For people associated with hydroponics, deep water culture is a common term. When the term Recirculating DWC system arrives in the scenario, people get confused. However, a veteran hydroponic gardener knows how to build a recirculating deep water culture system. To make you more familiar below is a complete guide on how to build a recirculating DWC system.
What Is a Recirculating Deep Water Culture System?
In the hydroponic method of farming, a deep water culture (DWC) framework where a plant has its underlying roots suspended in an oxygen-rich water arrangement. In the RDWC system, the arrangement keeps on recycling rather than staying stagnant. It’s bigger than the standard DWC and permits the cultivator to have at least 10 basins at the same.
The framework operates in one shut circle by utilizing a single shared reservoir. The water is siphoned from one pump supply through the framework and afterward back to the reservoir. In the RDWC system, the nutrient circulation is more dynamic.
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Things You Need To Build The System
Just as the complexity is, such is the wide range of equipment and products. The recirculating DWC system has one of the most complex circulations in hydroponics. If you are finding how to build a recirculating DWC system, do your homework well.
Without the proper knowledge of the range of tools and products, you can’t build an RDWC system. So, these are the things you’ll require to build a recirculating deep water culture system.
1. Control Tank
The Control Tank is the main nutrient body, or water body system. You can refer to this body as the heart of the RDWC system. In traditional deep water culture systems, the water/nutrient medium is stored on the control tank.
Then, the control tank is kept under the plants to suspend their roots in the nutrient medium. However, in a recirculating DWC system, the control tank has a more dynamic role. It is the supplier of nutrient medium to all networks.
Therefore, it is very important to select the right control tank for your RDWC system. The size of your control tank depends upon the size of the cultivation of your recirculating DWC system. It also depends on the range of cultivation of crops in your RDWC system.
Many prefer a readymade recirculating deep water culture system, but it is best when you buy the control tank separately. Never go for a metal control tank. Since the control tank of your RDWC system contains concentrated nutrients, go for a plastic one.
The nutrient solution in the control tank will react with the metal to form metal oxides. In turn, the pH regulation of your nutrient solution will get hindered. High-grade PVC tanks serve best as a control tank for your recirculating DWC system.
2. Grow pots
As mentioned above, the RDWC system has a more complex framework than the traditional DWC system. With a more complex system, comes more branched networks of grow pots. Depending on your scale of cultivation, grow pots will be necessary.
The size of your grow pots will depend upon the cultivating plant. For example, the size of the grow pot for a tomato will be larger than that of a cauliflower. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase grow pots keeping the size of your plant into account.
As you might know, grow parts are significant for raising the plant from germination to vegetation. Any compromise with the build quality won’t benefit your plants. To be more precise, a poor quality grows pot will weaken your recirculating DWC system.
Just like the control tank, the grow pots must be from high-quality PVC. For temporary establishments, you can use ordinary plastic but never purchase metal ones. The reason for avoiding metal is the same as in the case of the control tank.
Also, it is better if you prefer black grow pots than colored ones. Black absorbs more solar luminous intensity than other colors. Therefore, such selection will help your recirculating deep water culture system to yield faster.
3. Series Of Tubes
Unlike the traditional DWC system, recirculating DWC system needs a series of tubes for proper circulation of nutrient solution. Relate the tubes to veins and arteries that convey blood in the human circulatory system. In the recirculating deep water culture system, tubes convey the nutrient solution to each grow pot.
The length of the tubing will depend upon the scale of cultivation. The larger the scale the more branched will be the recirculating DWC network. So, if you are planning to build a commercial recirculating deep water culture system, you’ll require tubes of varying lengths.
The circulatory framework of the recirculating DWC system can be compared to the human nervous system. One main tube acts like the spinal cord while the rest are like secondary nerves. Many tubing is available online or at your nearby retailer.
To establish the tubing Framework, always prefer black vinyl tubes. These tubes are durable and remain neutral on sterilizing. Vinyl tubes do not react with the nutrient medium to form any aggregate. So, such tubes will not hinder the pH of your recirculating DWC system.
Inspect the quality of The vinyl tube well before purchasing. Good quality vinyl tubes have a shiny and waterproof outer texture. Also, it has a high modulus of elasticity. Select a primary tube of 1″ thickness and secondary tubes of ½” thickness.
4. Net Pots
Net pots are equipment that holds the plants in a recirculating deep water culture system. Many beginner hydroponic gardeners get confused between grow pots and net pots. However, both play different roles in an RDWC system.
Net pots are fundamental units that give the roots access to the nutrient medium. Each net pot is situated in a grow pot. Therefore, the quantity of net pots in a hydroponics system is equal to the grow pots.
The diameter of the net pots must be equal to that of the grow pots. You can easily purchase in a combination or separately online. Black net pots are the most preferred, and suitable for hydroponic cultivation.
Inspect several factors like texture, durability, and built quality of the net pot. If you are fond of colors, you can buy or color your pots.
