What’re the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hydro farm? (Pros & Cons)

Last updated on June 7th, 2023 at 12:06 pm

5 minutes read.    

Hydro farming is amazing agro-technics that involves growing crops perfectly without soil.

The hydro farm which is popularly known as hydroponics had long been developed by ancient scientists more than a thousand years ago.

In this modern age, it has been modified in different ways which makes it more convenient for many farmers to practice.

Hydro farms produce nutrients filled crops that are stronger and more beautiful than the ones grown with soil.

However, as they say, everything that has advantages has a disadvantage so it is in the hydro farm.

If you have read my previous article on the hydro farm(hydroponic) and now you planning on how to start a hydro farm garden, it’s very important you understand the pros and cons involved in this method of farming. That’s why I prepared this article for you.

Let’s find out.

First of all, before I tell you the pros and cons involved you should understand that hydro farm has six main types and each type has its own advantage and disadvantages.

I will give you a list of the six main types of the hydro farm here. You can click here to learn the detail of how each type works so you can choose the type that will suit you.

The six main types of hydro farms include:

1. Deep water culture systems

2. Wick systems

3. Nutrient film technique systems

4. Ebb and flow systems

5. Drip systems

6. Aeroponics

Now let’s find out the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

1. Deep water culture systems (DWC)

What are the advantages of deep water culture systems?

  • Low maintenance

 Once a DWC system is set up, there’s very little maintenance required. Just replenish the nutrient solution when needed and make sure your pump is running oxygen to the air stone. (1,2)

The nutrient solution typically only needs replenishing every 2-3 weeks, but this does depend on the size of your plants.

  • DIY (Do-It-Yourself) appeal

Unlike many hydroponic systems, deep water culture systems can be made cheaply and easily at home, with a quick run to your pet store and local nursery to pick up the air pump and nutrients. (3)

What are the disadvantages of deep water culture systems?

  • Limitations

Deep water culture systems are adept at growing herbs and lettuce but they struggle with larger and more slow-growing plants. DWC systems are not ideal for anything that flowers.

However, with some extra work, you can grow plants like tomatoes, bell peppers, and squash in a DWC system.

  • Temperature control

It’s important that your water solution does not exceed 68°F and does not go below 60°F. In a DWC system, the water is static and not recirculating, so it can be more difficult to regulate temperature.

2. Wick systems

What are the advantages of a wick system?

  • Simplicity

A wick system can be set up by anyone and does not demand excessive attention after it is running. The wicks will constantly supply your plants with water, so there is no risk of them drying out.

Furthermore, plants like lettuce will flourish in a wick system, providing a great return on your hands-free investment.

  • Space-efficient

 Wick systems are unobtrusive and can be installed anywhere, seeing as they do not need electricity to run. It is a perfect system for educators, beginners, or anyone interested in exploring hydroponics.  (4, 5)

What are the disadvantages of a wick system?

  • Limitations

Lettuce and herbs like rosemary, mint, and basil are fast-growing and do not demand large quantities of water.

Tomatoes, on the other hand, will struggle to thrive in a weak system because of their high demand for nutrients and hydration. Other plants cannot thrive in an environment that is perpetually moist.

Root vegetables like carrots and turnips will not succeed in a wick system.

  • Susceptible to rot

 A hydroponic wick system is always humid and damp. This creates the risk that fungal outbreaks and rot can develop in the organic growing media and on the roots of your plants.

 3. Nutrient film technique systems

What are the advantages of a nutrient film technique system?

  • Low consumption

Since NFT hydroponics recirculate the water they do not demand large quantities of water or nutrients to function. The constant flow also makes it harder for salts to accumulate on the plant’s roots.

Nutrient film technique systems also don’t require growing media, so you are saved the expense of purchasing media and the hassle of replacing it. (6,7)

  • Modular design

Nutrient film technique systems are perfect for large-scale and commercial endeavors.

Once you have one channel set up and functioning, it is very easy to expand. You can fill your greenhouse with multiple channels supporting different crops.

It’s a good idea to feed each channel with a separate reservoir. This way, if pump failure occurs or disease spreads in the water, you will not lose your entire operation.

What are the disadvantages of a nutrient film technique system ( NFT)?

  • Pump failure

 If the pump fails and the channel is no longer circulating the nutrient film, your plants will dry out. In a matter of hours, your entire crop can perish if it is not being supplied with water.

Maintaining an NFT hydroponic system does require vigilance. You will want to diligently observe the performance of your pump.


 If the plants are spaced too close together or the root growth is to proliferate, the channel can become clogged.

 If the channel is obstructed by roots, water will be unable to flow and your plants will starve. This is especially true of the plants at the bottom of the channel.

If the plants at the end ever seem to be underperforming compared to the rest of the channel, consider removing some plants or switching to a smaller unit. 

4. Ebb and flow systems

What are the advantages of an ebb and flow system?

