DIY 4 Pot RDWC system

Hey all,
Im making my own 4 pot system based on one I’ve found on YouTube…
But i need some help on sizes of pipes il need to get good even levels in the buckets after a huge root ball develops (worried about roots blocking pipes and flooding my room?) and what size air pump i need for the 4 pots? Water pump? Res size? And is it reasonably safe from leaks if i use flexible pipe for the res so i can zip up the tent at night but have the bucket outside the grow room?
Heres what i am looking at replicating


I already have bought 4x 25l buckets
Any good suggestions for cheap but reliable equipment suitable for my set up? And im clueless on what pipes il need if someone knows or if someone cares to measure the pipes on their expensive systems please :wink:

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Oh boy, a topic near and dear to my heart.

I too am rocking a DWC system I built myself, and here’s what I learned:

  • Bottom recirculation pipes almost can’t be too big. I have 1" pipes right now and my pump still out paces my level equalization. I’m finding as long as you match your pump rate to your equalization rate, you’ll be ok. So far I’ve had some roots go down the pipes, but never to the point of clogging, and it was easy to persuade them back out.

  • You almost can’t have too much oxygen. I’d get the highest GPH air pump you can bear to have in your grow space and run as much into each bucket as you can.

  • Leaks happen at the joints, obviously. If it doesn’t leak with a full res and you’re not constantly moving junk, you’re good to go. As long as you’re not moving things around, the flexibility of the pipe shouldn’t be an issue. All my pipes are flexible and my running systems are all waterproof.

In terms of products, I think I’m running some cheap rubber hose I found on AMZN, Goodyear brand I believe, 1" on the bottom, 3/4" on the top. I’m running super aggressive 500gph pumps, I need to cut that drastically down, at least by half. I’m running Vivosun air pumps, I just got the big 65W one that I need to install.

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Thats the kind of detail I was looking for thank you :grin:!

Sorry im busy right now so i cant reply like i want too at the mo, but il be having a search around the amazon rainforest for the necessities later and il post what i end up considering il buy…

And if i think of anything else hope you dont mind if i ask follow up questions…
Id love to see photos of your pot set up too :wink:

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No worries, always happy to help. I know there are a few active DWC folk who like to DIY as well, so I’m sure they’ll be long to chime in soon enough.

My grow is pretty well documented in my grow thread: PFFs Indoor RDWC grow journal

I’m not pretending I have anything figured out, and I’m still running into pH/algae issues I’m tackling, so maybe use my set up as an example of some of the things that can go wrong? :smile:

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I just started my first run with 55 gal totes. I ran a 5 gal bucket first. Worked out great! I got about 3/4 of a pound from it.

I never changed my water, just added some when it got low. I think i might have gotten slightly better results if I changed it out.

Here is a of of what I have now.

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the guy at PA Hydroponics has a great youtube channel where he explains how to build the systems that he has tweaked through the years. He also sells the units, but he doesn’t mind sharing information either. Here is one of his videos, check out the other ones on his site also:

here is another one:

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Thanks for the tips all,

Im preparing to build the bigger system this week. This is my mini system i made so i have more time to build the 4 pot instead of rushing it while my babies suffered in the propagator too long stressing me out

*Using 14cm netpots, 1 litre netpots, will transfer
these to final bucket sys

*960 litre per/hour air pump and 2 ball air stones (8L per min per stone in mini shared dwc) also will be using in final system as 4l air per min per bucket)

Will have more equipment this week then build for next week hopefully.

Heres my temporary set up

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I was recently in his shop, looking at that system. His guys are doing some very nice work building them. I think he is bundling a tent and system together.
Years ago I did a lot of working with pneumatics and ink handling systems, and these look very professional, tight, and well crafted.

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yeah actually pricing out all of the parts for these systems as he describes them, with ordering and shipping etc., it doesn’t come out to a whole lot cheaper than what he is offering them for, and he does seem to have them tweaked and well put-together.

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Yeah, if I had to do my RDWC system again knowing what I know now, I’d just buy one of his systems. I spent more money than it cost and ended up with a crappier version of what he’s selling, haha.

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Hey pufferfishfriend, I’m more of a build it myself kind of grower. I always had killer good info to follow when I was building my Krusty Freedom Buckets, (2002-2004) all I had was some tools, and a will, it was ALL Krustys work I imitated. I did need to change a few items, as I could not source some items.
It made me realize MANY years ago to never put your reservoir in your tent, unless your running a killer good chiller system. 68F to 72F is where solution levels need to be as any higher in temps, start springtails and what not critters growing in the solution. PLUS a reservoir should have a some cleaning maintenance done to it once a month minimum, IMHO.
So do not beat on yourself, just figure out a work around and fix it.

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I’m working on getting a chiller into my system too because I’ve reached the same conclusions you did. I was following the PA hydro design posted above. :smiley:

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Yeah im defo a DIY kinda guy too,
I like the readymade systems there are pretty ones, but wheres the fun in that? Hense why i started this topic :slight_smile:

Im in it to save a bit money, but essentially just to expand on my hobbie and have the fun of customising my system and having spare parts when required. My next investment is a water chiller too, im using my ac aimed at the bucket it keeps it around 66-70f most days. But i imagine the water chiller is healthier on the electricity bill too :rofl:

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I kind of agree. I am 6 months into growing and fighting issues that I wouldn’t be having if I just bought a ready made proven system. But you’re right, it has been fun!

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What problems have you been encountering? This will be my second DWC.
My first one was a single plant in a 33l bubbler bucket i have a grow diary and its beautiful so far.

No issues at all so i thought id expand on it to a 4 pot but im interested on what to watch out for :stuck_out_tongue:

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Right now, algae from non-light proof reservoirs, unbalanced pumps and high reservoir temperatures. Before, pH swings, leaks, difficulty obtaining bulkheads that are big enough, not enough oxygen in the water just to name a few off the top of my head.

I’m learning a lot though and understand my system in a way that I probably wouldn’t if I just bought it.

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