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DIY $50 Drain and Fill Hydro System

TrysHard

New Member
This is pretty much all you need to build one from Scratch.
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Home Depot:
The Drain Tray is the clear one I had to find one small enough to fit into the tent which is 24x18x36. $6
They come in all sizes you just need to make sure you get one with a flat bottom. So get one that will fit your application. Just remember the bigger it is the more weight and water needed.
The reservoir tub is a 10 Gallon one. I plan on using about 5 gallons for the fill. So 7.5 Gallons in the Reservoir should be enough $8 (Update note: 7.5 G fills this up pretty high. Next time I'm at home depot I'm upgrading to the 16G version.)

Hydro Store
Fittings kit these are pretty standard and you can get extra spacers for the drain fitting if you need higher flood levels $15
The hose 1/2" Fill and 3/4" drain I got there also $3
The fluid pump $15 I also got there. I know I can save money on the internet, but if you don't support your local guy he won't be there when you need him in the pinch. And this one is pretty good, and has a nice suction mount included.
The air pump is a Petco special comes with the hose, one way valve and air stone $14 I did not get this at the hydro store because the stone and 1 way valve were extra.
Subtotal $46
Six 6" pots with air hole up the sides $12 for all six. These are disposable so I don't include them into the cost of the system. You can get any pots you want the will fit into the drain tray. You just have to match the height of the pot to the drain table fill level. And you want an aerated pot style, with holes up the side of the pot for good nutrient penetration.

An Grodan Grow Cubes, little 1/2" cubes they were pretty cheap like $12 and I needed less than I thought and ended up wasting some.

On to the assembly:
I have a small 18"x24"x36" Tent I am going to use for a Veg Station. I currently have it on a Home depot shelf that I only used 1/2 of. It made a perfect platform for this type of system. You should be able to install this into just about any walk in closet you have. Mine is in the kitchen, I am a MM patient and it is legal where I live. Here is a picture of the tent on the shelf.

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First thing to do is make a Drain Tray. Here is I have marked where I am going to drill through the bottom.
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Excuse the extra markings, (I was medicated and indecisive) the circled marks were where I decided to install the fittings. Here again, planning ahead here will prevent a second trip to Home Depot, make sure you know where your fittings are going to exit below down to your reservoir is an important design feature. You want the lines going down to be stress free and as straight as possible. Pictures later will show that. Also you see one of the extra shelves I didn't need was used to help set it up.

Here is the tray with the fittings installed, and positioned where it will be on the shelf when the silicone I spread over the fittings is dry in the morning. Let the silicone dry, do not be impatient and try to complete it before the silicone fully sets, you will just be causing yourself problems.
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So on to the next morning.

Now for the completion of my Fill and Drain Hydro veg station. Yesterday I made the drain tub. Today, I took the plants out of the tent and started the install.

Here is the completed drain tray.
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First thing to do is cut two holes into my brand new tent. It was tough material, I tried little holes and then shove the fitting through but the material wouldn't tear easy enough, so I had to cut out fairly large holes. Then there was the shelf grating to deal with as fittings would not fit between them.
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Luckily some diagonal cutters and liberal chopping opened up a large enough hole so the tray would flat.
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Here is the drain tray connected to the reservoir on the shelf below. The hoses I left long enough so I could slide the reservoir around some with out pulling them out of the lid. Plan ahead again here will prevent a future headache.
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Peek inside, the pump and fill hose, I zip tied the cord to it to keep things neat. The drain tube I shortened after this picture so it would lay on the bottom, also zip tied the air stone to it so nutrient will go through bubbles as its returned. It is critical to aerate your nutrient solution, by placing the stone in the return stream I am insuring that all the nutrient will get aerated. :3: Which is a good thing.
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First test with water no leaks, the silicone insurance well worth it. Make sure you do this first. Don't assume everything will work, water is a lot easier to clean up than nutrient.
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Filled up to this level, check again for leaks, good to go.
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On to preparing the pots. What you don't see is I first put a layer of Hydroton down first, then the Rockwool cubes which had been soaked in my initial nutrient solution.
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So you don't have to ask the I will be following the GH Expert re-circulation nutrient schedule, using the early growth step: Here it what I used per gallon:
Flora Micro - 7.5 ml
Flora Bloom - 2.5 ml
Flora Grow - 10 ml
Diamond Nectar - 10 ml
Floralicious Plus - 1 ml
Roots Excelurator - 1 ml (my change in the formula)

PH at 5.8 and PPM at 1108.

I also mixed up 7.5 Gallons for the main reservoir.

Next unwrapped the first plant, looked at the bottom seeing roots after just a couple of days, looks good for the first transplant. I will be transplanting these again when they go into the main tent E&F Top Feed System. If you want to learn more about these GS Cookie clones visit my Grandaddy Blueberry Grow Journal.
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Filled it up with more rockwool cubes, had to make sure they went down the sides, so I poked them down. You don't want any voids with no rockwool so take your time here. Again, your growing plants, not running a hundred yard dash. Take your time double check, its easier to prepare properly than to fix later.
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Then I topped them with Hydroton to combat algae growth. This is important as Rockwool has been known to develop algae when drenched in nutrient and exposed to light.
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Here are all six clones in their new home all happy.
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The first Feeding you can see the nutrient level.
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Ok I hope that was beneficial for those who want to make their own. The entire F&D Hydro system cost less that $50. If you count the tent, the lights, temp/Humidity gauge, timers and shelf, pots and Rockwool I have less than $175 in the whole setup.

