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DIY Pond Filter



Learn how to make your own natural and efficient biological pond filter. More at http://www.pondalgaesolutions.com/blog


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Author Iris Vazquez ( ago)
Great idea and simple. Thanks I tray that.

Author izhak hamama ( ago)


Author chris graz ( ago)
Where do I get these floor pads ??

Author Chandler Bing (1965 years ago)
"Nipple reducer", hehe, always gets me. Great idea and nice vid. Thanks!

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

Author PalJoey1957 ( ago)
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 jerry osborn ( ago)
MADE THIS FILTER, LOOKS LIKE IT SHOULD WORK WELL. HAD TO PUT A CHECK VALVE
ON THE INCOMING LINE, IF YOU LOSE POWE ON THE INCOMING LINE THE FILTER
WATER WILL SIPHON BACK INTO THE POND.

Author 1213amg ( ago)
Thanks Mark....right now my pond is too shallow and small....to 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
deep....so is this mean I'm gonna bye a bigger pump right. Thank you once
again for quick response.

Author 1213amg ( ago)
Hi Mark....my 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 Ron Jacobsen ( ago)
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
falls?

Author rik680 (1507 years ago)
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 Robert Couse-Baker ( ago)
Thanks. Very informative.

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

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

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
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
skippysstuff.com and review the full instructions there to make sure you
set everything up right. 

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

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

Author mikejessmax ( ago)
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
bottom.

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

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

Author Chelsea M. ( ago)
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 Bryan Mills ( ago)
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 Phillphine ( ago)
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 drtrolish ( ago)
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 Mudcat50 ( ago)
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 Mike Poamoho ( ago)
mike here .. what is the process and how do u use the beneficial bacteria? 

Author Renee Kirk ( ago)
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 ( ago)
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 ( ago)
Hi Phil...you can use any good general pond bacteria to prime these. On our
site we suggest using the 2500 dispenser system and this comes with a 2
month supply which should get you going well. If you go to our site at Pond
Algae Solutions and search for 2500 it will come up for you and you can
read more about this particular product.

Author Phil Colby ( ago)
Where does one get pond filter bacteria ?

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
It's not really your fault Dan, utube doesn't let us put links in the
comments. If the link above I mentioned didn't work right, try it now...it
was redirecting to the wrong place after we moved the blog. This is right
under the video, where it says Uploaded on March 12 you should see the blog
address aver the words More at...then search for skippy filter once you get
to our blog.

Author Dan Moore ( ago)
I can't seem to find the link that you are talking about the update on how
to care for this filter, very interested though. Please instruct an old
computer idiot on how to get there. LOL Thanks

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
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 Dan Moore ( ago)
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 ( ago)
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 klmgroupia ( ago)
Yep, the inside stuff is what's important, the container not as much. So no
worries about the stock tank.

Author Julius Bersola ( ago)
can i use this same materials, even though i do not use a rubbermaid stock
tank? i dont have the budget to purchase a stock tank

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

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
Well done Terry...and thank you!

Author terry barrett ( ago)
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 Dan Moore ( ago)
I just wanted to say thank you again. Can't wait to get this completed. I
recieved my rubbermaid 100 gal. stock tank that i purchased from zorrotools
for 79.99, now to get it going.

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
Hi Terri...on the lava rock, no, color wouldn't matter as far as I know.
Ceiling light grids, I've seen these most large home product stores, home
depot, lowes, etc. In the ceiling tile section. Maybe they've gone out of
style but for some commercial installs I still see them used...they are
usually 2'x4' in size. Any grid type structure would work though.

Author Dan Moore ( ago)
Thank you very much. Btw iam Terri, dans wife. We do have 2 more questions
& we really do appreciate your time & answers. #1. I went to walmart today
& bought Lava rock it was red in a o.5 cubic ft. the lady said they have
black lava rock by the grills or red outside in bags, i value shopped &
purchased the red ( does it matter?) #2. I am havine great difficulty
finding the ceiling light grid, any ideas as to where i can get these?

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
Hi Dan...you can use any size of flange you like I suspect. In terms of
running uphill, that would generally be based on your pump capability.
These filters are very basic obviously and your main task is just to get
water into them from the bottom, and as it rises, the filter pads will
capture debris, etc and the water will run out the top...which could be
either directly back into the pond or via a waterfall configuration. By
design you might also look at a bio-falls kit. Same principal.

Author Dan Moore ( ago)
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 klmgroupia ( ago)
Hi Dana...I consider any pond with filtration kind of like small pond
(managed by mechanicals). A large pond would have no form of filtration
generally. In my mind you have to look at supporting a good bacteria count.
Some form of aeration and supplementing beneficial bacteria may prove
helpful. It can also clean up organic debris that may drop to the bottom of
the pond and infuse your media with good bacteria too.

Author Dana Rand ( ago)
I see the majority of the comments made in this forum are for ponds of less
than 10,000 gallons. My pond is about 60,000 and has a "media filter" in
the upper bog area. It runs down over a waterfall and then returns through
two skimmers and a mid-level return. I know need to remove any and all
debris from the bottom of the pond, But I think I need to add additional
filtering to help rid us of this yearly issue. The bank is running dry.
Very frustrating. Any help?

