Types of Hydroponic Systems – Definition, Advantages, Defects & Uses

Growing with a hydroponic system makes it possible to control the environment, thereby reducing many risk factors. For example, reducing fungal diseases in the soil that can infect plants or reducing other infestations: wild animals can steal vegetables from your nine gardens, or pests like locusts can crop attack. Hydroponics systems end the limitations of growing plants outdoors and on the soil. If there are no negative factors from the environment, the seedlings grown in the hydroponic system will grow better. There are various types of hydroponic systems, but all are variations or combinations of the six basic hydroponic systems. The following Coco Coir Global will help you learn about these systems:

1. DWC (Deep water culture) system

Deep water culture system means that a plant suspends in aerated water. The DWC hydroponic system hangs netted planters over a deep tank of an oxygen-rich nutrient solution. Plant roots are submerged in the solution, providing long-term access to nutrients, water, and oxygen.


  • Simple setup. The only moving part in this system is an air pump.
  • Easy monitoring.
  • Very little maintenance cost
  • Plants grow faster, resulting in larger plants with higher yields than in soil farming


  • Growing in this system fast-growing plants can lead to rapid changes in the pH and concentration of the nutrient solution.
  • The water temperature is difficult to keep within the target range as it will quickly be affected by the ambient temperature in the growing space.
  • If the air pump fails, it will lead to a lack of oxygen and the death of the roots.



  • A tank (or container) to store the nutrient solution
  • Air pump
  • Pipes or air inlets
  • Air stones to create small bubbles
  • Pots, mesh cups, or baskets to hold plants
  • Suitable growing medium


  • Depending on the height of the plant and the moisture holding capacity of the medium (e.g. coir medium), the roots will be placed in a suitable position in a mesh pot that is fixed on the surface of the water filled with nutrient solution.
  • Connect the pump to the pipe, the pipe to the compressed air, and place the air rock in the container or tank of the solution.
  • Fill a container or tank with the right pH and add nutrients and start seeding.
  • When the plant begins to sprout and the roots begin to touch the water, you will see the obvious growth of the plant. Instead of letting the roots search for water in the soil, they just need to absorb water and nutrients directly from the solution.

2. Wick system (the simplest system)


  • The simplest system
  • The system works without any moving parts
  • Suitable for places where electricity cannot be used or the power source is not safe.


  • Only suitable for certain crops, like small plants like lettuce and herbs.
  • Ineffective in providing nutrition
  • Stagnation of nutrients



  • Plant container: Container for plants and planting material such as buckets, bottles, and jars whose bottoms have holes to thread the wicks through.
  • Nutrient solution reservoir: nutrient solution reservoir
  • Wicks 
  • Growing media, which can be coco coir hydroponics, vermiculite, or perlite.


  • Thread the wick through the hole in the bottom of the growing tray
  • Pour the growing medium into the tray
  • Position the tray so that the wick has easy access to the nutrient solution tank
  • The system will help plants grow by absorbing nutrient solution from the reservoir through capillary action through the wick (Capillary action).
  • Usually, a good wick system will have at least two or more lengths of the wick of the right size to help provide enough water for the plants. The bucket or container where the plants are placed will be located directly above the tank. As a result, the water does not have to travel too far to reach the planting medium.

3. NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) system


  • Low Consumption: Since hydroponic NFT systems recirculate water, they do not require large amounts of water or nutrients to function. The constant flow also makes it harder for salt to accumulate on plant roots.
  • The nutrient film engineering system is perfect for large-scale and commercial endeavors.


  • When equipment such as a pump fails, it will stop the flow, from which the circulation of the nutrient film will no longer exist, resulting in the plants drying out. If the condition persists for too long, it can lead to plant death due to lack of water supply
  • If the plants are planted too close together or the roots grow too vigorously, the canal may become clogged.



Building a nutrient curtain system requires the following basic components:

  • Planting pipes (should choose a square box dedicated PVC pipe)
  • Mesh basket to store plants
  • Nutrient solution tank (should use dark color tank to limit production and bacteria)
  • Water pump
  • Solution pipe


The water pump will dissolve the nutrients up the pipes already attached to the plants and the nutrients will flow continuously through the roots. The hydroponic solution will be continuously pumped to the high end and automatically flows to the low end according to the slope of the growing tube. Helps the whole plant get the necessary nutrients and grow well.

Note: For all types of hydroponic growing systems, you should check the pH and EC of the solutions as well as the plants.

Eventually, hydroponics is getting more and more popular in gardening or farming nowadays. There are many different types of hydroponic systems are being used recently, and each type have its own benefit as well as limits. Those 3 types of hydroponic systems we mentioned above are considered common and widely used by growers worldwide.

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