Opinions About This Setup From PA Hydroponics

Wow your situation is more serious than mine.

I had an interior fusion done at two levels l4 l5 s1 joints about 10 years ago. Things were great until about three years ago an accident occurred and I had really bad nerve pain. Radiating nerve pain all from lower back all down to toes. Pins and needles, numbness, sharp sporadic shooting pain.

For three years I saw doctor’s and was told nothing was wrong with me, multiple mris, multiple nerve blocks, ect, last solution was the imbedded dorsal simulator thing

I went and got a second opinion before dorsal simulator install they had me do a specialized cat scan… I would have to look up the term but it was with dye/contrast so they could better see the nerves around my previous hardware/metal which causes regular MRI to not be as clear as possible.

They identified issue and found that I also needed an exterior fusion at the same levels as the nerves were pinched in those areas they exit the spin.

They went in and removed all that extra spine bone and put in screws and plates on the back side to open things back up and remove the pressure from the nerves. As you know the recovery process is long on these types of procedures. I’ve lost 30lbs since surgery so my mobility has definitely increased and I hope I continue to get better.

I’m right at our below 6 foot and had never been over 200lbs, until I injured myself, just before surgery I was at 230. Yesterday was the first time I saw anything below 200, 199.2, so I’m very excited about losing that extra weight. It’s funny I find if I smoke mj before meal I eat less .

Not sure you have said where your located, but if you are interested in a third opinion I highly recommend the neurologist team at UVA.

I have my fingers crossed for you and everything your dealing with

Part of my issue dealing with soil grow the first time was the amount of physical needs the grow took from me, hence the reason I’m trying to automate my grow as much as possible.

Rdwc once you get it set up and figured out the maintenance is much lower than other types of grows

Given your unique situation I can understand the desire to buy a kit assembled stick it in a tent and go. There is benefit to you going that route.

Fluid dynamics I do not special in either, the only way I found to evenly split water 4 ways is if there was enough reduction at the end to cause pressure to build in the pipes.

If I take a pump with 3/4 inch line and split it to 4 3/4 inch lines the pump doesn’t send enough water to fill all 4 3/4 inch lines evenly. I tried installing them all at the same level and they still got different flow rates because the t’s in the lines just didn’t split the water evenly. I then found tees that also reduced size one I got all four ends to be 1/4 inch size where they entered the buckets the water lines would back up and the pump would build pressure and it would spray out of the 1/4 inch line, this caused even flow rate and worked.

But I found what I like better is just 3/4 line from pump through chiller to first bucket, then let gravity push it through the other buckets and then back into my res, just so much simpler and the plants each get their own air stone instead of trying to rely on a water fall type setup to produce air for each bucket…
No pressure build up from the pump more than water is needed to get the job done. This should also extend the life of my pump imo

Hope that makes sense…

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I am also interested in using the fallponics system made by Gary at PA Hydroponics. I watched a few of his videos and the guy is super knowledgeable and humble.

I have a background in plumbing and aeronautical engineering so some fluid dynamics knowledge. Due to the 4-way tee that Gary uses will not have precisely 100% equal pressure at all 4 points, but it is close enough for government work and as close as I think he could make it without 3D printing a custom 4-way tee. From the videos, the amount of precision and effort the guy puts into hand building his systems makes me want to pull the trigger on buying the 8 gallon system.

@Syndrix Any thoughts on the 8 gallon versus the 13 gallon system especially in a 4x4 tent grow?


I personally have a few issues with either system, but they also seem like they should work fine, each has it’s pros and cons and I guess since I have done my own build I can speak to some of these, but these are just my personal opinions.

