Water draining out of hydroponic reservoir drain

How To Make A Drain For Your Hydroponic Reservoir

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Something that I noticed when shopping for hydroponic reservoirs is that many lacked drains. For the price and lack of features, I’ve decided to use repurposed items for reservoirs, saving me money and allowing for customizations. One thing I do is add a drain to all of my hydroponic reservoirs. I do this for a couple of reasons.

Advantages To Having A Drain On Your Hydroponic Reservoir

There are a couple of reasons why it’s a good idea to make a drain for your hydroponic reservoir if it doesn’t already have one. It doesn’t take much water to make your reservoir heavier than you can lift or may want to lift. Adding a drain is a simple way to get water out of your reservoir without breaking your back.

Since light produces algae growth, the hydroponic reservoir should be dark so no light will penetrate through. This creates the problem of not being able to able to see the water level of the nutrient solution without opening the lid.  A reservoir drain also can double as a water level, letting you know when your nutrient solution is getting low. This can be especially helpful with hydroponic bubble buckets in the summer that use

Having a drain can save you a lot of time, work, and headache. Luckily it is extremely easy to make a hydroponic reservoir drain for a bucket, tote, or tub.

How To Make A Hydroponic Reservoir Drain

Supplies Needed To Make A Hydroponic Reservoir Drain

PVC Tube – PVC that is clear will allow light through causing some algae to build up, but also a let you see the water level. Besides clear, there are also other tinted colors. If you’re not concerned with seeing the water level you can opt for black tube for no algae growth. View Product
1/2 Inch PVC Elbow–  I prefer to use rain bird elbows. They come in a 5 pack for a few dollars. View Product
1/2 Inch Rubber Grommet– This is going to be the seal between the PVC elbow and the bucket. View Product
A Reservior– A bucket or tub to use as your hydroponic reservoir. For smaller systems, I like to use black 5 gallon buckets. For larger systems totes or tubs work well. Keep in mind the thickness of the plastic of the reservoir and the grommets spacing. Too thick of a plastic and your grommet will not fit. View Product
1/2 Inch Drill Bit– Any 1/2 inch drill bit will work. I prefer to use step bits to save myself from having to switch drill bits multiple times during a project. View Product

Tools Needed: Drill and Screwdriver

Steps To Making A Drain For A Reservoir

Now that you have your supplies, it takes about 5 minutes to make your hydroponic reservoir drain.

This first thing you want to do is decide where you’re going to drill the hole in your reservoir. Be sure to put it at the very bottom so when it comes time to drain your reservoir it will drain as much as possible.

How To Make A Hydroponic Reservoir Drain- Drilling hole

Insert your rubber grommet into the hole. I find it the easiest to insert a side, then work around the outside until its fully in place. Take your screwdriver and press it around the hole, pushing the grommet to be a tight fit.

How To Make A Hydroponic Reservoir Drain- Rubber Grommet

Take the 1/2 inch elbow and insert it into an end of the PVC Tube.

How To Make A Hydroponic Reservoir Drain- drain pipe

Next, you’re going to insert the other end of the 1/2 inch elbow into the rubber grommet by slowly twisting it back and forth. Be careful not to force it or it will push the grommet through the hole. *Pro tip- If you take a little bit of dish soap and put it around the end of the elbow it makes this step easier.

How To Make A Hydroponic Reservoir Drain- finished

Finally, fill your reservoir with water to make sure your seal is tight and that there are no leaks.

How To Make A Hydroponic Reservoir Drain sealed tight

You now have a drain for your hydroponic reservoir!

How To Make A Hydroponic Reservoir Drain- draining


2 Answers

    June 4, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Hey Michael, great stuff. I’m a newby, first year hydro gardening. Starting small. I have only half a dozen tomatoes and cukes. How often should I replenish the nutrients?

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