HydroponicsOur Projects

Ultrasonic Aeroponic System

Author: Jared Bouck

Project Cost:22.00
Est Construction Time: .5 Hr
Required Skill Level: Basic Hand Tool Skills

This simple low cost system provides amazing results in plant and root development. utilizing low cost and low power usage ultrasonic foggers we atomize a nutrient solution in a high oxygen high humidity environment that promotes rapid plant development. we were surprised at the effectiveness of this system and its ability to yield amazingly healthy plants ready to move onto the vegetative growth cycle with strength and vigor.

This build is super easy. The only real tool you will need is a razor blade. All of the elements for this project can be purchased at your favorite home improvement store with the exception of the ultrasonic mister. While we recommend the general hydroponics line of nutrients, liquid miracle grow will work as well and costs a lot less.

Plastic tub:
Nothing to special here. The only consideration is that you will want enough water for the fogger to work optimally and a good air space for the fog. I recommend around 6 inches

Net Cups:  For our project here we used a 3 inch net cup. After tinkering I would recommend a 2 inch cup for most herbs and 3 inch for any larger veggies

Hydroton: Basically hydroton is an expanded clay pellet. It holds a little moisture but gives an excellent surface for roots to get hold. You can use pea gravel as a substitute… but you may as well use the best you can get as it will cost you less than 5.00 for this project

Ultrasonic Mister: So these little fogger units are perfect for this project. You can pick them up on ebay for 5.00-6.00. Make sure it comes with a power supply.

Seeds: I have tried several strains of tomato and pepper with great success. But the smaller strains tend to ripen faster… and I love to see the fruits of my labors sooner!

RockWool: Basically Rockwool is a molten rock product that is spun into a nice spongy grow medium. This is a great way to get your plant a head start and strong root system. While not necessary again… why not!

Nutrients:There are more choices each day for nutrients it seems. One tried and trued product I love is the general hydroponics grow big product line. This is not an organic product and grows great plants, if you want to do more of an organic approach I recommend the foxfarms line of nutrients.

Weather stripping: Likely the most important part of this build. This creates a seal that keeps our solution from dripping out of the tub as it condenses. I have found that the 1/4th inch seems to work the best overall.

To start we will simply place our net cups up on the lid to look at spacing and placement ideas.

After your happy with the spacing then mark the center of each cup.

Using a compass and a razor cut out the holes for each cup. Make sure to take into account the lip on the cup so it sits right and wont fall through.

Apply the weather stripping around the lid with the sticky side on the lid not on the lip of the tub.

Using a hot glue gun glue the fogger to the bottom of the tub. Make sure you do not place it under a cup as the ultrasonic field it uses to atomize the water will totally blow apart any roots that get into it.

Here we have the glued fogger in the bottom of the tub with 2 inches of water above it.

Here you can see that we have placed this between pots. We also drilled a small hole in the top of the lid for the cord to come out of.

Here we have fired up the fogger and it is starting to fill up the tub.

If you are using hydroton make sure you wash it out real well as it has a clay dust on it that will collect on the ultrasonic foggers transducer disk.

Next, we will sprout some seedlings in a zip top bag with a wet paper towel in it. Place the seeds on top of the towel and inflate and seal the bag. These are 2 days old after they sprouted.

Here we have placed our seedling in the middle of our Rockwool cube to insure it has a good strong start.

Close up the Rockwool cube and make sure it has good contact with the root so it doesn’t dry out.

Place the rockwool cube into the middle of the pot and surround with the hydroton to insure the cube is secure. Finaly add your grow big to the water in the tub (start with seedling concentrations )

Here we have our seedlings only 2 days later. Here you can see how the fog just bathes the baskets in constant oxygen and water with nutrients.

Here are our tomatoes after one week in the fogger. For the first month of vegetative growth we keep them under 24 hours of light with blue spectrum florescent bulbs placed close to the plants.

2 weeks of vegetative growth. They are really taking off and we have to raise the lights each day. I also added a small aquarium thermometer so I could monitor the temperature of the water in the tank. The nice thing with the ultrasonic system is that it produces a little heat and was maintain a near perfect temperature for our roots.

Here we can see the root mass starting to form in these tomato plants.

So here is the fun comparison. I planted 6 tomato plants in soil and 6 with our misters side by side and I was surprised by the results. This plant is 4 weeks old. And below is its mister sister.

That’s right. This monster is only 4 weeks old. As the plant gets bigger we can ramp up our nutrients and the result of air, water, food and temperature is one happy plant ready for bigger and better things!

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  1. Avatar
    January 20, 2015 at 12:39 pm — Reply

    This is an excellent write up! I really like how you make this entire process as simple as you could. I also liked that you followed through to show the plant growth, versus plant growth in soil. I want to take this one step further and also compare this method to other methods such as Drip, ebb/flow, NFT, etc. This method seems relatively simple, cost effective, and excellent results.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to create this guide!! 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Mike Kilgallen
    September 23, 2015 at 10:11 am — Reply

    Nice demonstration. Very clear and concise, easy to follow.. I do have one question though. With the mister, do you cycle the process on a timer? I have seen demo’s where it is said that the transducers produce heat if left on all the time. So, do you put it on a timer or allow it to run 24 hours?
    Thank You
    Mike in Canada.

    • Inventgeek
      November 5, 2015 at 1:14 pm — Reply

      I actually Run it all the time. It works great, the roots like a little warmth and it doesn’t get out of control luckily. Just make sure you have enough water in it so the heat is more defused.

  3. Avatar
    February 20, 2016 at 9:06 pm — Reply

    Hello this is a great idea and I appreciate how much effort you put into explaining everything. I was curious though, how often you needed to add water and plant nutrients? I’m guessing you add water only to keep it at the approximately 6in marks as you talked about, but what about the nutrients?

    • Inventgeek
      March 1, 2016 at 1:26 pm — Reply

      The water level stays relatively stable. But we swapped out the solution weekly just so we had fresh concentrates and to increase the dosage as the plant matures and grows. Honestly I should do it more often due to the small volume and the increasing root mass. But it worked as a fun experiment.

  4. Avatar
    April 22, 2016 at 11:59 am — Reply

    Sounds like an excellent way to keep plants alive while out of town for a week or so. Would you feel safe leaving this setup alone for a week?

    My wife accuses me of liking gadgets, etc. to fool with more than the produce I grow. She’s probably right, as usual. Thanks for the ideas!


  5. Avatar
    June 21, 2017 at 12:10 pm — Reply

    Those seeds sprouted in 2 days? Wow. I’m sprouting lettuce using the same method and it takes ~7d at minimum.

    • Inventgeek
      June 23, 2017 at 12:35 pm — Reply

      What verities are you using and how fresh are the seeds? Also what temperature are you keeping them at?

  6. Avatar
    Luis M.
    September 16, 2018 at 6:23 pm — Reply

    I´ve spent at least 2 hours looking around for a clear set of instructions for a DYI aeroponics. Thanks a lot!

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