Adding chiller to rdwc setup

Grow start date: 1/19/17 - WWxBB seed sprouted
Strains: White Widow x Big Bud Feminized
Space: 4x2x7 tent inside indoor closet
Method:DWC/ scrog- top feeding by hand w/ H2O from res until roots emerge from net pot
Light cycle: 18/6
Lighting: 600W Viparspectra LED, 24" away from seedlings
Reservoir: two 5-gallon buckets w/ 6" net pot lids (Lowe’s blue buckets)
H2O Aeration: 1- 9" RedFrog aerator + 1-2" air stone per bucket
Fans: Exhaust - Apollo 6" 440 CFM Inline Fan w/ 6" Carbon Filter (placed outside of tent for more space); Intake - passive vent at bottom of tent
Air Circulation:1- 6" clip fan (non-oscillating) & 1 - Honeywell Turbo Force Air circulator Fan
Nutrients: GH Flora Trio, RAW solubles OminA, Ful Up and Sea Kelp; and HydroGuard
Reservoir PH: 5.5-6.5
Tent Temp & Humidity: 71-82F / 52-69%
Reservoir Temp: 61-69F w/frozen bottles
Reservoir H2O change: every 7-10 days
Water: pH adjusted distilled water

Hello all! I am fairly new around these parts and to growing so I am still learning how everything works. Hoping someone can help me redesign my dwc setup. I currently have a single 5gal bucket dwc going now and have had issues with keeping res temps low. Ive been adding frozen water bottles to the bucket as a quick fix. This method has been working but it limits my ability for traveling for extended periods of time so I bought a chiller (Active Aqua 1/10 hp). I know its a bit much for just one bucket but I do plan to expand my grow in the future.

I would like to convert my setup in to a SMALL but EXPANDABLE setup that connects the new chiller, a separate reservoir bucket, and 2-3 grow buckets for plants. I have limited space so it has to be small (less than 5 containers overall) I would like to use a drip irrigation system in one of the grow buckets.
Can someone tell me 1. how to properly connect 2grow buckets to chiller and reservoir and 2. how to make a drip irrigation system to be used for seedlings or clones? I already have some of the items I think will be needed such as:

  • 160 GPH Active Aqua submersible pump
  • 1/2", 1/4", & 3/4" tubing
  • 3/4"Uniseals
  • 1/2" rubber grommets

If someone knows of a grow journal or site that includes a setup like this please share the link to it. I have been looking myself but haven’t found what I am looking for. Thanks!

At the moment this is what I am going for. Will this work? Am i missing any necessary parts, how can i improve?

I know @Donaldj @yoshi do hydro @bob31 and @Hawkeye_diesel and @DissidentPriest or maybe help you too and will be able to tell you who else do it too. I dont so i cant help you sorry. But these guys will see this soon enough and help you out

I don’t use the rdwc, I have individual dwc buckets. Sorry I can’t be of more help

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You will need a 5/8 drill bit, 1.25" holesaw 3 1/2" barbed elbow fittings 3 1/2" Insert Coupling Fittings 4 3/4" insert coupling fittings 1 1/2-in Polyethylene Drip Irrigation Tee 4 3/4" uniseals

  1. First you will need to drill 2 5/8" holes on the back of your reservoir close to the bottom
    ( soak your grommets in hot water for 10 mins. for easy installation )
    Install your 1/2" grommets making sure the fit is a tight one you don’t want any leaks.
    Most chillers come with a 1/2’ input and output attach 2 of the 1/2" insert couplings to the 2 grommets making sure there is enough room on coupling on the outside of the res. to attach the 1/2" hose to the chiller
    Cut 2 pieces of 1/2" hose the same length ( distance between Res. and chiller ) attach one end of hose to intake on the chiller and the other end to the insert coupling on the res. (always use hose clamps to secure fit) attach one end of the other piece of hose to the output on chiller and the other end to the insert coupling on the res. The intake hose will suck the nutrients from the res. through the chiller and back to the res. through the output hose

