varieties of lettuce growing on styrofoam boxes with SNAP Hydroponics

SNAP Setup: How to Set Up a Simple Hydroponics System Using SNAP Nutrients

Quick start guide on how to assemble a SNAP Hydroponics system. This guide contains clear pictures and comprehensive video demonstrations to compliment the user manual that comes with every purchase of SNAP Nutrient Solution for Hydroponics.

A. Establish the Seedlings

Green, healthy butter crunch lettuce seedlings.
Green and healthy butter crunch lettuce eight days after sowing in pure sterlized coco peat.

Materials Needed

  1. Sowing tray – shallow box/basin with holes for drainage at the bottom
  2. Growing media – aged or factory processed coconut coir dust (a.k.a coco peat) or charcoaled (carbonized) rice hull (CRH) or their mixture; saw dust (possible with the old stock not the new ones but not yet tested), fine sand (can be combined with coir dust and or charcoaled rice hull)
  3. Seeds (buy from your local garden center, gardening sections of big hardware stores, bookstores, agri-vet centers)
  4. Watering solution (water with SNAP nutrient solution)


  1. Fill the sowing tray with a layer of the growing media
    (about 1 inch thick).
  2. Level the media.
  3. Scatter the small seeds uniformly and thinly (the amount depending on your need).
  4. Water liberally as needed (Expect germination in 3 to 5 days).
  5. Grow the seedlings for 10 days before transferring to individual growing cups called seedling plugs).

Video Guide

B. Prepare the Seedling Plugs

SNAP Hydroponics seedling plug.

Materials Needed

  1. Styrofoam cups (8 to 10 oz)
  2. Cutter or knife or hack saw blade
  3. Growing media
  4. Seedlings
  5. BBQ stick or a similar implement


  1. Prepare the Styrofoam cups as shown. Use a knife or cutter to make 6 to 8 narrow slits (about 1 inch long at the side and ½ inch at the bottom).
  2. Fill (about half full) the prepared holding cups with the growing media
  3. Transplant the seedlings from the sowing tray. “Dig” a hole in the middle of the growing media in the cup. Use a stick to uproot the seedlings from the sowing tray with care. Transfer only one seedling per cup. Make the transferred seedling stand firmly by replacing the “dug” media to the base of the seedling.
  4. Water the seedling plug carefully and lightly.

Video Guide

C. Prepare the Growing Boxes (a.k.a growbox)

A typical SNAP Hydroponics growbox.

Materials Needed

  1. Styrofoam boxes (boxes of imported grapes)
  2. 20 ⨉ 30 inch plastic bag (to be used a liner to prevent leaks or see pages of the nutrient solution)
  3. Tin can of big evaporated milk with lid opened by the side.
  4. Seedlings.
  5. Masking tape or packing tape.


  1. Use the sharp edge of the tin can to make 5 to 8 perfect circular holes (depending on the box size and as equidistant and as far apart from one another) on the box’s lid/cover.
  2. Lay out the plastic bag on to the box’s bottom half to make it hold the nutrient solution; tape the edges onto the rim of the box to prevent the side lining from collapsing.

Video Guide

D. Running the SNAP Hydroponics System

growing boxes arranged neatly on a bench on an east facing side of a house
SNAP Hydroponics set up in an east facing side of a house.

Materials Needed

  1. Seedling plugs
  2. SNAP nutrient solution
  3. Growing boxes
  4. Optional benches or stand where the growing boxes will be placed under a shelter
  5. Rain shelter or roof awning facing east for the earliest and longest sunlight possible


  1. Arrange the growing boxes on a bench under a rain shelter or roof awning facing east with no obstruction.
  2. Fill each growing box with about 10 liters of tap water.
  3. Add 25 ml of SNAP A to each box with water then stir well.
  4. Add equal amount of SNAP B to each box then stir well.
  5. Put back the cover of the box.
  6. Place the seedling plugs on the holes of the cover.
  7. See to it that the bottom of the cups is touching the nutrient solution at most by ½ inch deep, not any deeper. If not, add more water until the desired level is reached.
  8. Examine the boxes for leaks and make some troubleshooting.
  9. Visit the set up every morning as early as you can to catch any insect larva that may feed on the plants (the larva is visible in the early morning after that they tend to hide already and harder to find).

Video Guide

Expect the nutrient solution level to go down when the plants are much bigger than when they were still small seedlings. Replenish the solution when more than one inch from the cup bottom has been depleted. However, NEVER allow the level of the solution to reach the bottom of the cup. Replenish until about ⨉ inch below the cup’s bottom. Please see the visual guide below.

Animated illustration of plant roots growing into the nutrient solution.
Replenish the nutrient solution when the nutrient level becomes too low.

It is more practical to prepare the nutrient solution in a drum and then just distribute the prepared solution to each growing box and use the rest of the solution for replenishing.

If you have any questions other questions you may visit our FAQ page which answers in detail frequently asked questions about SNAP Hydroponics and getting started.

This guide was adapted from “HOW TO SET-UP SNAP HYDROPONICS” by Dr. Primitivo Jose A. Santos and Dr. Eureka Teresa M. Ocampo of  UPLB Institute of Plant Breeding-CSC-CA, UP Los Baños. You may download a copy of the SNAP User Manual in the downloads page.

Happy growing!

