How to Build Your Own DWC Hydroponic System: A Beginners Guide

Building a DIY DWC hydroponic system is fun to learn about hydroponics and grow your own organic food.

There are a lot of benefits to growing your own food, and the most obvious one is that you get to eat what you grow.

But the biggest benefit is that it’s much less expensive than pre-packaged foods.

In addition, you can grow your food in various environments–whether inside your home, in a greenhouse, or even outside in your backyard.

This tutorial will show you how to build a DIY DWC hydroponic system.

This system consists of a dome with a net pot on top.

The net pot holds the growing medium, while the dome holds the water and nutrients.

The dome is supported by a water reservoir that collects rainwater.

To help you with your hydroponic setup, we’ll explain how to build the components of a DWC hydroponic system. 

What Is A DWC Hydroponic System?

DWC stands for Deep Water Culture. This type of hydroponic system uses a plastic pond or tank filled with water.

These are usually made of either plastic or metal and are used in commercial horticultural applications. They can be quite large or small.

The idea is that you grow plants directly in the water. A DWC hydroponic system consists of a container filled with water, and plants are grown in a net pot that hangs down into the water. An air pump oxygenates the water, and this helps the plants to grow quickly. This means you don’t need a reservoir of nutrient-rich water, and the plants won’t have to struggle to find the nutrients they need.

The water is kept in a reservoir above the soil level.

The weighted frame is designed to keep the water level stable.

The water is filtered and kept clean through the use of an aerator pump. The air is circulated throughout the water using an impeller. A skimmer keeps the water clean and free of debris.

Most of the time, the system is set up to be used as a hydroponic garden. A DWC hydroponic system is a great way to garden indoors, and it’s easy to set up. You can use this type of system to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs, or flowers. This is how it was originally intended to be used. However, there are some people who use it for other purposes, such as fish farming or aquaponics. 

How Does A DWC Hydroponic Garden Work?

How to Build Your Own DWC Hydroponic System: A Beginners Guide

A DWC hydroponic garden is a great way to garden indoors and has control over the environment. 

In a DWC hydroponic garden, the plants are in direct contact with the nutrient-rich water, which is constantly circulated and filtered. This allows for a perfect environment for your plants to thrive.

The nutrient solution flows through the entire reservoir of water and is circulated by a pump. This ensures that the plants receive the nutrients they need to grow as they need them.

The water is kept at the plants’ perfect temperature and pH level, and the airflow is kept to the highest possible standards.

This is a very effective system because it provides a steady supply of nutrients to the plants, and the water is always fresh. It is also easy to maintain and easy to adjust the levels of nutrients.

Pros of DWC hydroponic systems

  • It is very easy to maintain.
  • You don’t have to worry about the environment outside of the container.
  • The nutrients are easily adjustable.
  • The water is kept at a constant temperature.
  • You can grow any plant you want, even if you don’t have space for a garden.
  • You can grow plants indoors year-round, and it doesn’t matter if you live in a warm or cold climate.

Cons of DWC hydroponic systems

  • It takes a lot of work and patience.
  • You may have to buy nutrients for the system.
  • You have to be able to read and understand instructions well.
  • You will have to add more water more frequently and be careful not to overwater the plants.
  • There is a possibility that the roots of your plants can become root bound.
How to Build Your Own DWC Hydroponic System: A Beginners Guide

Comparing single and modular DWC systems

Hydroponic systems can be divided into two categories: single and modular. Single systems are just what they sound like: a single unit with all the components necessary to operate the system. Modular systems, on the other hand, consist of multiple units that can be connected together or used independently.

Both designs have their advantages and disadvantages. Single systems are typically cheaper to purchase but more expensive to operate and maintain, and modular systems are more expensive to purchase but less expensive to operate and maintain. Another advantage of modular systems is that they can be easily expanded as your grow operation expands.

Small-scale growers often use single DWC systems because they are simpler and cheaper to build than modular systems. However, they also have some drawbacks. For one thing, the volume of nutrient solution in a single system is limited, so it can only support a small number of plants. And because the solution is not constantly circulated, it can become oxygen-deprived if there are too many plants or if they grow too large.

Modular DWC systems offer several advantages over single systems.

They can support larger numbers of plants than a single system, allow for more consistent nutrient circulation, and are expandable, allowing growth to continue even after harvest. On the other hand, modular systems are more complicated to build and maintain and cost more to purchase.

What is the best DWC hydroponic system for your needs?