5. Water Pump
The water pump is the heart of the RDWC system. You can also refer to it as a powerhouse of the recirculating culture framework. It distinguishes the recirculating DWC system from the traditional DWC system. You will find a wide range of water pumps online or at a nearby retailer.
The power of your water pump depends on the scale of your cultivation. People use giant palms at commercial greenhouses for hydroponic farming. However, if you have an average skill of cultivation, you can use a water pump having a power rating of 15 to 20 watts.
Use only a submersible water pump for the recirculating deep water culture framework. The storage tank will be filled with nutrient solution, and so will be the water pump. You will also need some stone pebbles to fix the water pump at the base.
Before purchasing your submersible water pump, inspect factors like cable length and power rating. Don’t select submersible pumps with shorter cables. Including an adjustable board might seem messy at your workplace.
How To Build A Recirculating Deep Water Culture System?
After assembling the products, it’s time to know how to build a recirculating DWC system. To know how to build a recirculating DWC system, you must understand the phases. There are different stages to build a recirculating framework. Each one of them is described in detail below:
1. Preparing The Control Unit
Don’t get confused between the control tank and the control unit. The control unit is the overall body responsible for power the circulation. On the other hand, the control tank is an integral part of the control unit.
The first step on how to build a recirculating DWC system starts by preparing the control unit. There are many sub-stages in the preparation of the control unit, but describing each of them might sound confusing. Therefore, each sub-step is combined for an easy understanding.
First, start by cleaning and sterilizing the control tank. The control tank stores a vast amount of concentrated nutrient solution. Therefore it is essential to clean and sterilize before setting the control unit.
First, wash the control tank with water, and rub it with a mild detergent or soap. Rub both the outer and inner surfaces of the control tank with a scrub. Continue rubbing for 5 minutes and wash the body with clean filtered water.
After washing, now it’s time for sterilizing. Keep the storage tank inverted and allow it to dry for some time. After drying wash or spray the interior region of the storage tank with hydrogen peroxide. You can easily get a bottle of hydrogen peroxide at your nearby pharmacy.
After cleaning and sterilizing, it’s time to install the water pump in the storage tank. Since your submersible pump will be corded, you need to get the wire out of the storage tank. To make a strong base, lay medium-sized clean stone pebbles at the tank’s bottom.
After laying 2-3 layers of stone pebbles, set your submersible pump on the rock bed. After setting the pump, take the wire out from the tank’s mouth. Now, your control unit is complete and ready to operate. But, for the time being, keep the control unit separate.
Drill a hole at the side of your cylindrical control tank for tubing. Make sure to drill a hole of thickness similar to that of the vinyl tube. If you want to know how to build a recirculating deep water culture system, prepare the control unit first.
2. Preparing The Plant Holding Units
The holding unit is a significant part of the recirculating culture framework. It consists of two items: grow pots and net pots. The main function of the holding unit is to hold the plants at a specific level.
Therefore, it is important to install the holding units well to prevent collapsing. The first step to prepare the holding units is cleaning followed by sterilizing. Don’t install your net and grow pots directly in the system.
After traveling a long way home, the pots might accumulate dust, pollen, or harmful bacteria. Such microbial substances might degrade the quality of your plant yield. Also, it disturbs the homogeneity of the nutrient solution.
Wash the net and grow pots with clean filtered water. Then, apply a mild detergent or soap, and rub the interior and exterior surfaces thoroughly. Continue rubbing for 5-6 minutes by using a clean microfiber cloth or an exfoliating scrub.
Just like the control tank, keep the grow and nets pots inverted for some time. Keep each of the pots separate and allow them to dry. After drying, rub or spray the interior surface of the grow pots with the same hydrogen peroxide.
Remember to sterilize both regions(exterior and interior) of the net pots. This is because the exterior portion of the net pots might be in contact with the nutrient solution. After sterilizing, it’s time to assemble the pots at the proper place.
Keep the net pot at the mouth of the grow pot. Since both pots share a similar diameter, the net will remain suspended. Insert your plant of choice into the net pots carefully, and expose the roots outward.
After setting the pots and plants, it’s time for some drilling. Drill a hole with a diameter similar to the secondary vinyl tubes(0.5inch). To drill accurately, use an electric drill or a manual screw rotator. Now, your plant holding setup is complete and is ready for operation.
3. Attaching The Tubes
A vast network of tubes makes the recirculating system look more complex. You must know the tubing process in detail to know how to build a recirculating deep water culture system. For proper efficiency, you must make the tubing proportionate and correct. As mentioned above, the RDWC circulatory system is similar to the human nervous system.
Therefore, you must follow the rough outline of the human nervous system. However, there are other methods to approach, but this is the simplest one. There will be a primary tube with a diameter of 1 inch and other secondary tubes of diameter ½ inches.
The number of secondary tubes will be equal to the plant holding units. Therefore, select your tubes as per your scale of cultivation. Divide the plant holding units into rows and columns of an n×2 table (n is the number of rows; keep only two columns).
