Build your own Hydroponics System; an ebb and flow, timer-controlled design


This page will lead you step by step to build your own hydroponics system. This will be an ebb and flow design, one that I use every year with great success.

The system was originally a pre-made unit purchased from an online hydroponics store. It never worked from Day 1 and had to be completely rebuilt from scratch including a new pump.

It consists of a grow box with 2 drainage outlets, a nutrient container, submersible pump, aquarium air pump and bubbler stone, timer and connecting tubing. The design is simple: nutrient water is pumped into an outlet at the bottom of the growing container eventually rising to the top of the growing medium which is right where a drainage outlet is placed.

Nutrient solution flows back down through this drainage outlet into the growing container to be recycled. After a predetermined amount of time the timer switches off, cutting electricity to the pump until the next cycle. Remaining nutrient solution drains back down through the stiff 6 inch tube with screen connected to the fitting at the bottom of the growing container, through the pump and back into the nutrient container.

ebb flow hydroponics system This system is designed to use pea stone as a growing medium mainly due to its density. If you decide to use a different growing medium you will probably need a much larger nutrient solution container.

Where to begin? The first task to build your own hydroponics system is to gather your tools and basic materials

Once you have all the parts needed to build your own hydroponics system, it is time to assemble the system.

Once the system is assembled, don't forget to check out the intial setup of the system and reread the Maintenance Page.

Where you place your system is important. Besides adequate light, will the system be protected from animals and weather? I generally place my systems outdoors in a homebuilt greenhouse so there is cover from rain and protection from roving critters. But an outdoor system does not necessarily need to be under cover as long as the electrical parts (if you have them) are protected.

Rain will soak your plants and filter down into your nutrient solution diluting it but as long as it does not rain too often and you change nutrient solution at least once every 2 weeks then rain doesn't matter.

Since I have received many questions about this design I have archived the questions by year.

Click on this link for the 2009 Archived Ebb Flow Design Questions

Click on this link for the 2010 Archived Ebb Flow Design Questions

Click on this link for the 2011 Archived Ebb Flow Design Questions

Good luck!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Ebb and Flow  
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First, thanks for the excellent site and information.

I'm a long time greenhouse gardener but this year will be my first time trying hydroponics. I …

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