32 thoughts on “SNAP Setup: How to Set Up a Simple Hydroponics System Using SNAP Nutrients

  1. Thank you for this informative web page. Do you sell or if not could you please tell me where I could buy these items
    Digital LCD PH Meter TDS EC Water PPM Filter Pool Hydroponic
    as well as the nutrients.
    Thank you

  2. You can buy them from online stores. I bought mine from Amazon.

    1. Thank you Marco, I had hoped you had these in stock. Thanks again

  3. Very useful information especially for me, a hydroponics beginner. Thank you very much.
    Tottie G.

    1. You’re welcome. I’m glad you find it useful.

  4. […] growers has been actively seeking and picking up these piles of styrofoam boxes for use in their SNAP Hydroponics setups or for sale to other enthusiasts. In doing so, SNAP growers not only keeping trash off the streets, […]

  5. Hi, i’m planning to drop by IPB and IRRI and I am planning to buy supplies for a hydroponics setup, is there a shop in IPB that sells coco coir and other materials? BTW, is it possible if you can include the full schedule of the IPB buses (UPLB – IPB v/v trip times) in your “How to get there” guide?


    1. Supplies/equipment aren’t available in IPB. The shuttle arrive in the morning at 8 AM to ferry student and staff to IPB. The shuttle leaves IPB at 5PM to ferry student and staff back to the campus.

      1. Thanks for the info!

  6. hi Marco Enrico i just want to ask ano po ba pagkakaiba ng SNAP A at SNAP B nutrient solutions?
    ano po nasa SNAP A at SNAP B? i mean ingredients nlang dalawa? 🙂 😀

  7. Hi,

    Online lang ba nabibili to? Or meron ba sa UPLB- IPB mismo? And magkano?
    Sorry daming tanong. Nagstart kasi father ko mag hydrophonics and wanted to know kung mas mura ba pag sa UPLB mismo bibili (if ever meron).
    Thanks sa sasagot 🙂

    1. May mabibili po sa UPLB-IPB. Mas mura and can be purchased in bulk sa UPLB-IPB for authorized resellers. To become an authorized reseller kailangan lang mag-attend at makumpleto yung SNAP Training sa UPLB-IPB.

  8. Hi Marco Enrico, magstart palang ako sa hydroponics kasi fascinated ako sa sistemang ito. Napansin ko lang at matanong, sa germination sa video tutorial mo hindi ka gumamit ng treated water meaning may nutsol kundi tap water lang sa germination stage tama po ba

    1. Hello rin po sir. Tama po kayo hindi po treated yung tubig na gamit ko doon sa video. Ang SNAP po ay designed for municipal water. Katunayan puede pong mag-fail yung setup kung masyadong malinis yung treatment ng tubig.

  9. Another question po, reusable pa ba yong mga coco coir meaning after germinating seeds and transferring them to the growing cup, pwede pa bang gamitin ulit yong mga coco coir for another batch thank you.

    1. Opo, puede pong i-reuse yung coco. Basta siguraduhin lang po na hindi ito contaminated, i.e. hind po pineste o nagkasakit yung previous na batch na gumamit nung coco.

      1. Thank you po sa kasagutan ninyo sa dalawa kong tanong. Now time for me to start growing lettuce para makapagsalad na ako anytime na gusto ko lol

  10. Wala pong anuman. Happy growing po!

  11. May schedule po ba kayo kng kailan yung susunod na seminar ng snap?

    1. Nagko-conduct po ng seminar dalawang beses isang buwan. Pwede pong magpadala ng email sa IPB-UPLB para sa karagdagang impormasyon: ipbextension.uplb[at]

  12. How about ppm level? Thanks

    1. No need to monitor ppm or anything else. Just setup the system as instructed and it will do its job.

  13. Hi Marco; beginner lang ako. Available na ba ACE hardware garden supply ung SNAP solution? Are there any other brands of nutrient solution in the PH market?

    1. Hello po sir available sa Ace sir.

      Hindi pa po commercial product yung SNAP Hydroponics sir. Kaya hindi po ito makikita sa mga karaniwang outlets.

      Mabibili po ang SNAP Nutrient Solution sa mga SNAP Authorized Resellers. Sila po yung mga nag-train sa IPB-UPLB.

      Marami pong mga SNAP Authorized Resellers na nagbebenta ng SNAP sa mga online outlets (Lazada/Shopee/FB Marketplace). Para po makatiyak na sa Authorized Reseller bumibili, maari po ninyong hanapin ang kanilang certificate mula sa IPB.

      Imbitahan ko po kayong sumali sa SNAP Hydroponics Growers. Baka sakali pong may SNAP Authorized Reseller na makakatulong sa inyo doon.

      Maari rin po kayong mag-message sa Tutulungan po namin kayong maghanap ng genuine SNAP Nutrient Solution.

      Gumagawa po ako ng unofficial list ng authorized resellers paki-antabay po sir.

      Maramin pong ibang brand o formulation ng nutrient solution dito sa atin. Inspired by the success of SNAP at demand sa hydroponics nutrient solution marami pong gumagawa ng sariling formulation. Paki-check na lang po yung reviews ng product nila.

  14. Hello po. Pwede po bang lagpasan ang 25ml snap a and b para tumaas ang tds. Ang tds po ng kamatis is up to 3500 ppm kaya gusto ko po sana dagdagan ng snap ang working solution. Pwede ko po ba gawn ito? Salamat po.

    1. Hindi na po ninyo kailangang i-monitor ang TDS or pH kung SNAP Nutrient Solution for Hydroponics (from IPB, UPLB) ang gamit. Dinesenyo po ang SNAP para gawing simple ang pagha-hydroponics—Simple Nutrient Addition Program.

  15. bro sa NFT setup ilan ang distance nung mga butas bro dun sa square type na pipe?

  16. Good day Bro! safe ba gamitin ito kung may fish tank na kasama sa hydrophonic set-up. May red tilapya kasi at fresh water ulang yung set up ko. Thanks in advance sa feedback.

    1. Good day sir! Yes, it’s safe.

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