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.

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

  1. i find pot scrubbers to be the best for bio filtration i have been using them for years in combination with bio balls. good to see someone else using them aswell

  2. Hey Joey could you do a video/project on something like an inline CO2 diffuser? I do alot of DIY stuffs on my planted tanks, most of them was from your projects, it helped me alot especially when im on a tight budget. You do great stuff bro. Keep it up!

  3. Эта конструкция повторяет работу сампа, если она будет стоять в сампе то не проще ли просто использовать самп. Или есть какой то другой эффект от него? ( сампа, сампе, самп=> samp)

  4. Hey whats up i dont see the link to order your book, i would like to order it . Thanks and great work i build 2 canisters and there working great and i saved alot of money doing it

  5. Thanks for this. Just quickly, if there is a heater in the sump do I still need one in the tank. If not it may be a way to get a little extra room in smaller tanks. I am thinking about this for my daughters 33gal tank.

  6. Мой переводчик тоже с трудом переводит, хотя он у меня тоже google. Не буду больше докучать. ( "докучать" непереводимое) не беспокоить

  7. Awesome idea Joey. Was planning to do the same style filter/sump on a larger scale for all the tanks in my fish room. Maybe a 20 gallon trash can and a 60/100 gallon horse trough.

  8. Another great video sir! 🙂 I just have a quick question, what would you do in a wet/dry system if the power goes out? will the bb die in there?

  9. I will never use any other filter on my tanks. I have used canisters, sponge filters, and purchased ridiculously expensive sump filters. My diy trickle tower wet/dry filter works better, is easier to maintain, and was far cheaper than any of them.
    I use the plastic three drawer tower and a Rubbermaid bin style from one of your older videos. Thanks for the inspiration to become a DIY fish keeper!

  10. The king once again comes out with a great video on diy sump, well done and well put together with very little cost and material and tools. What people are looking for, lol. If your ever in Toronto Joey give me a ring. Come by see the my tank and give me your feedback and talk fish tanks. Lol
    All the best!

  11. Man this is great, but what about a silent sump?  All of my tanks (6) are in my room and noise is a huge thing for me.  I haven't seen too many videos about the quiet ones.

  12. Would you be able to show me how to make a glass box to hold a tiny sand castle that will sink in an aquarium ? I presume I would need to vacuum out all the air. I have small 4 – 6 inch size sand castles that I have always wanted to place inside the aquarium. Thank you.

  13. What's the best way to clean a sump like this? I have one that I purchased from an online retailer and would like to know your opinion on maintenance. Thanks!  Love the videos you do, keep up the great work!!

  14. Been a lurker for awhile now. Given me some great tips thank you!
    Also wanted to say your intro and exit music is so catchy I love it haha

  15. i built a sump recently. My old 10 gallon, plus a 2.5 gallon inside of it became my skimmer chamber with chaeto and filter floss.  XD tanks laying around plus asking the community for spare 2.5 made things easy. so far its been running for a few weeks. no issues. Constant water level on the skimmer, and silent running too. 

  16. Hi Joey. I'm very interested in pursuing this particular type of hobby but money constraints were preventing me from continuing…until I saw your video; there's hope for me after all! My question is are any other modifications/alterations needed for turtles! Regardless, your tutorial is excellent so subscribe I will…thanks.

  17. Hey joey bio balls whats your opion should i leave em in sump or take em out ….or what can i put there instead

  18. What is interesting is… I built a trickle filter bac in 1990 and I used pot-scrubbies back then. How times have remained the same.

  19. QUESTION! I have a 75 gallon tank I plan to move my 2 juvenile turtles into. Out of ALL the DIY filtration methods you show on your channel (I've been watching for 3 hours now lol) which do you think is best for my situation? Cost isn't a huge factor but I'd like to keep it as low as possible. Hope to hear back! Thanks so much 🙂

  20. Hello, is a Medium AquaFuge2 (refugium) good for an aquarium health that hang on the back, I'm so afraid that its going to harm the tank. Im going to use it to put all the assories like heater, uv, and filter hoses, thing like that.

  21. Hey Joey!!  Great videos!  How about adding ceramic media to the area where the water pools in the sump after it comes from the dry part?  This would make it a wet/dry system complete?  Thanks again Joey.

  22. What kinda of idea would you have for a 55 gallon aquarium used as a sump for a 125 gallon aquarium as far as setting up the 55 with chambers as well as this method you have in this video

  23. Hey Joey,

    How to keep proper inflow and out flow from sump . I am concerned if water flow rate is not equal sump system will fail

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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. 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

  29. 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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