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hydroponic Starting Hydroponics- Advice Needed

So I went ahead and set up a basic DWC with 2 mature plants. I am loving it so far. Its so much cooler than using potting mix. I may switch over to a recirculating system at some point, but for now this will work. I'll be adding 2 more buckets once my pumpkin habanero and apocalypse peppers get bigger. Insulated the buckets with the bubble pack stuff and it keeps the temp below 70 for 12 hours when I put a gatorade bottle of ice into the buckets. I'm using the 3 part general hydroponics nutrient system. 
 
The pepper on the right has dropped most of it's leaves. It wasn't very healthy to begin with though. I'm hoping it will bounce back. It was probably a huge shock to wash away the potting mix it was in. I harvested all the peppers it had so it can focus on growth. Those were some delicious peppers. Made salsa. Thing is, I have no idea what kind of peppers they are. It was supposed to be a red Dominican habanero like the one on the left. Got the seeds from Puckerbutt. Any guesses?
 

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Hydroponic growing peppers is so awesome! I use DWC, RDWC and Dutch buckets! All 3 work very well. The DWC is a bit harder to work with in the heat of summer but my RDWC has kicked some major butt this year!  Good luck with yours!  
 
CBs Greenhouse and Garden said:
Hydroponic growing peppers is so awesome! I use DWC, RDWC and Dutch buckets! All 3 work very well. The DWC is a bit harder to work with in the heat of summer but my RDWC has kicked some major butt this year!  Good luck with yours!  
 
Thanks!
 
So I have an update.
 
6 weeks ago I went ahead and went with a standard DWC setup and they are doing GREAT! Yes, one of the pics is from a live feed camera I set up in the room so I can check on them when I'm at work. It took them a week to adjust to the new conditions and then they just exploded with growth. The largest plant must have over a hundred peppers on it currently. It drinks a quart of water a day!
 
Last week I tried to switch to a recirculating setup. I was using 2" pipe and uniseals. I think I mangled the drill holes in the buckets trying to get the pipe in because I had several leaks when I got done. Because this setup is on my closet upstairs, leaks are just too risky, so I'm not going to try again. I'm pretty sure my house insurance isn't going to cover water damage from a hydroponics system. The only thing I'm worried about is if the plants get too heavy and end up cracking the net pot lid when I'm changing ice packs or and nutes/ph.
 

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Why did you have leaks?
 
I have (2) 55 gallon polydrums that are connected by the grommets that I linked to, and 2" pipe. Never even a hint of a leak. (been using this nonstop for 4+ years) Can you elaborate on how you plumbed the pipes?
 

Siv

Extreme Member
The only time I had a leak is when I re-used a grommet from an old setup after mangling it a bit trying to remove it. They're really only single use but set and forget. I did manage to successfully re-use the grommet after liberal use of sealant but it's now fixed fast and would need to be cut out.
 
My learning from this is to build the system as you want it first time. Changing is going to increase your leak risk significantly. Since the buckets are so cheap, it may be worth just building a new bucket setup and just transferring the plants over.
 
You can make grommet installation and re-use a lot simpler, by doing 2 simple things: 1) cut an angle on the end of the pipe being inserted - it won't affect the flow, 2) use dish soap as a lubricant, for both assembling, and disassembling piping from grommets.
 
solid7 said:
You can make grommet installation and re-use a lot simpler, by doing 2 simple things: 1) cut an angle on the end of the pipe being inserted - it won't affect the flow, 2) use dish soap as a lubricant, for both assembling, and disassembling piping from grommets.
 
Yeah I used my dremel tool to bevel the ends of the pipe and lubed them with dish soap before trying to push them into the uniseal that id put into the buckets. It was still incredibly difficult to push them in. Sometimes id push so hard, the bucket would collapse and the uniseal would end up crushing and pushing completely through the hole id drilled in the bucket. I figure I must have mangled the holes in the buckets doing this which led to the leaks.
 
See, that's what you DON'T want to do.  Forget bevels.  I literally cut a 45 degree angle on the end of all the tubes.  You don't want to make full edge contact while trying to go into the grommets.  It's more like "spearing" them into place.
 
Do you understand what I'm saying?
 
solid7 said:
See, that's what you DON'T want to do.  Forget bevels.  I literally cut a 45 degree angle on the end of all the tubes.  You don't want to make full edge contact while trying to go into the grommets.  It's more like "spearing" them into place.
 
Do you understand what I'm saying?
Yeah i get you. Thats an interesting way of doing it. I really would like to have the recirculating system. When i had it running for those few minutes before I noticed the leak it ran beautifully. All buckets stayed at the same water level and the pump worked great. It was awesome. But now im paranoid about getting 30 gallons of water dumped into my upstairs floor. If i had a basement it would be different...
 
Too bad I don't live closer.  I'd help you build it. 
.
I'm thinking about installing those reflective tube skylights in one room of my house, and setting the RDWC up up for rocotos.  I'd probably end up planting in soilless media later, but I'd get a few grows on like that.
 
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