After dissecting the net pots into two columns, lay the primary vinyl tube in between. The number of rows will depend on the number of holding units. For each row, make two holes on both sides of the pipe.
Remember to make the holes of thickness similar to the secondary pipes(0.5 inches). Join the secondary pipe on the primary for each row. To make the fixings leakage-free, use a strong sealant for vinyl tubes.
Continue the process with each row, and seal the end of the primary pipe. However, the sealant must be of good quality for leakage-free tubing. Now, it’s time to complete the tubing process by connecting the control unit to the holding units.
Insert the secondary tubes in the pre-drilled holding unit holes. After proper fixing, seal the connections with the sealant to prevent leakage. Attach each holding unit to the controller pump ensuring a linear flow. Your tubing process is complete and ready for operation. How to build a recirculating deep water culture system? Well, get the tubings right.
4. Adding The Nutrient Solution
After knowing how to build a recirculating deep water culture system, add the nutrient solution. But, you’ll have to prepare the nutrient solution before adding it. For smooth circulation, always use a liquid nutrient solution.
The solid nutrient solution has unnecessary content like fiber that disrupts the homogeneity of the solution. Depending on the plant, add the nutrient solution such that the roots just touch the nutrient solution. Then, switch on the submersible pump, and witness your setup supporting life.
Three Best Recirculating DWC System That You Can Buy
1. Root Box Hydroponics RDWC 2 System
The Root Box Hydroponics is a reliable set to practice your RWDC cultivating system. It comes in an attractive color combination of yellow and black. So, bring eye-catchy, you can easily detect the setup from a distance.
The fit and finish of an RDWC system matter the most. The Root Box Hydroponics set has an incredible fit and finish, and is specially designed for long-term use. The Controller unit of this system is 5 gallons which will be enough for personal use. So, your plants will never face malnutrition.
Coming to the control unit, the Root Box Hydroponics uses a 550GPH to circulate the nutrient medium. The primary tube has a one-inch thickness with the ¾” thick secondary tubes. Moreover, the company delivers you 12 well-designed holding units for extended farming.
Other accessories include holding clips, water level bands, round air stones, and much more. The Root Box Hydroponics RDWC is very easy to assemble and operate. All you have to do is follow the concise information on the user’s manual.
Moreover, it doesn’t consume much space in your working environment. Also, remember to sterilize the product after receiving it.
2. Hydrofarm RS5GAL8SYS Root Spa
The Hydrofarm Root Spa is a recirculating deep water culture framework. This 5-gallon basin framework is so decent that it develops enormous plants proficiently. After a brief timeframe, you will understand the benefit of the decentness of this extraordinary, simple-to-utilize, cheap, and register framework.
Pumping crude air into the nutrient solution without the costly air stones isn’t practical. However, your plants will flourish, and produce more yield if air stones are introduced. The watertight seal ensures no nutrient solution releases.
Also, the 8″ container bin holds your plants above the developing medium. A Multi-reason air hose conveys air from the submersible pump to the lower part of the basin. The Air pump is introduced to oxygenate your water to nourish your plant’s roots.
Other accessories include a ½” grommet fitting, ½” elbow fitting, ¼” dark tubing, and many more. The fit and finish of the Hydrofarm root spa are nicely done without any excessive impressions. The system is easy to operate and has a clear and concise instruction manual.
3. Root Box Hydroponics RDWC 4 System
The foundations of the Root Box 4-system hydroponics are similar to their predecessor. Just like the 2-system unit, it comes with an attractive color combination of black and yellow. The fit and finish of this product are better than its predecessor.
The root box hydroponics RDWC 4-system is not just larger in terms of volume, but quantity as well. The control unit of this 4-system can store up to 5 gallons of nutrient solution. Moreover, the module networking of this force system is more complex than its predecessor.
This 4 bucket system uses a 950GPH electric powered air pump which operates on any 124V AC/DC source. Also, it uses an 800 GPH submersible water pump which operates on a similar input range. You can plant almost all hydroponic plants like lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, etc.
The sum of the volumes of all grow models is estimated to be 12 gallons. The grow modulus has a screen fitting embedded on it. Screen fittings are a type of filter that reduces the effort of cleaning the RDWC system.
Assembling and installing the system is easier than other RDWC kits in the market. Each system includes four 12 Gallon Grow Modules, a 5 Gallon Controller Unit with Drain Tube, a Holding Clip, some water level bands, two ¾” Chiller Fittings w/ Down Tubes, a float valve with green Inlet Fitting, a ¾” Waterfall Fitting, four 10” Net Pot Lid Baskets, a 950GPH Commercial Air Pump & Outlet Air Divider, an 800GPH water pump, ten 1 inch and ¾” fittings.
If you don’t know how to make a recirculating deep water culture system, online marketplaces are just for you. The recirculating DWC system is not generally preferred by hydroponic gardeners. This is because the traditional DWC system is generally known for its stability. Other than stagnant water systems, hydroponic gardeners have choices for a more dynamic framework. They feel the nutrient film technique to be more simple than the recirculating system.