Pioneering Crop Performance Since 1984

(800) 458-6543

The Environment and Us

Water and land conservation are more important now than ever before. Seventy-five percent of all fresh water is used for agriculture, yet these fresh water supplies are being over allocated, depleted and contaminated at an alarming rate. At the same time, more than 1 million acres of prime farmland are destroyed every year by suburban sprawl.

It is clear that our current model of agriculture cannot be sustained. We need a smarter approach to farming - one where less land is used, and where water is conserved, reused and recirculated at every point of use. Recirculating hydroponic systems are helping us achieve these goals.

Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants in water, rather than in soil. Recirculating hydroponic systems conserve, reuse and recirculate water and minerals. For many high volume consumable crops, these systems are by far the most efficient method of plant cultivation in the world.

  • They use 1/10th of the water-no water is lost to evaporation.
  • They use a fraction of the minerals.
  • They use 1/3 to 1/4 of the space that traditional agriculture uses.
  • They have no media to dispose of.
  • They have little or no waste to contaminate the environment.

Sun Circle, Inc., dba American Hydroponics, is a leader in the field of recirculating hydroponic systems in the United States. We have been an original equipment manufacturer of hydroponic systems since 1984. Located in Arcata, California, we employ 20 people in the manufacture of hydroponic systems. Our systems, nutrients and amendments are sold by more than 300 retailers worldwide. More than 100 commercial growers in 8 countries use our growing systems, nutrients, designs and support to achieve excellent ROI with vegetable/herb production.

The pictures you see below are proof that hydroponic systems are an excellent solution for both the environment and the agricultural industry. Please call us at 1.800.458.6543 to discuss how we can work together to apply the benefits of hydroponics to your unique situation.

Thank you for your interest.

Michael Christian, President

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The NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) type of hydroponic system uses no soil. Instead, the roots of the plants thrive in a mineral solution charged with oxygen. On the right, this basil bunch will grow in a root cube for another week until it is 18" tall. When the basil is harvested from this hole, another plant will be put in it's place and the cycle will continue. The basil bunch is packaged for superior freshness - as a living product with roots attached.

We make this channel you see here out of 100% virgin FDA approved plastic (same material milk jugs are made of) and can be recycled with other HDPE products after use (20 year warranty). 

Here, a tomato plant thrives on just water and minerals. Notice that the roots are white and healthy. The plant is only 4 months old and has already produced 20 lbs of tomatoes.



Although this basil greenhouse contains 4 bays and 12,000 plants, it is surprisingly labor efficient. Using overhead trolleys, one person can move all the basil you see on the right in just one day. In addition, everything is waist high, so no bending over is required to tend to the plants.

On the right is a hydroponic cucumber greenhouse. Notice that these large plants need only small channels for optimum growth. With hydroponics, plants do not need to develop large root systems to support themselves or to seek nutrients.The nutrients are delivered directly to the roots at exactly the right rate. Support wires hold the plants up to keep the fruit off the ground. Since these systems are not soil dependent, they can be installed just about anywhere there is sun.


These growers produce 60,000 bunches of basil a week on 1.75 acres. Since all the water and nutrients flow down channels, every drop of water is used and recycled. This type of system is perfect for lettuce. In the US, roughly 7.2 million heads of lettuce are consumed per day. Imagine how much water we would save by growing them hydroponically!

This hydroponic tomato system uses perlite grow bags as a growing media for roots. The NFT pepper system below uses no growing media - only a mineral solution charged with oxygen. Both types of systems provide excellent vegetable production. When the crops are finished, the NFT system is much easier to clean and replant since there is no growing media involved.


No matter where they're used, NFT hydroponic systems generate superior produce. 

Outside, these strawberry plants thrive. Their distance from the ground allows for better air circulation, so there's no need for methyl bromide soil sterilization.



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The Anatomy of a Recirculating Hydroponic System...
Recirculating Cross Section

letter-A Nutrient Reservoir -- Located at the lowest point of the system. Contains the correct amount of minerals in solution to feed plants exactly what they need.

letter-B Pump -- Continuously pumps nutrient solution to system.

letter-C PVC pipe -- Delivers solution to top of growing channel.

letter-D Microtube -- Emits exact amount of solution (one quart per minute)

letter-E Nutrient Film -- Plant roots sit in mineral rich nutrient solution that flows down the sloped, flat bottomed channel with the help of gravity.

letter-F Collector -- Collects solution and drains back into reservoir to be recirculated.

letter-G Float valve -- As water is transpired by plants, float valve lets in fresh water.

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If you have any questions at all regarding what you see here, please ask them. The world needs a smarter approach to farming and we need it now.