Help Squiggly With His Compost Tea Project!!

The Squiggly Shamelessly Asks For Your Help Megathread:

Squiggs here. For those of you who don't know me I was once a long time lurker, turned long time talker-too-mucher, turned short-lived moderator, turned shamed former-moderator--and generally speaking I've been a lurker again since then, lacking the personal fortitude to commit seppuku and absolve myself of shame.

I'm currently prototyping a new compost tea product. I plan to use this thread as a way to bounce ideas off people and access the boundless trove of wisdom and experience that is THCFarmer.

As a first request--as it stands now I'm looking for a method by which I can rapidly test while staying true to the methodology which is most widespread for brewing (specifically the vortex brewer).

Of course bucket brewers are also widely used, but what's at issue here is I'm after quality over quantity. I don't want to use 5 gallons every time I run an experiment. I'm interested in getting the end result under a microscope, not into a garden--not yet at least!

Anyway, I can develop a miniaturized bucket brewer in a snap--but I'm having difficulty sourcing good starting materials for a mini vortex, and wrapping my head around designs. I am, afterall, a scientist and decidedly not an engineer. I can change oil, tile floors, hang drywall, and do some great landscaping brickwork--but my engineering prowess ends there.

What I need:

I don't want to go too small, I think a 1.5g cone bottom form factor would be ideal for my purposes--but I can't find one for the life of me. Anything below 10 gallons with a cone bottom doesn't maintain the truly "conical" form factor which is needed to apply Bernouli's theory and get a vortex going. I don't want to go below 1 gallon brews because it will be hard to mimick conditions most brewers use as temperature fluctuations will play a much larger factor with smaller quantities of water.

Because I am no longer growing the pots (sadface), and likely won't be again till such a time it's legal for me to do so--I am happy (for once) to post some pictures of the building process for the apparatus I develop using any help I get here in case someone else wants to use a similar model for their own experiments down the line.

To recap:

1. Needs true conical shape.

2. Preferably ergonomically sized for 1 gallon brews and reasonably priced (I will need several units).

3. Pre fabricated stands (to elevate vessel) are a plus, though I'm not holding my breath.

4. Accepts common fittings so that I don't need to get too fussy with the engineering aspect of design. The closer to plug and play the better.

I am open to ANY and all suggestions here. Hopefully we can produce something that will be useful to more people than just myself by the time it's all said and done.

Thanks in advance brosephs and lady brosephs!!

Edited to add the following:


I intend to use this apparatus, and in part the information in this post, to develop a product. I intend to sell this product for money if my research suggests that it is worth the same. I do not intend to profiteer on any gardeners and would most certainly offer any THCFarmers a discount on any potential future product (unless economics simply did not allow for this).

That being said, if you think that's a dick move I'm not really interested in hearing your well thought out reasons why. I have considered this and would simply ask anyone who might feel there is a conflict not to contribute here.

If you simply must voice your disdain, please do keep it short and sweet.
Last edited:


likes to smell trees.
2 liter bottle.

Cut the bottom off nice and straight.

Turn your stove on and put a pan on it. Place the big cut open side of the 2 liter on the pan and hold it there until the edges curl inward and give you a perfect rim. You can put a rubber pipe cap on this to keep the splashing down, but you need to make a hole in it to allow the air to escape.

The soda cap can be glued in to a piece of 3/4" schedule 200 pvc, and from here you can connect regular fittings.

Making a stand for it will be easy. You can actually plumb it out of PVC and connect it directly to the cap.

EDIT: this is less than a gallon. oops. Could still be a fun prototype. Good luck!
Hmm, Sometimes can find a container that meets the needs.
Why not cut down a carboy or cut down one of the larger cone bottom tanks till you got the volume you desire.

Worth checking if brew shops may have something in a smaller size. Sometimes lots of options in stainless.
For me, stainless was cost prohibitive at largers size but may not be at the volume you desire.
I was hoping to scale the thing down to a tabletop size if possible, to give a clearer idea of what I'm working towards. The upside down 2 liter is ridiculously close to what I've got envisioned. I wish there was something just a little bit more to scale with what brewers usually look like.

Good suggestions all, I'm still hoping to find a molded solution somewhere from some plastic supplier so that I can depend on threading rather than glue and make quick work of the build.
Hey Sqiggs, will Vitamin C remove chloramine from water that you use in your brewer?
That's the general concensus. But I'll be using RO water to start with, nanopure if I can source it. If you have more questions like this feel free to pop over to my chemistry questions thread linked in my sig. I take some time to get to them because I've got other projects I'm working on--but I get to them all eventually.
check out these guys squiggs,if they dont have anything that small they may be able to offer some help where you might find it.
The smallest ''fully draining''which is what i think your looking for is 15G but i know ive seen them around 5G before before.
That's exactly correct--the "fully draining" design allows the acceleration of the incipid flow as the cone narrows, that's the key design element of the vortex brewer.

For most applications a carboy works just fine--but this is why they are sub-ideal.
The upside down 2 liter is ridiculously close to what I've got envisioned. I wish there was something just a little bit more to scale with what brewers usually look like.
I remember seeing 3 liter bottles of cola in the ghetto... might try to find one of those for use in a mock up.

You could also try (not cheap, but a great solution): (this is 2 gallons)

Or you could cut the cone portion off of a 5 gal water bottle. I'm sure the portion above the handle would accommodate the volume you're shooting to brew in one go.

Nice to see you squiggs
Last edited:
Well, that was fast.

Alright so, update. I ordered 3 of these things to fuck around with:


I'd ultimately like to build about 10 of them so I need to keep materials as cheap as possible. I'd prefer for the design to be compact as possible. I'm not sure what the dimensions are on this thing yet so I'll get back once I get them in.

Any insights on what size air pump might work to run 10 apparatus this size? Total product height is 11.9 inches, so a conservative estimate is the thing is 10 inches tall.

I figure there's gonna be a good amount of trial and error here, but it might help to have a starting point.

I don't want to undershoot diameters for piping or air tubing, but I do want to minimize them.

Also, if anyone knows somewhere to get jugs like this cheaper (without handles of course) let me know so I can source the rest there. Impatience overtook me this time.