Yoda's Recirculating bubble Buckets

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself' started by Yoda, May 15, 2010.

  1. #1 Yoda, May 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2010
    High All,

    Bubble buckets seem to be the new in thing at the moment.
    when I set mine up it was tough to find info, so with that said I thought i would get a tutorial showing how to set them up, This is not the only way, im sure there are many ways, this way does work and ive been running these for some time now, im in process taking down two flood tables and replacing with bucket set ups..
    I go with 4 buckets per res to keep the perpetual garden, it can be expanded by all means, run more or less is fine, just make sure your manifold pieces are the same to get the flow equal with all buckets...
    The res size is up to you, the bigger it is the less it will need to be added to. Im in the garden everyday so filling every couple days is fine for me..

    As a few of these steps would be easy to do with a router or some other devise Ive completed this with what i think everybody probably has available and at hand.
    other then the 13/16 paddle bit and the plastic de burring tool i dont think most would have to buy any tools.

    the ph is 5.8-6.0 in hydro and applies here also..
    the water level 1" below the net pot to start, try to never get it closer then that but once the roots are in the water lower is fine, as you can imagine it will decrease daily..
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  2. #2 Yoda, May 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2011
    Qty Description
    4 - 5 gallon black buckets
    4 - lids
    4 - 5.5” heavy duty net pots
    1 - air pump (Eco air 4 - has 4 connections)
    air tubing - long enough to run 1 line from the pump, to each bucket
    1 - submersible pump (we’re using the ECO132 submersible pump)
    13- 1/2” grommets (8 for the buckets and 5 for the res.)
    8 - 1/2” 90’s or elbows
    3 - 1/2” T’s
    1/2” black hose/tubing
    4 - 6” air stones
    1 - 18 gallon rubber made tote (purchased at home depot)


    tape measure - if you wish to use one.
    cordless drill
    5/16” drill bit
    3/4” paddle bit even 5/8 you want it tight and a extra tryout bucket can be handy..
    razor knife
    heavy duty scissors
    de-burring tool

    Shopping note:

    Before purchasing supplies, you’ll need to determine bucket spacing, and where you’re going to set up the resivoir and air pump. This is important because it’ll tell you what length of 1/2” black tubing, and air tubing you’ll need to purchase. Don’t forget to add additional length to the measurement to account for the extra length of hose inside of the buckets and res.

    the supplies pictured above are for 3-4 bucket set ups...:)

    Attached Files:

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  3. In-lines with manifold
    It's important that the hoses and lines going to the buckets are paired to assure a clean set up and proper pressure for the manifold to work correctly. Each time you cut a piece of 1/2” tubing for the manifold assy, mark them and cut all the pieces you need for each bucket to ensure that they're the same.
    1. Arrange the buckets how they'll be set up for your grow.

    To find the center, go from one edge of 1 bucket, to the same edge of the bucket next to it, as shown above. This is my bucket spaceing

    Fold the hose in half, and cut it in the middle of the fold.


    Next, install a T to connect the cut pieces, and a T at each end of the hose. This is the manifold.

    Inlets to the buckets"

    Mark the bucket by placing the netpot where it will sit in the lid and marking with ur paddle bit, 1"down from the netpot(approx) Keeping in mind they must face the placement of the manifold.

    drill the hole.


    deburr the hole lightly


    Install grommet...


    transfer the height of the hole to the other buckets and drill those, simply put the buckets up against each other and mark with your paddle bit..debur those and put grommets in.

    cut about a 4"piece , repeat for other buckets

    Attached Files:

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  4. install a 90...

    install into bucket

    measure down about 2" or so from the floor


    cut 4 of those

    Install 90 on that...

    install that onto the bucket


    now making sure you spacing is correct cut a piece to attach to the manifold
    remembering to cut the others..


    you now have a nice little stack of all the sizes to assemble all the inlets...


    Attached Files:

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  5. once they all have been assembled it should look like this


    now a couple more....


    now we need to get out return lines drilled and grommets put in....
    best if this is complete before ataching the last assembly to the manifold. youll notice in the pics thats what i have done...
    about 1"or so from the floor is good.,i bring them thru the middle and angle them to keep the line striaght..
    debur and install a grommet....:D....

