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Growing plants hydroponically is not as straightforward of a process as growing them in soil.
The purpose of hydroponics is to grow plants with as little interference between nutrients and the roots as possible.
Therefore, the process eliminates soil, opting for different types of growing mediums instead.
There are six ways to grow cannabis hydroponically.
But Deep Water Culture (DWC) is one of the easiest ways for beginners to grow.
Today, I will break down the process for you and breakdown the best DWC system so you don't have to waste your money on the ones that don't work!
Quick Top 5 DWC Systems:
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The Six Ways to Grow Hydroponically
The ways you can cultivate cannabis seems unlimited these days.
Hydroponics, however, is an efficient way to produce a high yield of marijuana.
There are six highly effective systems that you can use to get a great return on your investment.
- Wicking System - No air or water pumps, a wick delivers nutrients to roots.
- Nutrient Film Techniques (NFT) - Nutrient solutions pumped through channels to roots. Solution drops into the reservoir to be constantly reused again.
- Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain) - This system doesn't constantly introduce the solution to roots like the others. Instead, it creates "floods" in a tray with a water pump. It needs to deliver nutrients to roots multiple times a day.
- Aeroponics - Like an ebb and flow, the roots are in the air. Instead of a flood, this system mists the roots with nutrients.
- Drip - Very common system where plants sit in solution and overflow drips below into reservoir and pumped back toward the roots.
- DWC - The reason why we are here, so we can’t skip over it. The process utilizes air pumps and containers filled with water. The roots stay fully submerged. We'll expound on this system in just a bit.
Make sure to check out our guide on hydroponic systems here: thcoverdose.com/best-hydroponic-system-for-weed/
The Essential Parts of a DWC System
For a DWC system to work, you will need oxygen, water and nutrients.
Water is essential for all life to grow.
Since you are immersing the roots in water, the plants will need oxygen to ensure that they don’t drown.
To give the plant oxygen, DWC systems have an air pump and/or air stone.
Since your plant is not growing in soil, it needs to get its nutrients elsewhere.
That’s what the oxygen-water combo (along with hydroponic nutrients/solutions) does for your marijuana plant.
What is Needed for a DWC System to Work?
Every DWC system has these major components:
- 5 Gallon Bucket
- Air Pump
- Air Stone
- Airline Tubing
- Net Pots
- Growing Media
- Hydroponic Nutrients
- pH Control Kit
- PPM Meter
All you need to do is connect the water pump to the tubing.
From there, the tubing connects to the air stone, which goes into the 5-gallon bucket.
You fill the bucket up with water.
Be sure to properly pH balance the water add hydroponic nutrients.
From there, you can start your seeds.
What to Expect from a DWC System
As the plant germinates, the roots will kiss the water.
Growth will come rapidly because the roots aren’t hunting through soil to look for water and nutrients.
With proper oxygenation in the water, the plants’ roots can stay deeply immersed in the water at all times.
That is why this is called a Deep Water Culture system.
Now let’s get to the Best DWC Systems you can find in the market today.
The Best DWC System
This is a great kit for someone who needs to grow multiple plants at the same time.
You can hook up to four different buckets into one air pump so everything you plant can start to reach maturity at once.
Additionally, there is an air stone in this kit to go along with each bucket.
The buckets themselves are pretty heavy-duty.
Conveniently enough, they come with a handle for easy portability.
While the PowerGrow Hydroponic Kit is convenient for a lot of growth, a major inconvenience of the PowerGrow is the noise factor.
When the pump is going, it can be loud enough to disturb the whole house.
However, it’s not loud enough to make your neighbor dial 911, so don’t worry about them.
Be warned. This kit does not come with nutrients.
For a proper first run, you are probably going to need around 10 pounds of growing media to satisfy the needs of marijuana plants growing in all four of these buckets.
The only other major potential drawback to this DWC system is that the water remains stagnant.
There is no central reservoir to keep it flowing.