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
You could do either but I think it's good to cover it with something.
Plywood is fine with plants or rocks on top of that perhaps, just to make
it look better.

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
We use the beneficial bacteria on our site at pond algae solutions. The
2500 dispenser system works pretty good for this because it time releases
good bacteria out for a full month at a time.

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
Usually the actual media is filter pads or traditional media you'd find
commercially. If I were going to use plants I'd probably just work on
creating a bog filter or something like that.

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

Author kirkdhargrove ( ago)
What bacteria do I use to "prime" the filter?

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
Hey Joe...actually the pads used suggested in the video serve as the
mechanical filter as well as the home for the beneficial bacteria...it
serves both purposes. In whatever filter you're using, whatever material is
trapping and removing elements from the water that you don't want would, at
least to me, be the mechanical filter part of the system.

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
Have you searched online? It might go by another name, such as adapter or
converter...I'm not sure. You might visit a site called skippystuff or
something like that and they may have some parts that woud work for you.

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
No, no cords or power are needed.

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
Well not normally because all the inorganic stuff settles down there and
you'll eventually want to remove that. Normally I'm not sure how well
plants would do in this, if they aren't covered and get some sun, and
elevated off the bottom it might work. Usually though media is put in there
for the bacteria to grow on, and this is suspended above the bottom for the
settling I mentioned above.

Author 1065Olivia ( ago)
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 Andrew Beattie ( ago)
Nice! I used a standard yard bin and used similar materials as you and it
works great! Crystal clear pond 5 months in...and it use to be like pea
green soup. I have 2 sections in my pond, the smaller half overflows into
the large part and the amount of green sludge that sinks to the bottom of
small part could fill at least a 6 liter bucket. A simple syphon will suck
it right off the bottom nicely.

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

Author Charles Farren ( ago)
Had the same problem instead used scrap green plastic banding from work.
Cost was free and after two weeks my 5000 gallon pond is clear to the
bottom ( 3 feet ), am very happy

Author Dialysisforever ( ago)
When I bought my house, this is similar to what was present. I modified it
because leaves and pinecones were being sucked into the filter and I could
not get to them to clean them out easily. I bought 4 sheets of green filter
media approx 4 ft x 3 ft and set them up horizontally supported by the
light grate . The water would fall into the rubbermaid container on one
side of the filter and flow through to the other side and back out to the
waterfall. I have been running this way for 6 years.

Author Bilbert Pounchnuckle ( ago)
@honnoand0001 Hi, I prefer to use a bulkhead fitting for any through holes
on the line, skimmer, etc. I would avoid using silicone, as it doesn't tend
to handle the flexing and movement of rubber and/or plastic. So the secret
product I use to seal the fitting is.... Plumbers Goop. You can find it in
the super glue section. It works extremely well as a sealant/adhesive.
After using this method I have not had any leaks in roughly 8 years. Use it
sparingly as toxins could be a concern.

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
Keep in mind that the filter in this case isn't under pressure other than
gravity you might say. The basin simply fills up "through" the media and
then the water exits out the top porthole. Probably for the most secure
fit, you might look for something that a pool supply would use to construct
the pvc tubing into a pressurized pool filter. These couplings are under
more pressure so I'm sure it would work in this case with the diy pond
filter. In all honesty I think pvc glue would work fine

Author Andrew Honnold ( ago)
How would you go about attaching the input hose to the PVC pipe without
having it leak? With high powered pumps you will need a good seal and it's
the one thing i'm not positive how to do.

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

Author Katherine Smith ( ago)
Welcome thanks for the reply!

Author Mark Washburn ( ago)
Well you'll have to pay for that one:) Alll kidding aside, this is just a
bit of a primer to show what's possible. watching one of these run isn't
much better than watching paint dry because they're so simple. Sometime I
might actually go through the steps of building one and running it, but at
the moment time doesn't allow such frivolities. Thanks for asking though!

Author Katherine Smith (29 years ago)
I kept waiting for footage of how it actually works and was sadly
disappointed... *sigh* Can we get an actual video instead of a slideshow :-(

Author Alex Ross ( ago)
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 Pat Clements ( ago)
Oh, and I use a ton of water lettuce in the hottest part of the summer.
That always helps.

Author Pat Clements ( ago)
Ha. Mine collects muck in the bottom. I have to clean it out every couple
of months. But, I've had it running for 10 years and it works great. I keep
adding fish slowly and I imagine I'll need to add a second one sooner or
later. I have a stock tank ready to go.

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
@aviewtoathrill pine needles can be a real pain as you know. A filter won't
help much on these if they end up sinking to the bottom pretty quickly.
Same with a skimmer, but if they do float for very long (some might, some
won't) then a skimmer would be a definite addition and a filter could be
good but optional. A skimmer with fairly tightly meshed catch basin would
probably help a lot. If you get a lot of this debris on the bottom then a
pond vac might be the best option.

