Best Dutch Bucket Hydroponics (Aquaponics) System Reviews

Are you looking to grow large plants, but you don’t know where to start? Or maybe are you thinking of how you can utilize your small space to the maximum in a gardening project? Your solution lies in the bato buckets or popularly known as the Dutch buckets growing system. The bato buckets are the new favorite containers for holding plants in a controlled growing environment that the modern gardener appreciates due to its simplicity and effectiveness. In a hydroponic system, the buckets are very simple to connect and can scale to any size that you may need. At first sight, the buckets may look like any other planting container, but they are far more advanced since you can use them in both a hydroponics and aquaponics system. The buckets come with a single watering line and a separate drainage line, and you can line them up together and connecting them all.

Dutch bucket can act as a host for the growing medium, nutrient solution, and water necessary for the development of the plant. Once you connect the whole series of buckets, you can set them anywhere you want, be it on a table or the floor. With several brands in the market releasing their types of Bato buckets, here are the three top buckets you should consider when you want to purchase.

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Top 3 Best Dutch Bucket System 

Bato Buckets by Bootstrap Farmer

If you are looking for a fast and efficient way to grow your plants, you should incorporate an aquaponics or hydroponic system on your farm. With that, the bato buckets by bootstrap farmer come in handy as their design covers both methods and can grow any plant species. The Dutch buckets come in a set that consists of buckets, ten large net pots, elbows, and ten small net pots. The bucket and elbows are black while the net pots and lid are white. The Dutch buckets have a reservoir at the bottom that provides a lifeline for the plants. The reservoir stores an extra nutrient solution that keeps plants alive whenever the power goes off. It becomes even more comfortable if you intend to extend your system since the Dutch buckets use one watering line and one drainage line throughout the system. The system is easy to use and helps to save space. You can use it as a host for growing media and nutrient solution.

The bato buckets by bootstrap farmer are one of the best in the industry. It has garnered numerous positive reviews on Amazon, thereby deserving mention.

Artisun technology hydroponic Dutch bucket pot ten-pack

The Artisun technology hydroponic Dutch bucket pot is another incredible set of Dutch buckets that you can use to grow any type of plant. You can use the buckets, both indoor and outdoor, and they are especially useful when you plant crops with vines or large plants. When using the pots, you have to arrange them in rows since they utilize only one drainage pipe that flows back to the reservoir under the buckets. You can join the pots together and scale it to any size you want. The bucket has two siphon elbows but does not come with a reservoir tank, supply pipe, and emitter drippers. You will have to acquire those separately. The buckets are super easy to set up and perfect for growing large plants.

Argee 3.5 Gallon Heavy Duty Bucket

The Argee 3.5 Gallon Heavy Duty Bucket can not only work in a hydroponic system for planting, but you can also use it for multiple purposes. If you want to plant a huge plant, this is the bucket for you. It is highly durable as it is made of heavy duty plastic and has a reinforced upper rim. The bucket comes with a sturdy metal handle that you can use to lift and move the bucket. The heavy duty polyethylene makes the bucket perfect for holding a growing medium and nutrient solvent. It certainly deserves mention among the best buckets to use in hydroponic and aquaponic farming set up.

What is a Dutch Bucket System


The Dutch bucket grow system is widely popular around Europe and the USA. But, what is a Dutch bucket system, and why is it so popular? Dutch buckets, also known as Bato buckets, work with the same principle of the ebb and flow method. The bucket takes the place of a tray in the ebb and flow method. The nutrients flow into the bucket and drain into the reservoir at regular times. The best part of a Dutch bucket grow system is that it can work in both a hydroponic and an aquaponics system. An aquaponics system may be slightly harder to set up that a hydroponic system, which is simple and more reliable.

How does the Dutch Bucket Work in a Hydroponic System?


When using the Dutch bucket, you have to place the buckets with the plants in a row. You can use buckets measuring 3-5 gallons. However, you need to plant only one or two plants in each container. There is a pump in the reservoir that connects to a water line running through the whole system. For a small system, you should use a small submersible pump while for an extensive system, ensure that you use a more powerful submersible pump. The water line has drip hoses that emit water at each plant position. Depending on your preference, you can install drip emitters to allow the nutrient solution to flow in drips or let it flow continuously from the waterline.

The water solution gets to the plants where it flows through the growing medium to the roots of the plant. The excess solution flows down to the bottom of the bucket, where there is pipe drainage leading the liquid solution back to the reservoir. The roots of your plants will benefit by getting enough water and nutrients. They are also well aerated since the Dutch bucket system does not hold water for long.

