Hydroponics is a subset of hydro culture, the method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Terrestrial plants may be grown with only their roots exposed to the mineral solution, or the roots may be supported by an inert medium, such as perlite or gravel. The nutrients in hydroponics can come from an array of different sources; these can include but are not limited to byproduct from fish waste, duck manure, or normal nutrients.

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One of the most obvious decisions hydroponic farmers have to make is which medium they should use. Different media are appropriate for different growing techniques.

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