In this video I give an overview of my newly built 5 – 5 gallon bucket DWC System. This is for growing 5 large plants such as peppers or tomatoes.

5 – 5 Gallon Firehouse Buckets (2 dollar donation for the bucket at firehouse)

1″ Uniseals, 1″ PVC Drain/Riser in Bucket

3″ PVC Gravity Return to Reservoir

Pump is a 264 gal/hr, running 24/7 from eBay (12 dollars or so)

Feed is 1/2″ PVC drilled for 1/8″ brass barb at each bucket just squirting in – capped at the end of the rail.

3″ Net Cups in Bucket Lid made with hole saw.

Reservoir not pictured because it is not the final one, currently a 5 gal tote. (Plants are very small)

No aeration, I don’t run any on my other buckets – relying on agitation of water alone to oxygenate.

Media is Rockwool for the seeded plants with clay pebbles.
The tomato sucker was rooted in just clay pebbles no rockwool.

Growing media is subjective and up to you. Rockwool, clay pebbles (Hydroton), coco, perlite, etc can be used.

Total system volume is currently 25 gallons. The reservoir tote is only 4 gallons. Will be changing reservoir to 27gal or 55gal tote like my other DWC/Dutch bucket system when I buy one or plants start drinking a lot.

Currently not running nutrients for plants to get acclimated to new system/environment.

Will put in Masterblend Tomato Formula 4-18-38, calcium nitrate, magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) after a couple days.

I do not check TDS or PH, I simply follow the instructions on nutrient label and add extra water every now and then.

Changes from 1st system:

1. 3″ Return Tube rather than 1″ and connectors. (Better flow, easier, less leaks and I could possibly use it as NFT rail for herbs between Buckets)

2. Single 1/2″ PVC feed with barbs, better than using drip tubing/fittings which clog easily and are difficult to clean. The barbs you can clean with a tooth pick. (On my next setup I might not even use barbs and just notch the bucket and drill the holes in the PVC, brass barbs aren’t the cheapest .5 each x 5)

How I Built My DWC System – Recirculating Deep Water Culture – Hydroponic Peppers & Tomatoes EASY

About The Author


  • will gaukler

    If you add your basil and herb plants in the drain tube your sure to clog it up…just look at the root balls in the bucket system….also that straight fill tube is also adding air into the water…another good move…overall I love the look and system in general….best of luck…and keep on growing…

  • Mic TheXception

    Awesome. Awesome awesome you make me wish I was more understanding of engineering so I could more readily create a custom setup for myself and other people. Great stuff

  • Robert Baker II

    This is my first year with hydroponics and I have almost the exact same setup that you just made but all my buckets are dutch. I freakin love how simply you turned a Dutch bucket into DWC! I’m blown away! Next season I’ll be converting to your system for sure! Great system and be proud of it! Thanks for the idea!

  • Mike B

    Increased aeration in RDWC is what sets apart this growing method from all others! I would highly recommend 1 air pump at least in the reservoir to transport more highly oxygenated water and when you can, 1 in each bucket.

  • francois deslauriers

    Don’t you need to flush and change out all of your solution liquids on a weekly or monthly period?

  • Gerald W

    Hi Bob, Thanks for the video. Had you considered using fish in a reservoir for the nutrients? Just wondered, I have seen videos of people using them. Where in South Florida are you located? Is your bucket garden exposed to alot of sun? I have an area next to my house which I want to use. It is shaded by a large oak tree, so it gets plenty of light but not direct sun. Plus with the shade it appears several degrees cooler. Wish you well. Thanks for the info

  • Patrick Bertsch

    You should not put the draining tube under the plant directly. Eventually, the roots will clog your pvc pipe.

  • dont worry bout it

    Ur gonna want to cap the end of the drain pipe and run another pic down to the reservoir because I can clearly see the algae build up on the tubing going back to your plants. Definitely close that lid off to all light

  • Paul White

    That pipe that puts water in each bucket at the top, do you secure it so it doesn't fall out of the hole of each bucket?

  • StoleUR Food

    I just started with just the buckets no circulation. Am I going to have issues without circulating or oxygenation?

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>