    Attached Files:

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  6. now that all the lower holes are drilled its time to get the hose connecting it all together.
    the measurement for the manifold line, cut the hose and drill the res
    Notice ive given extra hose to reach into the res.
    de burr the hole lightly then install grommet
    after installing grommet use the handle side with outward force to seat the grommet


    now attach pump, this should fit right on nice and tight as the pumps come with a .5 attachment...


    now youre manifold assembly is complete.....

    now lets drill and install the 4 return line grommets

    start with the buckets furthest away... Under the manifold lines


    the lines in the buckets you want to come thru the hole


    when putting the lines in the res I try to have a couple long and a couple short to keep the res nice and stirred up

    that completes the res assembly....


    should look something like this.....:D

    Attached Files:

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  7. Now lets run the air line, position ur air pump in a location that is readily accessable if ya need to get to it...

    drill the hole 5/16 up near the top of the bucket

    remember location of the holes should be toward the center of the set up a little, to keep it clean


    push airline thru hole and attach the air stone...

    once you have them all drilled and placed it should look like this..I use tape to clean up the lines as they tend to shape themselves to the roll they are in....
    the pump shown here is for 12 buckets, its not a eco 4...FYI>>>

    now we have airstones in each bucket and our lines run....
    Time for some lids....

    place a net pot upside down on the lid, use the tape measure to center it up, measuring 4 sides


    trace the net pot ....

    use the razor knife to cut a hole well within the center of your mark, this hole is just to get the scissors started...


    make your cut inside of the line approx the distance of the edge your net pots have, this is what will hold them in the bucket (do not cut on the line) inboard of the line is what you want....

    you can see ive left some material inside the line...push the scissors in the further ur back in the scissors the easier they cut....;)


    Attached Files:

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  8. once you have it trimmed up and fitting nice, simply place that lid on top of the next trace and cut... repeat for all buckets


    I use the 5.5 heavy duty netpots, Just make sure when you choose yours that the lip is strong enough to hold the netpot in the lid...

    Lbh brought up a good point here...
    they do make the lids with the netpots in them, these can be used if you are veggin and flowering in the same bucket, i veg in a dwc so having the net pots movable works best for me, and as you can imagine once the roots have grown thru the net cup, there is no getting them out without damaging the plant...

    Attached Files:

  9. now that we have lids, its time to grab the shop vac, vac out the res and the buckets..


    then get some tap water....pour in th res...


    took 2 buckets to get the pump under water,,, then plug it in....
    each bucket will have the same flow, remember you dont need huge current...
    just enough to keep things moving, this is also a fail safe.. if by change your air pump goes out, ur girls will not be hurt because of the water flow..;):D

    you will also notice the return lines are now flowing... gravity does this...


    tough to see in the pic but all the inlets are flowing even and the water height is stable..
    let this run for a few minutes, check for leaks... The only way they should leak is if you were a little to agresive with the deburring tool... remember you just want the curly q's off, dont remove material...;)....

    now plug in your air pump..... whallah..... Magic bubbles...

    Attached Files:

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  10. As I said at the beginning this is not the only way, and i have no idea if its the best way...
    I run dwc, flood tables, bubble cloner, ive even tried aero... by far this set up is the most stable and easiest to care for.

    Feel free to ask questions and also if you do build them post a pic here..
    This can help many people :D

    I never give advise or make suggestions unless ive tried it and seen the results..
    this is proven... it does work well.....check my journal to see the double d's I have running in one of these setups... its been up for some time, no leaks, and running great..Make sure you do your weekly checks on ur air pump, most have a air filter then does get clogged so make sure to replace that every so often.....

    ps.... the water level was for testing only... it is not to running height in that pic...
    running height is right at the bottom of the inlet hose...1"below net pot..give er take...

    I wanted to say Thank you to doin for all her help with this, putting up with me:eek:
    and also to August and Unoit..
    I appreciate all the help guys:D....

    hopefully now this can help those ready to make the plunge in the wonderful world of bucket growing...:D:smoking:
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  11. Great idea LBH, that lid should work nice...
    the molded in net cups are great if ur beggin and flowering in a bucket, i veg in a dwc bin so i need the movable ones...but lets elaborate...
  12. CLONING:

    to take a clone, you will need.

    exacto knife with new blade
    small bowl

    set up youre new cloner the day before you clone, add distelled water with 1 drop of superthrive per gallon, set ur heater and leave until the big day.

    wipe your exacto knife, scissors and your bowl off with alcohol, fill the bowl with water from your cloner, may want to wipe ur hands also, I do...

    locate the branches that will make good clones, the thicker the stem the better but any that have a min of three nodes will do.
    right below the 3rd node is where you will cut.

    sit the bowl close to your plant,

    then use the scissors to cut the branch from the plant cut square at this point,

    quickly put the cut end into the bowl of water,

    reach under the water with the exacto blade and cut a 45 degree angle on the bottom, making sure the end never leaves the water.(very important as an air embolism will kill ur cut.( repeat this step until you have all clones your taking) just make sure none come out of the water..

    leave that soak in the water for 15 minutes.

    now you can remove it from the water and trim off lower branches if necessary, scrape up one side of the stem using the blade perpendicular to the stem lightly as to only rub off one layer of the stem skin..

    then insert the clone into the neoprene disc trying to leave and inch or so under the neporene,

    place that into your netpot and insert into your cloner.

