A simple to build ebb and flow hydroponic system made (mostly) from IKEA containers.  

Ebb and flow hydroponic systems are a great way to get started in hydroponics and make a wonderful educational project for children.  Not to mention you can grow yummy food easily and inexpensively in your own home year round!  A system like the one shown here is the perfect size for a kitchen herb garden.

A basic ebb and flow hydroponic system consists of a growing bed, porous growth media, a nutrient reservoir, pump and a timer.  The system works by periodically flooding the growing bed with a nutrient solution and then allowing the nutrient solution to drain from the bottom of the growing bed.  As the nutrient solution drains, oxygen is drawn into the growth media from the top.   Because the growth media is porous, it retains moisture and nutrients, and allows oxygen to get to the roots of the plants.

Supplemental lighting is necessary if you will be growing plants indoors.  Specialty grow lights are available but you can achieve good results using common light fixtures and 100 watt equivalent "daylight" compact fluorescent bulbs available at most home stores.  Generally, I like to locate my hydroponic system near a window to take advantage of natural light and add one or two supplemental light sources as needed.  Just make sure that you can adjust the height of the light fixture so that it can be easily re-positioned as the plants grow. 


Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed

1. IKEA SAMLA container with the tote insert. (Any nesting plastic containers will work as long as the outer container is approximately twice the volume of the inner container or larger.)
2. An adjustable desk lamp. You may use more than one if you need more light.   (The IKEA TERTIAL lamp works well.)
3. A small submersible fountain pump.  (Available inexpensively at Harbor Freight tools)
4. Two plugin timers, one for the pump and one for the lamp.
5.  24" clear vinyl tubing sized to fit the outlet of your pump.  This will generally range from 1/4" to 1/ 2"  for fountain pumps.   
6. One nylon hose barb to MIP adapter.  (One side has a barb that you can press the vinyl tubing over,  the other side has threads.  I got mine at Lowes.) You can use either a straight or right angle fitting.  

A hand drill
3/4"  or larger step drill bit  
tin snips or heavy scissors to cut the tubing
<p>Pots? Green Growing Cubes?</p><p>From experience:</p><p>A. Make sure you get a strong enough to pump the water up, and at a GPM you need. Since this is just a bucket on a bucket system the small water pump should work, but I don't know if its capable of pumping enough water to fill up the top bucket enough. It might just drain back down the drain instantly leaving little to no water up top.</p><p>B. Even with a screen on my drain, I managed to get a hydroton pellet stuck on the opening of the drain perfectly. \o/ &lt;---- looked like that. Almost had a wet room when I got home. </p><p>Take these into consideration and you'll have a excellent set up.</p>
books eeewwwww wat are those(just kiding).
hose clamp is better to use here. just make sure that its stainless steel though. not a poor quality type stamped with stainless steel.
Couple questions on specific equipment. <br> <br>One: what size of IKEA tip did you use? They sell tubs and inserts in a variety of sizes. <br> <br>Two: What do you recommend for the pump in terms of GPH? The lowest I saw on the site you recommend is 92 GPH and that still seems overkill to me, but I'm not sure.
I used the 6 gallon SAMLA container but you can use a larger or smaller container if you wish. <br> <br>The 92 GPH (Gallons Per Hour) pump is a very small pump. You should not use anything smaller for reliability reasons. It is adequate for the 6 gallon container but if you plan to use a larger container, get the 158 GPH pump or larger. You should also use the largest tubing that will fit your pump to minimise back pressure and facilitate drainage. <br> <br>Good luck with your build and feel free to ask additional questions! <br> <br>

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