The one thing common around here is everyone’s build is different lol

First I don’t like the fallponics name, there is a type of waterfall rdwc system that you are using the returning water like a waterfall to introduce oxygen into the water and not use air stones. These systems do use air pumps and stones so in my opinion it is just an rdwc system and and shouldn’t reference “fall” … A waterfall RDWC there is a reason to split the water into each bucket so that each waterfall introduces the oxygen for each plant, other than this I see no reason to even need to split the water on the return if you just run the buckets in series…

So first the things I did different from both these builds,

  1. we already talked about me not splitting the water I run directly to the furthest bucket and let gravity do the rest
  2. I use different air stones, they are flat pucks- probably personal preference
  3. my res is WAY bigger - my system at normal operating is about 25 gallons of water - more water less drift if/when it occurs also more time you can be away/not mess with it - I will probably sit my buckets on 2x4 or 4x4 next grow in order to use even more res space and hold probably another 10 gallons. My 3 plants are currently using around 5 gallons every 3 days
  4. my pvc is 2 1/2, his is 3 inch and same as bulk heads, larger is better I didn’t see a need for 3 inch
  5. my air compressor is the commercial version - much louder, easier to repair, double the air volume - more air = better
  6. I am using 4 inch net pots, I have no idea why 8inch or even 6 inch net pots would be better uses more clay pellets each run for no known reason on my side
  7. I do not like the water level indicator outside the res thing, I don’t want to expose my nuet water to anything it doesn’t need to be. I will open my res and check it when it needs to be checked and other than that I want it sealed off as much as possible
  8. the hump in my pvc returning to my res was built at a specific height to maintain water level at a specific height in the buckets so my bucket water level always remains the same and the res just gets lower with water usage. When you check out you have the option of caterpillar or straight, the caterpilar should give you the hump he talks about in the build instructions
  9. I also have a wave maker pump in res just to keep the res good and stirred up runs 15 min of every hour

I am doing 3 auto flowers in a 2x4 and looking at the picture I posted previously that one in the middle might be struggling to get light soon. Photo plants get bigger than autos. So depending what you are doing 4 plants in a 4x4 you will use all the space, 5x5 might be better.

If I was doing those systems and I was limited to a 4x4 tent I would do the 8 gallon plant buckets but I would try to upgrade the res to something bigger, but the 13 gallon buckets are the same size just taller, so you can use that for a larger res unless you raise the plant buckets up…

He does include an extra small pump for pumping out the water between grows which is nice. I have watched his videos and he seems like a cool shop guy that is smart and builds with quality. I also had never seen the cool plastics deburring tool that I now own one of due to him.

Reviewing all these things I see he uses zip ties for net pot to bucket lid, I never noticed this before and will be adding it to my system. This guy obviously does know what he is doing lol

I can’t think of anything else at this time, and please understand the system bought directly from him probably works just fine. I just wanted to tweak and customize to what I wanted and make small improvements to better fit my need.

I will probably make more small changes before my next grow, possible raise buckets, possible 2 plants only, possible 2 plants per 2x4 and do 4 plants… or… super lazy and just clean and restart lol who knows

If you have questions let me know, my current build journal is

it is pretty detailed about my build and suggestions made to me that were very helpful from other members here.


Talking through all of this has made me realize another option I have, which is to upgrade to the 13 gallon buckets, this would let me use more res space with the buckets taller and eliminate the need to raise my 8 gallon buckets in order to use more res space.

With 13 gallon buckets you are just increasing the overall volume of water, so I don’t see a down side to larger buckets if you have the space for them.

most 4x4 and 5x5 tents are taller than what you can get in 2x4 so that is why I got the 8 gallon I was worried about space which I am running out of quickly…

I would highly recommend getting the tallest tent you can fit


Thanks for the awesome and detailed breakdown. I will also go catch up and follow your grow journal now. I appreciate all of the learning points.


Yeah, same here. Thanks.

I was looking at the 8 gallon version because where my tent will be in only 6’ tall, so for a 4x4, I’d probably have to use the Gorilla Grow Tent Shorty, which with the added space is 5’8” tall. The 13 gallon buckets are 5” taller than the 8 gallon, so I thought I’d need those 5 inches.

I was planning on getting one of his 13 gallon buckets set up as a top off tank for the res, assuming I went with him, as I would rather order once, and then assemble it all instead of needing to take it apart to drill more openings.

While I hadn’t considered that about the water level hose, but even so didn’t like the open hose just sticking off the side of the bucket and had planned on asking to not have it drilled, unless I could come up with a better solution.

