2 or 3 5 gal DWC buckets in 4x2 tent?

Hello everyone!
Really glad to finally be a member here, been waiting for this for a really long time! :smiley: I am in the process of starting out my first grow, currently buying everything I need. So far my set up is:

Tent: 2x4 Gorilla Grow Tent
Lights: Electric Sky V3 300 (330 Watts)
Ventilation: AC Infinity S6 with Smart Controller 67
Going to be using passive intake.
Want to grow Photoperiods, not Autos.

I am planning to go the DWC route. I will be either getting this. Leaning more towards the Growrilla, but I’ll have to see how that works out regarding shipping availibility to my country. Both options are 19 ltr / 5 gal.

So, my question is, in a 4x2 tent with a 330 Watt LED, should I do 2 or 3 of these 19 ltr DWC systems? I REALLY would like to do 3 in there instead of 2 if possible, just to have 3 different strains to smoke come harvest, especially since I’m going to be growing Photos which take longer till the next harvest than Autos, but thought I would ask the advice of some experts :slight_smile:

I would like to thank anyone in advance who pitches in! Looking forward to hearing some of your opinions! :smiley:

Best wishes to all :slight_smile:

**Edited for unauthorized links.

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You’ll be having a hard time with just ONE plant in a 2 X 4.

DWC is problematic due to the small reservoir of liquid. In mid flower you will be filling that twice a day to maintain proper liquid height in your bucket. Unless you want to mix nutes twice a day I’d look into RDWC.

Adding a reservoir outside the grow space will allow you to top up from the rez without disturbing plant, control liquid temps better (plan on a chiller) and PH swings will be greatly reduced due to the larger volume of solution.

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I would (at most) run 2 in your tent. For my mothers I run them for about 3 months (in a DIY 5 gallon DWC) in veg before flowering them.

You won’t have to water much in veg (every 3-6 days) but will have to water every 1-2 days in mid to late flower.

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Hello again,
thank you both for your prompt replies. I really appreciate that.

@Myfriendis410 I did want to go RDWC originally, but given the space I have to work with (I’m going to be growing in our box room/closet, I live in a small apartment), it is just not feasible, especially if I’m going to have more than one strain in there, which will warrant the need for 2 separate reservoirs since both plants might require different nutrient balances. pH shouldn’t be an issue as I’m going to be using Advanced Nutrients pH Perfect. Dang, didn’t think I would be having to top off the rez that frequently in mid to late flower though. I read a lot about people using beach coolers as their rez (and cutting a hole in the lid for the net pot to go through), and was quite interested in this idea, both for it holding more volume of water, and also the insulation will help keep the nutrient solution cooler in the summer months. I also thought of wrapping it with panda film to make it entirely lightproof and reflective also. The coolers easily available here are 30 Litre (almost 8 gal), what are your opinions on the cooler idea?

@LearnasUgrow Got it, so definitely no more than 2 then, thanks for also pitching in.

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I’ve run multiple different cultivars on one rez with zero issues.

It will eventually reach the temp in the grow space. Liquid really needs to remain below 70F to maintain dissolved O and to keep pythium (root rot) from starting.

I would suggest top-feeding in soilless media like coco. It requires daily watering/feeding but way less problematic, especially in an apartment setting.

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Thanks, that’s good to know, it would definitely be easier fitting in one rez rather than two! It would also have the added benefit of keeping the nutrient solution cooler.

So 30 litre cooler or 19 litre bucket won’t make a difference? Regarding heat, it’s only the summer months that would really be an issue, other than that, we have very nice and cool, manageable temps the rest of the year. I was thinking of putting in freeze packs if the temps really get out of hand in summer since I highly doubt I’ll have space for a chiller, especially if also installing an external rez. Would Pythium still be an issue if using root zone beneficials? I’m planning on using AN’s Voodoo Juice, Tarantula, Piranha and Sensizym which all introduce beneficial bacteria for the root zone.

