighting system you opt for and other aspects.

Not only will we give you a rundown of the six types of hydroponic systems in this blog, but we’ll also teach you which hydroponic method is best for your needs. Read on:

Wick Systems

Components:

  • Water Reservoir
  • Growing Tray
  • Growing Media
  • Growing Pods
  • Wicks
  • Nutrient-Rich Water

How Does It Work

If there is a starting point to hydroponics, it is a wick system. It is the most basic setup and uses wigs to connect the nutrient-rich water in a reservoir (like a tank or bucket) to the plants. 

The water reservoir sits on the floor, and the plants sit above it. Each plant is in a growing pod that contains a growing media or substrate (soil substitute). To get the water to your plants, connect wicks going from the reservoir to the media in each plant. And that is it! A DIYable and straightforward hydroponic system.

Benefits

  • Little and non-expert equipment is required.
  • It is cost-effective and low maintenance.

Disadvantages

  • It can only grow smaller plants if you want to grow bigger plants.

Skill Level: Beginners

Deep Water Culture

Components:

  • Growing pods
  • Floating covers
  • Growing media
  • Big container (where trays can float)
  • Pump 

How Does It Work

In the deepwater culture system, the plants will be floating in your water reservoir so the roots can grow submerged in it. An air pump and stone also oxygenate the water in the pool. Each plant is placed in the growing pods with a substrate of your choice. Then, you put each of them in a “cover,” acting as a floating tray. The cover has holes for the pods.

Benefits

  • Little to no equipment is required.
  • Easy to DIY at home.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Great for smaller plants.

Disadvantages

  • It only works for small plants.
  • Plants can drown without proper oxygenation.

Skill Level: Beginner

Ebb & Flow System

Components:

  • Water Reservoir
  • Growing Pods
  • Growing Tray
  • Growing Media
  • Water Pump & Timer

How Does It Work

This system follows a similar concept to the NFT system because it recirculates water through a pump. Instead of pumping water through channels, plants are placed in growing trays with the substrate, each in its respective pod. The pump connects the reservoir to the tray, and with the help of a timer, it floods the tray periodically. The water then returns to its original container when the pump is off through a fill tube.

Benefits

  • They recirculate water.
  • The water only comes in contact with your plants in a set schedule.
  • You don’t need expert equipment to build one.

Disadvantages

  • It won’t work if you don’t set the proper watering schedule or if the timer fails.

Skill Level: Beginner

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

Components:

  • Air pump
  • Growing Net Pots
  • Channels (Pipes)
  • Water Reservoir
  • Timer
  • Air Stone (Oxygenation)

How Does It Work

The NFT hydroponic system can recirculate water. The water circulation is achieved through a pump placed in the water reservoir and an air stone. The pump will distribute the water through channels which are typically hollow pipes. These channels are sloped and shallow. Each plant is placed in a growing net pod with the roots not submerged into water entirely.

Benefits

  • Water is reused by being recirculated.
  • No growing media is required.

Disadvantages

  • Any failure in the pump will cause crop losses.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Drip Systems

Components:

  • Drippers (one for each plant)
  • Tubes
  • Water Reservoir
  • Growing Media
  • Pump

How Does It Work

As the name suggests, drip systems work with drippers just like drip irrigation to get the water to your plants. A pump will distribute water from the reservoir flowing through tubes. Tubes end in each plant, and water is then delivered to the plant by a dripper attached to the end of it.

Benefits

  • It can be adapted for growing different types of plants.
  • You can manage the drip flow of each kind of plant.
  • Ideal for bigger plants.
  • It saves water by delivering only the right amount of water to the plant.
  • It can be a circulating or non-circulating system.

Disadvantages

  • You need to maintain the water nutrient and PH level if you opt for a circulating system.

Skill Level: Advanced

Aeroponics Systems

Components:

  • Water Pumps
  • Misters
  • Timer
  • Growing Pods

How Does It Work

The name comes from plants being suspended in air, each in its growing pod with the substrate. The plant’s roots are misted with nutrient-rich water via a pump directly attached to the misters. A tank below catches water that falls off. A timer regulates the misting schedule, depending on your plant’s needs.

Benefits

  • No need to worry about oxygenating your plants.
  • It is highly effective.
  • Works for all types of plants.
  • High water savings.
  • Excellent for commercial-scale operations.

Disadvantages

  • It is more complex to set up.
  • Roots can dry out without the proper cycle.
  • Higher investment is required.

Skill Level: Advanced

Which Hydroponic Method Is Best?

Hydroponic systems are very diverse, which means some are better for certain conditions than others. Finding out which hydroponic method is the best is a matter of knowing your specific needs, goals, and available resources. If you want to know which one would benefit you the most, keep these considerations in mind:

  • Budget: First and foremost, you should consider your budget. The great thing about having many types of hydroponic systems is that there are options for when you have a tighter budget and still achieve beautiful results.
  • Skill Level: You may just be dipping your toes in the world of hydroponics or may already have vast experience. We indicated the skill level you need to set up each system, so you choose according to your stage.
  • Type Of Plants: Do you strive to grow leafy greens or big tomato plants? That is entirely up to you AND the hydroponic system you’ll need. Additionally, if you want to alternate different plant species, you need a system that allows constant changes.
  • Goals: If you want to consume fresh produce every day that you’ve grown at the comfort of your home, the smaller hydroponic systems will work ideally. However, if you are aiming for commercial-scale operations, the system has to fit the capacity.

Set Up Your Hydroponic System Of Choice Today!

If you think you have a clear idea of what hydroponic system will suit you best, it’s time to build it. You can find everything you need to do so here at Spectrum Hydroponics. Our online shop offers anything you can imagine and need for any system and scale. You can purchase the most basic to the most complex elements for hydroponics here. Browse our site today!

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