Building a hydroponic system
So you want to know how to build a hydroponic garden? After you've decided on the hydroponic system that best accommodates your needs and have acquired your materials it's time to start building. Not every build is the same but there are some similarities among the materials between each system. For example a NFT system and Aeroponic aren't the same but they each use a pump to deliver the nutrient. If the pump is not positioned properly or of an inadequate size you risk damage to the pump or insufficient flow throughout your system. This page contrains a list of common materials and a recommendation for installation. If you're curious about a particular topic simply click on it for more information. From there you can see a list of do's and don'ts based on experience from other hydroponic builders.
If you'd like to see a video relating to a specific type of hydroponic system simply click on the image relating to that system.
Learn how to build the following hydroponic systems
The water pump delivers nutrient to your plants while circulating your water supply. Depending on your system some pumps should run 24/7 while others only a few hours a day. The required GPM (gallons per minute) of the pump depends on the type and size of your system.
Air pumps allow your water to be oxygenated and prevent your nutrient supply from becoming stagnant. It's recommended that any system that contains a reservoir also contains an air pump to keep your nutrient supply circulating and healthy.
The water and nutrient that feeds you plants needs to come from somewhere. A reservoir stores your nutrient and makes it accessible to your plants via a pump or aeration.
Large Grow Tubes
NFT, Ebb & Flow as well as other hydroponic systems may require the usen of large grow tubes. These tubes provide housing for the net pots as well as the means for your nutrient solution to travel to your plants.
Small hoses for you water and air pumps should not be overlooked. Clear tubing can provide the ideal growing conditions for algae when exposed to light. Black non opaque tubing is ideal when choosing tubing for the water pump.
Your plants and roots need support and a net pot is the best way to achieve this. The grow medium you choose sits inside the net pots which allow the plants and roots access to the nutrients.
If you're using an aeroponic or a spray/mist system you'll need micro sprinklers. These sprinklers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are designed to work with different flow rates. Unfortunately because of the size they are often prone to plugging.
Used to disperse the air coming from your air pump within your water reservoir. There are a number of different styles or air stones but they all provide the same basic function.
Used to circulate the air around your plants and promote a strong plant growth. Fans are also used for cooling when using certain light sources that generate excess heat such as High Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulbs.
If you're not growing outdoors then you will need a dependable light source. There are many different options available to the grower such as LED, HPS, Florescent and CPF just to name a few. Some require a lot more work than others.
The vast majority of hydroponic systems are automated and controlled by timers. Lights and pumps do not always need to operate all day and we can use timers to select the times we want these systems to operate.
Mylar is used to recover and reflect light from your light source. This ensures your plants get the most possible light from your grow lights and with a 98% reflective rate it can be a great investment. Although substitutes have been made from tin foil and other sources it should be noted that these substitutes do not offer the same results and can potentially cause harm if your light source produces a lot of heat.
Fittings are used to connect tubes and piping from pumps and drainage hoses to their destinations. There are a variety of fittings available, as each installation is different.
The grow medium is used to support the plants root systems. There's a variety of options when it come to hydroponics most are chemically inert and pH neutral.
Cleaning the air coming to your plants or leaving from your plants can be achieved by a method of filtering that uses a piece of activated carbon to remove contaminants and impurities. This can be very useful if you want to provide the best possible grow environment for your plants.