Thanks for the coco suggestion, but without meaning to sound stubborn or like I am dismissing your suggestion, I really wanted to start off with hydro and see how that goes due to it’s explosive growth in veg. To explain the reason behind this better, I’m aiming (and hoping) to harvest around 250g per harvest. I smoke 50g a month on average (and it’s wrecking my wallet to be honest at around 18 Euros/20 USD per gram), so in order to be self-sufficient, I need to hit the 250g mark per harvest (taking into account it’ll take around 5 months from seed to cured bud), and from what I read, hydro is the highest yielding method (correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve never done this before, just read up a lot). Heck, if it all fails, I’ll have to start looking at alternative ways to grow :confused:

Thanks again for all your replies and patience.

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I understand your concerns. Been there, done that.

The larger the ‘bucket’ the longer you can go between fillings. It won’t help with temps as the liquid is inside the grow space and can assume temps will be upper 70’s (at least) which is what I meant.

If you can do this every three hours or so during lights on then sure. Otherwise it won’t help as many others here have found out (including me).

Coco will nearly match a perfect run in RDWC. It will far outperform hydro if just one thing is off in your DWC setup. A plant can die in 4 hours in hydro. Coco tends to buffer to an extent so if there’s a mistake, you may recover from it.

You can also do like I’m setting up for my current grow: automated watering/feeding in 3 gallon fabric pots with coco/perlite. Jack’s 3-2-1 and silica. I can expect to harvest 400 grams per 2 X 4 space in my grow room.

I strongly urge you to get a grow or two under your belt, you can use the AN nutes, just use their coco schedule or drain to waste.

@spyonyou @Covertgrower @merlin44 @PurpNGold74

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250g harvest and 50g a month that’s 5 month window. We both know due to genetics alone 250 won’t always achieve that goal and you’ll end up short.
If 2x4 is all you have available then it is what it is. May be able to divide that space, but you’re reducing flowering space at the same time.
Coco I think will be best, as you can really cram the space more adequately with multiple plants as you become more experienced. This will increase your chances of achieving your goal, and maximizing canopy space.

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I use 5 gal. And feel like The roots need more.

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Hey @MagicCultivator420 welcome to the community! :clap:t2::+1:t2: You will find a ton of knowledge here.

I know it’s hard to hear something totally contrary to what you’ve got your mind set to do, but a 2x4 is not really an ideal way to grow dwc or rdwc. It’s almost not big enough for that explosive growth. You can do it in there but you’ll have to keep them smaller than what they can grow.

We have seen more than one person try and start out growing dwc and give up and quit due to frustration trying to learn to deal with the challenges of growing in dwc.

Like @Myfriendis410 said, you will face a few challenges trying to grow dwc with a 5 gal bucket. If there is a way you could fit two medium-large size totes in your space, at least they would hold more water and aid with the ph fluctuations.

Don’t get us wrong, growing in 5 gal buckets can be done and usually achieved by folks that have been growing for sometime. They make it look easy.

Maybe, if you could put three buckets in there and connect all 3 of them together with a 1.5” pipe and use the center bucket as a res…??

@nodurxshn uses a cooler and is killing it. He can also testify to the importance of needing a chiller.
I run rdwc with two totes and an 18 gal. garbage can for a res. A chiller is important during the summer for me as well. A cooler does help keep water cooler but you have to get it down to the right temp first. Your air pump will introduce hot air to your water.

Bottom line is, just know we are here to help however we can and whatever method you decide to grow. Good luck! :+1:t2::v::sunglasses:

