This is hopefully an easy to read and simple to understand guide to
building a 4 bucket Re-Circ Dwc system, although you can adjust it for
as many buckets as you need. Maintaining the system will follow. Please
note the control bucket in this tutorial is not lightproof but should be,
this is for demonstration purposes only.
- 5 x 20L buckets (preferably black)
- 4 x net-pots
- 8 x 13mm barbs
- 8 x matching grommets
- 8 x 4mm grommets (optional)
- 1 x 13mm tap
- 1 x 13mm tee
- 4 x 13mm to 4mm reducers (these can vary in style)
- 10m of 13mm hose
- 10m of 4mm black hose
- Large Water pump
- Large Air pump with 5 outlets or distributor
- 5 airstones
- Duct tape
- 19mm can be used just as effectively and with less chance of blockage or overflow and better water flow
- Suitable Drill Bits for your grommet size
- Stanley Knife/ Hole Cutter
- Small piece of sandpaper
- Glue Gun (optional)
Putting It Together
First step is light proofing your buckets if they are
not already black. You can use mylar or panda film stuck to them, paint
them black or tape them up like I have using reflective or any sort of
tape. If taping or using some sort of covering it has been my experience that you are best to drill the
Using a tape measure drill a hole about 2-3cm from the bottom of
Smooth out any rough edges with your sandpaper and insert
your grommet and straight barb. You may want to soak the barbs in hot
water first as they are quite tough to get in.
this process for each of the buckets you plan to house plants in ( not the brain though)
In the the fifth bucket, your "Control" bucket, drill 4
holes with grommets and barbs. I have drilled 5 holes see below
you wish to make your system easily expandable now is the time to drill
more holes in your control bucket. You can cap them with a small piece
of hose and a plug when not in use*
While you've got the
drill out use a small drill bit and make 2 holes about 5cm down from
the top of the bucket, scissors will work also. These will be for your
water and airlines. It's best to have these holes at a level which will
be about equal to halfway up to where the netpot will be sitting. If
you have the 4mm grommetts you can use them if not don't drill the hole
too big and let your hose fit in snugly.
* please note that the pic is for illustration purposes only and you can put your holes wherever*
the approximate final positon of your buckets and where your control
bucket will be, outside the room is best if not using a chiller. Cut 4
equal lengths of hose and join the buckets to the control, leave
yourself a little slack in the lines.
Here's where it can
get a little tricky. Put your water pump in the control bucket and
attach a small piece of hose, add a tee and another small piece of
hose, now whack on a tap and this is how we drain the system. You may
notice i have a stocking/light sock on my pump this acts as a filter
and should be cleaned regularly.
To the other part of the tee attach a piece of hose long enough to reach to the middle of your bucket layout. To the end of this hose attach your 13mm to 4mm splitter and run 4 equal lengths of 4mm hose to one of the small holes in the top of the buckets. I have the hose positioned so no water hits the net-pot.
Position your air pump and run 5 equal lengths of hose to all buckets including control, I highly recommend black hose but for this demo i only had clear stuff. Attach air stones. You may wish to glue or secure the airstones to the bottom of the buckets as they often float and/or move around. for this you can use the glue gun or attach a small weight (not lead).
Make a hole in the lid of your buckets using your Stanley knife, alternately you can use a hot knife or adjustable hole cutter if ya have one. You want the net pot to sit loosely in the hole. Use duct tape around the edges of the hole so now the net pot fits relatively snugly. This helps not to damage roots when adding/removing the pot.
You can make a mark in your control bucket at what you consider the full and top-up levels. This means what you think to be the highest level of water for the system and lowest. Now fill the system with water and wait for gravity to level the buckets out. Keep adding water until the you've reached your full mark, which for me is about an inch below where the bottom of the net pot would be. the pic is an example only! don't use ink unless it's a waterproof marker but just as easy to make a small cut in the bucket.
Fire up your pumps and check for leaks and that the re-circ is even amongst all buckets and steady. If you want to slow down or adjust the re-circ just attach a small piece of hose onto the tap and direct this into the control bucket. Opening or closing the tap will change the flow...
Pretty simple and works well.
A Few Extras
You might like to consider attaching overflows to your buckets to prevent any major floods or spills that can happen from roots or clayballs blocking your lines.
By attaching an elbow barb a few cms above your "full" level but BELOW your air and water lines you can easily avoid this problem.
Few ways to rig it up.
1. Attach your elbows in your bucket and drill another hole in your control.
2. Instead of attaching straight barbs at the bottom of your buckets attach a tee, place your elbow barb directly above and join the lines.
3. Attach all overflows to one line and run it back to the control. this method is sound because rarely does one bucket block and overflow let alone 2.
To be honest I don't bother anymore....
Hooking up a "main" rezzy to your control bucket will allow the system to maintain a set level and gives greater stability over pH.
To do this you need to add a float valve ( same as for your toilet cistern) to your control bucket and hook this to a large main rezzy. When the level in the control bucket drops the valve will open and automatically top it up from the main rezzy. Depending on how big your main rezzy is this means you dont have to mix nutes or feed your system for up to 3weeks.
Water Temp is a crucial thing in DWC and running multiple buckets makes the job even tougher. Adding a water chiller to your system gives you total control over water temp and adds increased stability to your op.
One of the best things i love about dwc is the root porn.
Of course buds are nice too.
But trees are best of all.
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