  2. screw the 1/2" MPT x insert ( threads on one end / barbed fitting on the other) to the output on your sub. pump
    Drill a 5/8" hole in the center of res. facing the buckets, attach 1/2" grommet and 1/2" coupling make sure there is enough room to attach tubing inside and out, cut a piece of 1/2" hose the length from the output barbed fitting on your sub. pump to the 1/2" coupling on the inside of res. attach one end of the hose to the sub pump and the other end to a 1/2" barbed elbow fitting facing it to the front of the res. Drill a 5/8" hole in each bucket at bottom of the lip of bucket handle facing the reservoir, attach grommets and 1/2" couplings
    … Cut another piece of the 1/2" hose long enough to connect the elbow to the coupling inside the reservoir… Cut a 12" piece of 1/2" hose and connect one end to the coupling coming out of the top of the res and the other end to the 1/2" tee. decide how far apart you want the buckets from center of the reservoir and cut a piece of 1/2 " tubing that length attach one end of tubing to the tee and and the other end to a 1/2" elbow, now cut a piece of 1/2" tubing the distance between that elbow and the 1/2" insert coming outside of the top of bucket. attach one end to the elbow and the other the end to the 1/2" coupling, repeat same to other side

  3. Using a 1.25" holesaw cut 2 holes in the front side of the res. near the bottom facing each of the plant buckets then attach uniseals (soak them in hot water for 10 mins. for easy installation) then do the same thing to the bottom of each plant bucket that is facing the res. attach 3/4" insert couplings to the 4 uniseals then cut 2 pieces of 3/4" tubing to connect the reservoir to the buckets If you have any problems contact me and I will help you in any way that I can
    As far as the drip line goes my best suggestion would be to check out " DIY DWC drip lines on Youtube


Thanks buddy you look to have it covered

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No prob before you choose the air stones for your buckets and reservoir check out this video on Youtube
" Air Injection Technology for Hydroponics " Price is what you would pay for a high quality airstone with a much better outcome The product comes in all shapes and sizes, they even have one that you can add to soil. AMAZING amount of air bubbles created that you won’t get out of any airstone (my opinion after watching the video). One of their products is shaped like the one in the Oxycloner that I saw on Youtube (that I am going to replicate) I saw the same size container at Lowe’s for $5 Their product that will fit the cloner is only $16 and the mini submersible pump is.$4, Plugs to hold the clones $11, for $36 I can make one that will do the same thing instead of buying one on Ebay for $60


First let me start by saying I’m sorry, I made a mistake on a critical piece of information
you can’t use a 3/4" coupling on a 3/4" uniseal, coupling is to small. You are gonna have to use 3/4 pvc pipe for your return flow. I came across some old pictures and realized that I gave you a wrong piece of information, . was using 3/4" barbed bulkheads not uniseals. here is a video that will give you an idea of how to add on to your system.
Youtube video ( Hydroponic bucket - Deep Water Culture ( DWC ) -How to build - Animation with 3d "

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Thanks a million for everything you’ve shared with me. I am home for the evening finally and am going to sit down and look up the things you’ve mentioned. Everything sounds great! I will come up with a final draft of my system tonight. The chiller should be here tomorrow which will be just in time for a res change. So I plan to go ahead and build, test, and install the new system at that time.

“Sidenote”…I also plan to do a mild flush of the plant while doing install, going to use GH Florakleen. If anyone has any tips or suggestions on using this stuff please do share. I am going to flush roots in 3 gal h20 w/ 1 tsp/gal of Florakleen for 1 hour.

Anytime bluefly28 just trying to help out a brother grower. Remember it is very important that you soak your uniseals in hot water for about 10 mins. or you will have a hell of a time inserting your pvc pipe. About that, before you try to insert the pipe into the uniseal, cut the pipe at a sharp angle so you can slide the pipe in the uniseal a little bit at a time instead of trying to do it all at once good luck with your system



So here it is my newly assembled RDWC system with chiller…

**Additions: - 16 gal tote to be used as external reservoir (running 15 gal)
- 160 GPH submersible pump (inside reservoir, feeding in to chiller)
- 1/10th hp Active Aqua Chiller

Although I have Uniseals I decided to use 3/4" bulkheads and poly vinyl tubing for the entire setup. I wanted the flexibility of tubing rather than the rigid PVC. Hopefully its all connected well and works out. I test ran the system with plain water for about 1.5 hr and no leaks showed up so I proceeded with installing it in my grow space. I have not added nutes to the res yet. Just waiting to make sure all goes well. The water is at pH 5.8 and contains Hydroguard only. Will add nutes and microbe tea later. Flushed plant with Florakleen for 2 hours.

Unfortunately I am having trouble with the water returning to the reservoir, which I am thinking to fix by switching to another pump. Right now I am running a 160 GPH active aqua that is feeding into the chiller. I am thinking to either add a pump inline with the return hose that is feeding back into the reservoir OR change the reservoir pump to a larger style and connect its “Output” line to the RDWC distribution line. What do you guys think? Will that fix this problem?

