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Build a Bato-Bucket/Dutch-Pot System part 1

Discussion in 'Hydroponics / Aeroponics' started by mogie, Mar 21, 2007.


    mogie Well-Known Member

    How do I Build a Bato-Bucket/Dutch-Pot System?


    Here is my photo-report on building a Bato-Bucket, also called Dutch-pots, system.
    It is a very efficient top-drip set-up, easy to use and very safe. No more fear of power outage, the bato buckets have a 2l (about 1/2 Gallon) reservoir built in, that works as a wick system if nothing comes from above. The other big advantage over other drip systems like tube, tubbler or slab set-ups is that the plants are in individual containers that can be moved around, plus the (almost) 3 gallon container provides enough space for the root-mass. Batos have been around for years with proven results but lately haven't been seen that much.

    You might have seen the bato buckets in a system called "Eve's Garden", which is a "Brand" product and therefore costs about $350 for a 6 pot and up to $600 for a 12 bucket system... OUCH! That might be the reason for the decline of the batos in the community.

    Parts & Price List:

    Bato Bucket: $4.90 each 16x $4.90 $78.40
    PVC Pipe: $3.85 per 10 feet. 25' x 0.385 $9.62
    PVC Fittings: $0.50 - 2.00 a piece. 8x $1 $ 8
    Feedline: $11 for 50', can also be bought in 10' for less than $5. 50' $11
    Feedline Links: $0.70 - $1.50 T, Elbow, shut-off valves, riser, endcaps 7 x misc. $15
    Drippers: $$0.75 - 1.25 a piece. (Including couplings) 32 x $1.25 $40
    Drip-line: $9 per 50 feet. 50' $ 9
    MAG Pump: $30, but smaller pump would do. Mag has low heat and energy use.1x $30
    Wooden planks: $7 each 4x $28
    Perlite: $18 per 24lbs. bag. 2x (1.5 used) $27

    This is a grand total of $191.02! Pretty good savings if you ask me.

    Getting Started:

    First you'll have to measure your space and decide how many buckets you will want to use. You can design this system as big or small as you like. In this FAQ, we build a 16 bucket system. Each bato measures 10"x12"x9". 4x 5' Rows with 4 batos each. We space the buckets 16" at center. You can space them wider or closer, depending on how long you're planning to veg. The rows are 20" on center which fits the footprint of the 1K light and reflector I'm using. Store price (without the light) would be about $750.

    The batos are designed to be drained by 1 1/2" PVC pipe, which means the drains plug right into the pipe which in turn stabilizes the bucket. 10' PVC pipe cost's less than $4 and they will cut it for you to size at Home Depot.

    Constructing the Drain System:

    First we measure and mark our PVC pipe where the hole for the drains will be drilled. I used a pair of pruning scissors to get a little groove into the PVC, so the drill bit with the pointy end would grip right away. It worked great. A 3/4" drill bit would be enough but I went a bit larger. Now drill out holes for the bucket-drains.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Here's the bato bucket, you can see the reservoir. Two elbows are combined for one drain fitting. This way, the water always siphons out from the bottom and never leaves stale water in the bucket. The next pisture shows how the bato drain-plug fits into the PVC pipe. The buckets are the same just a different color.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]Here's the layout, assembled in the room. Since in this set-up, the reservoir is 2' lower than the system, it's easy to drain. I just put a slight angle on it by raising the long side of the pipes about 2" and the downward pipe that leads to the reservoir about 1". If your reservoir is in the same room, you'll have raise the buckets so gravity can do it's thing. I've seen PVC structures, tables and the common "sawhorse" set-up.

    You will of course have to figure out how many T-fittings and elbows you'll need to construct the drain pipe. ($0.50 - $2 a piece) It's really very easy to piece this together an Erector set would be way more complicated. Make sure you get PVC Primer and PVC Cement to make sure they are leak-proof.

    One more important point about the PVC pipes: They are dirty when you buy them. Take the time to wash them with a bleach solution to sterilize everything. I scrubbed them on the outside, and used a long stick to shove a big sponge with bleach-water through them. Rinse very well and let them be for at least a day before using. After all, your girls' food will run through those pipes.


    KittyBitty Active Member

    thanks for the sweet post.
    I was wondering if u could show some more details lke the pump plumbing in the resovoir. I am trying to build this type of system and hve never done it b4 so I am a bit confused. Thanks.
    Heath Robinson

    Heath Robinson Well-Known Member

    Nice post and nice system! good to see a "how to" posted up as the bato buckets work really well.


    midwestfunkmaster Member


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