Built my top feed DWC bullbler


Well, while I wait for my order from Robert to arrive, I got to work on my setup.

First time growing in over 20 years, back when we used to thro a bunch of bag seeds in a pot and feed 'em fish fertilizer and miracle grow LOL. I’ve decided to try my hand at two of the newer (to me) methods for growing.

I’ve got myself some 5 gal cloth pots and I’ll be using a 50/50 mix of Fox Farm’s Happy Frog and Ocean Forest.

I’m also going to get real adventurous and try some hydro for the first time in my life :grin:

I found these plans here -(site)- and decided to give it a try. I got it all built today and took a couple pics. I’ll try to post those when I figure out how.


Howdy! I just started my first growth since 1995 Boy have things changed LOL good luck on your endeavor!


I think I have the photo thing fingered out :slight_smile:

Here’s a pic of the lid. I cut 6 holes as directed in the plans above, but I won’t be using them all beyond starts. I’ll be using 3.75" net cups.

Here’s a blurry pic of the inside showing my airstones and submersible pump.

The instructions said to run the feed line through the highest slots in the net cup, but that seemed low to me. I drilled some holes about 1/2" from the top and ran them through there. If it turns out to be too high, I can always move them down later.

Here’s a top shot with the system assembled. You can see the starter cubes in there and the feed tubes. Once I get sprouts, I’ll top the cups off with more hydroton pebbles.

and another shot of the finished product with the airstone lines running to my airpump.

My plan is to try to start 5 in the bubbler. When they get to transplantable size, I’m going to move 3 to the cloth pots with my soil mix and leave the furthest separated 2 in the bubbler. I’ll be using General Hydro’s Flora nutes in both.

Thoughts? Criticisms? Suggestions?


I’m actually in the process of making my own DWC cloner. I’ve made my own 5 gallon DWC bucket setups, but I wanted to make a little cloner so I can root clones faster, and already have them ready to go from the cloner right to the 5 gal DWC buckets.

I’m curious as to why you think you need the submersible pump?
From my understanding, the air stones will create bubbles that pop at the surface, creating a natural spray from the water line. You don’t really need that pump in the reservoir.
When I built my first DWC bucket, I bought the Water Farm kit from General Hydroponics, and installed in into the bucket. This made my DWC bucket, a top drip DWC bucket. I thought it was necessary, because people said it was. But after using it on two plants, I didn’t use it on a third plant and found that it doesn’t change anything from the plants that had the top drip feed, to the plant that never got it.
Not saying you shouldn’t use it, but I’m just letting you know that for me I don’t use top feeds anymore when I know that the bottom spray and aeration makes my girls root happily haha.

I’ll make a thread for my cloner I’m building and you can check it out.


From what I understand, regarding the submersible pump, this system is supposed to employ both the DWC and drip feed methods. The submersible supplies a constant top down wash of nutes, while the airstones do the work of a standard DWC system. Really, the only reason I decided to try it was because it sounded interesting :slight_smile: If it seems like a waste, or too much trouble, I can always remove that and run it like a regular DWC bubbler.

I look forward to seeing your cloner.


Very good point LED! That’s exactly what I did when I was doing the DWC with the top drip feed. After the first two plants I realized I didn’t really need it so I didn’t put it on the third plant I tried in DWC.

I’ve been debating on making my own tote style DWC, much like yours! I’ll keep my eye on this thread to watch and learn from you first before I decide to go down that road. Your idea is good too, to start with a few in there, move some out when they’re ready and leave 2 in the tote on the opposite sides. Very smart.



Okay, my package of magic beans has arrived (yay :slight_smile: ). I just have a quick question about germinating.
I’m going to be using Rapid Rooters and I’ve heard two different methods for starting with these:

  1. Dampen the Rapid Rooter, place the seed inside, place in a dark warm spot until it sprouts
  2. First soak the seeds overnight in water, then place in Rapid Rooters

Any suggestions about which method works best?


Hey LED BOOTS ive been using DWC for 12 years now idont use top feeding… .if your water level is with in one inch of the baskets and “id add One More Bubble Stone to the Middle” … i use round clay hydro pellets and with the water spashing from bubblers the clay wicks the water rite up … this helps prevent wet root problems …plus if you can run the pump out side of the resuvore the water will stay cooler … feed lightly.in hydro , for best results … … one more thing ,those rapid rooters are good But their like a sponge they can hold way to much water …and can drown them and or cause Damping off… excellent with clones tho …cause of the wetness. Hammer


One last thought ,some where on this forum was a discussion about rapid rooters in DWC ,it had to due with them being organic and some Possible problems using them with Dwc… in soil some bacteria’s are kept in check naturally … but in hydro not so . remember that these plugs are a bark off of tree …H


Thanks Hammer. I’ll have to see if I can find that. I was wondering about that myself. While I was waiting for my package to arrive, I put a bunch of old bag seeds I had into some rapid rooters and set them on my computer desk in an egg tray. After a couple days, they started stinking pretty good. I was wondering if that would impact the water in my system.