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wow firstly thanks spy for the shoutout! really appreciate that, means a lot coming from you sir! and yes i fully agree with spy on that tent size, and youll hate that you made that mistake, i only grow RDWC and everything you need to put in that tent youll run out of room really really fast…with DWC/RDWC you need to pack a lot of things in that tent, even more difficult is RDWC because once everything is in place its really difficult to move anything, that becomes a big issue when you need to do things like trim and check on things. i think good foresight is important because you will really need to see things long before they happen to create a good tent grow…that being said i would never consider flowering in a tent any smaller than 4x4 …i have maxxed out grow space in a 4x4 and was mad i couldnt go bigger …with just 1 plant here is a pic of my 4x4 last run…just 1 plant…i tried running 2 plants in a 4x4 and it was rough they grew to the top and i ran out of headroom…so even with a 4x4 its rough …i could never see using a 2x4 …really ideally im ready to upgrade to a 4x8 and use my 4x4 as a dry tent…aside frorm that im not sure what the area you live in is like but more than likely you will need a chiller …there are a lot of ways around this …for a whole year i kept 10 water bottles in the freezer and every hour id drop another bottle in the res…of course that gets really stupid really fast …there are very inexpensive ways to make a chiller. @Graysin made his own from computer parts…on another note you can use a water chiller to turn your DWC into a RWDC just connect your buckets or tubs or totes whichever the case may be and drop the pump to the chiller in the first bucket and run the line from the chiller to the last bucket…another benefit of RDWC is only one bucket needs to be aerated so less heat to your reservoirs from the pump feeding multiple buckets…also top your hydro pots with mylar it does 3 very important things…reflects and dissipates heat from top down, keeps dead plant matter and debris out of grow medium and obviously keeps light out of reservoir. …im just gonna hit reply before i write a book and things get TLDR :stuck_out_tongue: you are in a great placce possibly the greatest place any grower can find…this is that corner of the internet that is untouched by garbage people of the interwebs and thats thanks to the amazing admins here that keep us on our toes :slight_smile:


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Misleading because while it worked fine for a single bucket reservoir, the heat produced by the chiller running 24/7 to offset the heat generated by 35 gallons of water circulating through my flowering tent… it fell short. If you just need a chiller for a 5 gal setup, absolutely the cheap DIY method will work + a small aquarium water pump. If you need a chiller for anything larger, save yourself the headache and buy a commercial chiller.

It was a worthwhile experience because I know now how to make small water chillers and excellent water heaters using the peltier chip system. But I don’t really recommend it for your average grower just wanting real results before your plant dies from heat stress at the root zone.

It can be done! It’s not worth the amount of trouble it is unless you’re picky like I am. I have my RDWC in 5gal buckets all interconnected, largely because I have discovered that I would rather have 4 diff strains in my 4x4 than 2 - a tote system, as @nodurxshn says, takes up a lot of space. My rootball absolutely filled the entire 5 gallon bucket by the end of the plant’s lifespan. But I still had two others flowering out. No big deal.



Also ew. Check that monster out. :joy:

I’m afraid that’s a mislead belief. My water reservoir temps raised from a comfortable 68-70° in veg without a chiller all the way to 80-82° once I turned my lights up to accommodate my plants’ light needs. That’s with my air conditioner running 24/7 to keep the room itself at 68°. I used frozen gallon jugs of water to offset the temps. It gets really old but it is manageable if you have the freezer space for 3 gallon jugs per plant/reservoir (because one jug will fully melt in 2-3 hours and take 6-12 hours to freeze fully).

Anyway. I hate to harp on a subject the other hydro guys have already mentioned but don’t cheap out on the chiller. You’re going to spend a lot of time and energy working against yourself. Hot water holds less oxygen, less oxygen capacity means you need more air stones and stronger air pumps. Hot water also means any contaminant or light leak can lead to algae or other bad nasties in your root zone. It also translates directly into heat stress.

I was stubborn and started in hydro - I was also stubborn and didn’t get a chiller until I had all but killed three plants with root complications. I still primarily grow in hydro with some soil and coco on the side - coco will quickly overtake my soil grows as I’m able to cycle them out.

Anyhow. Don’t make your life unnecessarily difficult. No amount of beneficial microbes will counteract an environment where they can’t survive.