Hope this helps those on a budget.
 

Stumped

New Member
I tried to make something like this only bigger last year. I used the same fill and drain/over flow system. Worked out pretty good untill I had issues with stagnant water as my drain wasn't low enough to fully drain the table, I ended up killing the test plants.

And you reeealy don't want the water exposed to the light like that. I learned that the hard way doing dwc :( .

Nice tutorial man. Few tweaks and looks like you got a nice flood drain system.
 

TrysHard

New Member
Good DIY tutorial!

I tried to make something like this only bigger last year. I used the same fill and drain/over flow system. Worked out pretty good untill I had issues with stagnant water as my drain wasn't low enough to fully drain the table, I ended up killing the test plants.

And you reeealy don't want the water exposed to the light like that. I learned that the hard way doing dwc :( .

Nice tutorial man. Few tweaks and looks like you got a nice flood drain system.

I see your point, it would be easy enough to cut holes for the plants in the cover that came with the top tub. I'll work on that today and update later.
 

Stumped

New Member
I see your point, it would be easy enough to cut holes for the plants in the cover that came with the top tub. I'll work on that today and update later.
Fuckin good idea and awesome ya posted how ya made it. Every design is open to suggestion.
That top tote needs to be light proof. Easily done with aluminum tape or just paint it. You seem like a macguyver like me lol I'm sure you'll sort that out somehow.

My system was similar but I had the top tray filled with hydroton. Instead of having pots. U inspired me to maybe revamp it and try to make it work now that I see this thread.

You got some intresting ideas man. Keepl em comming
 

TrysHard

New Member
Fuckin good idea and awesome ya posted how ya made it. Every design is open to suggestion.
That top tote needs to be light proof. Easily done with aluminum tape or just paint it. You seem like a macguyver like me lol I'm sure you'll sort that out somehow.

My system was similar but I had the top tray filled with hydroton. Instead of having pots. U inspired me to maybe revamp it and try to make it work now that I see this thread.

You got some intresting ideas man. Keepl em comming

Once again I have to caution you, always double check your measurements, especially when medicated. As careful as I was, I still only got three of the holes right in the end.

So its Sunday morning and as I am wont to do on nice Sunday mornings is check my :420: posts, respond if needed. Most days I wait until the evening but it has been my tradition over the years that if I'm not up for tennis or a drive, I wake and bake on Sundays. Then I like to do crafts and my new passion fiddle around with my plants. So this morning I read the post from Stumped and thumpted myself on the head. I knew this, I had no choice with the tub since it was the only flat bottom one that would fit my tent, but making it lightproof just went right by me, I knew it, it just didn't register at the time. I knew how to fix that first for the top.

At first . . . my thinking was I have 6" Pots, so I'll start out with a 4" squares and see how they will fit. Remember I have already medicated. I draw out the lines to cut, looking at the squares I drew out its obvious that they are too small, so using my special stoned careful technique I figured an extra half inch would be enough and drew those lines and think that looks good.
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Then I think I better check one before I do them all. Its not as easy to cut that plastic with a utility knife. Even though it was a new blade, I constantly had visions of it slipping on me and cutting myself, so I was extra stoned careful and got a pot out and checked it.
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Oops:
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At this point it dawns on me I should just measure the pot. So I get the tape measure and put it below the lip of the pot 5 1/2". Perfect I go cut out the hole and too big. I should have measured the pot where it meets the top of the tub where the lid will sit. :hmmmm: So 5" is correct, so I measure again, by this time its getting hard to distinguish the marks on the lid. But I know I got it right this time since I was using my special stoned careful technique. Notice the two center holes. Everywhere I was just able to add the amount I need to adjust to my previous markings since each box was tied to a corner. The middle boxes I added 1/2" to much on each side and made the box too wide, so I only got 50% right using my special stoned technique, which is pretty good. :bong: part of the special technique is to super rationalize everything.
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Had to remove all the plants to install the lid, and I goofed up again this was when I should have taped the bottom not after I put the plants back, special technique is messing up here, better have another hit. Here is the lid installed on the tub, you can see that the tray does drain quite nicely, there is very little nutrient left in it.
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Here are all the plants back and just in time as the scheduled feeding started.
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This forced me to work around the plants to tape it up. I was successful and didn't damage any plants
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OK I'm tired now think I'll have another hit and get ready to watch an Angels game.
 

TrysHard

New Member
There we go. Problem solved.
Cool idea putting the plants in pots. Save on hydroton, something I'm gonna consider.
Unless that's supposed to be how its done lol and the way I tried was the different way.

Measure once cut twice. Stoner rule of thumb.
Well this is a veg station. These plants will get moved in about two weeks to the main tent for some more veg under a 1000W MH. I have hydroton in the bottom of each pot so that the rockwool doesn't sit in any left over nutrient. So the pots are necessary for the transplant to large pots and my main E&F System that I'm currently growing my Blueberry's in.
 

GaBoy420

Well-Known Member
Great tutorial man, might try this one day
 
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