Hydroponic Reservoir Top Off System

hydroponic float vlaveWhen the temperature starts rising you tend to lose water in your hydroponic reservoir more quickly. This can be due to evaporation as well as your plants drinking it up. This is not limited to just warm times, you will loose water over the course of time anyway. What this means is you will checking your reservoir and topping it off with fresh water and in the summer time this can be the case several times in a week or even in a day. It can get tiring and hey hydroponics was supposed to be easy right? 🙂

Hydroponic Reservoir back up.

Hydroponic Reservoir Back Up Drum

Hydroponic Reservoir Back Up Drum

Well it’s really easy and inexpensive to make it easier on you and but in an automated system to top off your reservoir when it needs it. Here’s what you need:

  • A container for your water storage, at least the same capacity as your reservoir.
  • Piping/tubing
  • Float Valve
  • Stand for your container

That’s it! Depending on what type of water storage you get you are looking at around $40, $50 tops and can get it all at your local lowes or home depot.

Putting it all Together

Hydroponic Reservoir Float Valve

Hydroponic Reservoir Float Valve

For my container I went and got a 35 gallon drum, in hindsight it would have been cheaper for me to go 55 gallons ($20). I next built a stand out behind the greenhouse for it to sit on. You can use a few large bricks ($1 each at Home Depot) just get it above the reservoir as it will be feeding it by gravity.

I drilled a hole towards the bottom to put in a 1/2 Barb Bulkhead Fitting. This connected to 1/2 tubing then PVC to get it to the reservoir inside. I also put in an Inline Shutoff Valve to shut off the flow. I use this when I need to clean the drum or when I fill from tap to give it time to become dechloronated.

Inside I drilled the appropriate size hole for the float valve at the top of the reservoir and installed it, connecting it to the tubing to the drum. Adjust you float valve so it will start filling when the water level reaches the top of your pump. If you have a recirculating system you want to be careful it doesn’t start filling just at low point of your cycle or else when the pump shuts off and it all drains back in you will be overflowing.

Float valves come in different fitting sizes. I’ve seen 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″. I went with 1/2 at this time because it for one was a cheaper valve and second I already had lots of 1/2″ material laying around.

I did think ahead and put a capped off tee inside so I can extend it to the other 2 reservoirs, but this one drinks a lot when it gets hot so I may have to either add another drum to this one or give the others their own.


Any questions or comments please let me know in the comments below!

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