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JB's UnderCurrent Pump Manifolds Explained

Discussion in 'Hydroponics / Aeroponics' started by JSB99, Mar 1, 2018.


    JSB99 Well-Known Member

    I posted this in another thread, and thought some new readers might find this useful.

    This is my water pump and input/output manifolds (the pipes, valves, and adapters, pre-pump and post-pump), along with a few other valves here and there. The purpose of building something this complex, is to add versatility and ease of maintenance. I can break down my system small enough to be able to wash everything in the kitchen sink. Plus, I don't miss anything when cleaning.


    1 - Water Return Line - This is where the 3/4" black poly tubing, from the tent, connects. The tube isn't connected in this picture though.

    2 - Input Manifold Valve - This controls the water from the entire system. Closing this allows everything after it to be disassembled. This is really useful for taking the pump out to clean, or replace.

    3 - Bleed Valve - This serves two purposes. One, after closing the Input Manifold Valve (2), all the pipes after still have water, which will spill out if anything is taken apart. Opening this valve allows me to blow out the remaining water, in the pipes and pump. And two, After opening the Input Manifold Valve (2), air gets trapped in the 3/4" return line, and the input manifold. The air has to then work its way out through the pump and pipes, which makes the pump sputter for a bit. Opening the valve allows me to bleed any trapped air. This results in the pump being full force, as soon as it's plugged in.

    4 - Waterfall Valve - Used in conjunction with the Drain Valve (5) to either route the water to the waterfall, or to the drain pipe going through the wall to the outside.

    5 - Drain Valve - (explained above)

    6 - House Water Valve - I tapped into one of the house water pipes to be able to fill the system.

    7 - Reservoir Valve - I have a 55-gallon reservoir, where I can bubble out chlorine (yes, my water only has chlorine, not chloramine). This valve allows me to fill the system from the reservoir. I can also drain the reservoir, if I ever needed, by routing the water out the drain pipe instead of the waterfall.

    8 & 9 - Pump Input & Output Unions - Using these allow for very easy mounting and removal of the pump, without any moving pipes. I'm not using an inline filter right now, so being able to quickly remove the pump for cleaning each week keeps everything running smooth. Only takes a minute or two to clean the pump.

    10 - Waterfall - This is just a length of 1/2" PVC with small holes drilled through it (which you can't see here). This creates pressure, and jets the water out, which creates a ton of DO in the reservoir. The pipe, adapter, and end cap are not glued or screwed together. There's not enough pressure to separate them. This allows for easy removal to clean it, and even replace it with another pipe, with different holes drilled into it.

    11 - 2" Feed Pipe - This is where the flow starts. This goes from the controller reservoir, through the back of the tent to the UC Input Manifold, then through the totes to the UC Output Manifold, to the 3/4" black tubing, and into the Pump Input Manifold (1)

    This is with my controller reservoir in place:

    I use this fan, I wall-mounted, to blow on the pump to keep it cool, as well as blow on the reservoir water to help keep it cool via evaporative cooling. You have to have the lid off to do this, so it's really important to have your res in a dark spot to prevent algae growth. With the combination of having the res outside the tent, cooling the pumps, and cooling the water a little, keeps my temps between 66 and 68:

    As far as passing pipes through the back of the tent, it's easy! I'm sure a lot of people have reservations about cutting their tent, but the tents are cheap and don't retain any value, so it's not like there's a huge market for used grow tents. The benefits to having the reservoir outside the tent, are great! You're going to have much more room in the tent for plants, you're removing the reservoir from a warm area, which helps with the water temps, and it gives you much easier access to the reservoir, as you don't need to open the tent to get to it.

    Blurry pic of the UC input manifold, air pump manifold, and black poly return tube, passing through the tent. All you have to do is slice the tent a little, where you need to pass something through, and use a little duct tape to cover any over-cuts. I use a 2" rubber coupling to join the pipe that comes into the tent, to the UC inputmanifold. This allows for very easily connecting/disconnecting the manifold for cleaning. Wanted to also mention that the reason I use a long curve, with regards to the black tube, is because this tube is where you can run into bottlenecks. Instead of going straight through the back of the tent, and using a 90 degree elbow and running another tube to the pump input manifold, I use a single, gently curved tube, with no adapters. Doing this resulted in significant increase in flow.

    Pic of the UC return/output manifold:

    Hope all that helps you all out :)
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
    Organic Miner

    Organic Miner Well-Known Member

    I LIKE it!
    JSB99 likes this.
    Rolla J

    Rolla J Well-Known Member

    Awesome guide! I used an evaporated cooling system to actively water cool the rez for my cob light and used also as an AC for the grow box. I used a beer cooler as my rez
    JSB99 likes this.

    JSB99 Well-Known Member

    Another benefit, to having the reservoir outside the tent, I forgot to mention is the ability to have a much larger reservoir than you could fit in the tent. This means that you can have a large amount of water, even if only using buckets in the tent. More water helps keep pH levels steady, lengthens the amount of time between flushes and reduces the amount of flushes needed, and helps keep temps down!
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
    Rolla J likes this.

    JSB99 Well-Known Member

    Better shot of the pipes/tubes passing through the rear of the tent. Duct tape helps patch things up. I was originally thinking of using two, square pieces of wood, and making a pass-through plate. Basically, I would have one board on the inside of the tent, screwed to the other board, outside the tent. The wood plates would already have the holes cut. This would make it really secure, and eliminate any gaps.

    I saved this project for another day :-)

    kingtitan likes this.

    kingtitan Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the guide.

    I had some gorilla repair tape which worked really well to mend the tent cut, then a few layers of duct tape to light proof and ad a bit more extra bond.
    JSB99 likes this.

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