Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
HOW TO: build an aquarium sump cheaply – trickle tower wet dry TUTORIAL

HOW TO: build an aquarium sump cheaply – trickle tower wet dry TUTORIAL


Hi everybody, joey here again and welcome
back. So in todays video i want to show you how
to build a trickle tower sump the cheapest and easiest way possible. Lets start off with supplies and then move
into the build, followed by how and why this works. As a fish keeper, a lot of us have buckets
on hand. if not they are cheap anyways. maybe $5 each at a hardware store like these were. You will need 2 buckets. You will also need some plastic pot scrubbies.
You can get 6 of these for a dollar at a dollar store. We will need around 90 of these, so
$15 in pot srubbies. As for the actual sump, the size will depend
on the tank you are filtering, but something as cheap as a rubbermaid tote is fine. Typically
15-20 gallons in size will cost around $10. In this example though, im using a spare aquarium
i had so for the purpose of the video, you can see into the sump and see how it works. So in total, the entire fitler as well as
media will cost you about $35. This is a great price seeing as how this is sized for larger
aquariums. To build this filter is really simple. You will want to start off by cutting the
bottom 4 inches of one of the buckets off. This will become your drip plate. Then drill a bunch of holes into the bottom
of the drip plate you created. How many holes and what size will depend entirely on flow
of water you put through it, so i suggest starting with many small holes and slowly
increaseing their size after you have tested with water. You aim is to have a consisitant
and even water flow through them all. The third step is to take the remaining portion
of the bucket and cut the top off so that only about 6 inches of bucket remain. Then
drill large holes in one of the ends. The forth step is to drill a bunch of large
holes into the second bucket. Drill as many as you can and as large as you can. Just not
large enough for a pot scrubber to fall threw. This will act as your base. Now we can put it together. Starting with the base you created. Place
that in your sump with the holes faceing down. take the full bucket and place that inside
the base. If you placed the base the right way up, the top of the base will fit snuggle
around the bottom of the bucket and hold it up. Suspending that bucket the 6 inches from
the bottom of the sump. Then fill the bucket up with the pot scrubbies.
I used plastic bio balls in this example, however pot scrubbies are a lot cheaper and
do the same thing. Both are plastic, both allow water flow through them, but scrubbies
actually have a much higher surface area allowing for a larger bio load. Finally, place your drip plate on top. So how does this work? As water overflows from your aquarium and
enters the drip tray, it would first be mechanically filtered with something like cheap polyester
filling, and then water evenly rains over your potscrubbies where the bacteria live. This method of filtration provides and oxygen
rich enviroment for your bacteria. Water then exits at the bottom. Because the buckets remains elevated, the
bottom support is the only thing that remains covered in water. So now it is more obvious
why it is called a trickle tower. This is one of my personal favorite filters
that i have been using for years now. In fact, heres one i built and used around 7 years
ago. There are still a lot of questions you might
have though and we cant answer every possible question in every video, like how to size
this to your aquarium, how to plumb your aquarium or build an overflow, what type of flow rate
do you need. How to size a sump to your aquarium, which sump or even method of filtration is
right for you…. When it comes to filtration, the topics are endless. I have a playlist
on my channel on filtration though that will walk you though a lot of these questions.
BUT i also have a complete book on all of it as well that you might want to consider
getting. Anyways, i hope you gys enjoyed the video,
i also want to thank you for watching and we will see you next week for a new project.

15 comments on “HOW TO: build an aquarium sump cheaply – trickle tower wet dry TUTORIAL

  1. Joey i need to know, how do you get water to the sump from the tank? do you use a pump inside the tank

  2. you should do a video on how to build an acrylic HOB wet / dry filter. Something with a drip tray, chemical section and space for compact protein skimmer and heater…
    You know like those sold commercially at crazy prices.

  3. Hey joey, thanks so much for posting this great video. I took your idea an modified it to filter 200+gallons of water I am installing the plumbing on Friday. I can't wait until I get my 300 gallon tank finished for my common snapping turtle. Been watching a lot of your videos for ideas. You might see some I used in my tank setup! ;D thanks for your videos! But so far the turtle is loving his new winter home, waiting for his out door pond to be finished.

  4. I found pot scrubbers made of polypropylene, polyester and nylon.
    Does it matter what kind I use, are they all aquarium safe?
    Are they equally good at sustaining the bacteria?

  5. Hi, I realise this has been a few years but i wanted to know if you would recommend using lava rock in this type of filter?
    Thank you so much

  6. How do you feel about using lava rock instead of plastic for the bio media? I can get a bag of that stuff pretty cheap at the hardware store. I know it needs to be rinsed really well.

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