Building your own diy hydroponic system at home is very easy and a lot of fun.
All you will need are 3 items:
- The tank
- An hydroponic air pump
- Planting cups & sponges
Of course in addition you will also need plants to grow and the right type of plant food to add to the water.
I started it to grow DIY hydroponic tomatoes and peppers, but it was also great for herbs.
The DIY hydroponic system video shows how I build my own hydroponic system at home, taking less than 1 hour.
The DIY Hydroponic System
Taking the 3 items in turn:
Item 1 – the tank
The reason I built the diy hydroponic system was to grow Roma tomatoes and Cayenne Peppers indoors.
Especialy Tomato plants can grow up to 1 to 1.5m tall
i.e. most of the small hydroponic units you buy are not suited as they are often designed for herbs & maybe lettuce.
Which is why I made my own hydroponic tank – all I did was buy a 29 litre plastic storage container in a DIY shop and then drill the holes in the top.
Yes, you can buy containers on Amazon but they are often cheaper in DIY shops or even supermarkets.
Item 2 – the hydroponic air pump
Within an diy hydroponic system you will need to provide your plants with air – to help them grow.
The air pump in this plan was specially selected for 2 main reasons:
- It’s very quiet – many hydroponic pumps tend to be noisy, whereas this pump (maybe because it’s designed for living room aquariums) is very quiet.
- Adjustable air flow – you will need to adjust the airflow depending on the size of tank. For a 29 litre tank just switch it to it’s lowest adjustment.
- Available from Amazon
Item 3 – The planting cups & sponge
You will need these to put in the lid of your container.
When drilling your holes in the top of your tank:
- Make a note of the top inner diameter of the cups you use.
- The holes in the video were 31 cm in diameter, but check your cups before drilling.
In the video you will see I only used 6 planting cups i.e. you will have lots left over for future use.
The total cost of the DIY hydroponic system
The cost for the unit was for me:
- The tank + lid = £4 (was on special offer)
- Hydroponic air pump = £12.99
- Cups & Sponge = £2 (ok total cost is more but only used 6)
- i.e. Total cost = £18.99
Please note this is an estimate but substantially lower than virtually any other ready made kit you can buy.
2 Important notes:
1. Black bin bags…
Just a quick update. Running the diy hydroponic system is very easy and enjoyable. The downside to using the clear plastic container was that algae started to grow, and I changed the water and cleaned the inside a few times.
However… Simply covering it with black bin bags stopped all that and kept the water crystal clear.
Update – 26 June 2021
Today painted the system black – a lot easier than using bags. Because the unit was very successful last year in growing Roma tomatoes I decided to plant Cayenne peppers this year. For the latest up to date info visit my instagram page
2. Plant support
The other item I simply hadn’t considered when building my diy hydroponic system was supporting the tomatoes. Which is not ideal when you can’t put a bamboo pole in the soil. However a free standing tomatoe support solved that problem.
Make your own diy hydroponic system or buy one ready made?
It a fun project to do but has some advantage & disadvantages:
- It is quite easy to do
- A lot cheaper than buying a ready made hydroponic kit
- Will give you hands-on practical experience of managing an hydroponic system
- And of course – your plants should grow faster with better yields (especially if you also use a grow light)
- The clear plastic could result in algae growth – replace the water if it gets bad & cover with black bin bags
- Depending on what you grow you might need to find a way of supporting your plants.
- Not as ‘professional looking’ as the ready made kits.
It is very early days, the kit has only just been made and will have to see the results. I will update this page over the following months.
On the other hand the ready made kits are easy to use and have been proven to work.
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