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that is some solid truth right there bro!!i always test my environment to see how i could make easy changes to benefit my plants and me at the same time and what ive learned is it is very easy to condition yourself to live in a plants environment not so much the other way, you can definitely make yourself crazy chasing issues back and forth. and yes …in hydro it dont matter what time of year it is …you will have heat issues you can bank on it…its 59 degrees outside its 67 degrees in my grow room right now but inside that tent is at a solid 82 and without my chiller my res would probably be closer to 85/90 just from the air pump instead of a cool 68. it really is the most valuable piece of grow equipment 2nd to my grow lights. but it can be built much cheaper if you wanna go that route like graysin said if you got the cash to splash id def buy commercial if you are trying to chill any more than id say 18 gallons , and i can only give advice to the best of my knowledge 18 gallons is the most ive tried to chill. it might chill more than that but i dont know about all that :slight_smile:

hahaha thats the rootball slime that killed those kids on that lake barge in creepshow 2

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All good points. You really need to look at your space and the amount of product you need to have on hand. One plant, SCROG’ed, in coco will give you 400 grams of flower without too much trouble.

Get a couple of grows under your belt before deciding to jump in to hydro, really. Invest in good lights. FYI most of the stuff on Amazon is junk. Anything that says: ‘equal to 600 watt HPS but only draws 100 watts’ is simply lying to you.

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Hello again everyone! Wow, thanks, I didn’t expect this many replies! Thanks so much everyone for all this information, I really appreciate it! Well after going through all the replies and everyone’s advice, it’s even more evident that I was going to make a huge mistake by going DWC (especially without the chiller) for my first grow, so I will take @Myfriendis410’s advice and go with Coco for now, and maybe start experimenting with hydro after I gain some experience, and a few grows under my belt.

So, I’ve opened up quite a rabbit hole in deciding to go with Coco though, most of the research I’ve done involved hydro, so I’m completely at a loss here. So, here are some questions I have, if anyone could help get me on the right track please:

  1. I’m seeing there are Fabric pots or Air Pots? Which would you recommend, and what size for 2 plants in 2x4?

  2. My original plan for hydro was to germinate seeds in Royal Queen Seeds’ Easy Start cubes with their beneficial bacto in their small propagator (it all comes complete as their Starter Kit and also includes 3x Critical seeds), will this still be viable for Coco, or should I germinate in Coco Pellets instead to not mix these soil cubes with the Coco? Or will germination take place directly in the final pot full of Coco?

  3. Will I need to transplant from smaller fabric/air pots to bigger ones as the plant grows in different stages of it’s life (like from 3 gal to 5 gal), or will the plant live it’s full life in it’s final container straight after germination?

  4. From some little reading I’ve done on Coco, it seems like a good idea to mix it with Perlite. What ratio would you guys recommend?

  5. Any recommended Coco brands? There are quite a few I could get my hands on easily, I’ll list them:
    -BioBizz Coco-Mix, 50 litres
    -Canna Coco Professional Plus, 50 litres
    -UGro Coco Block XL, 70 Liter
    -UGro Coco Block XL, 70 Liter +Rhiza
    -Bionova Coco Brick (6 Bricks x 10 ltr)
    -CocoStar Coconut Bale, 70 litres

  6. How much will I be watering every time, and how will I know if it’s enough? That was the beauty with hydro, it takes out the guesswork by just keeping the rez topped up, and over/underwatering wouldn’t have been an issue.

  7. How much runoff can I expect daily? I need to plan out and see where to catch this runoff and how big of a tray/saucer/bucket is needed to avoid it overflowing.

  8. If I’m going to be using Advanced Nutrients pH Perfect, will I still need to be adjusting pH based off of the readings I get from the runoff, or do I treat it like I would have done in hydro and let the pH Perfect do it’s work and I ignore pH?

  9. Advanced Nutrients state that they are based off of an EC value of 0, some of the Coco mixes I listed above show that they start off with an EC of 0.5, won’t this go against what Advanced Nutrients is stating? Here is the proper term they use ‘Advanced Nutrients is always based on an EC value of 0.0 (correct if necessary)’

This automated feeding you are mentioning here sounds very interesting. I imagine you are referring to a rez outside the tent with an air pump to keep the solution aerated and with a water pump and halo drippers? What size rez would we be talking here?

