The 5-gallon hydroponic bucket may be the most simple hydroponic system, both to make and take care of. They are pretty amazing!
I like to use my 5-gallon hydroponic bucket systems for plants that produce a lot of fruit, need a lot of water and/or get big. I usually use hydroponic buckets when growing vegetables like tomatoes, watermelons, cucumbers and pumpkins; and they grow big!
Aquarium Pump– I don’t recommend going with the smallest or cheapest air pump. As the roots grow large you’re going to need as many air bubbles as possible. When it comes to oxygen, the more the better.
Air Hose – I’ve found there are two types of air hose. One is clear, a little thicker, and doesn’t bend as easy. The other is cloudy and more flexible. Either will work fine, but I prefer the clear for outdoors and cloudy for indoors.
Step 1. The first step is assembling the air system. Take your air hose and cut off a couple of inches. Connect this piece to your air pump. At the other end of this piece of air hose, you’re going to connect the check valve. You will need to connect the check valve a certain way or air won’t go through the valve. Many check valves have arrows letting you know the direction of air flow.
Step 2. Take the remaining air hose and cut a piece long enough to go from the check valve and into the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket. This length can vary depending on the distance away from the hydroponic bucket you plan on keeping the pump. Keep in mind the longer the length of the air hose the less efficient your pump will be. I typically keep mine around the 5ft mark.
Step 3. Now its time to get the net pot bucket lid ready. One thing to think of ahead of time, is that if you just place your air stone into the bucket, then the net pot on top, the lid is going to be sitting on the hose. This might start off fine, but the weight of the plant could eventually pinch the hose reducing air flow. To solve this you can do one of two things, drill a small hole in the bucket lid just enough to fit the air hose through the top or make a small notch at the top of the bucket. Next, connect the air hose to the air stone.
Step 4. Now that you have the air system ready it’s time to add the grow medium to the net pot. If you have your plant ready you can add that as well. The only thing left to do is add water and mix your nutrient solution.
Making a hydroponic bucket is an easy DIY hydroponic system that will produce great results. It’s simple to use and doesn’t take up much space. Plants will grow big so make sure to provide support and trim them to control growth.