Bad pump? Mine generally failed when they were trying to start up. I could take it out and whack it and it would run, but it wouldn't come on reliably while unattended with a timer. My RDWC runs its pump constantly so no such startup issue exists. Also the pump draws from the control bucket with a cooling coil in it and then pushes that water to waterfalls in each tub, thereby both oxygenating and agitating the water in each tubsite. Why am I explaining all this? Because I've been through similar failures as you describe and I went through a process of driving out complexity, increasing reliability and taking advantage of a final failsafe feature of RDWC; the plants will stay alive for a day in the tubs even without water circulation, long enough for me to discover the problem and address it. If the pump is reliable, ebb n flood tables work fine. Ya just gotta check it every day to make sure it's getting its water. NFT runs continuously, same as RDWC. I've seen some that were cooled and others that weren't. Not much failsafe time in case of failure it clogging, though. Aeroponic systems have the intermittent pump issue again- and all but zero buffer time to discover that it isn't working. No failsafe. I had terrible luck with root rot in DWC, so I never tried to pursue it further; I just went straight to RDWC. A system I set up for a friend with medical needs is as simple and robust as I could make it; ebb n flood tables get filled once a day on a timer. Plants are in 3 gallon buckets full of Tupur. They'll go an extra day without complaint and there's plenty of buffer to help ensure the plants survive a dry spell. Hope this helps!