    1 hour after you have put the new clones into the cloner, go back and check, if any of them has to much of a gap between the cut end and the water they will wilt,(1/4") just slide them deeper into the netpot and they will recover quickly.

    check the water level every other day or so, you may have to add some back (distelled water) do to evaporation..

    no spraying necessary and no dome.
    5-7 seven days roots will start to form, if you notice any leaf discolor the leafs can be cut back 50%. I used to do that at the beginning, but have found with superthrive you dont
    have to.

    Thats prety much it.
    the 15 minute waiting period works with all types of cloning, it really does help.
    Cleaninig your blade in between cuts is a good practice also.

    So sometimes a pic says a thousand words...
    here is the neoprene insert and the netcup with the bottom cut out...


    A likely canidate, as you see i dont always have three nodes, but they do work better when they have three .;)

    inserted into the neiprene disc. now just install into cloner...:D
    Attached Thumbnails[​IMG] [​IMG]

    So..now what to do when they are ready, i have found small 1 1/2 cubes to fit great with my system, as I dont always have a dwc ready for them its nice to throw them into cubes and give the roots a nice head start before they go into my dwc rigs, or my flood tables.
    To do this I take a nice rooted clone

    Break a dry cube apart carefully (i use grodan and find they do not have to be soaked)

    insert he clone gently trying to make sure all the roots are in the cube, if you have to spiral them around to achieve this.

    Tie a string around the cube to keep it closed

    Put into a small dish of water, I use a 10% mix of nutes at this point.

    whallah a few days later....
    Attached Thumbnails[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  13. Once you have them from the cloner into the cube, we put them in a small container with hydroton, let the roots start to come out of the cube, then we are ready to put into a net cup. put it as low as the leafs allow you to and fill with hydroton, now either you have a dwc to put the net cup in or your puttiing it in a bucket, either is fine, keep the water level 1"below the net pot, youll notice the spray form the top of the water keeps the netpot moist, within a few days the roots emerge from the net pot...now its ready to go to flower...I dont recommend going to flower before the roots have dropped, this makes for a small yeild as the plant will concentrate on root growth rather then flowering...

    Germing seeds

    we use the paper towel method...
    ive seen many having issues with this method..its really very simple...
    you take a small tuperware container or baggie(must be air tight)
    place a layer or two of papertowel on the bottom, place your seeds on top of that,
    then another couple of layers, now drip distelled water over the top of the papertowel,
    evenly moistening the papertowel..youll see it form to the seeds.. You dont want any standing water whatsoever.. just enough to wet them, now put the lid on..
    this method will not work..in between two plates..It must be air tight to create the humidity thats neeeded, now stick it in a 70 degree area... a lil more is ok, but try not to let it get cooler tghen that....within 48 hours generally youll see the tap root emerge..
    take a 1" cube and drop the seed into the hole, have a dish of distelled water ready and soak the cube after you put the seed in for a few second until its soaked...
    I use grodan cubes, they are the best IMO.. the others hold water for to long..
    now place under your light... the plant will emerge form the cube within 48 hours...

    now...grow cubes
    again allot of folks have trouble with these and generally its because they keep them to wet... what you want is the cube to get almost dry before watering, to water it use a small bowl and dumk the lower half of th ecube in the water...5 seconds..1,2,3,4,5//
    now remove it.. this helps the roots grow down and keeps all the moisture form the top of the cube...do this and you will succeed with cubes...
    then simply follow the steps above to get it into the net pot as that is the goal...:D
  14. With hydro the ph is king....ph is really easy to control and understand once you get used to it... The plant will only consume the nutrients it wants... it doesnt matter what you put in it will only absorb what it wants and or needs, with this said lets look at how we gage this....

    its all linked to the ph... we want 5.8-6.0... as a good rule of thumb...

    If we watch the ph the plants will tell us how much they are consumming ...

