Introduction: Mini NFT Hydroponic System

Picture of Mini NFT Hydroponic System

How to make a miniaturized NFT Hydroponic System!

Well, most systems take up large amounts of space easily making hydroponics out of reach for people with limited space. Hydroponic systems can also be expensive for the novice user.

Step 1: What Is NFT Hydroponics?

Picture of What Is NFT Hydroponics?

What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants by placing the roots in a nutrient solution rather than in soil.*

What is NFT Hydroponics?!
NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) is a method used for cultivating plants. It consists of a flow of nutrient solution over the plant roots. The roots and solution are inside a slightly sloped chamber. The solution finally gets recycled through the system in a reservoir.
NFT is also considered one of the most productive methods today however, can make plants extra vulnerable during periods of failure.

*Definition from

Step 2: Materials

Materials: everything in total cost me about <70 USD.

- 2' (2" PVC Pipe)
- 3 (2" PVC 90* Elbows)
- 3 (3" PVC Couplers)
- 3 (2"->1" 'Coupler')
- 1 (2" PVC Cross)
- 1 (2" PVC T)
- 2' (0.75" PVC Pipe)
- 3 0.75" PVC 90* Elbow)
- 1 (0.75" PVC Cross)
- 1 (0.75" PVC T)
- 15' (3/8" Vinyl Tubing)
- 1 (3/8" PVC Barbed Cross)
- ~3 (6" Zip Ties)
- 1 (PVC Glue)
- 1 (Water Pump)

- (1.5" Drill Bit)
- (3/8" Drill Bit)
- (PVC Cutter)
- (Sand Paper)
- (Ruler)
- (Marker)

Step 3: Construction

Picture of Construction

Construction consists mostly of cutting lengths of PVC, Fitting everything together and Drilling.

Originally, I had the instructions written out but they didn't get saved. Then I thought to myself that written instructions for this kind of work may be difficult so instead I drew up some schematics. I included the schematic for the fittings and how everything fits together and where to drill the holes. please refer to the other images of the system if needed.

Note about the holes: The 1.5" holes are where the pots would be and the plants are. They should be spaced evenly on the 2" pipe. The 3/8" holes are for the vinyl tubing. You may have to scrape along the edges of the holes to make a tight fit with the tubes. I recommend=d sanding down the 1.5" holes.

Step 4: Set-Up

Picture of Set-Up

Insert the tubes into the 3/8" holes and direct them into their respective 2" section. zip tie the tubes onto the PVC pipe and connect to the 3/8" barbed cross.

Step 5: Troubles

-I haven't had the opportunity to try out my system yet but I do know that once I do, I should expect lots of growth. -I also know that since this is a small version and albeit, not as great as a bigger one, you cannot place plants into all 12 holes. the roots would grow long and clog it up.

-This size is perfect for a 4 bulb, 2' T5 light setup overhead.



jjpbj21 (author)2017-06-23

how long should you do a timer? or should it be continuous flow of water?

jet86 made it! (author)2016-01-28

Nice work but you beat me to an instructable! I made this about a month back, almost identical design :). Works great! I used pieces of 90mm downpipe with a slit out of it for the NFT (gravel) holder, which seems to contain the roots. The whole thing is about 3 metres long. Have got about 8 lettuce plants, peas, beans, and a lot of tomato plants which haven't started producing yet. I haven't had a problem with the roots blocking the flow of the water. The growth really sped up when I reduced the PH to 6 from about 8 and backed the fertilizer off a bit.

Roentgenium111 (author)jet862016-01-30

Looks awesome! I love how it looks too. I couldn't really afford to go bigger at the time. In my next designs, if possible, I might use rain gutters.This year, I'm really planning on taking off with hydroponics. I want to have a big fish system for all the hydroponics and connect everything together. I'm personally a fan of NFT but I do also want to try out the vertical systems.

Roentgenium111 (author)2016-01-20

@Rolando Garza Sounds like a plan! I did also purposely not glue some of the pipes so you can clean out the system. I wish you luck!

RossH12 (author)2016-01-20

Be interested in hearing how this works - looks like a good plan, altho until the root system is established you may have a problem getting water to the plants. And I think the plant holes are sized for the Aerogarden pods. I'm wondering if it is capable of 'scaling up' on pipe size for larger plants - I'm thinking tomatoes.

Rolando Garza (author)RossH122016-01-20

In my experience, plant will only need to grow root enough to support the plant...The nutrients are carried directly to the roots, and also why they are so succeptable to sys failure, because the plant depends on that...It probably only has enough root for a third of the green material, it's supportin' if in soil...

My favorite medium is red lava rock, and I'm wonderin' if I can take this design, and fill the tubes with rock, and use the holes for plants, and to exclude light to keep down algae...Sounds like a new experiment, for me... I can make this as big as I want it...

Roentgenium111 (author)2016-01-20

You can definitely scale up. I couldn't because price does tend to go up.

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