Edston's DWC Tutorial

This is a basic setup for the small grower, but due to the fill/drain system can be expanded as much as you space allows.

1. What You Need

For each plant you will need the following:

- a 10 litre bucket
available from local hardware store (Bunnings)

- a netpot
available at hydroshop or any hydroponics shop

- 1m of air tubing
available at hydroshop or aquarium/pet store

- Airpump (min. 280 l/hr - will do 2 buckets)
available at hydroshop or aquarium/pet store

- Airstone
available at hydroshop or aquarium/pet store

- Elbow Joints
available from local hardware store (Bunnings)

- Tap
available from local hardware store (Bunnings)

- 50cm length of garden hose
available from local hardware store (Bunnings)

- Connector
available from local hardware store (Bunnings)

- Hose Connector
available from local hardware store (Bunnings)

*You will also need a garden pump to deliver the water to the plants. Discussed later.


2. Construction

First build the fill and drain pipe system.


Fairly straight forward from the diagram, first you want to cut a hole near the bottom of the bucket and attach the connector (using sealant). Ensure it is water tight by filling the bucket. Next, cut your garden hose in half; connect the hose connector on one end, then stick the tap on the other. Connect the 2nd half of hose on the remaining end of the tap and then attach to the bucket. Use sealant or glue where necessary!

Next drill two 4mm holes (or equivalent to the size of elbow joints), insert elbow joints and seal/glue. Then cut an appropriate length of air tube to connect the joints.

You have now created a water depth gauge! You could insert a little red float bead in the air tube too, but I find that the water level is quite visible as is.


Drill a 4mm (or equivalent) hole near the top of the bucket to allow the air tube to enter the bucket.


Now you can attach an air stone to some air tube and test them out. Obviously you attach the other end of air tube to the air pumps.


Lastly, take your net pot and cut a hole in the lid of the bucket. This hole needs to be big enough to allow the net pot to fit, but small enough to support the net pot. Tape the net pot to the lid ensuring a light tight seal; this prevents algae from growing in your water.


You have just created a bucket that can be filled and drained from the same point with relative ease; this method can be used for as many plants as you wish. Next we'll make the reservoir/pump setup.

3. Reservoir/Pump Setup

Fairly simple concept again, you want a reservoir big enough to fill at least ½ to ¾ of each bucket you intend to have. So if you've got 4 buckets, then 4 x 6 = 24L, so you would need at least a 24L reservoir. I find it best to have a reservoir that only holds 1 watering cycle; this minimizes the time water is sitting and prevents algae growth. Ensure that whatever you use for a reservoir has a lid. Any light, dust or bugs that fall into your reservoir will affect the quality and therefore your plants.


The pump you use depends on your budget and how much time you want to spend watching the water level rise. I use a 200L/hr pond pump, which are available from nurseries/garden shops. You then take a length of garden hose appropriate to reach from the reservoir to your furthest plant and attach a clip on garden connection (available from local hardware store (Bunnings).


Ensure that the clip on connection you buy fits the connection on the bucket. This is your entire fill/drain system; you can either make a separate hose for draining or disconnect the fill hose from the pump. The buckets may the either be lifted up to drain or lowered into the drainage hole.


4. Room Layout/Air Pumps

Basically the room layout is individual to each grow space; the important thing to take into account is that water flows down.

There are a few things to check when planning your bucket layout:
a)enough power points
With fans, lights, pumps and more pumps, do you have enough power points?
b)plant growth
Are you buckets spaced far enough apart to allow maximum plant growth/yield?
c)drainage/access to buckets
Do you have enough space to allow you to raise/lower the buckets, or is the base of the buckets higher than the drain point?

5. Growing Mediums


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