Hydroponic - Top Drip Bucket

This season I will place most of my peppers in soil. But I will keep one plant in a hydroponic system for fun. So, I chose the “top drip bucket” as an easy variant for this plant.

In a “top drip bucket” system, the nutritious solution is kept in a bucket under the plant. The plant is hold in a net pot. The solution is transferred via air bubbles from the bucket to the plant. The remaining solution will then flow back in the bucket. So, we have a simple loop where we only add air for the flow.

My system will sit in a living room, so I will use a normal water pump from Eheim instead. All air pumps I have are really noisy and not suitable for a living room.


I used a planter from Geli as the main container. Because the system sits in a living room, it should look nice. It is a 35 cm diameter planter called Montana in anthracite. For the lid I used a pot saucer from the same manufacturer with a diameter of 32 cm.

My net pots only had a small edge, which couldn’t handle the plant weight. So, I used a smaller planter with a diameter of 20 cm and drilled a lot of holes in it.

The water pump is one from Eheim with a lift height of 50 cm and 300 l/h. The pump is controlled with a mechanical timer.


The planter doesn’t have to be modified.

Drip Bucket - Outer Planter

I cut a hole in the pot saucer for the inner planter. The white lines marks where the inner planters edges are.

Drip Bucket - Pot Saucer Hole

In the inner planter I drilled a lot of 4 mm holes. So, the water can drip into the outer planter and the roots have enough space to grow.

Drip Bucket - Inner Planter Holes

For the drip ring I used some transparent 12/16 mm PVC tube from my aquarium. The tube fits perfectly on the water pump. A T-fitting from Gardena helps form the ring.

Every 2 cm a 2 mm hole is drilled into the drip ring. With the highest pump speed the water can drip into the inner planter.

Drip Bucket - Drip Ring

I drilled a hole in the inner planter for the drip ring. Below the T-fitting are also two holes to attach the drip ring firmly with a cable tie.

Drip Bucket - Drip Ring Mounted

I used a wire so, I can disassemble everything easier.

Drip Bucket - Inner Planter Assembly

For the substrate I’m using expanded clay with a size of 4/8 mm grid. This grid size might be clogging the bottom of the inner planter. Therefor I placed a sponge cloth on the bottom.

Drip Bucket - Inner Planter Bottom

Now the water pump is mounted on the drip ring.

Drip Bucket - Pump Mounted

There is a small cut in the saucer pot for the water pump cable.

And this is the full assemble.

Drip Bucket - Full Assembly


For the test plant I bought a bell pepper plant from Dehner.

The dirt of the plant needs to be removed before planting it into the drip bucket.

Drip Bucket - Dirt Removed

Now the plant is placed into the inner planter and filled with expanded clay.

I filled the drip bucket to the brim because it looks nicer.

Drip Bucket - Fully Planted

Now we have to wait if the plant survived the transplantation into the inner planter.

Nutrient solution

For the nutrient solution I’m using Aqua Vega component A and B from Canna. Aqua Vega is a nutrient solution that is used in hydroponic systems.

In the drip bucket are now 3 l nutrient solutions. A timer runs the water pump every 3 hours for 15 minutes. If needed the timing can be adjusted.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.