Hydroponics basin

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Hydroponics basin

Hydroponics basin

An artificial nutrient bath for growing plants. The nutrients pumps must work continuously; the plants will die if power is cut.

Base Stats

Market Value
230 Silver [Note]
Path Cost


1 ˣ 4
pass through only
Cover Effectiveness
Blocks Wind
Terrain Affordance
-70 W


Required Research
Skill Required
Construction 4
Work To Make
2,800 ticks (46.67 secs)
Resources to make
Steel 100 + Component 1
Deconstruct yield
Steel 50 + Component 0 - 1
Destroy yield
Steel 25 + Component 0 - 1

A hydroponics basin is a production building that provides a highly fertile area for growing crops fast and in areas that otherwise would not support them..


Hydroponics basins can be constructed once the Hydroponics research project has been completed. They require Steel 100 Steel, Component 1 Component, 2,800 ticks (46.67 secs) of work, and a Construction skill of 4.


A powered hydroponics basin acts as a terrain with 280% soil fertility, twice that of rich soil. The exact speed boost depends on the Fertility Sensitivity of the plant in question. For example, rice gets the full 280% effect, while potatoes won't benefit nearly as much.

Hydroponics basins are placed on the ground, and work both indoors and outdoors. In order to function, they require 70 watts of power, day and night. This is absolutely critical, as when unpowered, its plants will wither very quickly. They can't be uninstalled, only deconstructed for half their value as usual. Each basin has a cleanliness value of -3, making a large hydroponics farm a very "dirty" prospect. They do not short circuit in the rain.

Hydroponics only provides soil fertility, so all other plant growth conditions must be met. This isn't a problem in the growing season while outdoors, but in order to regulate temperature, you must grow indoors, under a mostly complete roof, and use buildings like a heater. The sun lamp is required to provide light in the absence of sunlight (due to the roof). Note that standing lamps aren't suitable for crop growth: plants require at least 51% light, while standing lamps provide a maximum of 50% lighting and do not "stack".

Colonists will automatically plant only 1 type of plant per basin. By default, this is rice. The following plants can be grown in hydroponics basins:


PollutionContent added by the Biotech DLC underneath does not lower the fertility of hydroponics. However, most plants will rapidly die if the terrain becomes polluted, even in a basin. Only psychoid plants and toxipotato plantsContent added by the Biotech DLC can grow in a basin under pollution. Of those, only psychoid receives any appreciable effect. (Toxipotatoes have a fertility sensitivity of 0%; they grow no faster in hydroponics than they do in the ground).



Hydroponics basins can almost triple (280%) the output compared to standard fields on the same footprint, making them very useful for indoor farming. However, this output comes at nearly triple the labour - hydroponics only increases growth rate, not harvest yield. So if growers and harvesters are already in high demand, then adding hydroponics won't help. Also, hydroponics has a much weaker effect on plants with lower fertility sensitivity, like potatoes.

Power is absolutely critical to use, as plants will quickly die without it. It is recommended to have batteries and/or alternative power sources in the case of breakdowns and conduit explosions. A long solar flare will kill all hydroponic crops, though colonists can harvest crops to prevent a total loss.

Not all crops may grow in hydroponics. The following plants can't be grown in a hydroponics basin:

When making a "greenhouse", you must consider other plant needs. Temperature is a key issue when growing crops; it can only be changed when indoors and under a roof. Once in a room, heaters and coolers are the best ways of regulating temperature. Sun lamps are required to grow most crops (all crops in the base game) under a roof, in the absence of sunlight. Sun lamps in particular consume a large amount of power, so that must be taken into consideration.

The DLC-exclusive plants FibercornContent added by the Ideology DLC and NutrifungusContent added by the Ideology DLC do not require a sun lamp to function, but their extremely low Fertility Sensitivity means that building hydroponics basins provides minimal benefit.

Sun lamp arrangement

It is possible to fit 24 hydroponics basins inside the "brightly lit" area of a sun lamp with the following configuration:

This Setup will use 4580W at day and 1680W at night. A Solar generator produces 1700W and a Geothermal generator 3600W, so three Solar Generators (and a few Batteries) or one Geothermal generator (plus a little help) are needed to power it.

If there is a roof over the hydroponics area, it may be wise to use the four empty tiles for roof support columns. This is not necessary if there are supports immediately outside the sun lamp's radius. These tiles could also be used for plant pots or art to boost growers' mood.


Alternatively, you can opt to put your hydroponics basins outdoors, using the natural light and heat outside to grow plants. This negates the controlled temperature and light level advantage of indoor greenhouses, but saves a great deal of power.

Usually, it is better to use more space to grow more crops, instead of using steel and power for hydroponics. However, larger fields are harder to defend and walk to, which can be a problem for certain base layouts. In addition, the amount of soil nearby may be a concern. For example, outdoor hydroponics are useful in an Extreme Desert, where temperature is high, but available soil is very low.

See also

Version history

  • 0.0.245 - Balanced down hydroponics growth rate.
  • 0.3.410 - Fertility increase and requires power or the plants die. You can also now set what to grow on them.
  • Since Beta 19 it now requires components to build, and the default crop was changed to rice (from potatoes). It also received a remodel.