DIY Pond Filter

Learn how to make your own natural and efficient biological pond filter. More at

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Author klmgroupia (11 months)
This reply is for 11atlantica. For some reason I'm not able to reply
directly to your questions in the comments. First, bacteria is added into
the pond body then circulated through the filter. Second, if you're having
problems with the function of the design, be sure to head over to and review the full instructions there to make sure you
set everything up right. 

Author Roxie .Fan (2 months)
Hello, Where do you buy your floor cleaning pads? Thanks!

Author PalJoey1957 (5 months)
The only thing is, with this type of bottom up water flow through the
filter, you need to have an excellent pre-filter
(straining system) to avoid the heavy addition of solid materials (leaf
fall, etc.) that would clog the system and require the type of filter
cleaning you want to avoid.

That is why I myself prefer a top down water flow with a couple of screens
built into the filter box, and then an upper layer of polyester fiber.
It's about accessability. If needed, rinse off the screen, and replace the
inexpensive polyester, which will quickly become re-populated with bacteria
because you're keeping in place the under-layers of permanent media.

In this configuration you lower a 'standpipe' to within a couple of inches
of the bottom and screen it off to allow free flow. Place an elbow at the
top and connect it with another pipe to the exit port. Make this exit a
couple of inches lower than the input and you are set with a filter that is
'permanent,' but can be easily cleaned in case of overload. Remember the
rule of thumb of making the exit port 2X or better the size of the input
pipe. No check valve needed.

Author Chandler Bing (1 month)
"Nipple reducer", hehe, always gets me. Great idea and nice vid. Thanks!

Author 1213amg (7 months)
Thanks Mark....right now my pond is too shallow and be exact it
18" deep and 4 ft X 11 ft long. I'm thinking make a 5 ft x 11 ft and 5 ft is this mean I'm gonna bye a bigger pump right. Thank you once
again for quick response.

Author jerry osborn (7 months)

Author Chelsea M. (11 months)
If you want to clean this filter, just set the media aside in a container
of pond water while you spray out the filter. By setting the media aside,
you are saving a generous portion of the beneficial bacteria and then won't
have as slow of a process of re-colonization if any bump in your cycle
occurs at all.
To gently clean clogged media, just swish it in a bit of pond water. The
mulm will come right off, and any that is leftover can stay on the pads. As
he noted in the video, don't use chlorinated water for this or you will
kill your bacteria.
It really is important to clean your filter at least once or twice per year
as a part of the winterization process for your pond, so if you keep those
two simple things in mind you can do so without upsetting the pond's
nitrogen cycle too much.

Author rik680 (9 months)
Settling Tank ,,
I used this skippy filter to hold some crushed coral to buffer the ph ( did
not work for me ) and also to hold some bags of activated charcoal that I
use in the beginning of each season which works great due to the up lift
action . One thing for sure , you can go in many directions for koi pond
application with this design . But the one surprise that i got out of it
is that it turned out to be a great settling tank . After installation my
pond got crystal clear of all the floatys and murkiness in the water and
that was without bio media . Fun to build but i recommend using a bulkhead
fitting then shc 40 as a return to your koi pond 

Author Calvin Hodge Lake (11 months)
so what kind of bacteria do you use for your filter/pond? what is this
bacteria called?

Author drtrolish (1 year)
Its a good system but to me it needs actual filter media pads for
mechanical filtration that can be taken out and cleaned. That would be in
place of the small scrubbing pads. If you just want it to be a bio filter
then why not use all bio balls, they collect less crude than those sponge
pads will and keep nitrates in check better.
Over time waste does build up in those pads and will give off more nitrates
than the bacteria can handle so the filter needs to be able to be cleaned
to me.

Author Jon Nannen (11 months)
How many GPH pump would this filter system require?

Author MrFeshamon (11 months)
so what kind of bacteria do you use for your filter/pond? what is this
bacteria called?

Author Todd Cameron (1 year)
I've never had to prime the system with bacteria. Bacteria is everywhere,
if there is flowing water it will grow. Might help speed it up however I

Author 1213amg (7 months)
Hi name is Seth I have a small Koi pond about 660 gals and only
18" deep....I want to know if I can rebuild the pond and the fish I have in
there can be save....also I bought a UV bio filter that can takes 1200 gals
per hours. does this mean I have to build a new bio filter and a bigger
water pump? thanks.

