RDWC Has Its Roots In Traditional Deep Water Culture

In traditional deep water culture systems (DWC), each system involves its own self contained local system. This means that each system has to be individually checked for pH, nutrient levels, and topped up with lost water. If you have 20 plants this can be very tedious and time consuming. For smaller systems this is perfectly suitable, but in larger grows, it can be a huge waste of time to maintain. The solution lies in the innovative design of the recirculation system.


Building On Innovation

Deep water culture isn’t without its challenges. Although plants leaves breath in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, the roots need to use some oxygen in order to absorb nutrients. Water can retain some oxygen, but once that oxygen is released or used up, the plants will begin choking for more of this element. Submersing roots in water for long periods of time will eventually cause them to suffocate and die. The solution to this is to constantly oxygenate the water by injecting it with a stream of air from an air pump.   

Additionally, the reservoir volume in traditional DWC is quite small, and needs to be checked regularly for shifts in parameters. Skipping these checks can allow the water to become imbalanced and lead to slow growth, or worse… the death of your plants.

Recirculating deep water culture takes the traditional method to another level by creating a steady flow of water throughout the system. By connecting multiple individual deep water culture systems, water is refreshed throughout the system constantly. This helps to prevent any stagnation of water, thus preventing algae, bacteria, and fungi from making a home in your system.

Keeping the water flowing helps to prevent this stagnation and keep the roots of your plants clean and free of infection.

Circulating the water through numerous smaller systems increases the reservoir volume size, and helps maintain even water pH, nutrient density, and oxygenation. Moving the water around constantly allows any buildup of acidity, or mineral concentrations to diffuse throughout the entire water supply.


How It Works

Recirculating deep water culture works by combining multiple individual deep water culture systems into a single system. Each of these systems is connected together with a series of pipes. This allows all pH and nutrient checks to be done at the same time, usually in a separate bucket called the control tank. Here all maintenance can be done to the system.  

The water in the system is controlled by an inline water pump designed to keep the water flowing constantly through the system in a single direction. Oxygen stones, and air pumps are then added to each pot to keep water oxygenation as high as possible.

Using this method, your individual DWC systems become one large super system, significantly increasing the reservoir volume, and improving the functionality of the entire system altogether.


RDWC Diagram 

Monstrous Root Growth With RDWC

Many hydroponic gardeners have been raving about the incredible root growth that can be achieved with RDWC. How is this possible? What makes RDWC so much better at promoting the growth of a plant's roots than other hydroponic systems?

The answer is simple. RDWC arguably provides the best maintenance of roots than any other system. Ebb and flood cause the roots to become exposed with the ambient air, which can be hot, stagnant, and allow insect growth. Aeroponics is another great system for root growth but due to the fine mist produced and high nutrient particle density needed for hydroponics will quickly degrade without near constant maintenance to the fine misters. A well built RDWC system is nearly bulletproof in terms of functionality.


Building Your Own RDWC System

Recirculating deep water culture can be built yourself using a few large (5L or larger) buckets, an inline water pump, some tubing or PVC piping, and a few grommets to seal the connections. There are plenty of DIY instructions for these systems on the internet.

The best way to build your own is to first look around and see how some of the professional systems are built. Alien RDWC systems are a great start, as they are some of the top performing RDWC systems on the market and come at an affordable price. They offer a complete solution to getting the massive root growth and huge yields credited to the RDWC technique. By following the designs of a system like this and some handy work, you can build your own RDWC to whatever specs you need.


An RDWC system is made up from the following components:

  1. Control tank

  2. Individual grow pots

  3. Net pots

  4. Inline water filter to recirculate the water

  5. Air pump and air stones

  6. A series of pipes connecting the systems together


Commercially Available RDWC Systems


This method of hydroponics is easily one of the most scalable options available. To add onto an existing system all you need to do is attach more buckets... Eventually, a bigger water pump will be needed in order to keep the undercurrent water flowing throughout the system but this will vary depending on how many new buckets your adding to the system.

Whether you're using 4, 10, or 200 buckets, RDWC can be expanded to include as many plants as you have room for. This makes it a great system for hydroponic gardeners looking to expand the operation in the future.

Commercially available systems like the aforementioned Alien RDWC system, which is available from The Hydroponics Store in anything from 4 to 48 pot sizes and comes included with a top-up reservoir. Alien also makes a pro version, fitting out larger diameter connection tubing for completely unrestricted root growth for those monster roots your after.

Other commercial brands are also available and will perform very well in any size setup. The Hydroponic Store carries IWS DWC Complete systems in various sizes, as well as the Rush-R-DWC Complete systems, also available in a range of sizes.

Any one of these systems will outperform many of the other hydroponic systems available, especially in terms of root growth. Getting a complete system not only takes the guesswork out of building your own, but also ensure from a consumer tested product that what you are using is going to be the best for your plants.


Alien RDWC Pro System 

Learn why RDWC is becoming so popular among hydroponic gardeners and test out a system like this today. Whether you build your own, or purchase a pre-made system, you’ll be amazed at the results this method can deliver.