DIY DWC Hydroponics Bucket System

DIY 9 Bucket RDWC SystemA Waterfarm bucket system offers growers a good way to grow hydroponically in a small space, but it can be expensive if you are just beginning to experiment with hydroponics.

Build a similar system for much less,
using parts available at any
large home improvement store.

DIY DWC Multi Bucket Hidroponic/Aeroponic Systems

Operating your Custom Hydroponics 'Recycler'

System Placement

When siting your 'Recycler' it is important to have all the buckets on a flat and even surface. To reduce draining time the system can be raised slightly off the ground on wooden planks and tipped at a 1° or 2° angle towards to the pump end. This increases run off to the pump and reduces maintainence times.

DIY DWC Buckets Grow-box Placement

System Check

Once you have construsted your system fill the buckets with enough water to cover the drainage fittings . Go round the entire system and check for leaks. If a bucket is badly connected it is best to find out now rather than when the system is full.

DIY DWCSystem Fill

Once you have completed this check you can now fill the whole system with water. Our standard buckets hold 13.2 litres to the rim, so about 10-11 liters of water per bucket will be enough. It is vital that the water level reaches half way up the net pots. Do not place your plants in the system right now.

Now that the system is full, plug in and turn on the water pump. Water should spray through the nozzles into the buckets. Once the system is cuirculating you can add nutrients.

Standard buckets hold roughly 10 litres, so a standard 6 bucket system holds about 60-65 litres.This will give you a general idea of how much nutirent to add. Add one part of the nutrient at a time. Nutrient can be added to every bucket to reduce the time required to dose the whole system.

To adjust the pH (see 'Dosing pH') follow the same procedure for adding nutrients. Smaller systems will show an adjustment quicker than larger ones. If you use a pH meter test every bucket in turn until they all give the same reading.

This will give you a rough idea of how long it takes for the nutrient solution to recycle through the entire system. Any further testing can be done with the water level tube.

Plants DWC System

Any additives like root stimulator or growth enhacer can now be added to the system.

DWC vs RDWC System

Dosing pH
Ph Meter
When adding either pH up or pH down to any hydroponic system always dilute the concentrated pH adjuster with water before combining with the nutrient solution. A 250ml beaker filled with water will be sufficient. This ensures there is no chemical reaction between the nutrient salts dissolved in system and the pH adjuster.

Introducing Plants

Once the nutrient solution is at the right levels your plants can be introduced to the system. You must first ensure that the plants roots and the clay pebbles around them are dipped in the nutrient solution before being place into the hole in the lid. This allows the nutrients to
soak into all the clay pebbles.

Roots in DWC Hydroponics SystemsThe high water level in your system combined with the recycling sprayer provides a high humidity enviroment for the plant roots.

Water Levels

When you start growing your plants the water level in each bucket should be as high as possible or at least half way up the net pot . If you intend to grow a mother plant in the system you can gradually drop the level by 30-40% and maintain that level. If you intend to go into flowering the water level can be dropped 60-70% by the end of eight weeks flowering. The level of drop depends on the size of the system and the age of the plants.

Grow-boxPlant roots absorb most of the oxygen they need from the air, not the water. Exposing the roots vastly increases oxygen absorbtion and therefore growth and yeild. This combined with the high humidity atmosphere produced by our 'Recycler' system's sprayers provides roots with an enviroment for explosive growth.

Water Top Up

5 Inch Hydroponics net PotWhen topping up your 'Recycler' the easiest method is to prepare the solution in a seperate container and then add it to the system. This can be done in a bucket for smaller systems and a seperate resivoir for larger systems of nine buckets and above. Concentrated nutrients can be added to the system via the 'water level' tube. Nutrients supplied in seperate bottles (A+B or 1,2,3) must be allowed time to recycle before dosing with the next part of the nutrient. The water level tube must be flushed between the introduction of different nutrient components.
Water Replacement

After the first two weeks of flowering we recommend replacinging the nutrient solution once a week and at most every two weeks. Unless you have your nutrients taylored perfectly your plants will remove the nutrients they need and leave the ones they don't. If the entire nutrient solution isn't changed regularly a toxic build of nutrients develops. This can dramatically affect pH, which slows growth and reduces yeild.

As water levels are dropped towards the end of flowering, less replacement solution is required, reducing costs.

DIY DWC Grow Under LEDs

If you change your solution every week add plain water between changes.

Water Extraction

Submersible Watter PumpWhen removing water from your 'Recycler' place the pump at the lowest point possible. Place a bucket or something similar below the pump to catch the escaping water. You can now remove the down pipe from pump and fill up the bucket with water. It is also possible to attach a drainage pipe to the pump and drain the water this way. If you turn on the pump to extract the water it will evacuate the water faster than it drains, be careful that the pump does not run dry.

RDWC DIY Bucket Hydroponics System
RDWC DIY Bucket Hydroponics System


When cleaning your system we recommend using Hydrogen Peroxide. This provides good cleaning power, is relatively harmless to you and any mild residue is unlikely to harm your plants.

Fill you system half way and add Hydrogen Peroxide according to the instructions for cleaning on the the bottle. Leave the system to run for an hour so the cleaning solution has time to work. Any stubborn dirt should be easily removed by this time.

Once clean fill the system to the top, leave to recycle for ten minutes and then drain fully.

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