HydroRed's DIY Budget Flood and Drain (approx $40 total)

HydroRed

3Thirteen Seeds
Site Supporter
This is an easy and affordable DIY Flood and Drain build. Anyone who knows me knows I like to do stuff on the cheap and this project is no different. This can be used either with the tray in the tote, or tray on a table and the tote as the reservoir.

PARTS NEEDED:
(1) "ODJOB" brand 7 gal mixing tray ($5.98 @ Lowes)

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(1) "Commander XXL" brand 27 gal tote ($8.99 @ Lowes)
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(1) 1/2" Fill - 3/4" Drain F&D bulkhead set ($8.99 @hydrostore or online)
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(1) 185 gph submersible pump ($12.49 at hydro shop or online)
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(2') 1/2" O.D. plastic tubing ($0.89 per ft at hydrostore or Lowes)
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The way this will work, is that the tray sits inside the top of the res, leaving space under the tray in the res to hold the water. The F&D kits gets installed into the tray any way you choose to do so that it fits your needs and pot count in the tray. The submersible pump sits under the tray in the tote (reservoir) and the 1/2" tubing connects the pump to the fill side of the F&D kit. I have labeled some of the parts by brand name specifically because I know they are an absolute perfect fit when used together. I have built 4 sets of these for myself and many more for others. They have been in use in my rooms for yrs now without any issue or fail so I know they work and am confident it will work just as good for you!

INSTRUCTIONS:

Drill out (2) 1-3/8" holes with a hole saw bit. The location of the holes should be dependent on how many pots you will be using and where you will be placing them. I use up to (6) 1gal pots so I drill mine accordingly but you can run any number of pots that you feel will work for you. Heres a couple examples of placement for your fill and drains with different pot sizes,count, and arrangements. Red represents fill, and green represents drain.
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-Connect the bulkheads onto the tray, sure to use the included rubber washers. No silicone or anything like that should be needed. Just put the screen top on the fill side, and put 1 collar and a screen on the drain side. Be sure you put the right pieces on the right sides or your table wont fill or drain properly. Again, you want just the screen top on the 1/2" fill bulkhead, and the collar AND the screen top on the 3/4" drain bulkhead (as shown).
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-Use the (2') of 1/2" tubing to connect the fill bulkhead on the bottom of the tray to the submersible pump and place the pump in the tote (reservoir).

-Place the tray into the top of the 27 gal tote (reservoir). Be sure there are no kinks in the 1/2" line when you place the tray into the tote. If there is, just cut some of the excess off so the line sets in the res comfortably connected to the submersible pump.
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-No tubing is needed for the drain portion since it will naturally just drain right back into the tote (reservoir) once the desired flood depth is achieved.

-Fill with water. I usually fill with 12 gal as this is enough to flood the tray, and still keep enough in the res so ther pump doesnt run dry or suck air.

-Connect the power cord from the submersible pump to a timer and set it to flood 15 min every 3-4 hrs (or as you feel is needed). This should be a good starting point until you determine the frequency of your floods. Once the timer cuts off, gravity will make the water flow back down to the res through the fill bulkhead and down through the submersible pump.

-Fill the tray with your potted plants in hydroton, adjust your nutrient strength & pH, and get to flooding -YOU'RE DONE!

TIPS:

Make sure the holes in the pots you use arent bigger than the hydroton (or whatever medium you use) or it will spill out during floods and make a mess of your clean flood tray and you'll be constantly picking out medium.

Be sure your tray sits flush down inside of the tote. You dont want any light in your reservoir. This is why I was "brand specific" on the tray and tote.

If you notice your flood level isnt where it once was, or if you notice bubbles coming from the fill while flooding -its time to add to the res.

You can use a sight tube to keep track of where your water level is or you can mark a line on the reservoir as a reference of where the water level should be.

You can use furniture dollies under the tote to make moving them around an easy task.

This same setup can be used on a table simply by getting the appropriate length of 1/2" and 3/4" tubing to run from the tray to pump in the res by drilling holes in the lid for the tubing to run through like shown:
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HydroRed

3Thirteen Seeds
Site Supporter
actually my fave way to grow when I have more room that I got now. I rocked a tubogarden for a long time ebb and flow. I knew there had to be a DIY somewhere, thanks. This is much cheaper than those, I can say, lol.
This has been working flawlessly in my garden for years. Not a problem or leak from the same gear being washed and reused (aside from tubing, I just buy new). Been great both tray in tote and trays on tables.


Sub'd.Taking notes. Glad you made this thread.I have mine built and ready to go.Just Don't have room for it and the other one I built.I need another tent! Damn how I wish my Lowes and or Home depot carried those I'd job totes.
Im keeping my eyes open for a supplier (other than Lowes) of the ODJOB brand trays. This will be the first spot I drop a link when I find it!
 

HydroRed

3Thirteen Seeds
Site Supporter
Sub'd.Taking notes. Glad you made this thread.I have mine built and ready to go.Just Don't have room for it and the other one I built.I need another tent! Damn how I wish my Lowes and or Home depot carried those I'd job totes.
I found the company that makes them. I got an email out to them to see if they can point me in the right direction to find them in bulk. They are a Canadian Company called "Scepter".
 