As an alternative to my basement, I could probably fit two 4x2 tents against the wall in my bedroom (I’d need to get rid of a couple dressers, but we should be able to find a place for them.) The ceiling is about 8’ high in here, so I could pick and choose pretty much any tent, but it raises a couple other questions.

I have very bad Tinitus (yeah, I know, I’m a total wreck,) so I sleep with a tower fan on high, and one of those old round Pollenex air cleaners on law, year round, to provide some white noise so the ringing in my ears isn’t as noticeable. As I understand it the AC Infinity exhaust fans are extremely quiet, but if I were to go with an rdwc, how loud are these sorts of systems? Would this be a possibility to have in a bedroom, or is it definitely to loud? Also, do the carbon filters remove all the smell, or simply most of it, and would what’s left over be to strong to have in your bedroom (having not even seen a indoor grow before, I’m not sure how strong the odor is, or if it is particularly nasty or not?)

I’m about an hour West of Buffalo NY along the Lake Erie shoreline (basically halfway between Buffalo NY & Erie Pa.)

For the fusion, did they take bone from your pelvis, or were they using the spongy stuff they use now? I only ask, as my first fusion was in ‘93 or ‘94, and that was before this newer stuff was developed. So to fuse the vertebrae they took a chunk of bone out of my pelvis and cut it up to sort of resemble match sticks, then layed down a layer of them between the pedicures of each vertebrae being fused, these bone “bridges,” between the vertebrae basically were the framework for the fusion to begin on.

They used the new stuff on all my more recent fusions, and it’s sort of funny that m back hurt worse after the more recent surgeries, but the reason is that the very worst part of the first fusion was the chunk of bone they cut out of the back of my pelvis (probably 8-10 inches around the back behind the rear most part of my right hip joint. It felt like they cut the bone out with a jackhammer, and of course, there isn’t any way to take pressure off your pelvis.

I couldn’t even turn on my side by myself, or from my side to my back, for 2-3 days. It was crazy, I could move my upper body, and even my legs, but it was like my ass was nailed to the bed. :rofl:

How is your back now overall? I mean I understand the range of motion lost from that surgery, but for example after a long recovery from my initial surgery, not that I needed it, but it was workman’s comp, and they refused to let me return to work unless I got retraining, but being out of work I could afford to pay for school or training, but basically they just wanted to screw me around until I’d settle so they were off the hook.

Once I was working again I was able to do most of the stuff I had done before, although I always tend to be a “do what needs to be done,” type, so some of what I did resulted in my current condition.

Have you found that any specific strains you’ve tried did a better job with spine and nerve pain? As the majority of my pain seems to be bone pain, although I do have a lot of nerve damage as well, but that pain is mostly masked by the bone pain.

Had a really long weekend which is turning into a really busy week so sorry for the delayed response.

I was lucky, they used the bone growing proteins sponge stuff both times for me, I know people that had the bone transplant fusion as well.

I didn’t even consider the implications from the removal of the bone lol

Honestly now overall, i still have a pretty constant low pain in my lower back and I still feel some radiating nerve pain mostly in my left hip/thigh area. Activity obviously makes the pain worse. But I am much better than I was prior to surgery at this point, my mobility has increased a lot which is great and the pain is not as bad as it was although it is still defining some aspects of my life, not as many, so I am very thankful for that. I hope I continue to improve.

Bone pain I like to numb out with heat pad and a nice couch lock high imo

I got my green card mid 2021 and just started smoking flower again when I harvested my first grow just a few months ago and I grew all gorilla glue auto, specifically because it stated mix strain and good for pain relief, I have to consume much more of my grow than the dispensary oil, but I find I like the effect of my grow more than any of the 5 oil combinations I tried from them. I do not have enough exp with different strains at this point though to feel I can recommend any more than that personally

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Okay, I was just curious if any strains stood out as helpful to you, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the case, thanks.

Yeah, as I said where the bone was removed from was the worst part of it, as the fusion stabilized the spine, so while there was surgical pain, much of the back pain from before surgery was gone, but the pelvis was fine, until they took a chisel to it, or however they did it. :joy:

Have you considered having a spinal cord stimulator implanted? I have one, and it helped me a lot, although it was implanted before my last two fusions, so it only covers a portion of the problem areas. It doesn’t eliminate the pain there, but does reduce it a decent amount.

