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MVortex's Perpetual Thread For A 4x4 Tent & RDWC

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
Had to run to the store for some 90* elbows. Picked up a couple longs, and we're in business. The main return is fully plumbed, and hooked to the res.

Taking a break for a little snack and then going to start the isolation return line. I may not glue the isolation return. Not 100% sure on that yet. I definitely will for the connection from the tee at the bucket to the valve, so those 2 connections (per bucket) will definitely be glued. The rest, meh. Not like it's under pressure. I could have skipped the glue on the main return, but figured better safe than sorry.

For now I may just plumb the valves and call it good, then move onto the main supply. Been trying to go from the bottom up and still probably will. Just waiting on a 1.5" uniseal to get here, since I didn't have one. Had a 2" and even drilled the bucket for it. Then moving to 1.5", there went that noise and now have a spare bucket ready for a 2" uniseal. :rolleyes:

No biggie, I had 5 spares anyway. Got a 10-pack of buckets on a sale for $2/ea. Good deal I thought. Figure I could run a one off DWC if I wanted to, or whatever. Spare buckets aren't a bad thing to have.

Well, no use layin around gettin a sun tan. Guess I'd better get back to work. o_O
 

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
Gaining on the isolation return. Kinda sucks because the ratchet pipe cutter I have is good up to 1.25", and the return is 1/5". Came real close to running to the store again, then said nah, chop saw it is.

So far have one side completed, now going to cut the length across the back, and then the other two buckets should come together pretty quick.

I'll get a few pics later, but running it has been interesting. Let's just say I took advantage of the buckets being on a riser. :laugh:
 

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
plumb5.jpeg



Yes, I'm sloppy with the primer. I hate that shit. lol

So what are we looking at here?

This is the back side of the back two buckets. This part in front will be along the back wall of the tent.


What you can see here is the main return coming out of the bucket into a tee fitting. One direction, towards the center with the bigger pipe is the main return. You can see the valves and such, into the center tee, which then goes on to join the front two buckets.

From the other side of the tee at the bucket turns into 3/4". This is the isolation return line, which is 3/4" coming out of the bucket, joining into a 1.5" line. With space considerations, I dropped the isolation line down. This is fine, as it's below the bottom of the buckets. It will have to go up and over the hump, but again the level of the bottom of the bucket comes into play and it's a different thing than taking away from the main water level.


You can also see from this how the back two buckets disconnect from the system, and this is proving to work well so far.


Under normal operation, the blue handled valves will be open. If I need to isolate a bucket or two, then I turn off the supply to the bucket, then close the blue handled valve and open the black valve on the return side, and then open the isolation supply. Voila, bucket isolated for whatever reason is necessary. :)

My stopping point for the day was the back two buckets fully plumbed for the isolation return. I also have the front right bucket partially plumbed. I have the valve and elbow plumbed, but need to plumb the second elbow, union, and connection to the back right bucket. The back right corner was the most complicated, so I needed to know where that was at before I could connect the front right bucket to that point. This is because I'm running the isolation return counter clockwise around the buckets, from front right -> back right -> back left -> front left -> out of the tent to isolation res. Kind of funny that I got the parts for all that just to avoid a little hump over the main return, and now I'm doing a drop. lol

Oh well, shit happens when you plumb. :laugh:


Tomorrow evening I'm going to try to get the isolation return completed (really isn't much left to that, and the uniseal will be here for the res) as well as potentially get at least half of the main supply line plumbed.

I think the supply lines will go quicker since they're 3/4", which is good. I can cut as I go without having to measure, go out of the grow space to my shop, measure the pipe, cut the pipe, clean up the pipe, come back, install, and rinse repeat.

That should leave me another evening to finish the main supply, and do the isolation supply. With that in mind, I'm hoping that next weekend (probably Sunday) I can actually do leak tests and get the internals wet!


Now where I am undecided is on the supply lines, and where I want to connect them to the buckets. I know the location on the bucket, but I'm not sure if I want to come in from the top of the bucket, or from the side. The parts are the same, so not worried about that.

What I am concerned about is if I come in from the side, that's a little bit of weight on a 3/4" uniseal.