Got my seeds started, thanks to some help from @Majiktoker. Got my bubbler running on just PH’d water. Will start to introduced nutes as they grow.

Hard to see in this pic, but got 100% to pop. Quality beans from Robert and quality advice from this forum

The red solo cup is the pineapple. I have a spot picked out in a nearby woods for a guerilla outdoor grow. I split the Rapid Rooter for this one. You can just see the sprout coming up where I cut it

Temps and humidity running pretty good. It’s about 8-10 degrees warmer right up under the light


Nice job they are coming along buddy, can’t wait to see when they all pop up with 4 leaf nodes


Just a little update. I apologize ahead of time for the crappy cell phone pics.

Doing well for 3 days old. They’re each between 1-2 inches tall, except for the runt in the far corner. She had her head stuck in the seed hull for a couple days and couldn’t stretch out lol. I guess I was wrong about the one in the near corner. It didn’t sprout after all. I guess 5 out of 6 ain’t bad :slight_smile:

and here’s the little pineapple in the cup. She’s going out in the woods once the weather is a bit more predictable.

Curious, is there a recommended additive I should put in the water to inhibit slime and algae and gunk without messing with the plants?


Maybe a root stimulant like great white or some thing and very nice look at them go :smile: they are good looking seedlings my friend


Quick update. Yesterday was 4 days since sprout. When I first put them into the bubbler, I intentionally started with my reservoir water around 80 degrees, thinking it would drop. Well, checking it yesterday, is still holding right at 82, and I noticed the water lines that were submerged were starting to feel kind of slippery.

So, in an effort to get ahead of any potential issues, and after doing some research here and other places, I decided to start some hydrogen peroxide treatment. I started with a small dose - 2tblsp of 3% in 5gal. Hoping that will keep things in check. I also decided to start slowly adding some very light nutrient doses, so I added a 1/4 teaspoon each of the GH Micro and Grow.

Looking under the pots, they all appeared to have a long healthy looking single root reaching down into the water. Wondering how soon I should expect to see the roots start branching?


About 2weeks


Changed some bulbs today. I’m using my homemade CFL fixture (6 socket vanity fixture with 6 Y splitters and homemade sheetmetal hood). At the time I bought my bulbs, the store didn’t have enough 6500K bulbs, so I was running mostly flower bulbs (2700K). Today I stopped and picked up 8 more 6500K bulbs. So, now I’m running 12, 100W equivalent (23W actual) CFLs. Should help to perk up the veg stage a bit. I’ll switch back to all 2700Ks when I start flower stage.

Also added some ratchet hangers today. I had it hanging with a couple pieces of paracord and it was a PIA to raise and lower by myself. Much easier now. Work smarter, not harder :slight_smile:


Couple pics of my light. Like I said, I bought a cheap, 6 light vanity fixture from Lowes (on sale for $25), a 2’x3’ piece of galvanized sheet metal for I think around $5 and 6 Y splitters for $2 apiece.

The vanity fixture was exactly 3’ long, so I centered it lengthwise on the sheetmetal and scribed a line down each side. I then bent the sheetmetal slightly on each line to shape my hood. Not sure the actual angle. I just eyeballed it where I thought it looked good. I also had an old piece of luan subflooring in my basement, so I cut a piece 3’ long and same width as the fixture. This would be my backing. I drilled a hole 1’ in from each end, through the wood, sheet metal and fixture, and put 3/8" threaded eye bolts through with a nut and washer on the bottom side. This served two purposes - it holds the whole thing together and it gives me two eyelets up top for my hangers. I also had to drill a large hole (1 1/4" in the center of the wood and sheetmetal, corresponding with the hole on the fixture where the wires come out. For a power cord, I cut the end off off an old PC power supply cord and wired it up. Hard to see all the details in this pic, but here she be. I can try to get more detailed pics if anybody is interested.

Here is the underside

Anyway, everybody loved the new bulbs. Hard to imagine, but there was a noticeable improvement overnight. Here’s my 1 week old ladies :slight_smile:

Even my lettuce likes the new “sunshine” lol

Did my first water change this morning. All I can say is Thank God for my beer/wine making equipment. A sterile 7 Gallon bucket and syphon equipment made it all easy peasy :slight_smile:


Pretty cool setup guy! Thanks for reminding me that I got a bunch of beer brewing equipment tucked away in my attic right next to my old grow room equipment! lol

When I flower i’ll bubble up a batch of sugar (or maybe I’ll make something I can even drink) …wonder what else I got stashed up there?


So, I have a question for the resident experts. I finally checked my PPM for the first time today. I had gotten my meter a few days ago but forgot all about it when I did the reservoir change yesterday.

For the record, I made a 6 gallon batch, using GH Flora nutes (micro, grow and bloom) at 1/2tsp per gallon. Temp at 74 degres and PH’d to 6. I topped off the reservoir with fresh water (a little over a gallon).

I checked PPM today (approx. 30 hrs later) and it was 413. Temps at 73.5 degrees. My question is, is that a good PPM level? Also, how much drop should I normally see per day or per week?

Edited to add: As a reference, my tap water runs around 145ppm