If you are looking to start out growing your own cannabis, or if you already have a small plant growing and are looking to expand your operation, you would do well in investing in a Deep Water Culture (DWC) system. This allows you to supply your plants with water and nutrients at a controlled rate or frequency, depending on your specific needs. DWC systems are known to grow weed much faster in the vegetative stage than they do in soil. We have listed the most important factors to look for when buying a DWC system below.
Bucket or reservoir material quality
Because you’ll be storing your water and nutrients in a bucket or reservoir, you want to ensure the material used are of high quality. Your plants depend on the nutrients you put in the water, so you want a bucket that protects these nutrients from light. You want to make sure your bucket doesn’t get contaminated either. Some growers prefer sterilizing their reservoir while others prefer to introduce beneficial bacteria into the bucket.
Mesh/net cups or baskets
Your plants will be placed in a mesh or net cup filled with peat moss or rockwool soil. You want a manufacturer that uses high quality material for the mesh bucket, as your weed will be planted in it.
This is one of the most important components of a DWC system. The air pump ensures your plant roots get enough oxygen so that they won’t drown. You want a durable air pump to provide your cannabis roots with constant oxygen. Because you need to run the air pump 24 hours a day, some people shell out more for quieter versions.
3 Important factors when growing with a DWC System
When using a DWC system, there are 3 things that you should constantly check: the pH levels of your water, nutrients in the water, and the temperature of the water.
While it may seem tedious, you should check the pH levels of your water often; at least once a week. For a DWC system, you’ll want to aim for 5.5-6.5 pH. Cannabis thrives in slightly more acidic levels.
Nutrients will be feeding your cannabis, ensuring its growth. It’s recommended that you change your reservoir water and put in new nutrient rich water every ever one to two weeks, depending on your strain. Some strains are more high maintenance and require a change every week.
Optimally, your water should be around 60-70°F. If your grow room temperature is within a good range, your water temperature should also be okay. Still, it doesn’t hurt to check the water temperature every now and then.
Because there exists a plethora of options available on the market, complete with DIY solutions, here are some ideas for popular alternatives to consider to help you narrow down your search before committing to a purchase.
Top DWC systems
|SuperPonics 16 Hydroponic Grow System||16-plant hydroponic grow system
Eco Air 4 air pump and high output air stones
185 GPH pump
Analog single timer
|VersaGrow Pot 10 Plant System w/ Pumps||10 planter pots
Access door for easy watering
Water level indicator
|Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bucket Kit 5 Gallon 6 inch by PowerGrow® Systems||5 gallon bucket (reservoir)
6 inch net pot lid
44 gph air pump
Air tubing and air stone
3 rockwool starter plugs
Water level indicator
1 year warranty
|General Hydroponics Waterfarm Complete Hydroponic System Grow Kit||2 gallon container reservoir
Air stone and air pump
Tubing for the air pump
Clay pellets and nutrients
SuperPonics 16 Hydroponic Grow System
This fully automated 16-plant hydroponic grow system combines top feed watering and bottom feed oxygenation. This combination allows your plants to thrive. What we love about this grow system is that it’s simple to set up. The system already comes fully assembled; all you need to do is add in water, nutrients, and plug it in.
This kit includes 16 Net Cups at 3’ per cup. To ensure your plants get enough oxygen, this kit has an Eco Air 4 air pump and high output air stones. The Eco Air pump is used in many hydroponic grow systems because it’s durable, quiet, and convenient to use. The 185 GPH (gallon per hour) pump ensures your plants won’t go thirsty by pumping up water to your plants. The analog single timer waters your plants regularly for you, so you don’t have to worry about doing it yourself.
One thing to keep in mind is that this system doesn’t come with nutrients (some other high-rated systems do) so you will need to purchase those yourself.
Platinium Super Cloner 30 Site
A cloner system from the French based company Platinum comes in a 12, 30 and 84 site variety. Both the 30 and 84 site models double as a cloner and grow system with a simple switch of the insert tray to square pots, so you’ll be saved the trouble of having to buy multiple systems.
The 30 site kit comes with a 10 gallon reservoir, an insert tray, neoprene inserts, a dome, an air pump, a tubing kit, and sprayers. The entire system is very compact; at just 16”x 14.5”x20” inches it’s easy to move around.
SuperCloset Big Buddha Box Vertical Grow Hydroponics
While this vertical grow hydroponics system is on the pricier end, the yields are incredible at 5 times higher yield than traditional horizontal growing systems in the same amount of time. It can hold up to 75 plants and because it uses VerticalPonic technology, it doesn’t take up a lot of floor space.
This system comes with an Air Force Pro Air Pump, providing your plants oxygen and little to no noise. The Little Giant Water Pump manages the reservoir flow so all your plants receive water. A lighting cool tube helps regulate temperature for your plants.
Platinium 100 Series Ebb & Flow
This 23 site hydroponics ebb & flow system ensures that your water flows smoothly through a special draining system. This is very useful when using a DWC to grow cannabis because it makes sure your water doesn’t stay stagnant, which can often cause fungus or mold.
This system comes with a 23 gallon reservoir, a tray, a tubing kit, an air pump, and an easy access reservoir lid. It’s medium sized in terms of compactness, and measures at 38.5”x38.5”x10.5″.
VersaGrow Pot 10 Plant System w/ Pumps
What attracted us most to this 10 Plant growing system is its affordable price. It’s compact in size, saving you space. It’s also very easy to use, making it perfect for beginners.
This system comes with 10 planter pots, a submersible pump, an access door allowing for easy watering, and a water level indicator.
Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bucket Kit 5 Gallon, 6 inch by PowerGrow® Systems
This kit is one of the most inexpensive kits on the market, making it ideal for beginners. It comes with a 5 gallon bucket to hold your nutrient rich water and 6 inch net pot basket lid for your plants.
This system comes with a 44 gph air pump, air tubing, an air stone to disperse the oxygen over more surface area, three rockwool starter plugs, and a blue water level indicator.
The manufacturer offers a 1 year warranty.
General Hydroponics Waterfarm Complete Hydroponic System Grow Kit
This system is simple to use and affordable, making it ideal for a beginner grower. The square design lets you pack your nets more tightly together, allowing you to create higher density installations which can result in higher yields.
This kit comes with a 2 gallon container reservoir, a basket container, an air stone, an air pump, tubing for your air pump, clay pellets and nutrients. What we really like about this system is that you get clay pellets and nutrients with it (most other brands don’t offer this), meaning you can begin cultivating right away.
We hope this information will help you pick the right DWC system for your growing needs. As stated earlier, the air pump is extremely important for delivering oxygen to your weeds’ roots. An air stone will allow the oxygen to cover more surface area. When you begin growing, make sure you regularly check the water temperature and pH levels. Happy growing!
Discussion as Anonymous
Why did you not include Current Culture in this list? Are all of these really better than that system?Comment by Alexon
Currant is 10x the costComment by Matt Beatonon
With all due respect, you have to be the coolest Mormon I have met; most I have met have all been “Nose in the air” types. a Mormon that grows weed…never thought I would see the day…my wife is a Mormon …and I Love growing weed 🙂Comment by Robon
How can I order the buddy box?Comment by Ken Wiedbrechton