Now if I come in from the top, through the lid, I have a pipe in the way when I want to take the lid off. Not that I should need to take the lid off, but it could get tricky if I were to need to do so.

However, the top of the buckets could help support the weight, and there wouldn't be the stress on the uniseal. Also the uniseal at that point is more decoration than anything, and more to keep light out than water tight. Not that the side connection would be under water, but still.


Good news on the isolation bucket! It's height is just fine, and the water level will sit about 3" from the top of it while the main bucket is 1" below the net pot. cha-ching! Love it when a plan comes together.

Also, did I mention that the main res went from a 17gal tote to a 27gal one?

Reason is two fold:

a) the height worked out so I only needed a 4" external platform.
b) thank to mega crop, another 10gal of nutrients ain't shit.


One benefit with a little larger res will be more stable water temps. More water, takes more to increase the temp. The bad thing about all that is now it's sitting on a platform, and not directly on the basement floor. However with the room temp in the basement being 68*-70* tops, I think it should be just fine. I can also potentially do some things to act like a heat sink of sorts, so it shouldn't be bad to work with at all. First thing I would try is to take some aluminum sheeting, and bend it to where it sits on top of the riser, under the res, but comes around underneath the platform and contacts the floor. Floor makes aluminum cold, which then transfers to the res.

Neither here nor there, but I may be seeing light at the end of the tunnel!
 

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
Isolation return 95% completed. Uniseal just showed up a few minutes ago, so going to cut the last section of pipe, make the turn into the isolation res, and that will be that.

Will start the supply lines after some supper.
 

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
Thanks Jack!

There's a lot of moving pieces, yep. I do think in the long run it will be a good setup though. It's also pretty easy to take apart in case I want to do a one-off coco or other medium as well.

Sketching things out and actually plumbing them are two different things, that's for sure. Not to mention I'm not a plumber by trade, so not very quick at it either.

It's also had a bit of a therapeutic aspect to it, so that's good since I only have one plant to look after at the moment.
 

Northern Hydro

Well-Known Member
FYI.. I elevated my buckets just because it was easier to do than lower the light at the time and my bucket soup got too hot from the air circulating around it and not sitting on the cold basement floor . You may need a chiller for your reserve ? ✌
 

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
That is one of my concerns, and I will be watching it closely. With the temps stable at 70*, even with the lights on, I think it should be alright. I do plan to watch it though!
 

Indiva710

Well-Known Member
With that temp you will be fine as my veg is 71-72 even and I have no issues..However you get better d.o @68... With a small setup instead of buying a chiller get a pc fan or aquarium fan even better mount it to blow into your reservoir and have a exhaust hole on the opposite side of the lid and there's your chiller..You can get a temp controller like a Inkbird for it too so it will kick on at a certain temp and call it a day...Which I'm going to try something similar for both my rdwc setups esp in bloom but 85gal is a bit much but will see as my 1/4hp eco plus chiller does 435w+ and 4.4amps which a 20w fan could do in replace of......
 

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
With that temp you will be fine as my veg is 71-72 even and I have no issues..However you get better d.o @68... With a small setup instead of buying a chiller get a pc fan or aquarium fan even better mount it to blow into your reservoir and have a exhaust hole on the opposite side of the lid and there's your chiller..You can get a temp controller like a Inkbird for it too so it will kick on at a certain temp and call it a day...Which I'm going to try something similar for both my rdwc setups esp in bloom but 85gal is a bit much but will see as my 1/4hp eco plus chiller does 435w+ and 4.4amps which a 20w fan could do in replace of......

The 70* is the current air temps in-tent, but the RDWC isn't fully built and wet yet. It will consist of approximately 40 gallons, maybe a tick more depending on how much the pipes hold. Just the res and the buckets will be 37 gal, plus whatever the plumbing holds, which between the 2" return and 3/4" supply, I'm guessing about 3gal +/-.

The air temps in the room itself are 66*-68*, and won't be warmer than that thanks to concrete and all that. :)

First "chiller" type thing I will try, if it's even necessary, will be the using all that concrete to create a "cool" sink of sorts. Effectively the opposite of a heat sink. I sit the res on some metal (like sheet metal, for example) that also is in good contact with the concrete. Concrete keep the metal cool, which in turn transfers to the res.

