You’ve said in the past that roots like to experience wet and dry periods. If that’s so, why does DWC work so well when the roots are always pretty wet? Is that why air stones are so important? – Brad Again
It’s true that roots like wet and dry cycles but that’s only for systems that use a soilless mix such as peat moss-based mixes, bags of “potting soil” or mixes made with coco coir. In hydroponic systems, plant roots can absorb far more oxygen through the air due to the fact that the roots aren’t compacted by the “soil”. Because roots in hydroponic systems get so much more oxygen, they can stay wet and not suffer the consequences in the way they would when over-watered in non-hydroponic applications.
So you’re right, the air stones that sit in the bottom of your DWC buckets are very important. Connected to an air pump, they create constant bubbles in the nutrient solution and deliver oxygen directly to the roots, resulting in explosive plant growth under proper conditions.