A little background:

I live in India a land where winters are mild and summers typically exceed 40°C. In these very warm summers we use an indigenous device to transform tap water into cool and humanely drinkable water. This amazing device is called Matka and is basically an eco-friendly and silent water cooler.

I read a bit about hydroponics online and decided to give it a run for which I found out that for noobs(like me) the kratky method is a great way to start with. Also another thing I found on the internet is that hydroponics (of all kinds) can be frightfully capital intensive to get started with and so in order to reduce the expenditure on my part I decided to look for ways to make my system cheaper. some of my solutions include:

  • Using matkas instead of bell jars for water storage
  • Using coconut coir for germinating plants (I have a coconut tree at my house)
  • Using random odd bits of stone, debris from used matkas, random pebbles etc in place of those clay balls.

Obviously my question is will a setup with these substitutes work in place of the real thing. If they do not could anyone suggest some better alternatives. My thanks to everyone.


For a Kratky bucket this should work fine - there's nothing special about the bucket/container you use other than it should be opaque to suppress algae growth (if sunlight can reach the nutrient supply, then algae will grow in it).

You will need some kind of lid and way to hang the plant roots inside the container, which is typically done via a net pot or plastic cup that you drill holes in the bottom of. You do need to make sure that there are drain holes in the container just below the bottom of your net pot so that if water enters the bucket it does not submerge the entire root system (the layer of air between the bottom of the net pot and the top of the water ensures that the roots are properly aerated without the need for air pumps).

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