Building an Inexpensive Hydroponics/Aeroponics System

– Now Stephan, you were on here before talking about hydroponics and hydroponic systems. So why do hydroponics anyway? –.

– Now Stephan, you
were on here before talking about hydroponics
and hydroponic systems. So why do hydroponics anyway? – Let’s just say you
actually don’t have the space to have a garden. Hydroponics is a great thing
that you can actually have in your home, set
up your own climate, and start growing, even
during the winter time. Winter months, during
the fall, year round you can actually grow
with hydroponics. – Sounds good to me. I think we could do that. Now what about building
the hydroponic system? – It’s fairly simple. A few parts, inexpensive, and something you
can actually assemble within an hour or two. – All right, Scott, how
do we got about setting up a hydroponic system? Do you want to talk about some
of the parts we have here? – Yeah, absolutely. The first step is to make
sure we have all the parts and everything is in order. First thing we’re gonna need
is some kind of a storage tote. Preferably something a
little bit more durable like this black and yellow tote, just so as you move around
the hydroponic system, it doesn’t go breaking over time and doesn’t get worn down
from the lights outside or what have you. And also some of the
smaller pieces, like some of the neck cups and neoprene, things that actually
house the plant. Then of course, the PVC parts. We have 10 feet of pipe that
will roughly make a tote, usually a little bit more
than 10 feet is needed. A few elbows and some Ts. And that’s just to
make the actual frame of the spray system
inside of the tote. – All right, so you
want to get started on building the system for us? – Yeah, absolutely,
let’s get it going, man. – Let’s get it going. – Would you hand me the
tape measure, Stephan? All right, the first step
is to open up the tote and get some measurements
of the inside. That way we can go ahead
and start measuring and cutting our PVC. – I’ll take that. – Thank you. A good way to start is gonna be to get the width measurement. And how you want to do
this, you just want to go, what the PVC frame will
do is actually sit down, recessed about two inches. We’re gonna come down
about two inches. Looks like we’re
gonna be right at about 16 and a half on width. We’ll go ahead and get the
length measurement as well. Why don’t you come
to right there? About 26 and three
quarter inches. That’ll be the good base. What makes up the
tote is the PVC. How that frame works is we
have elbows on each side, or each corner, then we
will have Ts on the bottoms and then in the middle
we have the downspout for our water pump. Then that’ll pretty much
look just like that. Then these few pieces
will be for the pump and screw into the pump. That’s the basic layout
of how this will work. The first step is going
to be to cut the pieces of PVC that will fit
in between these Ts. What we’re gonna
do, it looks like for 16 and a half
inches, we’ll need about four and a quarter inch PVC pipe to fit in between
each one of these. And we will get cutting. You want to do some
cutting, Chris? – I can try. – Excellent. What we’ll do, go ahead
and grab this piece of PVC, we’ll start measuring. We’ll do four and
looks like a quarter. If you want to make a mark
right about there, Chris. – (Chris)
Absolutely. – We’ll make six of these. And that is the
start of the tote. What we want to do
before we make all six is we’ll make one
side of the tote. We’ll go ahead and check
it with the inside diameter just to make sure
that we’re on track. Since we’re not gonna
be using any PVC glue, we’re gonna go ahead and just smash these together real quick. That way everything
is nice and snug. You want to check that,
make sure it fits, Stephan? You do want a little
bit of a snug fit just because things
aren’t glued together. That way it doesn’t pop off. I’ll just go ahead and
do that one more time. Those are our ends done. Next thing we’re gonna
do is measure the inside. We’re gonna do these
12 inch pieces, and we’re gonna
do four of these. One big reason we’re using
these cutters like we are instead of a saw or what
have you is when you go to cut PVC like that, it’ll turn into a fine dust. That’s the bane of
any hydroponic system. And it’s really just
a few simple pieces and the tote starts coming
together on its own. Now we’re gonna cut
two 25 inch sections for the outside. Go ahead and put these on. Then what we’re gonna do now is we’re gonna build the
down stem for the pump. That consists of a T, and this
is gonna sit in the middle like this, and it’s just
gonna serve as a down stem. And then we will
cut a few pieces to hook all of this together. We’re gonna make one and
three quarter inch pieces. We’re gonna do two of those
to fit on the inside of this. So just snugly fit in there. There’s a bevel on the inside
of each of the fittings and it’s three
quarters of an inch. – So that way your pipe
slides in and stops. – Put that in there. – Let’s face it up. – Now let’s check it. Looking like it’s just
a little bit long. Like I said, each
tote is gonna be just a tiny bit different. Let’s start with a half inch, just so we don’t
