Viagrow Black Bucket DWC

Product Name:Black Bucket Deep Water Culture System
Type:Deep Water Culture
# Plants:8
Size Plants:Medium to Large
Cost:$$$
Rating:
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The Viagrow Black Bucket DWC System at a Glance

An inexpensive kit designed for deep water culture (DWC) growing. This system is simply designed to support large fast-growing plants. The Viagrow Black Bucket DWC system comes with eight buckets with net pot lids, two 5 gallon buckets to serve as reservoirs, air pump, air stone, and tubing. The kit is simple to put together and can start pumping the grow buckets full of oxygen-rich nutrient solution in no time.

Pros

With 8 growing buckets, this system has enough capacity to support a garden of large plants. Additional benefits include:

  • Simple to set up. The system design is intuitive and snaps together in a matter of a few minutes.
  • Has eight planting sites. Being able to grow eight individual plants is a major plus. Tomatoes, peppers, squash, and other larger plants work great in this system. With the eight individual pots, it is easy to mix and match plants for a full hydroponic garden.
  • Is cheap to operate. With small and efficient air and water pumps, the system uses only 10 watts of power (2w for the air pump and 8w for the water pump). Running the system continuously costs less than $1 per month, given electricity prices of $0.12 per kWh.
  • Comes with a handy water-level meter. You won’t have to open the system in order to tell when you need to add or remove water.
  • Is backed by a great company. Viagrow is a well respected hydroponics system supply company with numerous product offerings on the market. Numerous reviews online and Hydroponic Authority’s own experience shows that that Viagrow products are made to the highest standard.
DWC System Cross Section

Cross-section of a Black Bucket DWC system

Cons

While the Viagrow Black Bucket DWC system comes with most of the necessary supplies to start growing, it is important to note that there are some additional components that must be purchased separately. The two key additional components needed include balanced grow nutrients, and lights for indoor hydroponic gardening.

We also noticed that a couple of reviewers commented on the quality of the clay grow medium provided with the kit and suggested purchasing a higher-quality medium to get started with. The air pump, while sufficient to get started, may be worth an upgrade as your plants become larger and require stronger aeration to penetrate the root system with oxygen.

Add-Ons

There are a few items you’ll likely want to add on to the system as you go. PH monitoring and adjustment capabilities are important, especially for plants with tight PH tolerances. You can learn more about the role of PH in hydroponics here. In addition, a TDS (total dissolved solids) meter will help you know if your nutrient solution contains the right amount of nutrients.

You may also want to look to artificial lighting to boost growth by extending the length of each day. We would recommend taking a look at LED grow lights, given their steep decline in cost in recent years combined with their massive efficiency bump over other lighting methods. Viagrow also has a line of grow lights and related products called ViaVolt, which we wold recommend looking into as they are designed to fit well with the design of the Black Bucket system. Take a look at our light reviews for more ideas.

While the Viagrow Black Bucket DWC System is great for larger plants, you may want to consider a smaller system for seedlings and overall smaller growth plants. You’ll still have the ability to use the H2OtoGro as a starter system for larger systems.  We have reviewed several other systems on this site that are designed specifically for smaller plants. By splitting the stages of growth between two systems, you can grow twice as many plants in the same amount of time. You can read more about efficiently cycling and rotating systems in our hydroponic hacking section.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a large and robust hydroponic starter system, you can’t go wrong with the Viagrow Black Bucket DWC. Even if you upgrade down the road, the Viagrow kit is great for supporting larger plants to increase your capacity.

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