Hydroponics is an ever-expanding approach to gardening that embodies dozens of different soil-less cultivation techniques.
In today’s article, we’re going to cover one of those techniques that just doesn’t get enough love: Bubbleponics.
Table of Contents:
- What is Bubbleponics?
- Bubbleponics VS Deep Water Culture
- How Does Bubbleponics Work?
- Best Plants to Grow With Bubbleponics
- The Best Pre-Built Bubbleponic System
What is Bubbleponics?
Bubbleponics is a hybrid, top-fed hydroponic technique that utilizes aspects of both deep water culture (DWC) and drip hydroponic systems.
More specifically, Bubbleponic systems continuously feed plant roots with a nutrient-rich solution.
In my view, Bubbleponics is one of the best hydroponic systems for beginners.
- Bubbleponic systems are great at oxygenating plant roots: Many hydroponic techniques are bad at providing ample nutrient solution to plant roots while also providing sufficient oxygen. Bubbleponics’ drip irrigation system solves this common hydroponic dilemma.
- Bubbleponic systems are (usually) small and efficient: As a beginner, you want a compact system that doesn’t take up too much space, that re-uses nutrient solution, and that doesn’t require constant maintenance.
- D.I.Y Bubbleponic systems are relatively easy to create: You can choose to buy a pre-made system if you wish but there are some great DIY designs.
Bubbleponics VS Deep Water Culture (DWC)
Remember, Bubbleponics is a sub-technique of DWC, the only real difference is that Bubbleponic systems use an air pump and drip irrigation feeding tubes to dispense nutrient solution to plant roots.
Most normal Deep Water Culture systems do not use feeding tubes and instead simply utilize an air pump to create a constant flow of nutrient solution to plant roots.
You can view Bubbleponics as an innovative alternative to most other DWC systems. Distributing nutrient solution through feeding tubes directly to plant roots is a much more effective feeding method.
In some sense, Bubbleponics is the first hydroponic technique that utilizes commercial irrigation techniques.
Note: I’m not saying that normal DWC techniques are ineffective but a properly constructed Bubbleponics unit is certainly the peak of DWC/Drip hydroponics.
How Does Bubbleponics Work?
1.) Bubbleponic systems immerse plant roots in a reservoir filled with a soluble nutrient solution. This reservoir is usually a 5 – 10-gallon bucket or a custom-built storage bin.
2.) Plant roots sit within net pots and are anchored in place by some sort of growing media, usually air stones, which are made from expanded clay.
Air stones are lightweight and highly porous, providing plant roots with plenty of oxygen and structural support.
3.) Air tubes deliver plant roots a continuous intake of nutrient solution and should be threaded inside of the net cups.
4.) The tubes should be connected to an air pump that powers the nutrient solution delivery.
- Reservoir (gallon bucket or storage bin).
- Net pots – The size is up to you. We use 10″.
- High powered air pump.
- Air tubing.
- Air Stones or some sort of porous growing media.
- Water level indicator.
- Your choice of nutrient solution.
This design is the most commonly implemented set-up for Bubbleponics but of course, there are many ways to execute this technique effectively.
Stealth Hydro has an excellent video on setting up a pretty unique Bubbleponics system.
Bubbleponic systems are small and compact.
I’d avoid using grow lights that give off a lot of heat like HPS lights.
Go with a small, LED lamp panel that includes red, white, and blue lights for every stage of vegetative growth.
Check out our guide on the best grow lights and scroll down to the LED section for some recommendations.
Best Plants to Grow With Bubbleponics
Just like most other hydroponic systems, Bubbleponics is great for growing a large variety of herbs, vegetables, and succulents. Here are some ideas:
- Salad Greens
The Best Bubbleponic Systems
There is one pre-built Bubbleponic system that I like quite a lot:
PowerGrow DWC Hydroponic Bubbler
This PowerGrow 8 Bucket Kit has almost everything you need to get growing right away, including a high-powered industrial water pump, air tubing, net pots, grow stones, 10-gallon bucket growing reservoirs, and a water level indicator.
You do have to purchase the nutrient solution separately, but you should do that anyway. Most nutrient solutions that are sold with pre-built hydroponic kits are not that good.
In my experience, the only exception to this would be perhaps AeroGarden.
Thanks for reading and happy growing!