Therefore, all the nutrients can end up becoming solid, gunky buildup that will do more harm than good for your cannabis plants' roots.
To combat this nasty growth, do a complete change upon the water at a maximum every two weeks.
This DWC system is similar to the PowerGro in that it allows you to cultivate four different plants while using the same air pump for each growth.
What sets this kit apart is the fact that it comes with growing nutrients formulated for spawning germination in plants.
From there, they also throw in an In Bloom mix meant for the flowering phase of your marijuana plant’s growth cycle.
On top of all the nutrients they provide, Abbaponics also includes clay pebbles along with their Hydroponic Grow Kit.
Clay pebbles are great for any hydroponic setup because they are manufactured for optimal gardening strength.
Before the pebbles are packaged with the grow kits, they are heated at high temperatures.
This changes the chemical composition of the clay, giving the final pebble an open, porous surface.
Due to these pores, the clay pebbles hold a lot of oxygen that they bring into the hydroponic system.
These clay pebbles facilitate faster growth from the roots.
On top of that, clay pebbles also absorb water, which it inevitably drips back into the system.
This is an eco-friendly, energy-efficient way to create a draining system inside of your DWC setup.
HTG will see PowerGro and Abbaponics and raise them two buckets.
You can grow up to six different plants with the Bubble Brothers Hydroponic System.
Additionally, the top area where you can put clay pebbles is much bigger.
Therefore, if you are looking for a grow kit to cultivate as much pot yield as fast as possible, this might affect the hydroponic system to best suit your need.
Speaking of clay pebbles, HTG supplies you with 10 liters to get your DWC system off the ground and running.
Now that the plant is off and running, drainage is a bit of an issue.
There is no way to empty these buckets easily.
So, to get the stagnant water out of the bucket, you will have to remove the plant.
This can be a bit of a pain, especially seeing as this is a system designed to make these cannabis plants insanely big.
While this inconvenience is easy to put up with because the result justifies the means (a lot of pot), the biggest issue people find with the HTG is the amount of noise the air pump emits.
While the neighbors still might not call 911, their hand may be on the phone as they contemplate it this time.
The SavvyGrow is a nice departure from the rest of the DWC systems on this list because this one is much more compact.
However, don’t let the size full you.
This tiny thing, powered by two air stones, can provide enough oxygen to foster up to 14 plants.
At least, they provide you with 14 net pots which are meant to fit into the holes with the system snuggly.
As snug as it may seem, you might be doing your cannabis plants a disservice by crowding the DWC system.
Start off with fewer plants and slowly work your way up.
Once you notice that your growth is plateauing, don’t add any more plants to the system next go-around.
Setting up this DWC system is very self-explanatory.
If need be, it also comes with a complete set of easy-to-follow directions that make this an ideal DWC system for the first time hydroponic green thumber.
Oooh la la, your cannabis plants deserve a day at the spa.
Like spas, this DWC system is much more about the individual needs.
Here, you get two buckets with their very own air pump for each.
Due to this, off the bat, the Active Aqua is already less energy efficient than the others on this list of best DWC systems.
However, of all the DWC systems on the list, they might be the most effective.
A big part of it how airtight the holes are to the tube.
There is no kinking up of the tube or leaking from gaps around it.
It is a good thing that the growth rate is positive for Active Aqua because it doesn’t come with any other bells and whistles.
With this kit, there are no clay pebbles or nutrients.
In fact, it doesn’t even come with an air stone.
So, while you are going to get a great yield for cannabis plants, take into consideration that you will need to pay more for accessories as well as electricity when you purchase this system.
So, do you think you are ready to give DWC growing a shot?
Once you learn how to walk the nutrient tightrope, growing cannabis in water can be both fun and rewarding!
Picking up one of the best DWC systems ensures that you won't waste your time on the systems that won't produce the results you want.
Have you every grown hydro before? Tell us about your setup in the comments section below!
Last update on 2021-03-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API