How does Deep Water Culture Hydroponics Work?
Deep water culture, or DWC, is the most simple hydroponic system for new and experienced indoor growers alike.
In a recirculating DWC system, plant roots are suspended directly in a hydro nutrient solution. This nutrient solution is housed by a hydroponic reservoir, and since the roots stay in this reservoir throughout their life, there is no need for a water pump. An air pump and air stone provide continuous oxygen to the root zone, preventing plants from drowning.
DWC hydroponics is great for new growers because there are only a few components. Unlike hydroponic drip systems or aeroponic systems, there are no nozzles to get clogged. This drastically cuts down on maintenance for your DWC system. Once you get your system set up, its smooth sailing!
Advantages of DWC hydroponic systems
- Low maintenance
- Fast growing time
- Minimal moving parts
Disadvantages of DWC hydroponic systems
- pH and water level can fluctuate
- Easy to overfeed or underfeed
- Difficult to maintain consistent temperature in reservoir
As you can see, most of the problems with recirulating DWC systems come down to human error. This is why many beginner growers are encouraged to start with soil. However, if you use a thermometer/hygrometer and a pH pen, it is easy to prevent these issues! Dosing nutrients correctly is very important as there is no buffer (like with soil), and thus mistakes made with feeding are magnified. To help maintain optimal conditions in your water culture system and prevent human error, just use a nutrient and pH dosers!
Choosing the right DWC hydroponic system
Determining which system is best for you will depend on your budget, your growing space, and how many plants you want to cultivate. A simple 5 gallon growth module is great for hobby growers looking to get start with DWC hydroponics. If you want to grow huge, high yielding plants, however, larger growth modules like the 35 gallon growth module will allow for bigger plants.
Also consider how many plants you want to grow. If you are planning on growing in a small grow tent or spare bedroom indoors, 1-10 plants is probably plenty. If you are outfitting a commercial greenhouse or warehouse, larger systems that can house 30-40 plants will be a more efficient use of space.
Hobby growers with a smaller budget can see huge yields with just a simple 5 gallon bucket system, like one of these ones from Active Aqua. You can get an incredible DWC hydroponic system for 8 plants for under $200!
If you are a more serious grower, you need a system that will not only decrease harvest times, but generate strong, heavy plants. Current Culture DWC Systems are top of the line hydroponic systems, and are some of the most popular systems in the hydroponic world. The level of quality that goes into creating these systems is unmatched, and the results speak for themselves.
How often should I change DWC water?
Depending on the nutrient solution you are using, it is recommended to change the water in your system at least once every other week during veg. This prevents any contaminants from taking over the system. During flowering, you will want to change the water every week. If you do not change the water in the reservoir regularly, your plants will show signs of stress.
What should water temperature be for DWC?
The temperature of your reservoir water is very important in deep water culture hydroponics. Too low, and the plant will think its time to go to sleep and will stop growing. Too high, and the dissolved oxygen levels will drop, preventing the plant from absorbing nutrients.
To achieve the perfect balance, keep water temp between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a climate where temperatures can reach very low or high levels, hydroponic water chillers and heaters will help keep your system in the optimal temperature range.
If you want to learn more about growing hydroponically, visit our learning center! Still wondering if DWC is right for you? Check out our full guide on hydro systems and see what other types have to offer!
As always, our experienced growers are waiting to help you! Give us a call at 888-815-9763!