However, high temps are going to be my problem. Low temps could be, and I have stuff for that as well.

I may also insulate the buckets a bit just to keep the temps more stable in them. This way I can run the tent a little warmer and still be good. I can't see the tent temps getting above 74*, and that's if I'm running the heater.

In the summer, maybe, but I won't be running (much) during the summer anyway. If I do, the ambient room temp down there is still only like 74*, so not too terrible anyway. Plus I'd do a coco run or something else in the summer, so still won't be a big deal. :)
 

Indiva710

Well-Known Member
Good looking build so far..Not sure if you checked my veg setup but I use some parts I think you and well pretty much all rdwc ppl could use and just don't as they are unaware...such as orbit PVC fittings they come in 1/2,3/4,1" they are white/green or blue do not get the black they are pex only not for PVC..They are removable and easy to put back on..So no glue no leaks also what I love about them is that the PVC spins inside so they are perfect for threaded fittings like on pumps..As I have ball valves before and after on all my pumps so they can be serviced...If you still need to buy your pumps I would suggest the mag drive ecoplus they are very nice and blows the garbage danners out of the water lol...Great pumps well worth having and they are cheaper than danner and better quality they have male threaded ends which is what any inline pump should use as cracking a housing is a non issue like with the danner also how is it that they use the same housing for their 250-850gph pumps no way...Plus I bought like 6 of them and got 1 that didn't leak....Anyways also instead of rubber end caps they makes test plugs sizes are 1.25-6" wish they had smaller but it is what it is and they work great for end caps for your 2in PVC you have...They are made by oatey they are red..tooless as well as they use a wing nut that expands a thick rubber gasket that sits inside the PVC...So I use them for all my end caps plus I have extras as if one of my plants gets sick I can isolate the bucket and use it as a dwc and problem solved..Since they fit inside bulkheads too and the fact they are less a buck more than the rubber end caps which u need a tool to use which is a hassle in itself..And you can't use them like the test plugs can be period... I mentioned it since you have ball valves to block ea bucket off....Also you should try and use tees only no elbows or long elbows as for the fact of being able to clean thee entire system and being able to scrub every inch that comes in contact with nutes and keep it sterile well as best as you can...They do make larger rubber tees and such not just couplings now they are expensive though but for like your cross pieces might be your best bet...Also maybe using the bottom of your buckets for a drain or fountain effect too since you have the stands already....
Also for your airpump what I do for mine and my top off res I actually built a stand out of PVC for the air pump I tapered it and they work out great as u still have floor space plus the pump gets full air which is very important and keeping it above the waterline so if u have a power outage you won't have a flood either ...As I can't say Id trust a cheap check valve with 30gal of water or w e it is.....If you have any questions feel free to ask happy to help....
Also have you decided what nutes your gna use and will you be using Bennie's ?
 

Indiva710

Well-Known Member
The 70* is the current air temps in-tent, but the RDWC isn't fully built and wet yet. It will consist of approximately 40 gallons, maybe a tick more depending on how much the pipes hold. Just the res and the buckets will be 37 gal, plus whatever the plumbing holds, which between the 2" return and 3/4" supply, I'm guessing about 3gal +/-.

The air temps in the room itself are 66*-68*, and won't be warmer than that thanks to concrete and all that. :)

First "chiller" type thing I will try, if it's even necessary, will be the using all that concrete to create a "cool" sink of sorts. Effectively the opposite of a heat sink. I sit the res on some metal (like sheet metal, for example) that also is in good contact with the concrete. Concrete keep the metal cool, which in turn transfers to the res.

However, high temps are going to be my problem. Low temps could be, and I have stuff for that as well.

I may also insulate the buckets a bit just to keep the temps more stable in them. This way I can run the tent a little warmer and still be good. I can't see the tent temps getting above 74*, and that's if I'm running the heater.