How to Build Your Own DWC Hydroponic System: A Beginners Guide

When it comes to selecting the right hydroponic system for your needs, there are a few things you need to take into account:

What kind of hydroponic system do you want? Single or modular?

How many plants do you want to grow?

How much money do you want to invest?

How much space do you have to grow?

I recommend using a modular system. You can get away with a single DWC system if you are a beginner. But if you are serious about growing, you will need a modular system.

Modular systems can be expanded as your needs grow, and they are ideal for growing a large number of plants. You can make adjustments to the system as you go along, making it more efficient and easier to grow.

How To Make A DWC Hydroponic System At Home

As mentioned above, the first step is to choose the design that best suits your needs.

Suppose you want to create a simple and inexpensive system. It’s a good idea to start with a small system; you can always expand later.

You can make your system using some basic supplies and tools.


• One 55l storage container (I used an old plastic bucket, but you can use any container that is tall enough)

• One large plastic bag (for covering the water)

• Two large plastic bags (for covering the growing medium)

• A long piece of string

• Seeds

• Growing medium

• Nutrient solution (this is optional)

• An aquarium pump (this is optional)

• A timer (this is optional)

• Some soil (optional)

• Watering can (optional)

• Plastic gloves (optional)

• A sharp pair of scissors (optional)

• A pencil (optional)

• A ruler (optional)

• A pair of clippers (optional)

• A pair of gardening shears (optional)

• A pair of needle nose pliers (optional)

• A bowl of water (optional)

• A small container of fertilizer (optional)

• A pair of tweezers (optional)


Step 1: Get your container ready.

You will need to get a tall container to allow the water to drain. I chose an old plastic bucket because it was empty and big enough to fit my needs. You can use any container that is tall enough.

Step 2: Fill the bucket with water

Fill the bucket with water and put the lid on. Make sure to place the bucket somewhere that is out of the way and where it won’t be affected by temperature fluctuations.

Step 3: Cover the water with plastic bags

After filling the bucket, cover the top of the bucket with two large plastic bags. This is to keep the oxygen level high in the water and prevent algae growth.

Step 4: Place the growing medium into the bucket

Spread out your growing medium into the bottom of the bucket. You may need to add a little more medium to the empty container.

Step 5: Cover the growing medium with another plastic bag

Put a second large plastic bag over the growing medium. You should now have a plastic container with a layer of growing medium on the bottom and a layer of plastic bag on the top.

Step 6: Cover the growing medium with the mesh bag

Take a mesh bag and place it on top of the growing medium. This will act as a barrier between the growing medium and the water. The mesh bag will let air and water through while preventing the roots of the plants from being exposed.

Step 7: Plant your seeds

Gently remove the plastic bag and gently remove the mesh bag from the growing medium. Remove the mesh bag from the top of the container. Spread the seeds out evenly across the growing medium.

Step 8: Cover the seeds with a thin layer of growing medium

Cover the seeds with a thin layer of growing medium. This is to ensure that the seeds are covered with a little extra growing medium.

Step 9: Put the lid on

Place the lid on top of the container and secure it in place with a rubber band. Ensure the lid is tight enough to keep the water from leaking.

Step 10: Prepare your growing solution.

Before you start using the system, you will need to prepare the nutrient solution. Add the correct amount of water to a container of water, and add some fertilizer.

Step 11: Start the system.

Start the system by connecting the aquarium pump to the reservoir. The pump will pull the nutrient solution up and down through the reservoir, providing the plants with their required nutrients.

Step 12: Water the plants

After a few days, check on your plants. If you find that they are looking a bit dry, you may want to water them again.

Step 13: Repeat the process as needed

Keep repeating the process until the plants are large enough to harvest.

How Do I Maintain My DWC Hydroponic System?

How to Build Your Own DWC Hydroponic System: A Beginners Guide

Maintaining a hydroponic system is not difficult. With a little bit of effort, it can be easy to keep your plants healthy and thrive. The most important part of keeping your system running is ensuring the pH levels are balanced and the water is clean and circulated properly.

Checking on your plants regularly will also help you to catch any potential problems early on so that they can be corrected before they cause any major damage. 

Most of the time, maintaining a hydroponic system is as easy as adding water, nutrients, and light. However, if you find that your plants aren’t growing as expected, there are a few things that you can try.

Try adding a small amount of liquid fertilizer. This will add some nutrients to the water and may help your plants to grow faster.

Try switching to a different light bulb. Changing the light bulb can sometimes encourage plants to grow faster. Or adding more light. If your plants aren’t growing as expected, adding more light will help boost their growth.

What If My DWC System Gets Leaked?

