How to Make a 10 Gallon Drip Hydroponics System


Drip hydroponic systems are one of the most commonly used methods of soilless gardening, for home and commercial growers. Drip systems are simple, relatively inexpensive and effective. In a drip hydroponic system, nutrients are pumped from the nutrient reservoir through a network of small tubes that drip the nutrient solution onto the base of each plant. The nutrient solution seeps through the growing medium to the roots of the plant, just like rainwater seeps through soil to the roots of a plant grown in a dirt garden.

Prepare the Flood Tray

Step 1

Set your table or workbench in the grow room. Make sure there is an outlet nearby or use an extension cord. Set out your materials on the table, and store the 10-gallon nutrient reservoir under or next to the table.

Step 2

Use the hole saw to drill a 35mm hole in the bottom of the flood tray.

Step 3

Install the ebb and flow drain fitting in the 35mm hole, making sure the barbed end is outside the tray.

Step 4

Cut a 4-foot segment of 1/2-inch black tubing. Use the drill to create evenly spaced holes throughout the tubing, approximately where your plants will be placed in the flood tray.

Step 5

Insert 1/4-inch barbed couplers in each hole in the 1/2-inch tubing.

Step 6

Cut the 1/4-inch tubing into uniform lengths, 1 to 2 feet per plant. Attach 1 tubing segment to each barbed coupler. Attach an angle or basket dripper to each segment of 1/4-inch tubing.

Step 7

Attach the barbed elbow joint to one end of the 1/2-inch tubing. Clamp the other end of the tubing in a "Z" fold and secure with a zip tie.

Step 8

Place the pump in the 10-gallon bin and attach it to the elbow joint using the remaining 1/2-inch tubing.

Step 9

Fill the nutrient reservoir with water, and turn on the pump to test the system. When you are satisfied that there are no leaks, drain the water and fill the reservoir with nutrient solution.

Step 10

Place your plants in the flood tray, and position the drip tubes near the base of each plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure to test your system with plain water before setting up your plants and filling the reservoir with nutrient solution.

Things You'll Need

  • Table or workbench large and sturdy enough to support the plants
  • Extension cord if the support structure is not near an electrical outlet
  • 2- by 4-foot flood tray
  • 35mm hole saw
  • 35mm ebb and flow drain fitting kit
  • 4 1-1/2- by 2-inch blocks of wood
  • 10-gallon bucket or plastic bin
  • Medium power pond pump
  • 8 feet of 1/2-inch black tubing
  • Power drill with 1/16-inch (2mm) bit
  • 1 to 2 feet of 1/4-inch drip tubing per plant
  • 1/4-inch barbed straight coupling
  • Basket or angle drippers--one per plant
  • 1/2-inch barbed elbow joint
  • Zip tie
  • Nutrient solution
  • Plants in growing medium


  • Introduction to Hydroponics
  • 6 Systems That You Can Build

Who Can Help

  • University of Alaska: Engage
Keywords: drip hydroponics, DIY hydroponics, active hydroponics

About this Author

Tricia Ballad has written professionally since 2004. She has authored three books, as well as numerous articles on parenting and website content involving green living. Her work has appeared in Natural Family Online and Budget Artists. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing specialization from Bradley University.

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