take too much off. Look at that. That is what we want. You want it to fit in
there a little snug, just so it doesn’t move
around or anything. That is the basis
of the spray frame. Our next step is gonna
be to mark our holes and then tap-and-die them. – For our sprayers. – We’re gonna have three
sprayers on each one of the ends and then this long end
is gonna have three. Then we’ll have two
on each one of these. We have two different
kinds of sprayers that go into these totes. We have 180 degrees, and
you can see that they have a 180 degree plane of spray. That way you’re not hitting
the back of the tote and causing any backsplash that
would encourage it to leak. – (Stephan)
These will be placed on the outer… These will go on the
outer end, spraying in. – (Scott)
We have a 330 degree. It has two directions of
spray instead of just the one from the 180. That way you can get both sides. Those will go on
each one of these. What we found in
these that we can have such prolific root growth that
the roots will get so dense, they’ll create dry
pockets on the inside. So you have to have
plenty of these, just to get around all
those nooks and curves. It doesn’t have to be perfect. All you really want to do
is just try and center them as much as possible. We’ll put one there, one there. We’ll go ahead and just
repeat this for all of them. You can try to get them
as straight as you can, but it’s not too big of a deal. These are going to be our
tools for making the sprayers. This is just a
regular drill bit. It’s gonna be 10/24
tap and a die. What we’re gonna do is
we’re gonna take this and we’re gonna drill out
each one of these holes. Once those are done, we’ll
gonna clear them all out and we’re gonna go
back with the die and that’s how we’re going
to achieve the spray. One thing I would like
to caution people about is when you are
drilling the holes, make sure you get it as
straight up and down as possible because if you don’t,
sometimes the sprayers will have a tendency to leak. – Right, now that we
have all the holes, we can to putting the threads. – When you do this, you
want to put the drill on the lowest setting,
just so you don’t grind up the thread. Turn it down a little bit. Again, straight up
and down as possible. Just slow about it. That is essentially
how this works. This drill bit, it’ll
be a tight fit at first but at the very tip of it,
it will start to cut away at the hole, just to help
increase that diameter a little bit, then
the threads will start to take over after that. When you do bring it back up, you just want to let
the drill carry itself, because if you pull too much,
you’ll mess up your threads. You don’t have to go too much. Just maybe a quarter
of an inch in the PVC. Just enough to get the threads. Again, when you do
come out, just slow. Make sure you try and clear
away all this little debris, because if you do
get that in there, they tend to clog
up these sprayers and then you’ll have fun. – (Chris)
All right, that’s the last hole? – Last hole. Now all we have to do
is get it cleaned out and we can throw
those sprayers in it, then we can get to
cutting up the tote. – Be forceful with it. – Yeah. Make sure we lay everything out
so we don’t get it mixed up. You can see the
debris on the inside. All we want to do is take
the bamboo and knock that off so it doesn’t inhibit
the system later on. – (Stephan)
A little bit came out of there. – Good to go. Yeah, cool. – Now back to assemble it. – Indeed. – Let’s install the sprinklers. – We’re gonna put these
180 degrees on the outside, just so we don’t
get any backsplash when we put them in the tote. Most of these parts
are fairly cheap at your local hydroponics store. The sprayers are 30 cents. The neck cups and
neoprenes, they’re 25 to 30 cents each as well. Now what we’re gonna do is
measure for the downspout that connects the pump
to the sprayer manifold. How we’re gonna do that is
we’re just sit this in here how it would naturally lay. About two inches down in there. Then we will get the pump. Stick that bad boy right there. Want to come help us out, Chris? – Yeah. – Cool. You want to measure it for me? Measure from the bottom of this to the top of the pump. – Just right there, okay. – Seven and a quarter inches. We got seven and
a quarter inches, and we have to account
for that three quarters of an inch difference on
each one of these sides. What we’re gonna do to
account for those differences, we’re gonna take two and
a quarter off of this. What we’re gonna do with this, let me see those one more time, we’re just gonna cut
them in two pieces, one a bit larger than the other. What the smaller piece
will serve as is the part that actually stays
connected to the pump, which is why we have this
half inch coupling right here. Then we screw our half
inch adapter to this, and this will actually be
what connects to the pump. That fits on there. – That way, it’s seamless when
we have this sitting on top. – And it makes
disconnecting rather easy. – That way you can take it out. – We can set that inside
and see where it stands. – Indeed. You can see it bulges
up just a little bit so what we’re gonna do is
we’re gonna take a half inch off of this down stem,
