DIY Pond Filter




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klmgroupia: 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. 

PalJoey1957: 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.

1213amg: 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.

Ron Jacobsen: 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?

Chelsea M.: 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.

drtrolish: 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.

jerry osborn: 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.

MrFeshamon: so what kind of bacteria do you use for your filter/pond? what is this bacteria called?

Jon Nannen: How many GPH pump would this filter system require?

1213amg: 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.

rik680: 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 

Todd Cameron: 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 suppose.

Robert Couse-Baker: Thanks. Very informative.

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

11atlantica: Why doesn't one "prime" the bacteria in the pond, rather than in the filter?

mikejessmax: 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.

lanesteele240: I want a nippler. You vid is clean crisp and to the point. Great job

11atlantica: 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?

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

Phillphine: 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.

Mudcat50: 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?

Mike Poamoho: mike here .. what is the process and how do u use the beneficial bacteria? 

Renee Kirk: 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?

Bryan Mills: 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.

Robinson Reyna: 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?

klmgroupia: 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.

klmsolutions: @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.

nightstalkerrc: @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

klmgroupia: 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!

klmgroupia: @SidelineHero10 hey, you're welcome. A good idea is a good idea.

kirkdhargrove: Can you put a cover on it or does the top need to stay open?

gboss454: what is a nipple reducer??? I can't find one anywhere??!!

Dan Moore: 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.

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

enticed2zeitgeist: @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?

Arteolike: 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,

Arteolike: ...... 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. =)

Julius Bersola: is it better to pump the water in from the bottom so that it will filter better or from the top?

50JumpChump: How about for a pond that is only 200 gal.

Sonya Serna: can plants be added to this filter and gravel for them to live in?

klmgroupia: @Arteolike , Don't be sorry...as 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.

1065Olivia: 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.

enticed2zeitgeist: 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.

Alex Ross: 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?

Dan Moore: 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.

klmgroupia: 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 market.

terry barrett: 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!

qcages: 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

rik680: @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 .

stevenhaas: @invasmani - you can buy floor buffing pads at homedepo or lowes (look in the rental area - they sell them for about 5-6 bucks a pad - I built this unit this spring and used about 10 pads, cut them up my self .
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DIY Pond Filter 4.4 out of 5

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DIY Pond Filter