PNH Builds an Aeroponics Cloning / Seedling Bucket - CHEAP!

You can buy a similar setup to this, but I’ll show you how to build a simple but super successful aeroponics bucket for about $20. I use these for starting clones and growing out seedlings, which I can then transfer to another aeroponics system, a different hydroponics system, or into any growing medium I want.

Here’s what you need:


Aeroponics bucket includes:

  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Bucket lid with rubber seal to make it waterproof
  • Small fountain pump with 1/2 inch barbed adapter
  • About 2 feet of 1/2 inch tubing
  • (3) 1/2 inch barbed tees
  • (1) 1/2 inch barbed straight
  • (10) 360° degree spray nozzles
  • Small amount of plumber’s putty
  • Plastic translucent cake cover (perfect size for a humidity dome)

Tools:

  • Drill
  • 2 inch hole cutter
  • 1/4 inch drill bit
  • Hole punch or tiny drill bit
  • Tubing cutter (or scissors)
  • Tape measure
  • 12" circle of cardboard or paper
  • Snips or scissors
  • Pen

For this bucket, I’m making a 12 site lid. I’ve got another one with 15 sites, and it’s possible to put even more in the lid, but 12 is the max if you use 2 inch net cups.

Cut paper or cardboard to fit inside the top of the lid like this:

Lay out and trace the pattern (it’s easiest if you do the next several steps while the lid is on top of the bucket)

Find the center point of each site

Use a sharp / pointed object to push down at each center point, being sure to clearly mark the bucket lid underneath. I used the 1/4 inch drill bit to create the marks (by hand)

After you cut out all your sites, now cut a small hole with the 1/4 inch bit near one of the sites, but not too close. This is for the pump’s electric cord. It should look like this:

Now take your scissors or a knife and connect the cable hole to the larger hole. You’ll be able to pull the cable up through the larger hole and over to the smaller hole.


OK - now let’s make the manifold for the pump!

I found that (2) 9 inch lengths of tubing fit nicely inside the bucket. You can go a little shorter if you prefer. Connect those 2 pieces to 2 of the 1/2 inch barbed tees.

See those 2 small pieces of tubing? Use them to connect the 3rd barbed tee to the other 2. You want them to fit tight, with the ends of that 3rd tee touching the ends of the other 2. Those 2 pieces of tubing are about 7/8 of an inch, which left no extra room. Perfect! It should look like this:

Now connect the manifold to the barbed fitting on the pump using the 1/2 inch barbed straight, and 2 more pieces of tubing. These 2 pieces are about 1.25 inches. Again, you want the barbed pieces to touch inside the tubing so they don’t sag or lean. It should look like this:

Alright, we’re almost finished! Get your drill and that tiny drill bit and make the holes for the spray nozzles. They make a hole punch for these nozzles, but I can’t find mine. If you use a drill bit, just make sure it’s small - you want the nozzle to fit very tight, then screw in each of the nozzles.

Here’s a pic with the lid on. I have a 2 inch net cup in there, but I usually only use cloning collars in my cloning / seedling bucket. You can also see how the cable comes out and is sealed with the plumber’s putty.

Here’s the bucket with the cake cover (humidity dome) on it.

And here’s the bucket in action:

ezgif-6-2baf77cf05d8

For seedlings and clones, I start with RO water. To that, I add 1/2 tsp/gal of Botanicare CalMag Plus and 1/4 tsp/gal each of GH FloraMicro 3 part. With this setup, I get 100% success rate for clones. My seedlings also do extremely well in the bucket. I used to start my seedlings in jiffy pellets, but this bucket gives me more insight and control, and speeds things up nicely.

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Nice build. I use a diy bubble cloner. Yours is more high tech :call_me_hand:

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This is sick! I have a bubble cloner myself, been looking into a cheap way to maybe convert to an aeroponic cloner and I think this method might work. Thanks for sharing!

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Thank you, @Foreigner. I’ve definitely never thought of mine as “high tech”! But the bottom line is, it works. And I know your bubble cloner works, too - or you would’ve changed it already, right?!

Excellent! That’s exactly why I made the thread! If you have questions, please let me know. Otherwise - good luck!