The ideal growing medium in a Dutch bucket hydroponics system is expanded clay pebbles. It is due to its ability to retain high levels of oxygen and moisture compared to all the other growing mediums. The clay pebbles are also too large to fit into the drainage system hence removing the risk of blocking the siphon elbow. You can as well use perlite as a growing medium in your hydroponic system due to its incredible water retention, aeration, and drainage ability. Still, you need to ensure that there is no grow medium getting into the drainage pipe leading to the reservoir.

River rock as well serves as an excellent growing medium option since it is cheap to acquire and heavy enough to hold down your bucket protecting it from the effects of strong winds, especially if you are growing your plants outdoors. However, it is small in size. Therefore you need to ensure that it cannot get sucked into the pipes and clog them. Some other growing mediums that you may consider include hydroton, crushed granite, and expanded shale.

If you use a medium that retains too much moisture, you run a risk of the medium flooding into the drainage pipe and creating clog problems. For the nutrient solution that you use, you should ensure that it is well aerated. You should closely monitor the levels of the total dissolved solids and the pH if you want to create a reliable solution.

When planting in a Dutch bucket, you should not place the small cuttings and seedlings directly into a Dutch bucket. Propagate them on Rockwool starter plugs or cocoa peat pellets till the roots emerge. Then, you can transfer it to the Dutch bucket system that ensures rapid growth. If you do not have a significant growing space but still want to get the most out of the little that you have, then you better consider the use of Dutch buckets in your cultivation area.

A Dutch bucket aquaponics system, on the other hand, is also a modern and fast way to plant your crops with more efficiency than using traditional means of farming. It provides a great advantage of being able to grow crops and also keep fish. Although the practice of growing plants and keeping fish is not a new phenomenon, the Dutch bucket aquaponics system is a unique, simple, and effective method that is worth implementing.

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So, How Does The Dutch Bucket Aquaponics System Work?


The buckets in an aquaponics setup drain in a fish tank. It is unlike a hydroponic setup where all the buckets connect to a pipe that flows back to the reservoir, For the whole system to work, you need to join the Dutch buckets in a series to the fish tank using a central line. Pump the water from the fish tank to the buckets where the plants are growing. The excess water will drain back to the fish tank through a pipe that is below the buckets.

Why should you use a Dutch bucket system?


The Dutch bucket system is one of the simplest ways of modern farming. Apart from that, it helps in controlling the roots of your plants since you will be planting one or two plants per bucket. It is especially beneficial when planting large plants. Additionally, it allows you to save on space and reduce the wastage of water and nutrients, thereby making it a very economical venture to operate, especially in a hot environment. It is effortless to deal with plants with diseases and pests by merely removing the plant and plugging the drip hole. You are as well sure that the condition will not spread and affect the other plants.

Even though everything that has a positive attribute also has a negative trait, there is not much negative to give about the Dutch bucket system. One, you need to spend a lot of time checking and maintaining the system to ensure that your plants receive the maximum potential care. Since there is only one reservoir that all the buckets are sourcing their nutrients from and draining to, it becomes risky since a pest or disease occurrence can infect the whole system if you do not tend to it on time. Even though setting up the Dutch system is easy, you need some level of experience to handle it proficiently.

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Which are the Best Plants to Plant in a Dutch bucket system?

You can grow any plant that has vines in your Dutch bucket system. Some of the plants you can grow include cannabis,tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, cucumber. When you grow large plants, you need to ensure that they are receiving the right amount of nutrients. Ensure that either the drip hole is large enough for the plant, or you can set up two drip holes. When handling plants with vines, provide them with the support that they need so that they can grow in the right position. The size of the bucket to use will be dependent on what you want to grow.

In both the hydroponics and aquaponics system, you need to ensure that your plants continuously receive water but do not sit on the water. This way, they can get all the nutrition they require while remaining hydrated. The best way to ensure that your plants do not run dry but still do not soak in water is by controlling the flow rate of the water pumping into the bucket. You can switch your water pump on and off regularly to save on electricity.

Summing up

The Dutch bucket is a very versatile product that can work in both hydroponic and aquaponics setups. It is easy to set up and can work in both indoor and outdoor settings. It is a favorite to may due to its ability to scale big and handle any type of plant. If you are looking for the best cost-friendly and straightforward system to use when you have limited space, you should seek out the Dutch bucket or the Bato bucket. You can then use it to set up a hydroponic system or an aquaponics system if you have fish that you are rearing.

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Bowden draws from over a decade of home growing experience as well as consulting for small-scale and hobbyist-level growers. He has written hundreds of articles, thought pieces, and tutorials about growing cannabis at home

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