Ebb and Flow System Construction


Once you have the parts, construction of your ebb and flow system is very easy.

First, you need to drill 2 holes into the end of the growing container, each hole big enough to insert the barbed fittings. These fittings will be inserted with silicone so don't make the holes too big, make them a snug fit. Drilling can be accomplished easier if you place a board up against the back of the wall of the growing container to give you some resistance so you would drill through the plastic and into the board.

The first hole should be placed 6 to 7 inches from the bottom of the growing container in the center of the end of the container and the second hole in the center of the end as close to the bottom of the container as possible. Just make sure you leave room to screw on the plastic nut from the other side so don't drill too close to the bottom.

Once drilled, take off the nut from a barbed outlet and apply some silicone to the outlet the same as if putting toothpaste on a toothbrush. Insert the barbed fitting into the hole from the outside of the container (barbed end on the outside with the outlet resting on the silicone ring on the outside of the container) and screw on the nut from the inside.

You can also apply silicone to the nut so it rests against the silicone when you screw it on. So the fitting would rest against the silicone ring on the outside of the container and the nut would also rest against some silicone on the inside of the container. Make sense? Don't worry, the seal does not have to be absolutely water-tight. Perform the same process with the barbed fitting in the bottom hole. Here are some pictures of the outside and inside of the completed growing container:

hydroponic nutrient container hydroponic nutrient container

Next place that stiff 6 inch tube with screen into the barbed outlet, the one on the bottom, into the outlet hole on the inside of the growing container, laying the tube out flat along the bottom of the container. This should be sized to fit firmly into the hole. There is no need to glue it in, the growing medium will keep it in place.

The purpose of this is to screen out growing medium from the water in the ebb and flow system as it drains back down through the pump at the end of the growing cycle and the tube also provides a little suction as the water drains to suck up any remaining puddles so plant roots remain damp and not soaked. This 'sucking' action is called the 'capillary effect'

Complete the ebb and flow system construction by connecting a plastic tube from the bottom barbed fitting to your water pump and connect another section of hose to the top barbed fitting letting it dangle down into the nutrient container. Remember that if you can splash the solution back into the nutrient container during the flood cycle, the solution will become aerated.

And that is it for construction. I hope it was fairly easy... Next, return to the 'build your own system' page and and continue to inital setup of the system.

Good luck!


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