bubbleponics hydroponics

If you are a cannabis grower, your ultimate goal is to have a bountiful harvest from your crop.  Several tricks would help you attain a better and bigger yield. One of the techniques is the use of Deep Water Culture (DWC) systems. This is one of the most popular types of hydroponics. The system is very easy and effective to assemble and use while guaranteeing you incredible harvests.

What is a hydroponic?

In the simplest definition, hydroponics refers to a subset of hydroculture and type of horticulture that entails growing crops without soil, utilizing mineral nutrient mixtures with the roots suspended in a constant cycle of water. Hydroponic systems are incredibly effective and easy approaches to growing plants. Check out our article on how to grow hydroponics for beginners for a more detailed explanation.

There are different types of hydroponics techniques, but Deep Water Culture is the purest type of hydroponics. This method entails a  straightforward concept that ensures faster crop growth and a bigger harvest. In this article, we will let you learn how this type of hydroponics works and find out why Deep Water Culture is the superior hydroponics technique. 

marijuana plant growing in a tent using DWC hydroponics

Definition of DWC

In Deep Water Culture, crops are grown in a pool of nutrient-rich and aerated water. The plants are suspended using unique netted pots to make sure that their roots stretch down and remain in the nutrient solution. 

Unlike other hydroponics approaches in which you need to water the plants constantly, in Deep Water Culture, you submerge your plants in a well-oxygenated solution enriched with all the nutrients required 24/7. This means that the reservoir containing the nutrient-rich solution must be large enough to make sure that the plant is stabilized all through. You must put adequate water into the tanks because the more water there is in the tanks, the less monitoring and maintenance are required. 

How Deep Water Culture works

One of the most attractive elements of a Deep Water Culture system is its straightforwardness. An essential thing to consider is that weed plants love oxygen, and they don’t seem to get enough of it. Enhancing the amount of oxygen available to the roots of your weed plants increases nutrient uptake significantly, which in turn leads to better growth and produce. Therefore, every hydroponic system requires a technique that allows roots to be in contact with the air. In the DWC system, your weed plants’ roots are suspended in the nutrient solution permanently and oxygen is in the solution. 

Here’s how the DWC works:

A reservoir is filled with an air supply, nutrients, and water before a lid is attached to the reservoir’s top. The lid has one or multiple grow sites for the pots. 

The plants are then put into the netted pots with their roots soaked in the water contained by the reservoir. The plants are typically started off in Rockwool cubes before they are placed on the pots, which have been filled with a passive growing medium. 

You introduce the nutrient solution to the buckets manually.

A submerged air stone or bubbler produces the air needed by the plant. An air pump is also attached to the buckets with airlines. 

The plants stretch their roots to the water and absorb everything they require to grow and survive except light. They get light from the sun or grow lights, depending on the setup. 

Types of Deep Water Culture techniques

There are various types of DWC techniques: traditional DWC system, bubbleponics system, recirculating Deep Water Culture, and the Kratky method. 

Traditional DWC system

The traditional Deep Water Culture system, also referred to as the classic DWC setup, comprises a tank, nets or pots, air stone, and air pump. It’s the most basic type of hydroponics, and it is quite simple to master and use. The beauty about it is that it can be used both outdoors and indoors. The section above about how DWC systems work is simply describing how the classic Deep Water Culture system works. 

Recirculating Deep Water Culture

This approach to the Deep Water Culture system is an upgrade of the traditional DWC system. The system is designed like a flood, with several buckets and containers connected to a bigger tank. As a result, the nutrient mixtures are never lost but are recirculated through the system. 

bubbleponics hydroponics

Bubbleponics system

This is another upgrade of the traditional Deep Water Culture system, requiring a similar setup as the traditional approach to Deep Water Culture. This technique is a combination of the top feeding Deep Water Culture and the Recirculating System. Bubbleponics DWC system includes a water pump within the nutrient solution reservoir. The pump helps disperse the solution above the net cups before getting it back to the pool. 

