What is an Autopot System?

An Autopot system is a type of hydroponic system commonly used in cannabis cultivation. It consists of a series of trays or pots filled with a growing medium and connected to a reservoir of nutrient solution.

The pots are equipped with a valve that controls the flow of nutrient solution into the pot, which is triggered by a sensor that detects the level of the solution in the tray.

The Autopot system is a passive system, meaning it does not require any electricity or pumps to operate. Instead, the system relies on gravity and capillary action to distribute the nutrient solution to the plants. This makes it a low-maintenance and cost-effective option for growers.

The Autopot system is popular for its ease of use, low water usage, and ability to produce high-quality yields. The system is particularly well-suited for growing smaller plants, such as autoflowering strains, but it can also be used for larger plants with some modifications.

Any thoughts?


  • Invented by Jim Fah in 1986. Thats right autopots have been around almost as long as I have. Now patented all across the world.

    Autopots are a fairly simple design, gravity fed irrigation from a rez to a tray that has a pot inside with pathways for the rez liquid to be drawn up by capillary action of soil dynamics. Kinda like when you dip a paper towels corner Into a glass of water. Capillary action draws the water up into the towel distributing it equally amongst the fibers.

    The way that the tray fills is the "magic" part. Inside each tray is an Aquavalve (patented technology) the aquavalve is a two way pressure valve system.

    This allows the plant to decide when to add more water to the tray. They tray does not stay full all the time or rely on a sensor to fill the tray. Instead there are rubber seals that are triggered when the water level is full and again once it is emptied. This keeps the soil perfectly moist, I didnt trust that so I stuck a soil probe in my pot and it always just reads moist (6 or 7 on probe)

    Water only organic growers should take the plunge with autopots. Living soil is always ment to be moist and the Autopot will ensure that without effort from you for days even weeks at a time depending on the size of your setup. Hand water synthetic nute growers should take the plunge with autopot because it allows the plant to consume far more liquid and nutrient then hand watering could ever provide. As hand waterers we wait for the soil to dry, then pour more in. Gravity and force of pour determine how much nutrient solution your soil retains. Most I have been able to give a plant in a 5gal fabric pot is 1.25 gallon every 3 or 4 days during veg and every 2 or 3 days during flower. The autopot system has been giving my plants over a gallon of solution EACH DAY. Take Fox Farm for example. Water, feed, water, feed. FF in autopot, feed, feed, feed, feed. Did I mention that this is the first grow that I made it through veg without even burning the tips of my leaves? My plants are pristine going into flower. 2 years man, burn burn burn, get this setup, green, green, green.

    The autopot system has saved me alot of time also. Not just in watering but in mixing and record keeping also. Instead of each plant having a record of its input and output, all I record is the ph of the rez in the morning and what I adjust it too. Mixing nutes in 10 gallon batches is alot simpler then mixing 10 1 gallon batches. Then there is soil flushing (3 times a grow with FF). With Autopot the Salts get pushed up to the topsoil and out of the rootzone Instead of at the bottom of the pot (hand watered) where all the roots are and microbial life reside. No flushes unless your soils buffers give out which if you have good soil, won't be a problem. For those who flush the plant last two weeks of flower, just put plain phd water in your rez for the last two weeks and its handled. These pots are a soil growers dream!

    Initially autopot was created with small gardens in mind, small plants also. The pots were only a couple gallons and the piping was narrow. Great for tomatoes! As the decades have gone by, almost 4 of them, the Autopot has evolved and is really focusing on the cannabis industry at this time. Autopots now come in many shapes and sizes. From 1 gal square plastic pots to 37 gallon round fabric pots. And everything Inbetween from propigation to raised bed gardens all controlled by the aquavalve. The piping is all very large now to accommodate those who wish to use organic nutrients in the rez. There are even nutrient lines designed specificly for the autopot.