just so we can go ahead and give a nice
little even plane, because this is what the
sprayer manifold doubles as is also support
cups when you get big, mature plants and fruit. And that is the completed
sprayer manifold. We have two different
sized hole saws for the drain and
the power plug hole. The power plug hole
gets the one inch. Try and get it as close to
the top of it as you can. You can even come in here
and tilt it up a little bit. Get it started. Then level it out. What we’re gonna do is we’re
gonna put a hole right here, as close to the
bottom as we can. We don’t want to get
too close to this lip, otherwise we won’t
have a good seal. What we’ll do is we’ll
come about halfway. Then we want to make sure
we clear up all these little frazzles. – Yeah, little
frazzles and stuff. – And then sometimes these
can be a little bit tricky to get in. This is a half inch
grommet, and what this does is it creates a watertight
seal between the elbow and the actual body of the tote. That way we don’t
get any leakage. All right, that is
gonna be your drain. We’re gonna hook our 10
inch drain up the elbow and then we’re going to put
the elbow into the grommet. All right. Bring it down a little bit. And you bring it in
until you get it set up against the barrier right there. And that is your drain finished. What we do with the drain
is you turn it like this and just let it drain naturally. So our next step is going
to be to cut the holes in the top of the tote
for housing our neck cups. If you would, would you
hand me our cheat sheet? – I will definitely do that. I like cheat sheets. – I do too. As you can see, this specific
tote has 12 neck cups, or 12 sites for each
one of the neck cups. Come in here and cut each one. We only use those for guides. Then we can start
drilling our holes. – It’s a good idea to
have someone hold it. – All right, now that
we’ve drilled our holes, the next thing we want to
do is clear all the debris from the holes and
then we’ll be ready to put some water in it and make sure everything
is watertight. Now that we have everything
done for the tote, we have the top of the tote cut, we have the PVC manifold built, and we’ve connected
some PVC to the pump. Now it’s time to throw
everything together. Our first step right
now is gonna be to fill the basin
with some water. Stephan, if you want to
grab that other bucket. – We do have water. – How much do we
need to fill it? – You need about 10
gallons of water to get proper head pressure
out of the sprayers. All right. You want to grab the pump,
and let’s load it in. I’ll let you. Stick the cord out of the
cord hole in the back. Feed it on around. Connect up the PVC manifold,
should be good to go. – Slide that in. – (Chris)
So now we have power. Look at that. – Looks like we need to
turn it up a little bit. With the diaphragm. – (Chris)
Nice. – The tote is watertight. As you can see, there’s nothing
coming out of the cord hole. So everything is good to go. All we do now is
throw the top on and we can put some neck
cups and some plants in it. That is a tote. And our next step is gonna be
to put the neck cups in there. They each take 12. – (Chris)
What do these do? – These actually
support the plant. This is what we’re gonna
plant in, essentially. These are gonna be
our neoprene collars. This is actually
what holds the plant, instead of the alternative,
like expanding clay media or vermiculite or
perlite or whatever. Now that we have
everything set up, our next step is gonna be
to put some plants in it. – Let’s get the plants in it. – I actually
brought some plants. – Can you tell us
what you brought? – Absolutely. Here on this end, we have
some San Marzano tomatoes. Right here we’re gonna
have cinnamon basil and then Thai basil. And another San Marzano tomato. Some Genovese basil. Sugar baby watermelon, a
purple beauty bell pepper, and a cucumber. The only thing we’re
gonna do to plant these is just set it down in there. I might just take this off. We’ll set it down
in the neck cup. – (Chris)
Before you do this, can you tell us
what you have here? – Okay, yeah. – At the bottom of your tomato plant. – This is gonna be a rock wool. It’s a hydroponic
planting material. It’s just molten rock
spun like fiberglass. It’s nothing crazy,
it’s gonna be inert. It won’t have tendencies
to raise or lower pH. It’s just a good material. As you can see, our clones
have some roots coming out of the bottom already. These are already mature plants and they’re ready
to be transplanted. Set the neoprene
around the plant. Neoprenes are a soft material, so they’re not gonna
harm the plant at all or pinch the stem. And there you have it. It is important to note that
limitations with this system plant-wise are gonna
be root vegetables like potatoes and onions
and things like that. Anything that will grow above
the surface like tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles,
bell peppers, anything like that will
grow quite prolifically. – How about that? – That is the tote. That’s all it is, real
simple, not a whole lot there. – Definitely looks good. Fellas, appreciate
the demonstration. – No problem, thanks
for having us. – Thanks for being here.