In the summer, maybe, but I won't be running (much) during the summer anyway. If I do, the ambient room temp down there is still only like 74*, so not too terrible anyway. Plus I'd do a coco run or something else in the summer, so still won't be a big deal. :)
74 that's with lights on I imagine and 68 without right..I'm in a basement as well finished though... and my veg tent which is a 4.5x4.5 does about 75 or so lights on...However I have a 4 site current culture 8gal setup and mine uses 35gal with a 13gal top off res...
So it will all depend on your netpot height on how much water each bucket will have as when I did 5gal with 10in net pots I got a whopping 2.5gal out of each bucket and w 8in I believe it's like 2.75gal ea...
I can tell you how to calculate how much h2o a bucket will hold with the size netpot your going to use if you want...
So I just can't see 37gal out of your 4 site...Even with a 27gal controller bucket now I'm not sure if that containers water level will be the same as the buckets then your pry only looking at 15gal if that even for your controller...I would also recommend a top off reservoir that you add too..As the plants really enjoy having a constant water level....
Wrapping ur buckets helps out a lot as well and it's a cheap and easy mod to do... And does wonders too
 

Indiva710

Well-Known Member
Also you might want to keep a serious eye on those uniseals your using as well I personally refuse to use them and not worth 30+gal in my house...So bulkheads are thee only way I build my hydro setups but that's just me....For 2 or 3" bulkheads I would get the current culture spin tight bulkheads they are thee best made and was built for rdwC...However the 2in are like $9ea tho ....
 

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
74 that's with lights on I imagine and 68 without right..I'm in a basement as well finished though... and my veg tent which is a 4.5x4.5 does about 75 or so lights on...However I have a 4 site current culture 8gal setup and mine uses 35gal with a 13gal top off res...
So it will all depend on your netpot height on how much water each bucket will have as when I did 5gal with 10in net pots I got a whopping 2.5gal out of each bucket and w 8in I believe it's like 2.75gal ea...
I can tell you how to calculate how much h2o a bucket will hold with the size netpot your going to use if you want...
So I just can't see 37gal out of your 4 site...Even with a 27gal controller bucket now I'm not sure if that containers water level will be the same as the buckets then your pry only looking at 15gal if that even for your controller...I would also recommend a top off reservoir that you add too..As the plants really enjoy having a constant water level....
Wrapping ur buckets helps out a lot as well and it's a cheap and easy mod to do... And does wonders too

70* is with the lights on. Actually right now it's 68*, with outside room being 66*, with lights on (in my secondary tent, not my RDWC one, but heat from the lights is that same on either setup mostly.) I said 74* and was referring to summer time temps, but I won't run RDWC in the middle of the summer, if I grow during those months at all.


I see 40 out of my 4-site, and here is how:

My res is 27 max, and with the water level where it will be will hold 25gal full. Where the water level is in the buckets, they hold 3gal. (Technically, 3.103448275862069 gal, but I'm calling it 3.) The return line alone will hold almost 2.5gal, plus the supply line will add another half gallon if not a little more.

So even a conservative estimate is still 35gal, but I'll bet it's closer to 40 than 35 once it's all filled.


I do have an ATO planned, using a smaller tote and a float valve. Main res will have an overflow in case of float valve failure, that will hook into the main drain line.

Tent also has a flood drain, "just in case" there is a problem. It won't keep everything completely peachy, but it will keep the majority up and off. I may look into building some type of automated sump for inside, but not sure on that yet. One option I have thought about is just sitting the tent inside a "tray" and use a gravity drain into the main drain line. Would probably work better than what I have currently. Another option would be some type of float switch to turn a sump on and suck it out.




Also you might want to keep a serious eye on those uniseals your using as well I personally refuse to use them and not worth 30+gal in my house...So bulkheads are thee only way I build my hydro setups but that's just me....For 2 or 3" bulkheads I would get the current culture spin tight bulkheads they are thee best made and was built for rdwC...However the 2in are like $9ea tho ....

The uniseals I'm not overly concerned with. I've used them in the past with good success. Real key with them is getting the hole right. For buckets I prefer them with larger pipe, as it isn't flattening out the bucket for the connection. If one has a drip, there are fixes for that.

Also with uniseals you get a little bit of flex, too. So if you bump something, it absorbs it better than a solid bulkhead.
 