Author 11atlantica (11 months)
Help. I built this. What prevents the water from pouring over the tub?
Mine worked the first time I used it to test it. The water rose to the
bottom of the top pipe and stopped. Then when I went to hide the hoses and
position the pump so that the top of it couldn't be seen, then turned it
all again, the water fills and pour over the top even with the lid on. What
dd I do wrong?

Author Ron Jacobsen (8 months)
I am building a 5000 gal. pond and would like to build 2 - 150 gal bio
filters. My question is placement of filters. Do I place them up near the
water fall? Also do I plum them separately flowing into one location for

Author Calvin Hodge Lake (11 months)
so what kind of bacteria do you use for your filter/pond? what is this
bacteria called?

Author mikejessmax (11 months)
Great filter, I've had a 70gal model running on my pond for 4 years.
Finally cleaned it this year, just a very fine STINKY sediment in the

Author Robert Couse-Baker (10 months)
Thanks. Very informative.

Author lanesteele240 (11 months)
I want a nippler. You vid is clean crisp and to the point. Great job

Author 11atlantica (11 months)
Why doesn't one "prime" the bacteria in the pond, rather than in the

Author Mike Poamoho (1 year)
mike here .. what is the process and how do u use the beneficial bacteria? 

Author Phillphine (11 months)
hello, I just finished my filter this weekend and a thought occurred to me
when I noticed the water on top is kind of still. I'm considering mosquito
dunks just in case, but was wondering if they might effect the beneficial
bacteria I try to develop later. like if it might kill them like the
mosquito larve.

also, once I got curious about this and tried to look up some info, I read
that the dunks release a type of bacteria them selves. could it be the same
type of bacteria? that would kind of kill two birds with one stone. thanks
if you happen to know.

Author Bryan Mills (11 months)
I built the same style filter but utilized only red lava rock as my media.
No separation screen in my set-up but I may add one. Lava is so porous it
is perfect for growing the bacteria.

Author Mudcat50 (1 year)
I have 2 pumps, one which runs to something similar to a skippy and another
that is inside a cat litter container with media, that is submerged in the
water. A couple of questions.
1. What would you used to distribute the outflow from the skippy filter?
It's coming out of that closet flange. How large is that? 4"? 6"? I use 1
1/4" hoses for the most part.
2. My biggest problem is keeping my pumps free of debris. I've found I
can't just put an unprotected pump in the water, it has to be IN something,
otherwise a curious fish will get stuck on it. Any ideas?

Author Renee Kirk (1 year)
Would something lie this be helpful for a duck pond? I have 6 ducks and I'm
beyond tired of the kiddie pool so decided to put in a larger pond. I would
like some kind of assistance at the very least with cleaning it from time
to time. Wondering if this could work?

Author Robinson Reyna (1 year)
Hi...the inlet hose from the pump first goes to the top of the filter, then
the water goes all the way down and directed to two elbows on the corners,
which creates a circular flow. Why the water has to be fed from the top?
You can drill a hole at one of the side walls and feed directly to the
T-junction. That way you will (1) save couple of elbows and (2) the total
head will be reduced by the equivalent height of the filter. Both of this
can result in increased water flow. The only reason I can think of is in
case the pump starts taking the water back, then the debris can go inside
the pump, in ideal case it wont happen. Or is there any specific reason for
feeding the water from top?

Author klmgroupia (1 year)
Hi Julius...well this particular filter and most like it usually pump water
from the bottom upwards, then it spills out the hole near the top, which
works kind of like a waterfall bio filter, or it can I should say. That's
the only way I've used them, bottom to top.

Author klmsolutions (3 years)
@enticed2zeitgeist - those are just floor scrubby pads, no additives or
anything. You could also simply cut up a standard filter pad (medium
porous) that you would normally put in a pond filter. Just cut those up
into blocks and put them loosely in the tub. I think that would work fine

Author nightstalkerrc (5 years)
@Arteolike the rubbermade stocktanks start at $70.00 for a 70 gal . you can
get an off brand 110 gal for $60.00 . @ tractor supply company floor
scrubber pads and scrubby pads perform well as media..i,m on over 2 years
non stop use on my media, its never been cleaned,and it goes from my
outdoor pond to my basement pond. you can easily build one of these for
under $250.00 U.S. buty do yourself a favor and add a flush valve to the
bottom with a 2" shower drain,2" pipe and 2" ball valve

Author klmgroupia (1 year)
Hey Dan, good going. Now just a note here...don't be shocked if you do see
green water early on. It can come and go as things get established but
after a few weeks you should see things stabilize for good. Not saying you
will see green water but you might. Also be sure to visit our blog (link
below the video) and search on skippy there. I did an update on how to care
of this filter over time and keep it working well. It's in addition to
what's in the video. All the best!

