How to Set Up a Hydroponics System


Hydroponics is a simple method for growing plants, especially vegetables in water or soil-less growing media. Plants grown in a hydroponic garden grow faster and produce more vegetables and fruits than can be grown in the same area of soil. An aeration hydroponic garden consists of a reservoir for nutrient solution and a way to support plants in the solution. It is ideal for leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard and bok choy.

Step 1

Choose a location near a water source and an electric outlet that is protected from overhead irrigation or rain (to prevent electric shock).

Step 2

Remove the lid from the box, as it is not needed for this project. Drill two holes near the bottom of the box for the air tubing. Attach the two-way splitter to the aquarium pump. Attach one piece of tubing to each side of splitter.

Step 3

Insert one piece of tubing through each hole in the box. Attach one piece of tubing to each air stone. Lay the air stones on clean rocks or bricks to prevent the air stone from silting up.

Step 4

Use aquarium silicon sealant to seal the holes for the tubing on the inside and outside of the box. Let dry, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 5

Use a knife or utility knife to cut the Styrofoam sheet to fit tightly inside the top of the box for stability and to reduce evaporation of the nutrient solution. Cut holes evenly spaced in the Styrofoam large enough for the roots of the plants to pass all the way through.

Step 6

Fill the box with nutrient solution. Insert plants into the holes in the Styrofoam so the roots are hanging in the solution. Use aquarium floss around the plants to stabilize them.

Step 7

Plug the aquarium pump into an electrical socket and turn it on, if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Dark-colored plastic tote or storage box
  • Drill
  • Aquarium pump
  • Opaque aquarium tubing
  • 2-way splitter for tubing
  • Aquarium silicon sealant
  • 2 air filter stones
  • 2 rocks or bricks
  • 1-inch thick piece of Styrofoam
  • Knife or utility knife
  • Nutrient solution
  • Plants
  • Aquarium filter floss


  • The Growing Edge: Hydroponic Basics
  • Virginia Tech: Home Hydroponics

Who Can Help

  • Homemade Hydroponics: Hydroponic Vegetable Garden
  • Texas A&M: Hydroponics As A Hobby
Keywords: hydroponics system, set up hydroponics system, hydroponic aeration system

About this Author

Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.