Indiva710

Well-Known Member
I've had the complete opposite with uniseals and bumping them and hell breaking loose..I agree with the right size hole however they still like to split the buckets too..But again everyone's setup is different and what works for you doesn't mean it will for me u know...As like you have a drain in your basement and well mine is very far away....
And with your controller being 25gal full I can see the 38gal lol... And yes a top off res like 13gal would work just need to know what they will drink max in a week and then get that as your top off res. As I personally run mine a week ahead of the plants so they slowly get the nutes and works wonders I like to run mine at lower pH too but that's just me.... For nutes you should check out jacks 3-2-1 if you haven't already great clean pure nutes and great shit for rdwc... If you do run Bennie's tribus original is where it's at for em....
 

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
For nutes I'm running Mega Crop, and for the res I'm planning on running z7. I am considering Dutch Master's Zone though. Wish I had more SM90. :(

I like the z7 alright, and have enough of it for the first run on the new system and it does seem to keep things nice and clean. Will probably dose some H2O2 on occasion as well, just to keep things in check. (I prefer a sterile res, if you can't tell.)
 

Indiva710

Well-Known Member
i personally am not a fan of megacrop for rdwc and it smells fuckn awful too def not something to run in rdwc and not clean either as it doesn't fully dissolve even with warm and hot water....i use pool shock and h2o2 to keep my system clean can't really call it sterile as it truly isn't but as best as you can...I'm considering a uv sterilizer for my setup though but will see....
I was running uc roots and when I Ran out I got some hth pool shock and never looked back..It's under $5 locally too and will last year's!!!..
I actually run dry powder everything now all nutes and pH everything it's the way to grow...Stupid clean no additives and endless options with it...fuck paying for liquid as your paying for 98% water!!!! Just saying...
And silica is a wonderful thing esp if you train your plants alot and mainly supercrop and scrog....Also if you do decide to switch to dry nutes there's a pc program called hydrobuddy which it does wonders w having custom nutes and making your own and knowing exactly what your putting in it too...
 

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
How am I going to decide to switch to dry nutes when I'm already using dry nutes, exactly? :laugh::laugh2::laugh:


I've used UV sterilizers in other applications (fish ponds, tanks) and they've done well. Using one in a recirculating hydro system makes sense, although I'm not sure of the practicality. Having recently seen a system use one with no end result was a little disappointing. It wasn't my setup, so I can't say for sure though.


I can't really get anything started in this yet, as I have to wait for my current drop to start flowering first to keep within limits, so I've got a good month before I need to be up and running. Plenty of time for minor adjustments.


I do have silica on hand, as well as some 1-0-0 calmag to go with it to keep the right n->k ratio going.


Really, aside from the weird odd/end part, I'm fully stocked and ready to rock.


Only real things left to buy are my float valve, a big can/barrel for mixing up nutes, and a hose for my diverted drain line.


Only reason I don't have those yet is I'm waiting to see exactly what I'll need/want. Checked with a couple hydro stores and neither had any float valves in stock. Bummer. Looks like amazon it is.

Also, for shits and grins, I asked one store for a price on a 2" bulkhead fitting. Bastards didn't even know what one was, until I explained it. Then said, "oh, I call it something else." :rolleyes:

Used bulkheads forever, and well, they've always been called a bulkhead. LOL

When I checked my main local shop for the float valve, I said... if I said I needed a bulkhead, you know what I'm asking for, right? Of course he did. Reminds me why I always check his shop first for stuff, before going online. Not always, but more times than not he's spot on with pricing or way better.

Take a 16" plant riser for example. You know, the thing you throw in the saucer to get the plant out of potential run off. $3 each for those, and $2-$4 for a saucer, depending on 16"/18"/20" size.

Amazon? $16 for one riser, and good luck finding a big saucer for under $10 too.


On a few things I've seen them higher, but not by much. Maybe a buck or two. Now sometimes they just don't have exactly what I'm after, but they can't stock every single thing from every single brand. The bigger stuff (tents, lighting, etc) they tend to be closer to MSRP on, so those are better online.

Giant bag of perlite? $13. Same price, but half the size at the big box stores here.


They do also have a ton of little parts/pieces too. Which is good, no need to buy a big bag of something when you only need 2.
 

multiVortex

Grow Journal of the Month: Mar 2020
Welcome to the show. :)

You can already see I'm a bit sloppy with the stupid primer, and I'm sure there's more to come too. :laugh:
 
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