Bucket and tote diy RDWC help request


Active Member
Hoping y'all can help me out. I'm building 2 - 8 container RDWC systems, one veg and one bloom.

One I'm planning 5-7 gal buckets w/ 8" bucket lid net pots and 15gal tote res for veg. Total volume ~40gal and pump will be about 400gph. The bloom will be an 8 site 15gal tote setup with 27gal tote res where I'll basically swap the net pots from the 5gal buckets and stick them in the totes, bloom will be about 120gal total volume and I'll be running about 800gph pump/flow rate. Both will be inline pump setups vs submersible.

Planning on using 1" barbed bulkheads for waterfall feed to buckets and totes. For tote/bloom system, using 2" slip/slip bulkheads for return to res. Going to have all totes connected so 2 - 2" bulkheads per tote. Basically have two returns back to res consisting of 4 tote circuits. Probably run another 2" bulkhead from res to pump and reduce down to pump suction size. Will have pump outlet be 1.5" into tee to feed two separate 4 tote circuits with 1" tubing. For waterfall, thinking of running a length of 3/4" pvc into totes the whole length and drilling multiple holes down length of pipe for more aeration potential, basically waterfall down whole length of tote. Should I run uniseals or bulkhead fittings for flow to waterfall pipe in totes? Will 2" pipe be sufficient for ~400gph?

5-7gal bucket setup has me questioning plans a bit more. Going to have less flow since less volume. Will be planning on 1 - 1" feed to each bucket and reduce to 3/4" elbow for waterfall...probably add a cap and cut out ends to increase velocity. I plan on having 2 - 1" drains coming out and connecting to other buckets. I'll try to split the final return to res with 3 - separate 1" lines to minimize pressure drop. Since these are buckets that are curved should I use uniseals or will the bulkheads work with the radius? Maybe I should bite the bullet and use square buckets, but not sure if the bucket lid net pots will fit. I guess I could return them and get regular thin rimmed net pots as well.

Should I consider elevating and draining out the bottom or containers vs sides for ease of res change out and cleaning or is it not much of an advantage?

I bought 50ft of 1" tubing for feeds to both systems. Using Jebao DC pumps for both (DCP-10000 and DCP-5000), figured for the cost I could buy spares and still be cheaper than higher quality DC pumps and still be able to vary flow rates as needed. Plus they are low power so less heat input to system.

Planning on adding a fan blowing into res for cooling vs chiller, probably use a computer power supply fan as I read somewhere in here that was successful for someone's RDWC build.

Thx for help!


Well-Known Member
hello man.. i have the dcp15000.. you cant go wrong. mine has been running for 3 months straitght at 30%. as for your return lines i would use 2".. will save you a bunch of trouble with roots down the rode. i just used the male/female adapters that you can pick up at home depot or any other store. just make shure you put o'rings with em.. thats if your on a budget. wish i could help ya out more... i cant grow in the summer months the heat kills me, i might add a chiller, but dang the electric bill gets up there.

take care and hope ya the best