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How to Use a Hydroponics Bubbler

By Diane Watkins ; Updated September 21, 2017
Bubbles from the air stones aerate the nutrient solution to provide moisture for the roots.
water bubbles image by OMKAR A.V from Fotolia.com

A hydroponics bubbler is a simple system that uses an aquarium air pump and air stones to create bubbles in a nutrient solution. The roots dangle into the nutrient chamber, obtaining moisture and nutrients from the moist air or directly from the nutrient solution. When the roots make contact with the liquid, the system is known as deep water culture. A more effective method is to dangle the roots above the nutrient solution. This method is known as aeroponics and allows the plant greater access to oxygen, increasing growth rates and yields.

Set up the hydroponic bubbler, add nutrient solution and turn on the air pump. Close the chamber and allow it to run for approximately 30 minutes. Open the lid and check for moisture on the lid. If moisture is condensing on the lid and sides of the container, then the system is operating properly.

Place the plants into the net pots. If you are using soil-grown plants, wash the soil gently off the roots. Place the pots into the holes in the lid of the nutrient chamber.

Run the pump continuously or use a timer to turn the pump on and off, running the pump for one minute, then turning off for two or three minutes. Adjust the timing to suit your plants and pump. As long as moisture is continuing to condense on the sides and lid, your plants will be fine.

Check the pH of the nutrient solution once a week and adjust as needed. For most plants, a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 is best. Bring pH up or down to bring the pH into this range. (See References 3)

Add water to bring the nutrient solution level back up when half of the solution has been used or at the end of one week. When the water level drops a second time, empty the chamber and replace the solution with freshly made nutrients. Do not refill the tank with nutrient solution, as this can cause a buildup of salts that can harm the plants. (See References 3)


Things You Will Need

  • Hydroponic bubbler system
  • Aquarium air pump
  • 2 air stones
  • Net pots
  • Hydroponic nutrients
  • pH up
  • pH down


  • If the roots dangle into the water, run the air pump continuously.
  • For aeroponic use, suspend the roots approximately 1 inch above the nutrient solution.

About the Author


Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and Web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.