Best Ebb And Flow System For Your Hydroponic Garden: Top 3 Brands Review
The ebb & flow system is one of the different types of hydroponic systems that is easy to maintain. Read more about the three best ebb and flow system reviews here!
Hydroponics is a vast topic to tackle, and it could be tough to figure out how and where you should start. Before you start setting up indoor equipment, you have to review the different types of hydroponic systems out there. There are actually six different types of hydroponic systems. In this article, we are going to talk about the Ebb and Flow system. We’re also going to review three of the best ebb and flow systems you can find in the market.
What Is An Ebb And Flow System?
The ebb and flow system, likewise known as flood and drain, is a widely used hydroponic system due to its ease of use, reliability, and affordability. With the best ebb and flow system, you can easily alter your garden however you want. The system makes use of gravity to return the water back to the reservoir to reuse. For a beginner, the system might seem complex since it comes with a lot of different components. However, they can be easily assembled and completed in just a short period of time. Upon assembly, all it needs is a little bit of maintenance and minimal electricity or water use to grow plants.
Why Use An Ebb And Flow System?
Flexibility is one of the main benefits you can get from using an ebb and flow system. Since your plants are suspended in a separate area from your solution reservoir, it is much easier to add more area to grow your plants. Moreover, the system operates quietly and allows you to save a lot of energy.
Aside from that, the ebb and flow system is one of the simplest systems you can build and use. It’s a perfect choice for commercial growers and beginners alike. If you plan on growing small flowers or plants like herbs or lettuce, this system is a perfect choice.
The problem with the flood and drain system is that it is a closed-loop system. This means you have to monitor the pH of the solution and adjust it regularly.
A plant tray is where you place your plants to receive nutrients from the nutrient solution in the reservoir below.
How The Ebb And Flow System Works?
The system works by flooding the plant tray several times a day with a nutrient solution from the reservoir. This allows your plants to receive the nutrients they need. Meanwhile, during the flooding (ebb) session, the roots are allowed to dry out to avoid any potential rotting problems. The flooding session introduces your plants to a few inches of nutrient solution for a short duration. This will allow them to feed on the bottom while exposing their roots to the air. Afterwards, the solution is drained back to the reservoir. Throughout the process, water stays contained as it floods and drains with the help of an overflow valve.
The system is able to perform its duty with the help of its three basic components, which are the following:
1. Plant Tray
The plant tray (flood tray) is where you store your plants. During the flooding session, it is filled with a nutrient solution from the reservoir below. Water is then drained back out to allow the roots to dry and become oxygenated before the next flooding session begins.
This is located directly below your plant tray’s stand and connects to the tray through a drain tube and fill tube. Water flows up into the flood tray through the fill tube with the help of a submersible pump. Meanwhile, the drain tube will pull water back to the reservoir for reuse with the help of gravity. The same water can be reused for around a week.
3. Submersible pump with timer
As mentioned, it is the one that controls water flow during a flooding session. The timer will provide you with more control since it allows you to customize the length and frequency of the flooding to suit your garden’s needs.
Top 3 Best Ebb And Flow System Reviews
In this section, we are going to talk about the three best ebb and flow system reviews for your hydroponic garden. They are as follows:
The Grow Flow system by Active Aqua is considered as the most efficient ebb & flow system you can find. You can easily set up the system with the help of its controller unit, allowing you to set it up and let it do the rest. It also comes with an overflow protection, which automatically shuts down the system in the event the hydroponic float valve malfunctions.
- The product features a quick and easy assembly process, making it perfect even for beginners.
- You can switch between ebb and flow type with an ebb and flow controller and deep water culture type.
- It allows you to yield crops in just a short period of time.
- It should be exposed to enough sunshine for around 4 hours per day to prevent plant malnutrition.
This product from Viagrow is ideal for those with limited garden space. Measuring only 2 ft. x 2 ft., you can grow up to 14 plants with a flood and drain system. With this product, you can achieve high-quality yields in just a short period of time. Moreover, your crops can benefit from increased nutritional value and better flavors and scents.
- The growing pots are highly durable and can be used for several growing seasons.
