How To Build Hydroponic Bucket System (Easy FIX )

The hydroponic bucket system is a great way to grow plants without having to worry about soil. Plants in the hydroponic bucket system get their nutrients from water and light instead of soil; they are also closer to the source of light than those planted in soil. 

This can help your plants grow faster because it eliminates the need for them to reach down deep into the ground where there isn’t much light. 

Hydroponic bucket systems are easy to build and maintain so you can have fresh herbs, vegetables or flowers whenever you want them!

Easy To Build DIY Hydroponic Dutch Bucket System No Pump
Hydroponic System Takeaways
Easy DIY Bucket System
Beginner’s Guide to Building Your Own Hydroponic System
Bucket Hydroponic System Guide
Efficient Hydroponic Growing for Faster Plant Growth and Increased Yields
Ability to Grow a Variety of Plants without Soil
Conserving Water through Hydroponic Gardening
Requires Minimal Space for Maximum Yield
Lowers Risk of Pests and Plant Diseases
Hydroponic Systems Need pH Monitoring and Regular Maintenance

The Materials Needed For Building A Hydroponic Bucket System

The materials needed to build a hydroponic bucket system are the following:

A 5-gallon plastic bucket with a lid. You can buy these from any local hardware store, or use one you already have lying around your house.

A water pump. You’ll need this to deliver the water from your fish tank, garden hose or other source of water into every bucket at once. 

This will ensure an even flow of nutrients through all plants in your system, as well as provide enough oxygen for them to survive! 

Your local hydroponics store should be able to help you find one if you don’t already have one lying around somewhere in your house that could be used instead (like me).

Clay pebbles (also called “hydroton”). These are basically just small rocks made out of clay that act like little sponges when they come into contact with H2O – hence why they’re so useful for building hydroponic systems! 

You can purchase them online or at most pet stores like PetSmart and PetCo where they’re sold under different brand names such as Hydroton Grow Rocks; however make sure not only does it say “clay” but also “hydroton” otherwise I’m afraid we won’t know what kind you’re referring too which might cause confusion later down the road.

Are you planning to build a hydroponic system other than a bucket system? Deep Water Culture (DWC) hydroponic systems are another great solution. How to Build DWC Hydroponic System, our guide, explains how to set up a fusion DWC hydroponic system in a step-by-step manner.

Prepare The Components

The following components are needed for this system:

Buckets with lids – The buckets should be large enough to accommodate the net pots, but small enough to fit into the grow bed. 

You can use any type of food grade plastic bucket you like. I like to use smaller 5 gallon (19 liter) buckets as they fit nicely in my grow bed and have a lid that seals well making them easy to transport when full of nutrient solution.

Plastic PVC pipes – Cut the plastic PVC pipes into lengths that will allow them to fit snugly down into each pot while leaving room at the top for an air stone or bubble wand attachment. 

If your pump has a threaded end then cut the pipe off there and attach it directly onto the pump base instead of using a ball valve, otherwise cut a hole approximately ½ inch (1 cm) 

Below where you want your water level line in each container so that air bubbles can rise up through it easily without being blocked by clay pebbles or rockwool cubes which could cause algae growth if contacted by air bubbles rising too high above their surface area levels within hydroponic systems like this one!

Apply The Water Pump

Once you have a bucket system, it’s time to connect the pump. Make sure that the pump is in good working condition and not too loud or too powerful. 

If your pump is too weak, it will not be able to circulate water properly and plants will suffer; if it’s too strong, then it may churn up sediment from your reservoir and damage delicate roots.

Your next step should be finding out how much to pay for a used or new pump before purchasing one!

Ready to harvest delicious red juicy tomatoes? Have you considered a hydroponic system for your tomato plants? Check out our guide How to Build a Hydroponic System for Tomatoes to learn about various systems that install vertically, horizontally or overhead for a bountiful harvest.

Build The Lid For The Grow Bucket

The lid of your bucket system is also an important part that requires some forethought. The lid should be light enough to lift, but strong enough to hold up the weight of water in the bucket. 

It’s important that the lid isn’t too heavy or it will be difficult to move around, but it also shouldn’t be so light that it doesn’t have enough strength to hold together with all that water on top of it.

Build A Hydroponic Bucket System

Now that you’re ready to build a hydroponic bucket system, here are the steps:

Connect all of the components together with plastic PVC pipes. Make sure that there’s enough space between each pipe so that no part of your plants will touch them when they grow.

Install net pots on lids of hydroponic grow buckets. Put rockwool cubes in each pot and fill them with water until they are just covered. Don’t overwater your plants or they will rot!

With limited garden space, it’s ideal to opt for vertical hydroponic gardening. Our how-to guide on building a hydroponic garden tower guides you with instructions to grow your own edible herbs, fruits or vegetables all year-round.

Connecting All Components Together With Plastic Pvc Pipes

The next step is to connect all components together with plastic PVC pipes. You need two plastic PVC pipes, one of which will go from the water pump, into your grow bucket and out through the lid. The other will go from your grow bucket, up through the lid and over to your reservoir.

The first connection is simple enough: join a male-to-female adapter onto your water pump’s outlet hose (2) then plug it into a female-to-male adapter on your drain line (3). 

The drain line should be long enough to reach from wherever you would like it to end up in this case we’re using an additional bucket for our reservoir to wherever it needs to be dumped into which in this case is our grow bucket.

The next step is connecting everything together inside your grow box itself so you can start adding plants!