The empty bucket is going to be a blank for right now. I am using it to test/compare differences in H20 temps and pH between the reservoir and the plant buckets. Plan to use it as a multi-site bucket will start some seed soon. Probably will be buying a larger tent at some point in the near future too.

AWESOME !!! setup makes sense switching from uniseals to bulkheads, more flexible that way.Your gonna need a inline pump running at 400 to 500 gph, just picked one up on ebay for $67 (Supreme 500 GPH Danner Mag 5 Drive Pump) refurbished $64

Hi Marsman54! Thanks again for all of your help. I have made a few adjustments to the setup trying to remedy the lack of circulation. You’re absolutely right about that inline pump and Im trying to figure out which one or how large of a pump my chiller can tolerate. I want a 400 to 500 gph but not sure if chiller can handle that load. Manufacture recommends 160-250 GPH. Does that matter since I’m not recirculating to the chiller?

Your chiller doesn’t have a internal pump, that’s weird I thought they all did. Looks real good though. You can use your 160 gph pump for your chiller, then get a 400 or 500 gph inline pump for the circulation for your system. Watch this video to get an idea on what size pump, it all depends on how fast you want your recirculation to flow
( MY RDWC SYSTEM AND WHY ) on youtube this guy has gone kinda overboard with a 900 gph I think inline pump and you should see the circulation he gets, looks pretty cool, he calls it the waterfall effect. 400 to 500 should be ok

That’s awesome. I had a 1hp and 1/2 hp chillers for my corals. I used to cultivate corals

@marsman54 I finally got my system modified and running now. My new inline pump (550 GPH) arrived in the mail so i installed it and everything is circulating just fine now :smile: woohoo!! Thanks everyone for your comments and help.

Now I need to figure out how to get this 1/10hp chiller to go below 70 degrees. I have it set to 68 but for whatever reason it holds fast at 70 degrees. I know the ambient room temperature could be playing a part in it but not sure just yet. After doing some reading on the issue, I moved it outside the grow area where everything is and the temp stayed the same so I’m still debating that as the cause of my issue. Ive read other posts of similar issue that suggest it could be that the pump is moving the water through it too fast. I may try adding a ball valve to the pump feeding the chiller to slow things down a bit. Right now I’m testing out if just lowering the temp setting down to 65 will give me the actual temperature I want without overworking the chiller from it constantly running. If it doesn’t, I will probably add the ball valve and go from there.


Glad to here that you got your system up and running, sorry to here that you having problems with your chiller. If lowering the temp. on your chiller, I would recommend getting the ball valve, it should slow down the water intake enough to give you your desired water temp. I would like you to meet my 4 little girls

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Your girls are beautiful! How old are they? What type soil do you have them in? Im contemplating starting up a soil grow with some “freebie” w/unknown genetics. I don’t want to put too much $ into it but would like to at least grow them in a decent soil. I have some Happy Frog and Ocean Forest not sure which I want to go with or may try mixing up something.

The girls are 12 days into veg… I was contemplating the same thing “what soil do I want to grow in”, I had some organic soil left over from what I was using in my garden outdoors that my friend gave me so I decide to try that " Fafard Organinc Potting Soil " $10 for 1 cu. ft. and Growstone 3 a 50/50 mix. The soil contains ( Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, Processed Softwood Bark, Perlite, Dolomitic Limestone, and Organic Wetting Agent. Plus Resilience ) , I also add some Rhizo Force (great product) .I was really happy to find out that they sell this soil at my local hydro store I used a 50/50 mix of the soil and Growstone 3. I went to a Grand Opening event that the store was having on the 13th of Feb. and got 2 huge bags of free samples Rhizo Force, Mykos, Azos, Roots Exculator for hydro and for soil, Extreme Tea Brew , 5 250ml. bottles of " Elite Nutrients " ( a new product ) that will get me from veg. to bloom. all kinds of good stuff to use during my grows, and me being permanently disabled and on a strict financial budget helps out a great deal.I got the idea of how to use the soil by watching a video on YouTube called " Hydrosoil" this guy has got some gorgeous looking ladies growing in a 50/50 mix of Ocean Forest and Sunshine Grow mix. The plants at the start of the video are growing in a 50/50 mix of Coco and Growstone3 and they are beautiful to look at I must say. Check them out By they way have you solved the problem with your chiller ?


Ive got some 9 inch ait’s and theg are pretty flaming awesome. They totally expand the bubbles across the bucket thus giving your h2o more O2.
Check the pictures on my journal if you like, could also give an idea for a 4 pot RDWC, i bought mine but i could easily make one now ive seen how all the bits work (pretty simple) anyway, good luck bro