Author aviewtoathrill ( ago)
Hi, My 2400 gallon pond has been filterless for the past ten years.
However, I'm tired of cleaning the pine needles out every year and I know
that I need to do this. I have the stock tank and some of the floor
scrubbies and most of the pvc as I was planning to do a skippy filter years
ago. Since the pond sits under six tall pines, is this the right filter for
me? I would think that the needles would need to be collected often during
the fall. I have no fish only plants and pine needles!!

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
@joker66599 sure you could use a uv light in combination with one of these.
you could put it inline in front of the filter...then the filter will catch
the dead and dying algae cells. also if green water is your main issue you
could tinker with the type of media...finer media will filter out more.
often once the bacteria get's established it will help with green water but
not always, and so a uv light could be useful.

Author joker66599 ( ago)
I have 2 red eared sliders out side in about 150 gallons of water. I am
looking for a good filter. Could I use this try of filter with a UV light?
the pond gets like 6 hours of direct light I am getting tired of cleaning
it so often.

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

Author Starrwulf7 ( ago)
@nhowland52 sounds like your media is too 'tight'... you might want to
switch to a coarser media.

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

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
@BigBoyLies - Usually no...the skippy filter will work fine all on it's own.

Author Emmanuel Thommy ( ago)
do you need a prefilter for this kind of filtratin system?

Author enticed2zeitgeist ( ago)
@klmsolutions Wise answer! Thank you very much man! I really appreciate you
taking the time to answer my questions. Namaste

Author klmsolutions ( ago)
@enticed2zeitgeist - I honestly haven't found them to be a problem and this
type of filter has been in use for some years now. As I said their just
commercial floor scrubby pads (and I normally suggest people search online
for these and see what they can find. You can probably ask the manufacturer
of your concerns and they would be the best resource. If in doubt or your
uncomfortable with such things, then use pond filter pads in place of them.
In the end, that's probably your best bet.

Author enticed2zeitgeist ( ago)
@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 klmsolutions ( ago)
@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
too.

Author enticed2zeitgeist ( ago)
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 Derrick Orberg ( ago)
Great job with the video and parts list and the very benficial commentary.
So many bad ones out there, wanted to make sure you got some credit.
Derrick

Author klmsolutions ( ago)
@africancichlidman - look for commercial floor scrubber pads, that's really
all they are and you cut them into smaller pieces. You can also use any
kind of filter media that you like in the filter. You might see this is
bioballs, plastic coils, small foamy pads in a mesh bag...there's a lot of
these things for sale on the market.

Author indianawhitetail806 ( ago)
where do you get your sponges?

Author klmsolutions ( ago)
This is tough but the best advice I can give is the less you disturb the
bio media the better off you'll be. Some filters come with pre-filters
which can be cleaned but many diy filters do not...they just contain the
bio media. Installing a skimmer (if you don't have one) may help too just
to keep the big stuff out.

Author klmsolutions ( ago)
As long as it doesn't dry out you should be ok...some bacteria will
survive, but I would still prime things up once you get the new filter
going just to be sure the counts are up.

Author Noreen Howland ( ago)
another question. If I decide to build a filter like the one you suggest,
do you think there would be a problem of taking the bio-media out of my
current filter and transfering it to the new filter? Would the bacteria
survive the transfer? I dont think my current filter is adequit, but I dont
want to have to start from scratch as far as the microbes I already have

Author Noreen Howland ( ago)
quick question. I know not to clean out the filter, but I have problems
with the filter getting clogged with either waste or algae. It gets to the
point where the water doesn flow to the bottom of the filter. I usually
just clean the media at the top. Is that a no no?

Author Osren ( ago)
you can SITE TO STORE ship "Rubbermaid Stock Tanks" to many "Do It Best"
hardware stores as well ;)

Author klmgroupia ( ago)
@Soper79 - normally no they don't. But you can cover them with plywood or
something like that just to keep stuff from falling in. Usually people put
rocks, plants, or various other concealers on and around the tub to hide it
better.

Author Soper79 ( ago)
Simple/dumb question here. Does the stock tank come with a lid? Or are
these filters simply exposed on the top. Thanks.

Author helicrashpro ( ago)
@rik680 I agree slightly, but this is not always the case. It somewhat is
determined by the pond water bio-load. If you are referring to standard
bio-load to a specific size pond/aquarium than almost all filters are
overrated by the manufacturer but saying you should double the filtering, I
would say is not a completely accurate rule of thumb but is a safe rule of
thumb to use.

Author Arteolike ( ago)
@rik680 I know. I sold all my filters to my friends for cheap, and made my
own diy, lol, I will have 4x filtration soon.

Author rik680 ( ago)
@Arteolike just a basic fact . Filter manufacturers grossly over rate there
filters on purpose . That 15'000 gal bead filter you referred to , would
need to be a 30,000 filter . To filter 15,000 gal pond . You always have to
double the size of a commercial filter to get the proper filtration , pond
or aquarium .

Author rik680 ( ago)
@klmgroupia Filter manufactures are notorious for under rating there
filters . All of them , aquarium or pond filter makers . Buy the time you
find out you are under filtered its to late and you have to spend more
money for proper filtration . If there filter say 1500 gallon you would
have to double there filter to 3000 gal filter ,for a small fish load .

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