What is Hydroponics?

Complete Hydroponic Systems

By now you’re undoubtedly familiar with the various types of hydroponic systems and may have even experimented with a couple of them. Our purpose here is not to discuss all the forms of hydroponic growing but rather complete hydroponic systems that can be purchased.

Hydroponic growing is a fascinating form of farming that is challenging in many ways.  You’ve probably already tried the basic wicking system and now you’re ready to take it to the next level of hydroponic growing.

The downside is that you aren’t certain how to go about this.

Today, this is no longer an issue because distributors and manufacturers have taken all the guesswork out of hydroponics for you by offering complete growing systems.

To begin with there are four main types of hydroponic growing that are available as a complete system.

  • Deep Water Culture
  • Ebb & Flow (Flood & Drain)
  • Drip Systems
  • Aeroponics

Let’s take a look at these and some of the complete systems that are available.

Deep water culture system

This is a system consisting of usually five-gallon pails and is the technique most suitable for growing large plants.  If you’re interesting with growing hydroponic flowers indoor then deep water culture is the system to go with.

Deep water culture is so simple to use that it will surprise you with the ease that it can be set up and used.  This system pumps raw air into the nutrient solution and there is no need for air stones or anything pricey or complicated. This is by far the most popular type of hydroponics.

Active Aqua Root Spa offers a 5 Gallon, eight-bucket system that you can build from as you learn to fully use it.  The cost is attractive, too.

If you want to purchase the best in industry DWC system then you want the Current Culture hydroponics system. They are the most popular brand in this category and have amazing support.

Hydrobuilder.com is constantly trained by the Current Culture staff in order for us to provide industry leading support for your garden. We know grow.

A eight-bucket complete system from Active Aqua Root Spa will run right about $200.00 which is really a great value.

For that kind of low investment, you have nothing to lose by giving it a shot.

The Ebb and flow complete system

Ebb and flow is a flood and drain technique of hydroponic growing which is more advanced than the deep water culture method and will cost somewhat more for a complete system.

Current Under Current offers some excellent options for a complete ebb and flow systems for the beginner or the professional.

The nice part is that this is a starter pack that you can easily build up from.

Here’s what you get with a complete package from Current Under Current.

  • 55 Gallon reservoir
  • 12 – Four-gallon sites
  • 12 – Three-gallon 360-degree mesh aeration inserts
  • 1 – controller
  • 2 – Maxi Jet 1200 pumps

For the approximately the $600.00 you can expect to pay for this complete system it has everything you need except the grow lights to get you up and running well on your way to becoming a professional hydroponic grower.

Complete drip system

Just as the name implies the drip system utilizes a drip technology rather then a flood and drain type of system.  The drip system is a great one for the novice because it is versatile and very easy to set up and use.

The brand that offers some great complete drip systems is General Hydroponics and they offer something for everyone in their hydroponic systems.

General Hydroponics has some basic complete drip systems on the market for around $150.00. For that price you can hardly gone wrong.   As your experience and expertise develops you can easily upgrade to the more advanced systems which are more flexible as to the size and varieties of plants you can grow.

You can build up to an 8 or 12 pack grower or have the option of buying the drip system tank and pumping system as a single unit.

Here is what you can expect from a General Hydroponics 8-pack unit.

  • 8 Modules
  • 8 Gallon Controller
  • 2 Gallon Growth Mods
  • 13 Gallon Reservoir
  • Duel diaphragm air pump
  • Accessories

Aeroponics system complete

Areoflow is really the leader when it comes to complete aeroponic systems and they offer multiple sizes ranging from a 30 to 60 pack.  These systems are not just designed for bedding plants, either and you can easily cultivate plants with a mature height of 3 or four feet.

Aeroponics systems are well respected for the earlier yields they produce, and the quality of the fruit produced.  

Here is all you get with an Areoflow system according to their listing.