This type of Deep Water Culture technique is the most preferred during the initial development stages of the cannabis plants because it enables water to reach the plants’ short roots because they are not long enough to reach the water in the solution reservoirs. It is, therefore, understandable that it is one of the most favored types of DWC methods as it enhances the germination and seedling phases of the plants. 

The Kratky method

With this Deep Water Culture system, you do not need a water pump. Your cannabis plants will get all the nutrients and oxygen via the air gap between the nutrient solution’s surface and the roots. If you like it quite, the Kratky method is your bests choice.

The advantages of growing weed with DWC

Growing your cannabis plants in a Deep Water Culture system has significant benefits that you may not derive from growing them in a soil medium. The primary attractions of growing your cannabis in the Deep Water Culture are fast growth and big yields if the DWC is done well. If you delight in the joy of cultivating your own cannabis, getting the best yield gives undeniable satisfaction. With Deep Water Culture, you will push your cannabis to its growth and yield limit. Therefore, this is the ultimate thrill, especially for indoor growers, because it pushes hydroponics cultivation to its limits. There is undeniable satisfaction when you harvest your monster crop from the Deep Water Culture growing. 

While Deep Water Culture ensures a bigger and better harvest, it is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you are used to only growing your crops in soil, there are some irrefutable added new complexities to take into account. For example, you will need an air pump to feed the system’s air stone with air. Well, if you are used to or enjoy a great deal of quiet, it is not going to be easy for you because this pump could be a bit noisy. On the flip side, you may need to find the joy of owning as well as calibrating EC and pH meters for the first time. 

Purchasing a Deep Water Culture System

As stated earlier, there are multiple Deep Water Culture systems available in the market. The choice should be based on your specific needs. While you can design your own DWC, we understand that some people may not be handy with DIY. Therefore, buying the system is the only viable system for those who may not be good with DIY projects. Before you purchase your DWC system, remember that its value is in its simplicity. As such, it is needless to spend huge amounts of money on the Deep Water Culture system. Generally, consider the following before settling on a given brand:

  1. Bucket size

When choosing your bucket, ensure you consider the size because you don’t want it too small to limit the amount of solution it can hold. The minimum size you would want for a one plant setup is a 3-gallon bucket. 

  1. Air pump noise

For most cannabis growers, secrecy is a significant consideration for most cannabis growers. You probably don’t want anybody knowing that you are growing weed. You also want a silent environment and would not want to be kept awake throughout the night by the sound of a pump. Some of the pumps could be quite noisy, and if you prefer a silent environment, you want to avoid them. Reputable companies will advertise the noise levels of their pumps, measured in decibels. Check them out and choose pumps with the noise levels you can accommodate.

  1. Pump power

At the heart of your Deep Water Culture system’s success is the air pump. You need to make sure that your air pump is powerful enough to oxygenate the nutrient solution adequately. The more the bubbles, the better it will work. A rule of thumb is one Watt per gallon, meaning that if you have a 20-gallon reservoir, a 20-Watt pump is adequate. 

  1. Airstone

Bubbles are important because they ensure your solution is well aerated. When buying a Deep Water Culture system, make sure it comes with a good air stone. At 4 inches for a single bucket system is recommended. 

Diagram of Deep Water Culture for marijuana high yields


If you live in the city and don’t have access to a small piece of land to grow your cannabis, you don’t have to worry. The beauty of the Deep Water Culture System is that you don’t need an outdoor space. With a small indoor space, Deep Water Culture offers you the opportunity to grow your own weed and reap significant yields. 

However, hydroponics is not limited to people who don’t have a garden. Growers who have huge pieces of land can develop special greenhouses for their DWC hydroponic projects. 

The two most beautiful reasons for you to switch to Deep Water Culture are simplicity and bigger yields.

Joe Musgrave

An avid 420 enthusiast, grower, smoker and writer. Joe writes non stop, sharing his extensive knowledge in the field of cannabis with the wider online 420 community through blogs like ours at High Yield Strains.

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