Introduction: Sight Glass for Hydroponics Buckets

Picture of 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.

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.


sparhawk7 (author)2015-08-21

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

ReceivingWelfare (author)2015-03-20

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.

greybruce (author)greybruce2015-07-15

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.

petercd made it! (author)2015-03-21

I used bigger dia tubing because I wanted to drain the contents too. I figured the 2 x 90 bends would block the light from entering the res, hopefully the liquid in the tube wont mix too much with the inner contents.

I wasnt able to find blue or green tubing to block light, but if I come across some transparent material like cellophane or something, I'll probably use it for peace of mind.

I had visions of heat softening the tubing causing it to flop over and dump the entire contents on the floor hence the mid way cable tie. After some thought I cut it away for a black one due to light leaks through the opaque material.

Thanks for the time and effort to put this out there.

greybruce (author)petercd2015-03-21

Thanks Peter. I too thought about making a dual purpose tube but was concerned about the light getting in. I've made some other buckets with a drain valve at the bottom too but haven't used them to try out the idea. I'll update later if I have a problem with the light.

petercd (author)greybruce2015-03-21

I had a brainwave and coloured it with a blue permanent marker, I also wrapped the bottom tube between the 90deg bends with some black duct tape, hopefully thats the end of that "light" issue. :)

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm retired and enjoying the extra time to putter around with Instructable type things. Busy all the time and hoping to one day make ... More »
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