Goats

Kush Lover
good stuff red!

i used that exact tote for a few years and would just get a new one annually to ensure they never weakened/split. that was a warning i was given by someone who had one of the same totes split on him.

how often do you replace the res totes? ever? do yours bow outward when full? the bowing after a year on mine was noticeable, but i never had one split on me.
edit - nm, you only fill it with 12g at a time. :)
$17 vs $200 for a real res. that said i have a 40g reservoir now. needed the extra 15g and the added piece of mind hasn't hurt either. it did hurt the wallet though.
 
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WebstersBallSack

European Bean Flicker
Nice one Red.
What's the noise levels on a pump like that?

I built a pod flood and drain set up some years ago, based on esoteric's (UK) system. It worked amazing but had to give it up due to the noise levels, think I undersized the pumps and due to them having increasing force as buckets filled from bottom just got louder as they filled.
 

HydroRed

3Thirteen Seeds
Site Supporter
good stuff red!

i used that exact tote for a few years and would just get a new one annually to ensure they never weakened/split. that was a warning i was given by someone who had one of the same totes split on him.

how often do you replace the res totes? ever? do yours bow outward when full? the bowing after a year on mine was noticeable, but i never had one split on me.
edit - nm, you only fill it with 12g at a time. :)
$17 vs $200 for a real res. that said i have a 40g reservoir now. needed the extra 15g and the added piece of mind hasn't hurt either. it did hurt the wallet though.
Im still working with the original gear from when I first built this a cpl yrs ago. Only thing Ive had to replace was one of the 185 gph pumps ($12) out of 4 tables, and I replace the 1/2" tubing every run since its so inexpensive (less than a buck a foot). I dont see any wear n tear on any of the trays or totes....other than some salt line staining. Its been really good to me.
Nice one Red.
What's the noise levels on a pump like that?

I built a pod flood and drain set up some years ago, based on esoteric's (UK) system. It worked amazing but had to give it up due to the noise levels, think I undersized the pumps and due to them having increasing force as buckets filled from bottom just got louder as they filled.
Zero pump noise, hum, -literally nothing. I hear trickling water sound from the water draining back to the res and thats the only noise that comes from the setup. VERY stealthy.
 

WebstersBallSack

European Bean Flicker
Im still working with the original gear from when I first built this a cpl yrs ago. Only thing Ive had to replace was one of the 185 gph pumps ($12) out of 4 tables, and I replace the 1/2" tubing every run since its so inexpensive (less than a buck a foot). I dont see any wear n tear on any of the trays or totes....other than some salt line staining. Its been really good to me.

Zero pump noise, hum, -literally nothing. I hear trickling water sound from the water draining back to the res and thats the only noise that comes from the setup. VERY stealthy.
I may have to have a little dabble into a new set up then.. Sweeet. Cheers Red. (y)
 

gwheels

Elite Hobbyist
Site Supporter
Oh i am making one of these....I think i like the idea better than the bubble bucket. Its like a GH waterfarm that costs 1/3 the cost :D and its bigger...

And I will find a shorter tote as the res so that i get more clearance in my short room. I bet i can shave some inches from the height of the 5 gallon bubble bucket !
 

HydroRed

3Thirteen Seeds
Site Supporter
Oh i am making one of these....I think i like the idea better than the bubble bucket. Its like a GH waterfarm that costs 1/3 the cost :D and its bigger...

And I will find a shorter tote as the res so that i get more clearance in my short room. I bet i can shave some inches from the height of the 5 gallon bubble bucket !
Thats the lovely part of this build is that you can use pretty much any tote containers that will set down inside of the other and leave room in the bottom for the res if you wanted to run tray in tote. Also the fact that you can get a larger diameter while getting a lower profile tote to preserve height. The gallon amount dont even need to change. More room for greens!
 

gwheels

Elite Hobbyist
Site Supporter
For the tray you just sit the plants in planters (1 gallon or 3 gallon or whatever) in the tray with what kind of medium in the planter?

Can you use coco or would that just make a mess? I have the flood and drain fittings so now its spare scrounging time ! :D
 

HydroRed

3Thirteen Seeds
Site Supporter
For the tray you just sit the plants in planters (1 gallon or 3 gallon or whatever) in the tray with what kind of medium in the planter?

Can you use coco or would that just make a mess? I have the flood and drain fittings so now its spare scrounging time ! :D
Correct, I use 1 gal pots and fill em with (rinsed) hydroton. Start your flood levels high until they are rooted, then drop the flood level. I'd advise using pots that have slits for openings on the bottoms of the pots vs the ones with big holes as the hydroton may slip out of the holes in the pots during floods. If you use the ones with the slits, then nothing will be able to escape the pot. I personally wouldnt use coco in a F&D application. I think that would be better suited for a drip feed system/DTW etc.
 

gwheels

Elite Hobbyist
Site Supporter
I checked with the vendor and in Canada the oddjob tote is a special order through Grainger. They are all over the place (aka Acklands Grainger)

Part # SCP04925

I might pop into the store next week and check it out.
 
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