How To Build A Flood And Drain Hydroponic System

When it comes to planting and growing your own plants, there are a lot of options out there. One of the best things about hydroponic gardening is that it doesn’t require much space or special equipment, making it ideal for anyone living in an apartment or small house. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to grow delicious vegetables and herbs without having to spend a ton of money on soil, this guide is for you:

1. Select A Tank And Grow Bed

The first step is to select your tank and grow bed. The tank should be large enough to hold all of your plants, and it will also house the pump and plumbing. 

The grow bed should be large enough for all of the water that you want to use, plus some extra space for expansion. 

It should also be deep enough so that your plants’ roots can grow down into it without being too close to the surface. Your system won’t work well if there isn’t enough room between the top of your plant roots and the surface of your flood table!

The next thing to think about when choosing a tank is surface area—it needs plenty in order for oxygen exchange (which is crucial)

2. Build Your Own Hydroponic System

If you’re looking to build your own hydroponic system, this is the place to start.

A flood and drain system is relatively easy to construct and maintain. You’ll need a tank, grow bed, pump and timer.

The simplest way to make your own flood and drain system is using a 4×4 tank or a 55 gallon drum that’s cut in half lengthwise after removing the lid (it will be used as your grow bed). A second option involves building a custom wooden or plastic grow bed which fits inside the tank/drum container. 

The benefit of choosing one of these options over just using an existing container like an old oil drum or water heater tank are twofold: firstly it makes draining easier because there’s no need for draining holes at the bottom; secondly they allow more room for plants since there are no walls restricting their growth vertically up into light from above.

3. Use A Flood Tray

There are many different methods of growing hydroponically, but the flood and drain method is a good place to start if you’re new to hydroponics. 

The system consists of a reservoir (the tank) that holds water and nutrients for your plants, a pump that circulates the water through the roots every few seconds, air stones that oxygenate the roots when they’re submerged in water (in order to keep them alive), and grow beds that hold your plants’ roots.

The flood and drain system works by filling up an empty container with nutrient-rich water and draining it back into its reservoir after a few hours or days depending on how quickly you want your plant’s roots to be exposed to fresh nutrients. 

The process continues until harvest time when all excess water is flushed out using reverse osmosis filtration units or other similar equipment

4. Check Your Pipes

You’ve got the basics down and it’s time to check your pipes. Make sure they aren’t leaking or clogged with debris. If you find any leaks, fix them immediately before your system gets damaged by water damage. 

Also make sure your pipes are connected to the right parts of the system if you’re using PVC pipe, make sure all connections are tight and there is no air escaping through cracks in their connections with other pieces of PVC pipe at joints.

5. Buy The Right Power Head Pump

Once you’ve chosen the size of your grow bed, it’s time to find a pump. There are many options available on the market today, but not all pumps are created equal.

You have to consider a few things before making a decision:

Size – Pumps vary in size and flow rates, so pay attention to these specifications when shopping around.

Power – Power requirements will also vary based on how much water comes from your tap or tank at any given time, as well as how far away from it you plan to run your system (the longer the distance between these two points in question, the greater amount of power required). 

Generally speaking though, most people will be fine with anything under 1 watt per gallon per hour (gph).

6. Make Sure Your Timer Is Good Quality

When it comes to timers, there are a few different options. The first is an electronic timer that will cost you less than $20 and can be purchased at almost any hardware store. 

These are easy to install and use, but they have been known to break after several months of use. 

The second option is a mechanical timer with analog hands which costs about $75, but these are more durable in the long run. 

The third option is a digital timer that costs around $150 and lasts longer than both types listed above – however, you may need someone who’s handy with electricity to install this type of device for you (or hire someone).

Not all hydroponic systems require timers – some systems simply need water added every day or week by hand; however, most flood & drain systems do require them because they control how much water goes into each tray at what times throughout the day or week. 

This allows you more precise control over the nutrients your plants receive while also letting them drain properly between cycles so they don’t become root-bound when not enough oxygen gets through their roots during drainage time(s).

7. Keep Everything Clean

This is where you’ll get some serious rewards for your efforts. Keeping your grow bed clean will ensure that it lasts longer and continues to provide you with a steady supply of plants. 

You’ll also save yourself the headache of having to buy replacement parts when they break down prematurely because they were never properly maintained in the first place.

Keeping your pump clean is just as important, not just for health reasons but also because a clogged pump can cause severe damage to other components in your system (pipes, filters etc.). 

The same goes for the pipes that carry water through your system; make sure they’re always free from debris or else they could leak out harmful chemicals into your nutrient solution which would ultimately kill off all of those hard-working plants! 

Finally – keep an eye on those plants too: if any leaves look like they’re turning yellow or brown then there could be something wrong with either too much or too little nutrients/light levels; this means more work for us later on when we need them back healthy again so try not waste time before implementing changes immediately!

8. Consider Aeration

It’s important to note that the water in your flood and drain system will be circulating. This is great for aeration, which helps keep your plants healthy. 

If you want to make sure that the roots of your plant are getting enough oxygen (and reduce the risk of root rot), consider using an air stone bubbler like this one. 

The bubbles will help disperse oxygen throughout the entire tank, ensuring that even if there are pockets where water isn’t moving as quickly, they’ll still get air exposure periodically.

9. Use A Water Filter System

You don’t want to drink water that has particles and debris in it, so it’s important to keep your system clean with a filter. 

You can also use filters to remove bacteria and algae, chemicals like fluoride and chlorine, odors like sulfur (this is why we recommend using distilled water), or even heavy metals such as copper and lead.

10. Remember To Harvest Crops Regularly

It’s important to maintain a healthy plant, and harvesting crops regularly is one way to do this. You should also always be keeping track of your plants growth so that you can get the most out of them and make sure they are getting enough nutrients from the water and nutrients being used in the system.

11. Test Your pH Levels Regularly

Your pH level should be between 5.5 and 6.5 for optimal plant growth and health. A pH meter will tell you exactly what your reading is at any given time, so take a measurement regularly to avoid any unwanted surprises. 

If the pH gets too high or low, it can put your plants in danger of getting sick or even dying—so keep an eye on it!

12. Use An Air Stone Bubbler

Once you have your flood and drain system set up, you also need to get an air stone bubbler. The bubbles that this creates provide oxygen for your plants, which is critical for their health. You should be able to find one at any hydroponic store or online retailer like Amazon or Ebay for around $20-30.

The last thing you have to do is install a timer on the pump so it only runs for about 20 minutes every hour. This should be enough time for your plants to take in all of the nutrients from the water before it drains out again.


With these tips, you’ll be able to grow your own hydroponic crops at home. If you have any questions about this process or want to share your own experience with growing plants in water, leave a comment below!