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If I were to do it over I would make some changes but it works so I don’t care :joy:

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I’ve thought about building a bubble/aero cloner, mostly for those strains that take 2wks or longer to root. I’ve had more failures due to mold or stem rot with those stubborn strains when using rooters/peat pellets under a dome. Or if I want to try and root a branch that is in bloom.

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Here are 4 rather important clones that I didn’t want to risk putting into jiffy pellets, so I put them in my 15 site bucket…

Day 1:

Day 12:

From there, I transferred them to solo cups / organic soil. Not only was it 4/4, but you can’t get that root structure in that amount of time in jiffy pellets.

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Any ideas in how to reduce the overall height? The pre made 24 site clone box I bought is the square kind, so not as tall as the 5 gal bucket.

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Smaller or low profile pump. Check pet stores (make sure to get the right size tubing) and hardware stores (fountain/ponds) for pumps too, not just the grow shops.

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Use a 3.5 gallon bucket. I use them in my ebb and flow grow bucket system, and the bucket lid net pots fit the top of the 3.5 gallon bucket the exact same as the 5 gallon bucket. Both are 12 inch in diameter. The 3.5 gallon is 11 inches tall, and the 5 gallon bucket is 14.5 inches tall.

If you go with the 3.5 gallon bucket, you should not use the 1/2 barbed straight that I used in the build above. Just connect the manifold directly to the barbed adapter on the pump using about an inch of tubing.

Edit: Wait, after reading @Seamonkey84’s reply, which he posted while I was still writing my reply, I thought you were referring to the overall height of the bucket setup. If it’s the pump / manifold, the store bought manifolds are not as tall as mine.

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Nice this is great, I should have specified I was hoping to reduce the overall height of the pump assembly to be able to use the pre-molded 24 site box I already have, wasn’t sure if there was a way to like lay the pump on its side and use a 90 degree bend from the barbed fitting or something, but @Seamonkey84 mentioned lower profile pumps, seems like that’s the best way to go. I think I found my next rainy day project! Thanks for all the info

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Nice post @Purple-N-Hairy
Is that spray fine enough to work well?
i started making one of these last weekend and thought my spray didnt have enough flow and that it wasn’t fine enough so I ordered a larger pump. my first was 200 GPH, the one i got in but havent tried is 300 GPH. for some reason i thought these needed to push more water to make a finer spray. If yours works good with the spray level you have in your vid then im gonna return the bigger pump and save a few $$$ :smiley:

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Yes. You don’t need a super fine mist, but if you’re concerned about the droplet size or height and you’ve made a similar manifold to mine, you can just use fewer spray nozzles.

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cool man thanks! i’m going to go ahead and return the bigger pump because my spray volume looks pretty close to yours! thank you for the write up and for saving me some $$$!

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Nice, I’m building a bubble cloner in the next month or so. Will keep this bookmarked for reference. I was just gonna do a tote up with a few air stones.

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I made one of those 10 or 15 years ago. From my personal experience, this setup blows that away. I mean, I wouldn’t have built my first aeroponics cloning bucket if my bubble cloner gave me 100% success!

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I’m lazy :sweat_smile: and so long as it’s successful enough I’m not gonna trip about a few cuts not rooting, can always take more. I feel terrible when I fail a seed though especially if that mf came from $100 pack. shit makes me wanna cry.:sweat_smile:

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For seeds, I now start them like this:

After a few days of hanging vertically, I have this:

So I transfer them to the bucket, and they look like this:

The next day, they all look like this:

image

You’ll notice that there are now 11 seedlings in the bucket - out of the 11 seeds I started with.

One week after cracking open, they look like this:

BTW - that arrow points to the last seed to crack and the last one to be put in the bucket. It’s a miracle baby! :baby:

And now the fun begins. The real growth will start to show over the next few weeks. Like you, @EugeneDebs420, I don’t want any seeds to fail, especially the $100 pack seeds, or the ones that go for $500 or $600+, which is what I’m working with now. :grimacing: Anxious times, for sure - but I have trust in my bucket!

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I’m finding I did way better in rockwool and peat plugs than I do popping tails and putting in dirt. Went from 90% success to 60% :unamused:

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just thought i would add a pic of the one i just did since its a diff style…

spray - Copy

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