Connecting Hydroponic Components with PVC Pipes

1Measure and cut the PVC pipe to fit between the water pump and the grow bucket, making sure to leave enough length for the elbow joint that will fit into the grow bucket.
2Attach the elbow joint to the end of the PVC pipe that leads into the grow bucket.
3Cut another PVC pipe to fit from the grow bucket, up through the lid and over to the reservoir.
4Attach the PVC pipe to the grow bucket lid using a hole saw, drilling a hole into the lid the same diameter as the PVC pipe.
5Attach the PVC pipe to the reservoir using a PVC elbow fitting.
6Ensure a tight and secure fit between all the PVC pipes and joints.
7Check for any leaks or water flow restrictions caused by poorly fitting joints.
8Double-check that all the components are correctly connected and the water pump is working correctly, then fill the reservoir with nutrient water.

Incorporate Clay Pebbles In The Grow Buckets

Clay pebbles are a great addition to your growing bucket, as they help with drainage and provide better aeration for the roots. 

A layer of clay pebbles at the bottom of your bucket will help with drainage. Clay pebbles also allow for better aeration, which means that oxygen can reach the root zone more easily. 

This helps prevent root-bounding, which happens when there’s not enough oxygen and nutrients present in the water or soil around the roots.

Maintaining good air circulation is important because it enables your plants’ roots to breathe and grow properly without getting overcrowded in one area. 

It also allows them to absorb nutrients from their surrounding environment more easily which means you can use less fertilizer too! However, clay pebbles tend to be pricier than rockwool cubes (so maybe hold off on buying some just yet).

If space is a factor, and you want to grow your hydroponic plants outdoors, you may want to consider setting up a rain tower. Our Rain Tower Vertical Hydroponic System Guide explains how to propagate plants using a non-circulating hydroponic method.

Install The Net Pots On Lids Of Hydroponic Grow Buckets

Cut the net pots so they’re the same size as your grow bucket lids.

Secure the net pots in place by drilling small holes into each side of the lid, then screwing them in with a few screws and washers (or nuts and bolts). This will keep them from falling out, even when watering your plants at high pressure!

Fill Your Pots With Rockwool Cubes.

Rockwool is made from volcanic rock, which is then heated and spun into a fibrous material. It provides a good growing environment for plants, as the pores in the rockwool act as a reservoir for water and nutrients, while also helping to oxygenate the root system of your plants by providing them with extra space to grow their roots through.

Flowers may be striking pieces, but they require intentional care to create an environment that helps them blossom. To achieve this, our how-to guide on applying flower fertilizer offers tips on how and when to fertilize your plants, as well as the best fertilizers to use.

Add Plants To Your Hydroponic Buckets

Plant the plants in the net pots. Place them on top of your reservoir and water them, making sure not to overwater as this can cause root rot. 

When watering your plants, make sure that their roots are not twisted or touching the sides of their pots, as this will lead to mildew and other problems.

You can download our free Hydroponic Bucket System Guide here!

Adding Plants to Your Hydroponic Buckets

1Fill the reservoir with water and add nutrients according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
2Place the net pots in the lid of the bucket.
3Plant the plants in the net pots, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with the top of the net pot.
4Cover the root ball and the sides of the net pot with hydroponic growing medium, such as perlite or clay pebbles.
5Gently water the plants with the nutrient solution, taking care not to overwater as this can lead to root rot.
6Start the water pump and adjust the water level to reach the bottom of the net pot to ensure that the roots will receive enough water.
7Monitor the nutrient solution and pH level regularly and adjust as necessary.
8Observe plant growth and check for any signs of pests or disease.

Watering Your Plants In Hydroponic Buckets

Watering your plants in hydroponic buckets is pretty much the same as watering them with a pump. The only difference is that you use nutrient solution instead of plain water. All you need to know about watering your plants is:

  • How often should I water my plants?
  • How much water should I use when watering my plants?

The first thing you need to do is make sure that the pH of your nutrient solution is between 5 and 6 (this will depend on what type of nutrients you’re using). 

You can buy pH testing kits from Amazon or other online stores if you don’t have one already. Once the pH has been adjusted. 

Fill up your reservoir bucket with nutrient solution the exact amount depends on how many gallons/liters of water are in it, but for most people this works out to about 1 gallon/liter per plant per week (so if there are 4 plants in one bucket and each plant uses 2 gallons/liters per week then we would add 8 gallons/liters every week).


The procedure for building the hydroponic bucket system is not very difficult but requires patience and attention to detail. 

It takes about 4 hours to complete the whole process, but you will find yourself enjoying your new hydroponic system in no time!

Further Reading

Looking for additional guidance in building an efficient hydroponic system? Check out DIY Hydroponic Bucket System Guide for detailed instructions on how to set up a bucket system.

Square Mile Farms offers a comprehensive beginner’s guide on How to Build Your Own Hydroponic System, great for those just starting in hydroponics.

Bucket Hydroponic System Guide provides a simplified guide on building a hydroponic system using buckets.


What is hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using a nutrient-rich water solution without the use of soil.

What are the advantages of hydroponic systems?

Hydroponic systems offer faster plant growth, increased yields and require less water than traditional gardening methods.

What are the different types of hydroponic systems?

There are several types of hydroponic systems, including deep water culture, nutrient film technique, ebb and flow, and drip irrigation.

What plants grow well in hydroponic systems?

Plants that grow well in hydroponic systems include leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, and herbs such as basil and mint.

How do I maintain a hydroponic system?

To maintain a hydroponic system, you need to monitor the pH level of the water and nutrient solution, change the water every week or two, and inspect the roots for any signs of rot or disease.