Due to the large number of folks who claim they have found bubblers difficult and troublesome, I would like to try and address some of the reasons they dont love the initial experience. There are many ways to screw up a bubbler grow. Tops on the list is using too small a nute volume, which most folks in a bucket experience.
The problem with buckets, besides having to lift the lid off to change nutes, is that the amount of nutes is so small that evaporating a single gallon out of it, which can happen in one day under 250watts, will cause significant nute overconcentration. This will also create large pH swings. Also, with such a small volume of nutes, you will need to change out the whole mix very frequently, which many folks wont do because it is such a pain to lift the lid off the bucket. Then they will have pH problems, root rot problems, and plant health problems.
Another problem with buckets is the nute temperature can more easily rise too high, which also causes root rot. Another problem with buckets is light goes through them, causing algae growth, which can lead to nute and root problems. Another problem with buckets is you usually need more than one, which means lots of maintenance work.
Here is my humble contribution to what I think it takes to succeed in a bubbler grow:
First, use a tub that is large enough to delay the need for a change out of nutes to a 10-14 day interval. This will also mean your daily water loss will not be more than 10% of the total nute volume, which means your pH will remain in a safe range (5.3 to 6.3), and your tds will not go too high.
Next, use a nute strategy that involves topping only with water, instead of constantly mixing and adding fresh nutes for the topping solution. I suggest General Hydro nutes at 0grow-8micro-16bloom in milliliters per gallon as the mix for established, 12" tall clones with well developed root systems. For smaller plants and newly rooted clones under fluoros, I suggest 0-5-10.
If you use this system you MUST replace the entire nute mix once you have added an equal volume of water to the tub. So if you are adding 1 gallon per day to a 10 gallon tub, you replace everything after 10 days and start with a fresh batch of nutes.
To prevent algae growth, either use a non-transparent tub, or put a black garbage bag, or black plastic over it.
Here are my recommended nute volume guidelines. For every 50watts of light, provide 2-3 gallons of res. So for a 250w light you want a 10-15 gallon tub.
For every 10 gallons of res, use 2-3 watts of airpump, and use a long stone, not a small one, and not a plastic one. So for a 250w light a 3watt airpump is sufficient. The only source of potential leak problems is if your airline comes off your airpump, and hangs below the water level outside the tub, so be sure it is well attached, use tape if necessary, or an antisiphon fitting. To keep the airpump quiet, hang it from a string, and the pump itself should be higher than the water line, again to eliminate the possibility of syphoning water out of the tub. One of the great things about bubblers is that a pump failure will not kill the plants, because the roots are always wet.
Use only one res per light, so you dont have multiple reservoirs to maintain. Use multiple plants per container, instead of separate containers per plant.
Use an aquarium water pump to drain your tub, so you dont have to lift the lid off the tub and move the plants. Tubs full of water get very heavy at 8 pounds per gallon.
I hope this helps new folks get off to a good start, and folks who have had problems to solve their problems. Bubblers can be very easy to maintain, and can produce very healthy plants. Also, bubblers are very easy to build, using wall mart parts, and do not take up as much height as ebb and flow systems, and do not have any plumbing that can leak.