Leaking a hydroponic system is a serious problem, and a leak could allow bacteria to enter your system and damage the plants.

If your system gets accidentally or deliberately contaminated with water, it could cause damage to your plants.

When you’re setting up your hydroponic system, make sure that the containers are waterproof.

If you’re not sure whether your container is waterproof, you can always test it by pouring a small amount of water inside. If the water starts to seep out, it means that the container isn’t waterproof. You can use rubber bands to seal up the container or place a piece of waterproof tape over the hole.

Make sure that your reservoir is completely sealed and your water is flowing in a very controlled manner.

What To Do When You Lose Nutrients In Your DWC Hydroponic Garden?

If you lose nutrients in your hydroponic system, it’s probably not your fault. There are many things that can go wrong with a hydroponic system, and sometimes, even after all your hard work, you will find that some nutrients have disappeared.

The most common reason for nutrients to disappear is due to evaporation. Evaporation occurs when the water in the reservoir gets warm, and the nutrients in the nutrient solution begin to evaporate.

In order to avoid this, you can add a cap to the top of the reservoir, and this will help prevent evaporation.

You can also use a floating tray to reduce evaporation. This consists of a tray on top of the reservoir with holes drilled into it.

These holes allow the water to circulate through the tray.

The floating tray will also keep the water cooler than if it were sitting directly on top of the reservoir.

Another thing you can do is to increase the surface area of the reservoir.

A larger surface area will increase evaporation, so try to minimize the size of the reservoir.

You can also decrease the volume of the reservoir by making it smaller.

The more space you give your nutrients, the more likely it is that you will lose them.

You can also add more nutrients to your reservoir. Adding more nutrients will increase evaporation, so make sure that you don’t go overboard.

You can also consider changing the pH of the water.

Changing the pH will affect the solubility of the nutrients.

This means that you can add more nutrients or less, depending on how you adjust the pH.

Besides, there are a few ways that nutrients could end up in your system. The most common ways are leaks in the system or using fertilizer instead of liquid nutrients.

If you lose nutrients, the first thing you should do is check the water level of your reservoir. If you have too much water in your system, it will overflow, and the nutrients will flow out.

The second thing you should do is check to see if you’ve added enough nutrients to your system. If you haven’t, you’ll have to add more.

If you’re using a liquid fertilizer, you should make sure that you are following the instructions on the package. If you’re using a dry fertilizer, ensure you follow the instructions for how to use it.

DWC Hydroponic Systems: What Plants Grow Best?

You should be fine if you are growing a green leafy vegetable like lettuce, spinach, or kale.

You should be careful if you are growing a root vegetable, like carrots.

Carrots are not green leafy vegetables, so they don’t require the same nutrients as lettuce and spinach.

If you are growing a heavy-feeding plant like broccoli, cabbage, or Brussels sprouts, then you will need to supplement the nutrient levels in your system.

These plants are known to be sensitive to nutrients. Lettuce is a good example, as it is very susceptible to nutrient deficiency.

If you are growing tomatoes, peppers, or corn, you will need a little more nutrition. These plants are more tolerant to nutrient deficiency, though they can still benefit from a little extra TLC. 

Additional Tips

How to Build Your Own DWC Hydroponic System: A Beginners Guide

To make your hydroponic garden, you must first decide on the type of growing medium you want to use.

The choice of growing medium depends on your climate’s conditions, the plants you plan to grow, and the nutrients you want to use.

You should start your garden using a mix of peat, vermiculite, and perlite.

You will also need to figure out what kind of lighting you want to use.

In a hydroponic garden, light is the most important factor.

You will want to ensure that your lights are positioned so that they provide a good amount of light throughout the day.

You will also need to consider how you will water your plants.

Watering your plants is probably the most important step in growing your garden.

Watering your plants can be done in a few ways.

You can use a drip irrigation system, or you can use a simple, drip-less method.

You can also choose to use a wick system, where you will use a water-soluble wick to water your plants.

The final decision is up to you, but we recommend that you read our guide on how to grow your own food.

Final Thoughts

So that is how you can build a simple hydroponic system for yourself at home. You may already have some of the materials in your home right now. Growing from home can be accomplished by repurposing old storage containers or buckets. If you don’t have a lid, you can cut holes out of a sheet of polystyrene packaging for plants to grow from.

When you’re first getting into hydroponics, the complexity of some of the systems on the market can be overwhelming. That’s why we recommend starting simple, and a DWC system gives beginners an opportunity to do this. They are low maintenance and can be placed anywhere that has sufficient light, indoors or outdoors.