    If your ph rises your plant is asking for more nutes... up your ppms..50-100

    If your ph lowers your plant is telling you there are to many nutrients and it doesnt want them... so thin the mix with plain water....

    if you find the happy spot and your ph is stable.. keep the ppms right there..
    thru different stages of growth youll stll want to hold that ppm until the plants tell you they want more or less nutes....

    I run at about 600 for veg and anywhere from 800-1100 in flower....
    does seem low but if youve seen my grows youll see they do fine...
    One incident of burn cost you two weeks that you never get back so going low is an easy adjustment, if you give them to much.. you pay the price with yeild..

    whenever your ph is fluxuating make ur adjustments quick.
    ph will cause lockout and is prety much the same results as burn..
  15. #15 Yoda, May 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2010
    Topping off ur buckets

    with a new set up it will generally take a day or two to stabalize, if ur using tap make sure to let it sit for a few hours to disapate the chlorine.

    set your buckets up, fill them to the 1"below net pot rule..
    adjust your ppms first..then yourp ph... let them run overnight without plants.. not necessary but a good idea with a new setup..
    check the ppm and ph the next morning..9 out of 10 times you will find the ph high..
    so add some ph down.. once youve hit 5.8 ur ready for the plants....

    There is a couple diff possibilities here so ill cover both...

    1st ..if yuor plants have just been introduced to the net cup youll want to keep a close eye on water level for a few days until the roots drop...you may need to water from the top every other day to assist with this... once they drop ur in good shape and can let the water level drop a little without concern...

    2nd..your plants already have roots dropped..
    well now ur off and running..once you put them in youll see rapid growth the next few days..

    In both instances your watching your water level, ppm, and ph closely...
    When the water level drops add back with fresh water... check your ppm and ph...
    remember your going for that sweet spot, youll notice on most occasions the addback doesnt adjust them much thats good....

    when the time comes and you feel as though a water change in is order, maybe because your going from veg nutes to flower nutes or whatever the case may be... hold off on your add backs for a few days... let that water level get low... then add all of it at once to CLEAN the water so to speak... This will adjust the ppms and ph..now just change up on ur nutes and start the whole process again..remember by now you know about what ppm they want.. so hit that mark with the new mix...
    That is all I do..i do not empty the whole system ever , only between grows...
    if you have found the water level hasnt moved much , you havent added much fresh water..and a week has passed, add a capful or two of calmag... mag lifts from the water kinda like chlorine does so this is important..
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  16. My view on nutrients...
    ok..ive been asked many times to share this...
    I know my views are different then allot of other folks and there is no perfect way..
    we all end to do what works best for us... use this info only as a baseline, i encourage you to find what works best for you....

    I use Fox farm...
    grow big
    big bloom
    tiger bloom
    beatse bloom
    cha ching
    floralicius plus

    When I start a seedling i wait 12-14 days before first feed...
    then i give them 1/4 cap grow big and a 1/2 cap big bloom...
    i give this for the next week or so, and slowly build them up to 3/4 cap..
    This is all per gallon... keeping the ph at 5.8 with ph down...
    feeding every watering....

    Once im at 3/4 cap of grow big and 1 full cap of big bloom... this is my veg mix...
    I run that mix thru veg, as I dont veg long this gets me by... generally around 600 ppm...

    the day i switch to flower i change the nute mix, keep in mind they move to buckets or the flood table... i use 3/4 cap of tiger bloom and 2 full caps of big bloom per gallon,
    then as flowering begins i adjust my nutes to the plants... after all they tell me with the ph what they want..
    Ive found week 6 to be the best spot for me to use beaste bloom...
    I follow what i said earlier and let the buckets get low,, add back fresh water then take my ppms up to the swet spot with beaste bloom only... run that a week with no addbacks.. then the next week...fill back up with fresh water and back to tiger bloom and big bloom...Cha ching I use t he last two weeks with the same method...
    The others I just kinda eyeball when i think its needed.. flouriciuos is a fish emulasion among other thngs and late flower it really brings out the smell and fatness on the buds..

    i think thats a prety good run down...

    any questions feel free to ask, :D
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  17. AWESOME info :hello: Nicely done Bud :D
    I'm sure this will be very helpful to a lot of blades and bladies. Thanks for taking the time to put this together :cool: :metal:

    sub'd :wave:
  18. #18 Yoda, May 15, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2010
    3rd times the charm[​IMG]

    thanks doin...
    Thanks again for all ur help also:)
  19. Wow Budslinger...you were busy this morning! Very enjoyable read. :hello:
  20. thanks again for this dude!

    stickied.. again :laughing:

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