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Finally getting a chance to respond to your other post about tent size ect…

Not sure a 6 ft or 5’8" tent would work with rdwc, I would hate to run out of room and I am not experienced enough to even know what to do in that situation.

I would have much rather gone with a 4x4 or 5x5 tent because you can get them taller, but I do not have that kind of space currently.

I went with a 2x4 tent but it is a little oversized, which is working out for me. I will probably put my exhaust fan on the outside next time though as I need all the height I can get.

The problem I found with 2x4 tents is most of them are not very tall lol so you really just need to find what works in your space, which then causes you to need to build the rdwc to fit in the tent/s that fit in your space lol which leads to so many things needing to be custom imo

yeah the ac infinity exhaust fans are quiet, my water pump that runs 24/7 is quiet as well, the loudest part of my rdwc is the air compressor for the air stones, I went commercial so it makes more noise but puts out more air

These are the non commercial they come in 1,2,4,8 outlet

I have not used this style personally but they make much less noise from what I have heard but produce much less air, as you can see the 8 port quiet one produces 25l/min but the louder commercial one for less produces almost double the air at 45l/min

The one I have you can lightly hear throughout my house, but you can not hear it over my heat pump/ac when running, unless you are in the same room with it and then it is barely louder if that gives you a good idea how loud it is. I could get a sound meter app on my phone and measure if you like. It is a constant low hum so it doesn’t bother me or the wife.

I used a carbon filter my first grow and it took care of most of the smell. It is just me and the wife so the smell does not bother us and me being concerned about space I removed the carbon filter this grow, the smell is much stronger, we could care less, however when I pulled the car in the garage the other day you could smell it before we opened the doors to the car. So now I worry about walker by/delivery people smelling and knowing…

Obviously different strains will smell different so there could be some impact to how pleasant it is to an individual…

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This is for sure the noisiest part of any RDWC setup. You might not like that sound in the bedroom.


I forgot other sound producing things,

MY chiller kicks on and off randomly to keep water temp between 65-67f, has not run much recently since res and buckets are sitting on top my ranch slab… and my wave maker in my res kicks on for 15 minutes out of every hour… this would be more annoying to me during the night than the air compressor constant noise…

If they were in my room I would probably turn them off during sleeping hours tbh

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Okay thanks. If I do the bedroom grow I’d be stuck with 2x4, although a seem a 2.5x5’ tent from someone, and that would likely work as well. I’d start with one, with the plan of adding a second one, if the same size, after I’ve done a grow and see if I enjoy it and could manage it okay.

If I grow in the bedroom I have 8’ of headroom, so I’d probably go with either an AC Infinity or Gorilla grow, as both of them are over 7’ but under 8’ tall, so I could get the height I’d lack setting up in the basement (our basement is only about 6’ tall,) but in the basement I could go as wide a tent as I wanted. I have plenty of room for a couple of the 4x8’, but that far more tent than I’d ever need, as I am only growing for myself, and NYS limits me us to 6 mature and 6 immature a household (although since mature plants are dried and cured, so I’m not sure what they consider a “mature plant.”) The law does mention be allowed to possess 2-3 ounces, but states flowers stored at home don’t count toward that limit, so it seems they only limit the amount you move around with.

But, still two weeks before my doctor’s appointment, where I’ll be drug tested, ironically I can’t test positive for weed, until I get the medical card, which is the only reason I’m bothering, as most of the stuff on the Reservation near me is half the cost of the medical dispensaries, not to mention they are only 20 minutes from my house, while the medical dispensaries are over an hour away. Not to mention the medical place only sells, vapes, gummies, powders and tinctures where the stores on the Reservation are recreational dispensaries, so they sell flowers, vapes and concentrates.

Can you, or anyone, tell me what I should look for when buying flowers? Not really talking about the strains, although suggestions on that would be great too, but what to watch out for when selection buds, as the last time I bought weed $20 got you a sandwich bag 4 fingers full, so yeah it’s been a few (decades.) :rofl:

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I started with Gary’s 13gal “fallponic” package, which has 3" returns and 3/4" supply. But from day 1 I built it differently.

