Sight Glass for Hydroponics Buckets

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Introduction: Sight Glass for Hydroponics Buckets

For my first Instructable I decided to show my idea for a site glass for my bucket type hydroponic system. Previously I had to open the buckets to see how much nutrient solution there was remaining. With this simple adder, I can tell with just a glance.

Step 1: Prepare the "elbow" for the Lower End of the Site Glass.

Since I couldn't find a small enough elbow I found if very easy to make one out of an ordinary ¼" tee. It will make up the lower part of the adder. Cut one arm off of the tee and hot glue the hole where the cut was made shut.

Step 2: Drill the Upper and Lower Holes

After checking to see what hole size in the bucket will make for a snug fit (mine was ¼") drill a hole in the flange near the opening of the bucket to hold the top of the clear plastic tubing and one near the bottom for the newly made elbow directly below the upper hole. I had to clean up the drilled holes with a razor knife and a round file to insure a clean, snug fit for the elbow on the lower hole.

Step 3: Glue the Elbow at the Bottom

Using a 12" piece of clear plastic tubing (Lowe's or Menards) I just connected the tee through a hole at the lower part of the bucket near the bottom on the side to the tubing and ran the tubing up the side through another hole at the top flange of the bucket to hold it in place. Hot glue worked well to seal the elbow into the bucket at the bottom and hold the tubing tight enough to keep it straight up on the side of the bucket.

Step 4: Secure Tubing at the Top of the Bucket Flange

I glued the elbow at the bottom first and after it cooled, I stretched the tubing through the upper hole and then hot glued it in place to hold it snug and straight.

I marked on the outside of the bucket underneath the "sight glass" lines for the gallons. Just for reference for my 5 gallon bucket, the dimensions for 1, 2, 3, and 4 gallon marks were from the bottom respectively, 3", 5½ ", 7 ⅞" and 10 ⅛".

Although the top of the tubing can be left alone, I put a small rubber cap with a hole drilled in it just to give it a finished look. It must have a small hole in it though to allow the air in the tubing to flow freely.

Be sure to fill the bucket with water to test the hot glue seal at the bottom before using it.

Thanks for checking this out. I hope you liked it and can get some use from it.

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4 Comments

what kind of net pot are you using? I love how much bigger it is than all the other designs people show.

You should have a temporary cover for that. Light+nutrient rich water=mold and other funky issues.

Thanks for the comment. I've only had the buckets running for about a week with no light related issues but am keeping a close watch. I may switch to a green silicon tubing if algae starts growing in the tubes. I understand that the green color will help filter the light so algae won't grow. I'll comment later after using these "indicators" for a while.

I've been using the small tubing, uncovered for 3 months now and have not had any problems with algae growing inside at all. The tubing gets crudded up with white substance (from nutrients I assume) and I run a small bottle brush through it to clean it out periodically.