Ebb and flow systems are by far the easiest hydroponic systems to set up and to operate. There are no drip fittings to clog and very few plumbing parts needed to operate this type of system. This type of system is often one of the cheapest to set up as well. Ebb and flow systems rely on a principle of flooding then draining hydroponic grow media and plant roots throughout the day to provide a balence between nutrient feedings and oxygenation. The flooding stage insures a good saturation of the grow media with nutrient rich water, while the drain stage draws fresh oxygen to the roots.
Maintenence of this type of system is minimal. The most obvious maintenance involves ensuring that pumps and timers are functioning properly. Over time, the pH of the nutrient soultion will begin to fluctuate so monitoring the pH daily is recommended. To prevent many types of bacterial growth, it is also recommended that you use an air stone in your reservior. Standing water that has not drained out of buckets or trays are potential sites for bacterial growths which could be detrimental to the plants health so it is important to make sure there is good drainage.