3" drain is thick black; 3/4 fill is thin blue; 3/4 drain (incl valve & pump) is red

  1. I connected the 3" plant drains all together in a main drain, did not plumb the buckets directly together. This saves a large number of 3" bulkhead fittings (anyone want to buy some from me?).

  2. See the diagram, the left-most connector has a plugged opening to extend the system (I have a 5’ x 10’ tent, I could add 4 or maybe 6 more plants inside the tent).

  3. I did use the 3/4" supply and “fallponic” setup.

  4. I did use the Hydrofarm 4 outlet air pump. In fact, I added a similar 2 outlet air pump – I have one bubbler stone in each plant, and two in the res.

  5. I did use (on the first grow) the water pump that came with the kit. I’ve since replaced it with a much larger pump (see the thread at Magnetic higher-end pumps for RDWC).

  6. It bugged me that I was unable to drain all the way to the bottom of the plant 13g buckets. So I raised them on 2" thick cinder blocks, and plumbed the ‘drain kit’ (with bottom drain) in, with a ball valve and a dedicated pump. I use this to recirculate more when mixing nutes as well (the drain pump outlet is into the res), but be careful to have more capacity in the supply pump than the drain pump or you could possibly overflow the res.

  7. Because the plant containers are on 2" cinder blocks, the amount of fluid in the reservoir is about 2" higher than it would’ve been. I find that this works out pretty good, the water for the plants is below the 8" netpots, but the res doesn’t have any wasted capacity.

  8. I would not use the 8" netpots again. 8" is a bit of a specialty item (6" more common), and I don’t see why you need more Hydroton because the roots are almost entirely outside of the netpot.

  9. I may need a chiller, but don’t have one. Sigh.

  10. (Nutty #1) I also went a bit nutty with the controls… Semi-automatic nutes change equipment/setup

  11. (Nutty #2) I have a Milwaukee pH controller and an inexpensive peristaltic pump (usually pumping 10% pH Down), which keeps my pH dead nuts at 5.8. (This may not be so nutty, really)


Very cool, thank you for sharing that info.

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Oh, here’s a better image of the setup.

(from when it was only partially built)


Looking good brother. If you were to go with 3” net pots, that’ll give you just a little bit more water if you need it. I’m only using 6” because I have a gazillion of them. Good luck with it. :+1:t2::v::sunglasses:

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Well, I got some good news last night, my wife agreed to letting me use a small spare bedroom we have, as a grow room. It’s not huge, but it has between 7-8’ high ceilings, and is just over 6’ wide and about 12’ long. That should be plenty big enough to put a pair of 4x4 tents into, and still have room to get to one side of the tents, (although I’ll only start with one,) and then I can save the spot I was planning on using our bedroom, for a 3x3’ tent to hold a mother plant, should I start cloning.

Although maybe I’ll. Look into what I would need to do to turn one end of the room into a grow room, and maybe, I could put in temporary studs, and just cover them on the inside with the reflective material, and on the outside I can just use particle board or something else temporarily, while I decide if I want to just expand the grow area to the entire room, or just close off 4-5’ of the other end, which would put a roughly 3’ wide hall in the middle of the room, with grow rooms to each side? (I could put the exhaust vent in the ceiling, with the fan in the attic, we even have a capped out exhaust vent in the roof I could uncap and use so as not to pump humid air into the attic space.)

The only drawback is that it had a hardwood floor. Anyone have any suggestions for some sort of waterproof tray to protect the floor? I could probably make something with waterproof canvas, or a similar material, but would I need to put something between the floor and this vinyl catch pan? I’m just wondering if the lack of air under the tray might cause floor issues down the line?

I’ve got sometime to think about this, as now I need her to get all her sewing shit out if there, so that’s likely to take awhile. :rofl:

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thats bad ass dude tag me in a grow id love to see whats up… what is that RDWC do you have a chiller in the mix


very nice man …yes sir well done well done

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