100 thoughts on “Building an Inexpensive Hydroponics/Aeroponics System”

  1. Is this system proven to work? (Proven verus Theory?)


    Also how does the math of this work?

    X amount of miracle grow or whatever equals X amount of vegetables? (And is that worth it?)

  2. How many gallons was the pot as you said use 10 gallons on water? You didn't show us how high the water should of been below the roots

  3. Why not just seal around the cups and pump the water onto the lid and let it drain through the cups down back into the reservoir?

  4. Those would be some tiny weed plants. Why so close together??? I prefer my 5 gallon pots with space inbetween each one. That setup is just asking for small buds. Unless your doing autos and you want to grow one big bud per plant very quickly lmao.

  5. Please add to your parts list which pump and pump bag to get. I have found everything else but those two. THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing this video. I sold all my DWC and all my ebb and flow and I was looking for this!

  6. Thank you for this informative video. I did have a question tho. The drain does it go back into the bucket or a pale off to the side? And can you reuse the water? And can you take the plants out to put water in? Sry I'm fairly new and still learning. Tia

  7. Thank you so much for this video
    I am going to attempt to do an indoor grow that by the time the plants are ready it’ll be time to transplant them outside into the dirt but at least it’ll give me a head start getting the plants going so that when it’s warm enough to put them outside I could put them into my flowerbeds and it will yield me some good fruit.

  8. Thanks a lot for this video, I been looking to build something similar for cherry tomatoes, peppers, and loads of chillies.

  9. Shouldn't you be using food-grade plastic for the container? You'll be eating all the chemicals the container leeches!

  10. I saw that tote with grow cups in it in the thumbnail, and thought I was watching another Jeb Gardener video where he uses the Kratky method to grow a random crop. But this is Aeroponics. Don't see many Aeroponics vids.

  11. hahah the colored guy explains it like hydro is a walk in the park.. it's not easy at all. I bought a 6 plant system then replaced the 5 gal bucket with 30 gal totes i made second 8 plant hydro systems 1 had 2 nutrient tanks 1 was a reserve to run from gravity and a system like toilets use for shutting the water off from flooding. to main tank to keep water level same throughout the budding stage. i also had to add 4 commercial air pumps and air stone in every plant site and the nuts too also added a ton of ice to water in summer and heaters for them in winter along with AC and dehumidifier 24/7 my electric was over $600 for that when i've got grow rooms off the bill is $26. i switched to dirt and have a veg room and 2 bud rooms switching from 8 bulb t5 and a 250 watt CFL to 1 315 watt CMH on a light mover. means no fan needed to cool the hood or the light. and from 600 watt and 1000 watt HPS/MH to 2 400 watt cfl and 600 watt mh or Hps and finish with 10,000K MH finish bulb thats 4X8 and 5X5 had 1600 watt lights mh and hps to a single SK600 watt led on a 2nd light mover with a dimmer it fills area just nice and electric bill down to $150 to $275, no need for fans on it as well but the charcoal filter is high up clearing out heat and a filtered intake air no dust or outside pollen/pollutants get in that way.