- It is really easy to set up and is perfect for limited garden spaces.
- According to a buyer, it will require bottom support to distribute water evenly during flooding sessions.
- This product is not ideal for those who plan to grow a lot of plants.
2 Common Ebb And Flow Configurations
Single Pump System
A single pump system is the most basic configuration used for an ebb and flow. It involves the use of a plant tray and reservoir. The tray is where the plants are placed and is located above the reservoir, which holds the nutrient solution. If you choose to create a homemade single pump system, you will need a large plant tray for your plants. Fortunately, there are cheap ebb and flow trays available in the market at a really affordable price.
The problem with this setup is that the roots of your plants will get intertwined throughout the entire grow cycle. This will cause them to become unmovable. Moreover, it could be a huge problem if pathogens are present in the system.
Dual Pump System
Recently, indoor growers have been using a different style of ebb and flow system, which is the dual pump system. This configuration requires the use of two mechanical pumps— one for delivering the nutrient solution to the plants and the other for returning it to the reservoir. Since a dual pump system doesn’t rely on gravity, you can simply place your plant tray on the floor.
This allows you to have a vertical growing space and grow even larger plants. Moreover, you can place your reservoir farther from the system, making it a lot easier to adjust and maintain your system. Although it uses two pumps, the dual pump system still follows the same principles as that of a single pump system.
How To Build An Ebb And Flow Hydroponic System?
If you’re planning to build a DIY system, you need to consider a few things:
- First and foremost, make sure you decide on the space where you’re going to place your plants. Make sure they can accommodate the number of plants you want to grow so that you can scale your system accordingly.
- Regardless of the size of your system, the same basic principles still apply.
- You have to keep in mind that if you want your plants to grow huge, you need to provide them with more water and nutrients. If you have a small reservoir, you will need to add water frequently.
- You can decide on any shape you want for your growing container. However, it’s ideal to go for large-sized containers that measure at least 60x60 cm.
- If you want a bigger system, it’s recommended to go for a long but not too wide area.
- To make sure your plants can get the nutrients they require, it is important to thoroughly clean your system in between seasons. Harmless algae tend to grow normally on your surface; however, it is mold growth and insect infestation that could end up ruining your harvest.
You can easily build a DIY ebb and flow system by simply understanding its concept. After that, it’s all just a matter of arranging the components to meet your own specifications. To build your own you need the following:
- A plant tray,
- A reservoir where you store your nutrient solution,
- A submersible water pump,
- A timer for automatically setting the draining and flooding sessions throughout the day,
- Testing meters for pH levels and nutrient solution, and
- A growing medium.
You can find several ways on how to build the best ebb and flow system. Your choice of a container will depend upon your own imagination. It could either be an empty jar, a bucket, water bottles, trash cans, etc. Aside from that, there are also plenty of ways to flood and drain the roots of your plants. Regardless, make sure you keep these two things in mind:
- Choose an overflow tube that is bigger than your pump’s water inlet. Since water is drained with the help of gravity and goes up through pressure from the pump, a lot of water could end up heading to the container than what is being drained. This could lead to overflow issues unless you lower the water pressure from the pump.
- Make sure air can get to the top of the overflow valve without any overflow issues. This can be easily resolved using a “T” connector that has an extension located a few inches above the water line. This will ensure your system can flood and drain water properly.
The ebb and flow system is one of the first hydroponic systems commonly used by indoor gardeners, even commercial growers. Commercial growers used the best ebb and flow system in large-scale applications, particularly in aquaponic environments, mainly because the growing medium can also act as bio-filter for the nitrates that are found in fish waste. Even though a lot of commercial ebb and flow systems are used in aquaponics, individual growers can still benefit from the best ebb and flow system in their indoor hydroponic gardens.
Personally, I recommend the product from Grow Kit 90 Hydroponic Site By Hydroponic System there is. It’s easy to set up and is highly efficient, making it ideal for beginners.
Do you have your own ebb and flow system setup? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you want to know the other hydroponics systems, check out our article about Kratky hydroponics. Please don’t forget to share this with your friends! Thanks for reading!