Deep Water Culture (DWC)

Last Updated: December 15, 2016

Definition - What does Deep Water Culture (DWC) mean?

Deep water culture is a type of hydroponic system in which the plant's roots are submerged in a growth-inducing mixture containing essential nutrients and minerals. In this system the plants are aerated via an air pump.

In early aquaponics, the deep water culture system included an air pump, air stone, and a net pot that contained the grow medium along with a five gallon bucket.

MaximumYield explains Deep Water Culture (DWC)

Some plants, such as lettuce, thrive in water and are commonly grown using deep water culture.

To build a deep water culture system, horticulturalists recommend the following equipment: grow media, cups, pots and baskets, air stones, air line, aquarium air pump, and a container that will hold the nutrient solution.

There are various ways to provide aeration. The most popular uses air bubbles, with air stones or even an aquarium air pump to diffuse air bubbles into the water’s nutrient solution. Air stones are porous, and these pores create individual pockets of air.

A different variation of circulating air is through falling water. While it is not the most common option, falling water creates surface agitation that aerates the nutrient solution. Higher falling water creates more agitation, which consequently creates more dissolved oxygen.

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