February 27, 2016



Hydroponics – Growing Hydroponic Weed

Hydroponics is the art of growing marijuana without soil, using water soluble fertilizer as the sole source of nutrients.  Although it appears to be complicated, get a grip on the basics and you’ll be growing weed in hydroponics in no time.

This page will give you a basic understanding of the different hydroponic weed systems available and how they work, as well as how to mix your nutrients and what to do to keep your set up clean.

How do Hydroponic Weed Systems work?

Hydroponic weed systems work by supplying nutrients and oxygen straight to the plant’s roots, enabling you to grow bigger buds, faster.  Although soil works as a natural reservoir, supplying nutrients over time while keeping roots oxygenated, it isn’t necessary.  However, soil does provide a buffer between the nutrients and the plant, and once taken away, you leave yourself little room for mistake.

Advantages/Disadvantages of a Hydroponic Weed Grow:

Advantages Disadvantages
Bigger yields More expensive than soil
Faster growing time More difficult to set up
Greater supply of oxygen to the plant’s roots Requires regular maintenance
Greater control over nutrients Requires a constant supply of electricity
Plants can’t be starved of oxygen Less room for mistakes

Hydroponic Weed Systems:

When it comes to choosing a hydro grow system, you need to consider how much space you have, how much money you’re willing to spend, what skill level you have, and also what time you have as some systems require little attention, while others will occupy you like a full time job.  There are two types of hydro grow system available, Active and Passive.  Listed below are the different hydroponic weed systems available.


Active hydroponic weed systems move the nutrient solution to the plant using mechanical devices.  As a fast growing plant, marijuana thrives in an active system and with a little experience and a good nutrient schedule, you’ll be able to grow impressive amounts of weed.  They do, however, require a little more money and attention than passive systems.

Advantages Disadvantages
Can grow vast quantities of bud Difficult to maintain
Clean with no build up of nutrients Expensive to set up
Very little or no buffer if accidents occur

The following are classed as Active Hydroponic weed systems.

Ebb and Flow
Ebb and Flow SystemEbb and Flow hydroponic weed systems are a simple but efficient and effective way to grow weed.  They work by using a nutrient reservoir to periodically flood the containers where the cannabis is planted, which then drain over the course of 30 minutes, pulling in a fresh supply of oxygen for the plant’s roots.

Which hydro grow substrate should I use?
Rockwool or Coco coir

Deep Water Culture
In a Deep Water Culture (DWC) hydroponics weed system, or “Bubbler” as they are otherwise known, the plants are suspended in net pots above the reservoir and an air pump agitates the nutrient Deep Water Systemsolution up towards the plant’s roots.  The solution that is not absorbed then runs back into the reservoir.   As air is used to agitate the solution, it is well oxygenated, which helps the plants absorb the nutrients. The pump supplies the oxygenated nutrient solution for 24 hours a day, making this quite a low maintenance garden.  A downside, however, is the roots in a DWC are completely out in the open, meaning there is no buffer at all.  Any issue, be it a power failure or incorrect nutrient levels and you’re directly exposed to the problem!

Which substrate should I use?
Rockwool or Hydroton clay pebbles

Top Feed/Drip Feed
Drip Feed SystemTop Feed, or the Drip Feed hydro grow systems, use various emitters (tubes) to constantly drip nutrient solution into the medium in which your marijuana is planted.  The excess solution simply runs through the medium and into the reservoir, ready to be pumped back around the system.

Which hydro grow substrate should I use?
Hydroton clay pebbles, Coco coir, Rockwool

Nutrient Film Technique
The Nutrient Film Technique is most efficient hydro grow system when growing multiple plants, keeping a constant supply of nutrient solution to roots 24 hours a day.  Plants are lined up in a row and water passes down the tray through the roots of each plant, as the tray is installed at a slight angle. NFT Hydroponic SystemIt is then collected and returned to the reservoir to be pumped around the system again. The constant flow of the solution keeps it well aerated which enables the plants to maximize the use of the nutrients and enables you to grow bigger buds.   However, this set up needs a lot of fine tuning and if the angle of the decline is wrong, or you have a power failure, there is no buffer and you can lose your crop.