  • 17 gallon reservoir
  • Three 6 ft. grow chambers
  • WaterPOWER 120 pump
  • Injection manifold
  • Support structure
  • 3 inch Grow Cups
  • Clay Pebbles
  •  3-part Flora Kit

There is room for everybody in this industry and the diversity of complete hydroponic systems make it easier than ever for the newcomer to be part of this exciting and challenging form of farming.

A Brief Hydroponic Overview

When a person first becomes interested in hydroponics the thing that strikes them most is just how diverse it is.  Hydroponic is the one form of agriculture with no set of uniform practices that guide it.

It can be anything from a very primitive wick system where nutrient solution is drawn to the roots through a cloth or gauze wicking system or something as complicated as an aeroponics setup.

There is no one set methodology that every grower must adhere to.  This is what makes for its broad appeal to every level of grower.

The only common thread throughout is that hydroponics is consistently a soilless method of cultivating plants.

That is the whole concept of hydroponics in a nutshell.

There are six known methods of hydroponics.


  • Wicking
  • Nutrient Flow Technique (NFT)
  • Deep water culture (DW)
  • Drip system
  • Aeroponics
  • Ebb and flow (flood and drain)


The wick system we already touched upon and is the oldest method of hydroponic system and years ago the standard to strive for.  As simple and primitive as it is, wicking was for the pioneers of hydroponics who eventually brought us every technique of hydroponic gardening we now have.

These early growers broke new ground with every step they took and for that we are all grateful.

Some argue that aquaponics should be included but it differs in how the nutrients are formulated which sets it uniquely apart from true hydroponics and into its own classification of agriculture.

The simplicity of NFT.

Nutrient Film Technique or NFT was the next development in hydroponics and it remains a popular system to this day.  

It simply pumps a nutrient solution from a reservoir tank up to a shallow growing tray which is slightly slanted towards back toward the tank.  The nutrient solution is recycled continually throughout the entire system so that the roots receive constant nutrients.

The only drawback to NFT is situation where the power goes out for any reason.  Deprived of the moisture of the nutrient solution the plants can quickly wilt.

Deep Water Culture is perfect for your favorite plant.

The concept of Deep Water Culture is circulating nutrient solution through a system of large, usually, 5-gallon pails where the plants are cultivated.  This is a useful system for large plants that require a little room.  Tomatoes and related plants are often grown with this method, along with cannabis.

This too, Is a simple and very effective form of hydroponic farming.

The Drip System method

Just as the name implies, the drip system doesn’t utilize a heavily flowing water, but rather continuously feeds the plants through a drip system.  Like all forms of hydroponics, however, it does use a nutrient recycling system.

This is a popular system for vegetable growers and is widely favored for the efficiency of the system.

Aeroponics utilizes an injection technique.

Besides being really cool to pronounce, the aeroponic method of hydroponic growing moves nutrient solution through an air injection system.  This system is favored for its high efficiency, higher yields and better overall plant health.

The Ebb and Flow system uses a flood and drain method of hydroponics.

The Ebb and Flow System is a fairly easy method to explain to the novice. It works by flooding and then draining the plant roots continually through a recycled system.  This method is attractive because it works well for many types or species of plants.

For this reason, it is favored by vegetable to cannabis growers alike.

Hydroponic kits simply complicated systems through an easy to use format.

The good news is that complete kits for more complicated hydroponic systems are inexpensive, practical and time saving.  

It takes considerable knowledge and effort to assemble something like an Ebb and Flow or aeroponic hydroponic system on your own.  There are many components that need to work together in a uniform way to make the systems work effectively.

Therefore, purchasing a kit is definitely the better route to go.

There is no guesswork and no errors to make along the way.  These hydroponic kits include absolutely everything you will need for any specific system.  There is no concern of not having the proper size tank to an adequate pumping system.

Hydroponic grow kits are carefully planned and assembled with all the right components and materials.

© 2011-2021 Hydrobuilder.com - 312 Otterson Dr STE D , Chico, CA 95928 USA

All trademarks and trade names are the property of their respective trademark holders.