  12. Wow – first time I've seen hydroponics with no nutrients required! Only missed the whole thing that makes plants grow… food.

  13. Now that you've built it you need to know how to properly regulate the temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and nutrient levels of the water and make sure all the varieties you grow have similar preferences for all this. Also, how often do the roots like to be misted? Sometimes when it comes to this less is more so you can't assume it should be a constant spray – if you don't have that pump on an interval timer and it's on all the time it will generate a lot of heat as well.

  14. According to Family Plot "Length" is always longer than "Width".. But why if both are conjoined in a closed system, including an unmentioned Height and why isn't the two gallons of water, not draining from the box through the drain hose, on to Bill's shoes?

  15. Does the Tote have to be a Food Grade Plastics #? I have been looking at those Black and Yellow Totes but wasn't sure if they were safe.

  16. All you guys can grow all the tomatoes and cucumbers you want. I'm going to grow cannabis. One of the benefits of living in a legal recreational state. I can grow 6 plants legally for personal use. I will add an arduino to control water and nutrients. Going to set up the ebb & flow model.

  17. The sprinkler head is too high and too large also I didn't see airstones your gonna need 2 12" airstones to sit on bottom. Also get a submersible pump with suction cups on bottom to hold it in place.

  18. Zero [email protected]#$ given on safety which normally wouldn't be an issue but lets not forget that like 90% of the people on this here interwebs are of special needs type. Watching three people measure a PVC pipe was certainly amusing. lol. Oh yea, and then they close out the video and neglect to tell you that if you do exactly this and run it continuous without a cooler or a timer, that your water will over heat from continuous pump operation . This will overheat the root system, promote bad bacteria and molds, and lead to conditions inhibiting root growth. Also that when you do get a timer, chances are, it probably won't be the type you can program it down to the second on a easy to program loop which is ideal for something like this. But hey, maybe you read this and now you know. Cheers!

  19. This guy is clearly a machinist. Calls a tap a drill multiple times….. and runs said tap in a battery drill motor….. maybe it is good enough for this.

  20. Thank you for sharing the helpful video and the materials list on pdf which is also very helpful.

    This will be perfect for getting the pre-spring jump on Ace, Home Depot, and Lowe's selling their spring vegetable starts. Now we can plant our own starts using your hydroponic design to maximize the transplant effectiveness of the outdoor organic growing season.

  21. Never did they mention one rime you don’t want sunlight to ever hit your water. Also he never said how the pump will create heat in your tote causing your water to increase in temperature depleting the oxygen levels going to your roots. It’s best to keep pump on timer. 45 min on, 15 min off. Otherwise you can run into problems. 30 years grow experience, I know a thing or two

  22. Lol you don't need all that PVC pipe . All you need is one piece running down the middle I could build three with all that pipe lmao

  23. Point number 1. don't put that many holes in a box that size. There is no way you should be trying to fit 12 plants into that.

  24. ..completely skipped over nutrients. If you try and grow plants in just water, they will die. There's no food in there

  25. Obviously this is just how to make a system. I would advise whoever is going to grow to do their homework or you will be wasting your time! This is by far the easiest part of the process.

  26. This is improved from the method I used previously. I figured I would look for a different build for shits and giggles. This looks more effective but there is a couple important details you left out. If you pick one of those frosted or transparent totes, it will grow algae and compete with your plants. Make sure it's dark in there. Another is that power cord is a serious fire hazard. It will be fine like that if you make a loop (aquarist here lol). Water runs down hill, so make sure there is an upward angle in your power cord so it cannot leak on your receptacle. I cannot stress how important that is, I've seen nightmare posts in my fish groups. Other than that, thanks for the new ideas!

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