How To Build A Cheap DWC Hydroponic Cloner

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Plant clones are a great way to start or expand your hydroponic garden, but cloners can be kind of expensive. Luckily it’s cheap and easy to build a hydroponic cloner.

Building a DWC hydroponic cloner is almost the same steps as building DWC hydroponic system, just on a smaller scale. Here’s how to build your own cheap hydroponic cloner.

Supplies Needed To Make A Hydroponic DWC Cloning System

Small tote with lid – There are 2 things that I look for when choosing a tote for DWC type of cloners. One is that the tote is somewhat sturdy, so the walls don’t bow from the water weight. The second is that there is a decent size flat part on the lid to place the net pots. View Product
2-inch net pots with foam inserts– Using quality net pots will save you a lot of headaches. The cheaply made net pots lack a lip, so they easily fall through. For more info check out this article. You will also want foam inserts to hold your cuttings. For the system I’m building I will need 14 net pot and inserts. View Product
Aquarium air pump– If you’re making a small hydroponic cloner you won’t need a very powerful air pump. If you’re making a larger cloner with many sites then make sure your air pump produces enough air to create a generous amount of bubbles. View Product
Air hose –  I’ve found there are two types of air hose. One is clear, a little thicker, and doesn’t bend as easily. The other is cloudy and more flexible. Either will work fine, but I prefer the clear for outdoors and cloudy for indoors. View Product
Check valve –  The check valve is important. It will help keep water from coming through the air hose and into the pump when the power is off. View Product
Air stone –  Stay away from the small air stones, as they won’t produce as many air bubbles. I prefer the 6-10 inch airstones, which cover more area. Make sure the air stone isn’t too long to fit in your tote. View Product
Black spray paint –  Though not absolutely necessary, it is beneficial to paint the outside of your reservoir black if it’s not already dark. This will keep out light which is beneficial to root growth but, also stops algae growth. View Product
Tools Needed: Drill, Hole saw kit, Drill bits

Steps to building cheap dwc hydroponic cloner

Steps To Building A DWC Hydroponic Cloner

Step 1. Paint Your Tote

While roots will still form if you don’t paint your tote I would recommend doing so anyway. Roots grow better when they are not exposed to light, just like in nature.

If you’re going to do so, the first step to building your hydroponic cloner is painting the reservoir. Just flip it upside down and give it a good coat of black spray paint. After it dries go ahead and give it another coat for good measure.

While you’re waiting for the 2nd coat to dry you can start building your DWC hydroponic cloner.

Step 2. Cut Holes For Net Pots And Air Hose

Before you start to cut the holes for the net pots you should layout where they are going to go. Cuttings don’t need much space so you can put them pretty close together.

Once you decide on the location of the net pots, use your hole saw to cut out the holes. This is where having quality net pots with a lip will come into play. Make sure the holes are big enough to fit the net pots but not too big where they completely fall through.

Now switch out the hole saw for a drill bit the same size as your air hose. Drill a hole at the end of the tote lid, this will be used to run the air hose through.

Lid To DWC Hydroponic Cloner

Step 3. Set Up The Air System

The next step is assembling the air system that provides oxygen to promote root growth.

Before assembling the air system you will need to cut your air hose to your desired length. I’m cutting mine at about the 2 foot mark.

On one end of the air hose connect your air stone. Push the other end of the air hose through the bottom of the drilled hole in the tote lid and connect it to the check valve. It’s important to make sure the check valve is going the correct way to allow air flow.

Next cut another couple inches worth of the air hose. This is going to connect to the other end of the check valve. Now take the open end of that air hose and connect it to the air pump.

DWC hydroponic air system

Step 4. Add Net Pots, Inserts And Cuttings

The last step to get your new DWC hydroponic system running is adding your net pots and inserts.

If you haven’t cloned a plant before be sure to check out my article on how to clone a plant hydroponically.

Once the clones are prepared just place them in the foam inserts and put the insert into the net pot. Fill the tote with water until the level covers the stem of the cutting. Now plug in the system, then sit back and wait for roots to form.

Finished DIY DWC hydroponic cloner

Final Thoughts

Clones are a great way of starting or expanding your hydroponic garden. Building a hydroponic cloner is a simple project that is well worth the cost savings!

When you’re done building your DWC hydroponic cloner be sure to share it with us on the Facebook Page!

One answer

  1. Chas A. Stack
    February 29, 2020 at 8:13 am

    I like the way you think . In my one bedroom apt on a fixed income and working with a 19 quart storage bin I’m going to do what you just did as soon as my hole saw gets here . I notice you left out a submerged water pump to circulate the water and nutrients . I can’t afford the high end fertilizer so I’m using Schultz liquid plant food 10-15-10 , what do you think ? I’ll look you up on FB BTW google sent me here @ 5am . thanks

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