Author klmgroupia (3 years)
@SidelineHero10 hey, you're welcome. A good idea is a good idea.

Author kirkdhargrove (1 year)
Can you put a cover on it or does the top need to stay open?

Author gboss454 (2 years)
what is a nipple reducer??? I can't find one anywhere??!!

Author Dan Moore (1 year)
I was wondering about the closet flange? I was wanting to run 2 outlets to
my water features, so would they both need to be 4" in size or should i use
smaller sizes? Also i need to run one line uphill to operate my waterfall,
i probably can't operate this due to gravity ( correct)? I do more cooking
than plumbing this ought to be interesting, hope i can do it right.

Author Nelly Crowe (3 years)
I'm interested in making a filter for a small (180 gallons) pound. Any

Author enticed2zeitgeist (3 years)
@klmsolutions I get that they are just scrubby pads with out any soap added
into them and such, but it's not safe to just add "dry" plastic objects
into water is it? I know the recycle number associated with various
plastics declares it's usage. From my research it is not safe to just add
random plastic objects into water assuming that because it's plastic it's
safe. If you aren't aware of what kind of plastic those scrubby pads are
made of how can you be sure they don't leech into the water?

Author Arteolike (5 years)
No No, i understand, and everything you said is so true, for a smaller pond
DIY is best, Hey i made a DIY filter for my fit small pond!?! And for
anyone wondering were i got the filter for such a cheap price, we had a
pond store in our location closing, so i bought a filter for around 50%
($1,200.00) off, 3 weeks later i went to the store and really stocked up! I
found they had three more left at 95% off ($114.79) I took them all, there
still in the shed, in boxes!?! I bought a lot more too,

Author Arteolike (5 years)
...... And to match up to a 15,000 Gallon Advantage pressurized bead pond
filter (According to you) You would need around 3 of your 150 Gallon
filters, with will run around $800.00 And they don't work as good as the
bead filters ..... Sorry, felt like you should know. =)

Author Julius Bersola (1 year)
is it better to pump the water in from the bottom so that it will filter
better or from the top?

Author 50JumpChump (6 years)
How about for a pond that is only 200 gal.

Author Sonya Serna (2 years)
can plants be added to this filter and gravel for them to live in?

Author klmgroupia (5 years)
@Arteolike , Don't be I said, everything is relative. For
smaller ponds, and those with specific circumstances, diy isn't a bad way
to go. There are a lot of options to this thing and costs can be kept down
pretty well. I prefer bead filters myself with backwash and pressurization,
but they may not fit everybody's budget or needs. This particular design is
completely reliable and simple to put together. But I'm not trying to sell
the idea..just share the information.

Author 1065Olivia (2 years)
I always use air conditioner filters. The softer type that do not
disentegrate which you trim your self. Has worked great for years in my
4000 gallon koi pond. Home Depot carrys the type and they are generally
$8.00 and are blue.

Author enticed2zeitgeist (3 years)
What are those floor sponges made out of? Does it leech anything into the
water? I was thinking about using that sponge stuff for an aquaponic filter
but I'm concerned about leeching.

Author Alex Ross (2 years)
I have two of the 100g Skippy-style biological filters in operation for our
5,000 gallon Koi pond....and they do readily gunk up. What recommendations
do you have for mechanical filtration to prevent this?

Author Dan Moore (1 year)
Bio-filter finished & after 4 days the difference in my water is wonderful.
Thank you again for all your help. My pond is 3500 Gal.

Author klmgroupia (6 years)
Yes, the bacteria will work best if the filter is in constant use. If the
water flow is shut off for very long the bacteria will begin to die off and
will need to be replenished. I think it's a good idea to do this every
spring anyway, just to get things started off right. We use the Algae
Solution product to do this but there are many brands of bacteria on the

Author terry barrett (1 year)
very small pond 500 gal, i made a pond filter from 15 gal removeable top
blue barrel. i then cut out holes one low and 1 high on the barrel and
added round pvc flanges to the barrel, then for filters i used the round
floor scrubbing pads in 3 different sizes and pumped the water in the top
flowing toward the bottom. the barrel is actually sealed and pressurized.
really cleans up the water when their is enough bacteria. very similar to
your design process. works the same way. nicely done video!

Author qcages (6 years)
does the bacteria die if your filter is in an area with freezing winter??
and if so would you need to prime the filter every spring? really
interesting filter

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