  • Versatility

With an ebb and flow system, you can grow much larger plants than in most other hydroponic systems. Fruits, flowers, and vegetables alike respond very well to ebb and flow hydroponics.

 If you’ve taken care to provide your plants with the appropriate sized grow bed and nutrition, you will see bountiful yield.

  • DIY (Do It Yourself) appeal

There are hundreds of ways to construct your own ebb-and-flow hydroponic system at home.

 A visit to the hardware store and pet store will provide you with all the supplies you need to construct an ebb and flow system. (8, 9, 10)

Though more expensive to set up than other DIY systems like a wick and deep water culture, ebb, and flow systems sustain a much broader scope of plant life than they can.

What are the disadvantages of an ebb and flow system?

Pump failure: Like any hydroponic system reliant on a pump, if the pump ceases to work, your plants will die.

You do have to monitor your ebb and flow system to ensure that the system’s performance is not compromising the health of your plants. If the water is rushing in and out too fast, your plants will not receive an adequate amount of water and nutrients.

Rot & disease

Sanitation and maintenance are essential to an ebb and flow system. If the bed is not draining properly, root diseases and rot can set in. A dirty ebb-and-flow system can grow mold and attract insects.

 If you neglect cleanliness, your crops will suffer. Additionally, some plants do not respond well to the rapid pH change that occurs as a result of the flooding and draining extremes.

5. Drip systems

What are the advantages of a drip system?

Variety of plant options

 A drip system can support much larger plants than most other hydroponic systems. This is one of the reasons it is so appealing to commercial growers.

Melons, pumpkins, onions, and zucchinis can all be amply supported by a properly sized drip system. Drip systems hold greater quantities of growing media than other systems, allowing them to support the larger root systems of these plants. (11,12)

Drip systems work best with slow-draining media, like rock wool, coco coir, and peat moss.

  • Scale

Drip systems can easily support large-scale hydroponics operations. If a grower desires to add more plants, new tubing can be connected to a reservoir and divert the solution to the new vegetation.

New crops can be introduced to an existing drip system, as additional reservoirs can be added with differing timer schedules tailored to fit the needs of the new plants. This is another factor that makes drip systems popular in commercial hydroponics.

What are the disadvantages of a drip system?

  • Maintenance

If you a growing plants using a non-recovery drip system at home, there is a significant amount of maintenance involved.

You’ll need to consistently monitor pH and nutrient levels in your solution, draining and replacing if necessary. Recovery systems lines can also become clogged by debris and plant matter, so you will need to regularly wash and flush delivery lines.


Drip systems can easily become elaborate and complex undertakings. This matters less for professional hydroponics, but it is not the most ideal system for home growers.

 There are many much simpler systems, like ebb and flow, that lend themselves better to at-home hydroponics.

6. Aeroponics

What are the advantages of an aeroponics system?

The use of aeroponic systems offers access to whole plant roots, preventing the loss of a significant portion of roots during washing from the soil. This system could also improve the roots taxa identification allowing species‐specific questions to be posed.

  • Oxygen surplus

The surplus of oxygen taken in by the bare roots supercharges the plant’s growth. Aeroponics is not only the most eco-friendly hydroponic system, they are also among the highest-performing.

They are versatile, but customizable systems that reliably produce high-quality results.

  • Mobility

Aeroponic towers and trays can be easily transported from one location to another without disrupting the plant’s growth.

During the transportation process, you will want to hand-mist the roots to prevent them from drying out. Additionally, aeroponic systems are designed to be ergonomic and maximize space. (13,14, 15)

Aeroponics allows you to grow plants in greater densities than other hydro farm systems.

What are the disadvantages of an aeroponics system?

  • Expensive

Aeroponics does have a higher initial cost than other hydroponic systems. Setting up a fully functional system complete with reservoirs, timers, and pumps can cost thousands of dollars.

It is possible to construct a DIY aeroponics system for much less, but it is a much harder undertaking than a DIY deep water culture or wick system.

  • Maintenance

Aeroponics systems maintain a delicate balance and, if disrupted, the results are disastrous for your plants. If your timer doesn’t go off or a pump fails, you risk losing your entire crop unless you mist the roots by hand.

You will need to regularly clean the root chamber to prevent root disease from compromising your plants. Generally speaking, aeroponic systems do require more technique to succeed than other systems.


The hydro farm is an amazing agro-technics that involves growing crops perfectly without soil.

There are six main types of hydro farms and each has its own advantage and disadvantage. They include Deep water culture systems, Wick systems, Nutrient film technique systems, Ebb and flow systems, Drip systems, and Aeroponics.

Based on types some of the advantages include Low maintenance, Simplicity, DIY appeal, Space-efficient, Simplicity, and Versatility.

Some disadvantages include Maintenance, Complexity, and Pump failure.

I hope you get the value worth your time. I appreciate the time you spend with me. Leave a comment below if you find this article helpful. Do you have any questions as regards the hydro farm I did not touch here or do you have a hydro farm you’re already managing? I love to hear your story, feel free to share with me in the comment below.


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