Hello all. I’m located in southern Ontario Canada and am going to attempt to switch from soil to hydroponic rdwc system. I have a budget of 450 to 6 I can use to source the parts required as the systems available are drastically over priced and I would like the system to be able to support 8 to 16 plants. I know that’s a wide range but I would like to be able to use all the lights I’ve got which is enough to cover 70 - 75 sqft. I’m thinking of starting with 8 sites and once I’ve completed a run or two and know from experience the ins and outs rather than just the theory I can then add the rest. I’ll have to plan that into the design. I’ve been looking for a source for all the parts required and haven’t really found a place that has good prices on everything or even a place that I can order at least the bulk of the parts rather than source from multiple locations. Would anyone be able to tell me where i can find a place to source these parts that ship to southern Ontario for a reasonable price? Thank you for any and all helpful advice
It really depends on which parts you need I.e. how you design your system. I went through this in Canada and these are my experiences:
5 gal black buckets? Locally is cheapest
Big totes? Costco
32Gal square tall containers? ULINE
Up to 1 1/8 bulkhead fittings? Local grow shop
Pumps, net pots? Amazon.ca
Airstones & black airline? Local grow shop
2 or 3" bulkhead fittings? Online from the states, expensive.
Hose, grommets? Hardware store
Filters and filler housings? Ebay
Us northerners gotta shop around…
I don’t know much about what’s available around Ontario. Here are some comments that may be useful:
There are quite a few folk that have built-up systems completely DIY by sourcing parts from the big box stores. You could buy the individual pieces from the well-known RDWC vendors. But the prices would probably add up being more than a package deal if you were to source all Current Culture components from a single vendor individually, for instance.
If you are looking to save as much dough as possible, then you’d probably need to source stuff from different vendors, instead of a single vendor, in order to get the best bang for the buck.
There are a relatively wide range of options. Is there a certain set-up/style you are looking into / caught your eye? Are there certain techniques within RDWC you’d want to explore. For instance, using air-stones versus water-fall versus need-wheel versus ??? Bucket size, DWC vs RDWC, cooling requirements, etc? SOG/SCROG? This will help folk point you towards specific options.
Here is a recent system the @SquirtleSquad built-up :
Here is something I had put together using buckets designed for RDWC:
Here is a small system @Daddywronglegs built:
Take a look in the General Indoor Growing category as there are many DIY set-ups, too.
Bubble buckets for the win. 8 black buckets with lids, a couple of pond air pumps and some air stones. Cheap DWC that just “works”. Depending on how warm it is where you live you may need some way to keep the solution temperature down below 68f to stop algae forming.
I’d go with 12-27 gal hdx tough totes from home Depot.
Depends how big you grow your plants. 12gal run you about $6 per USD. 27 gal are about $8-$10.
I use 1" bulkhead fittings which work well for me. I like the botanicare ones. You will want 4 per for good flow.
So to start you want 9 totes and 37 bulkheads. 4 per site x 8 = 32 and 5 for the control.
This will run you $137 for 12 gal and $153 for 27 gal.
Get a roll of polypropylene tubing 1" I’d source this at hydrostore. It runs about $1/ft or so. 25ft be good enough depends how far you space them. I like having them in columns of 2 with 4 per column for an 8 site and the control at the end with the center of the control on the center between the two columns. If that makes sense.
Position the bulkheads so there’s one on the center of each side.
Fittings you will need 4 cross tees. 7 regular tees. 8 elbows. All 1"
For the return manifold I use 1" with 1/2" branches which deliver water back to totes via a waterfall. I use polypropylene for this as well but I wish I had used pvc for it’s rigidity. This gets connected to a pump that sits in the control.
For an 8 site you’re looking at $300 tops with a pump. 16 site be about $500-$550 USD
Wow. Thanks everyone. Theres a lot of solid information here. Can’t thank you guys enough. Really i have been cross referencing between websites for a lot longer than I had planned so this will be a big time saver for me. During my research I noticed that quite a few of the new systems seem to be sporting 3" on the water lines. Would it be worth the extra money to install the larger line? Is clogging as serious as some make it out to be? Perhaps the 1" with a oversized drip leg and a strainer ? Thanks again everyone. Much appreciated.
Sorry. I also have a new 300gph in line pump with a filter. It was originally from a above ground pool that showed up damaged. Thanks
You got this right. Large fittings are hard to get & they are expensive. Uniseals etc . . .
And as a tip, my 2" Uniseals didn’t last through my 2nd grow. I reconfigured after the 1st & the seals started leaking after 6 weeks & I had to switch the whole system to coco. And I don’t regret it . . .
For gravity return, that has been the general consensus to help avoid root clogging, water level issues, and to ensure sufficient volume water is returned to the pump. Though, there are plenty of examples of systems where folk have used smaller diameter returns successfully. Bigger is better but also more expensive.
They are expensive for whatever reason. Exponentially more expensive the bigger the fitting, it seems.
This is what I had used for the 3" inch returns (bulkhead with tee):
These are the union fittings to the tee which can also be had at the big box stores:
And, end caps as needed and also available at the big box stores:
This is why I like the 27 gal totes. There’s enough room for roots to grow without being sucked in. It still happens from time to time but I just pull them put. No harm. This is why I have multiple drains back to control.
What I don’t like about the system I described and use is the water level difference between the control tote and the rest. After this grow I’m going to add a couple more inlets to the control. Maybe that will help water get back to the control because that’s how my 12 gal system is and it drains back better and relatively the pump is bigger at 500GPH
The pump for the 27 gal system is 1000GPH and I throttle it with a ball valve and that does the trick. This just allows me more time between water top offs
2" bulkheads are like 10x the price of 1" and I wouldn’t go uniseals route. Way too many stories of leaks. Only time I’ve had leaks with bulkheads is due to shittt polypropylene piping being too easy to put on the barbed end and causing leaks there. Nothing a screw clamp couldn’t fix although that’s an added expense. Just wish manufacturers could keep tighter tolerances. The tubing I bought years ago for my 27 gal system was rubbery and needed Vaseline to insert. Tubing I bought a year ago when I did a 12 gal system was harder and easier to slide on. Can you guess which sysyem leaks? They both say hydrofarm on them as well.
@MVB I’m building my dwc and its costing me $100 for 4 chamber
Hey Kuz, is that all in? Or is that for the piping and chambers? I’ve been slowly going through the information here and trying to track down affordable fittings,air pump etc. Dont think I could pull it off for less than 4 and change for a 8 chamber. Thats if i pick up a different pump and skip using the inline i have now at 300gph. I think I’ll need 600gph min to get two full water changes an hour with the 27gal(30gal) totes and I think a 30 or 40 gal res. I have a 40gal water softener tank I should probably add in as a add back tank setup a float set up to keep it topped with ph’d water and use it to mix the nutrients and let them stabilise before use. What are the specifics of the system you’re building? Line sizes and chambers etc? I’m definitely liking this diy aspect. Best hobby ever lol