Why ‘use their coco schedule’ OR ‘drain to waste’? Wouldn’t I always want to drain to waste? In the little reading I did on the subject, I read that once the solution goes through the coco it gets richer in Potassium.

Since the rez will be constantly feeding the plants, again, how much runoff should I be expecting per day? Asking so I don’t flood the tent while I’m at work or asleep.

You mention ‘Jack’s 3-2-1 and silica’, are these specific requirements to Coco, or do I just stick with the AN feeding schedule I was originally going for (but the Coco line instead)?

@spyonyou Thanks for the welcome, and thank you also for your informative post and support :smiley:

@nodurxshn Thank you also for your support and long informative post. Dang, that plant is a monster! Just one filling up a whole 4x4! Kudos on that! Mega respect!! I originally also wanted a 4x4, but no matter how much I pondered on it, thought about shuffling stuff into rooms to make space, changing my whole bedroom layout, etc, I just couldn’t fit it in my apartment, which is why I had to go for a 2x4 :frowning:

@Graysin Thank you also for your long, informative post, and also for correcting me on just thinking that heat would be an issue in summer. Wow, didn’t think the lights would emit that much heat that you’re seeing over a 10F increase, and with an AC to boot! Looks like I have much more to learn. Thanks!

I would also like to thank @Covertgrower, and @Homegrownmeds for also pitching in, and also apologize for such a long post with so many questions.

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Canna coco is what I use and is my recommendation. As far as the rest of it, I’m new to coco myself. I went for fabric pots and didn’t bother mixing perlite into my canna coco.

I did try to use Mother Earth coco for a couple plants but it didn’t rehydrate as easily and was much harder to work with than the Canna Coco.

That should be fine. Probably overpriced for what it is - but it’ll work. A small bag or container of Mykos or Great White, a bag of Root Riot cubes, and a cheap propagation tray with a dome, and a seedling heat mat will cost you less.

RQS, however, have had excellent seeds for me so far. ILGM seeds have been pretty great too.

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I’m gonna try to tackle this.

I’ve never used AN - I hear good things but had heard so many better things about Jacks 3-2-1. It is a complete cannabis Fertilizer composed of 3 parts, their proprietary Part A, Part B (which is cal nitrate) and Epsom Salts (which can come from anywhere). It works for soil, coco, and hydro.

Silica is a necessary supplement for hydroponics or coco coir - it won’t naturally occur in water or inert mediums the same way it does in soil. AN probably has a silica supplement in their lineup but any silica will work.

As far as watering systems: coco coir works great with autopots, which is an external reservoir connected with water tubing and valves, with a float to refill the pot inside the tent. The plant drinks from the bottom of the pot. I won’t say it’s leak proof but I haven’t had any issues yet. There is no runoff because it feeds from the bottom automatically when the water level depleted enough to trigger the float to refill.

I can’t say much about other auto-watering systems but that’s what I use with Jacks as my nutrients and coco coir as my medium.

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haha i know the struggle my 1bdrm apartment is only 550 sq ft so basically this is a studio with a grow room attached :stuck_out_tongue:

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AN is a serious overachiever …all of there nutrients are really top of the line and i know everyone says there product is top of the line but ive played with spendy alternatives that just did not measure up with the results. i only push what i believe in and advanced nutrients/hawthorne is a clear contender, i also love the GH flora duo series which i talk about all the time…and lets not forget hydroguard forever making ph levels bounce :slight_smile:

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Ah Yeah, that reminds me - all y’all hydro growers I happened upon this Hydroguard alternative.

It’s substantially more concentrated so you don’t need anywhere near as much. I picked up an 8oz bottle for $10 and it will last me 5-10x as long as a quart of Hydroguard.


I can’t recommend it enough if you’re gonna be dealing with a reservoir bigger than 10 gallons.

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