Which hydro grow substrate should I use?
Rockwool or Coco Coir

Aeroponics Hydro Grow Systems
Aeroponics are the most effective way to grow weed and the size of the buds they produce are unrivalled, however, they are complex and large so tend to only be used by growing professionals. In an Aeroponics Systemaeroponics hydro grow system, the seedlings or clones are suspended above a dark growth chamber which remains at or near 100% humidity 24 hours a day maximising the amount of oxygen and nutrients
the roots can absorb.  The humid atmosphere is created by dropping the nutrient solution onto a spinning plate which sends it into the air as a vapour and towards the roots.
An aeroponic system relies on a 24 hour electricity supply and offers no protective buffer to the plants whatsoever, making them vulnerable and requiring a lot of attention.

Which hydro grow substrate should I use?
Hydroton Clay


In a passive hydroponic weed system the plant sits above a nutrient reservoir and draws nutrient solution into the growing medium.  The solution is constantly absorbed passively by a wick or growing medium, which is then transported to the roots, meaning the medium stays very wet.  These conditions suit substrates like vermiculate, peat moss and coco coir as they drain well, supply the roots with healthy amounts of oxygen, and do not suffocate the plant.
Wick Hydro System

Advantages Disadvantages
Low in cost Requires the use of more nutrients.
Simple to use

Which hydro grow substrate should I use?
Vermiculate, Coco Coir, Peat Moss, Soilless Mix

Nutrient Solutions for Hydroponic Marijuana

If you’re growing hydroponic marijuana, you need to supply all the nutrients a plant requires for the different phases of its life cycle.  As a rule of thumb, plants prefer more nitrogen in vegetative growth and more phosphorous when they are flowering.  Keep a close eye on your pH levels which should be between 5.8 and 6.2 for optimum bud growth. Advice on what nutrients to use can be found in our section on nutrients.

Your solution strength should not exceed what your plants are able to handle.  Hydroponic marijuana growers should take into account the Electrical Conductivity, Parts Per Million (PPM) and the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).  As a hydroponic marijuana grower, understanding these will ensure that you don’t burn your plant’s roots or starve them.  Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions as nutrient burn is one of the most common problems for hydroponic growers.

How often should they be changed?
You will need to change your nutrient solution at least once every two weeks or when your reservoir has dried.  Discard the old solution and clean your reservoir and pumps with hot water, removing any residue that has built up.

Guide to creating the best Nutrient Mix
Flora nova nutrientsWhen mixing nutrients for your hydro grow, you should always add them to your water and never the other way around.  Adding water to nutrients can cause them to lock up and could lead to your plant starving to death.  Check the water’s pH and PPM to make sure it is suitable to use on your marijuana grow.
Use the following guide to make the most out of your nutrients.

Add any extras you’re using to the reservoir, making sure they have dissolved fully as this could affect any reading you take.
Mix the nutrients in a gallon of water in a separate bucket.  Do not add them straight to the reservoir as they will lock up and be unusable.
After your PPMs are correct and suitable, adjust the pH.
Make sure all nutrients are fully mixed, quickly throw out your old reservoir solution and replace with the new mix.

Cleaning/Sterilizing Your Hydroponic Weed System

A clean and healthy growing environment will produce strong, healthy plants and help you avoid pests and diseases in your grow room.  Make sure you clean and sterilize your system between each grow.  Clean and sterilize any tools you may use including pump filters, thermometers, air stones and remove any salt and slime build ups weekly.

How to do I clean and sterilize my Hydroponic Weed System?

It is important to keep your hydroponic system clean to avoid any build up of salt and creating an environment that pests and diseases thrive in.  As in most cases, it is easier to prevent a problem than cure it.  Make sure you clean all the tools and your reservoir tank weekly, using the following steps.

Scoop up all plant material in the system.
re-flush all pots or netcups with water to remove all roots.
Wash tools thoroughly (or put through a dish washer cycle), then soak in hydrogen peroxide for an hour.

Between each grow you should sterilize your hydroponic weed system, effectively making it brand new again.  This will ensure that any problems will not be passed onto the next grow and help with the prevention of any pests and diseases. You can also use the following steps to sterilize the tools you’re using weekly.

Wash with hot water.
Spray everything with in 35% hydrogen peroxide and allow to dry.
Flush your system with hot water.
Wipe down 99% Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.
Flush your systems with hot water.

Avoid bleach as it leaves a residue which can contaminate your set up.

Grow tip: When washing and sterilizing your system and tools, remember to wear gloves!  Hydrogen peroxide is very corrosive and will burn any exposed skin.

Hydroponic Weed is regarded as Ferrari of weeds in the growing world. The hydroponic marijuana growing guide above covers all the fundamentals to help get your hydo grow setup and producing the killer buds you’ve always dreamed about.

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