    There are some cons. 1st and foremost is cleaning the equipment. Once a week you must flush 2 litres of liquid through the piping system to keep it free of salts and bacteria, as well as once a month you must clean the trays and valves. To a hydro grower this is normal activity, to a soil grower, its new. Fluctuations in ph make it necessary to PH rez and adjust every day. Not a huge deal but worth mentioning. Lastly space. Having the rez inside tent would cause the solution to have huge temp fluctuations which isn't good for keeping the lines and rez bacteria free. So you have to make room outside your tent. Not everyone has that space.

    Im sure I could say more, and am happy to answer any questions I can. I will part with a few links to autopot growers instagrams so you can see some of the potential autopots provide.

  • I had to clean my autopot system today. Apparently silica doesn't sit well long term in the rez and it creates a mess on the Inside. So scrubbed all that out and figured might as well video myself putting it back together and explain how it works a little.

  • Hello @docnraq this s really insightful and the Instagram mentions are great too

  • Thanks @Daisy It was fun to do a little research and share some facts about my new, favorite grow toy! In a couple days I'll add some more to this thread about some of the various setups and accessories for the autopot system. It doesnt take fancy equipment to grow great weed but, it doesn't hurt your chances either.

  • docnraq
    edited May 13

    Autopot uses gravity to move liquid to the tray from a res. Autopot has an array of different reservoir options. The standard one that comes with every newly purchased system is smallish
    There is a filter inside and they sell a stand also to help achieve the gravity needed.
    The other option is a flexi tank. Which you can elect to exchange for when you order, I had to contact them to get it done but it was simple and was a little cheaper to ship. This is where there are alot of choices. From small
    To much, much, much larger.!

    Since the Autopot is modular the sky is the limit on how many autopots, or auto pot devices you can hook up to a system. For organic growers they have inline filters to keep the lines free of debris
    They also carry a bunch of nozzle attachments and tubing thats more flexible then standard irrigation tubing. So in reality you can turn anything that will hold water into a reservoir.

    I got a 13gal flextank. I live in an apartment so space is limited. The tank itself is very strong thick almost reinforced vinyl or some kinda plastic. I cant say I care for the legs but I do like how I can easily move it from my growspace to a tub for cleaning and maintenance. Autopot recommends a pump to mix that comes on every couple hours but I found a wave maker for fishtanks with a magnetic clip that works great! Uses very little energy. It also mixes the nutes for me, all I have to do is wait for them to dilute. And then ph, some nutes are supposed to be ph stable...not sure how much I believe that.

  • Plants 1 and 2 are grown in autopots. Plant 3 was not. All 3 germed on the same day and all planted on the same day. All 3 have spent their entire lives under the same light, in the same tent, same soil, same nutrient line.
    All 3 plants are different strains.

  • I think the idea that they are different strains can hold some water for an argument in their variations but either way 1 and 2 have almost similar results which answers our question on which is better option

  • @Daisy I agree, there would be a good argument. They aren't clones and they aren't the same strain. I see it as more of an comparative observation of potential. Hand water vs Hybrid Hydro. 4 plants, 2 hybrid hydro, and 2 hand water. Some stark differences. In addition to this grow, I used my notes from previous grows to compare avgs. There is easily a 20% increase in harvest quantity potential displayed using autopilot vs soil. I think there are similar differences in soil v coco as well.

  • The next piece of autopot equipment is pretty cool. You can turn your autopot into a multi pot DWC system.
    Its called the AquaPlate.

    You have to give autopot credit they really created a versatile growing device.

    Obviously there are environmental requirements, temp, water temp etc but thats with any dwc or hydro system. One thing you cant do with a DWC bucket is use it for anything other then that. This makes autopot a real one stop shop.

  • Wow, this is amazing. Thank you @docnraq

  • After Harvest I dove into the pot to check out the root ball and thought I would add this to this thread. This is the result of the airbase and airdome.
    Above is the bottom of the pot, top of the airbase. Bellow us the underside of the airbase, where the airdome and where the pot sits in the liquid.
    it is like a blanket of rootmass.
    The outside of the pot between the potsock and the pot is also shrouded in roots. It was beautiful. I really love the autopot. This grow was fantastic!