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Trickle Filter

As the name suggests a trickle filter spills water through the filter media as it cleans the water. Like other aquarium filters they rely on biological filtration as their main cleaning method. They differ from most aquarium filters in their large surface area and water aeration ability.

Trickle filters and their variations are known by a number of names; canister filter, sump filter & baffle filter to name a few.

This is one of the more expensive types of filters you can buy from your local fish shop. Making your own by following the steps in this simple plan can save you a lot of money.

In this DIY trickle filter you will use a bucket for the main chamber. You will build this trickle filter

: View of whole bucket filter

To do the same job as this: (A commercially available & expensive wet & dry trickle filter)

  Commercially available and expensive wet & dry trickle filter

Go to the Hardware store and buy a bucket $10. Drill a hole in the side of the bucket, about 2 inches (5cm) from the bottom. (to allow for a sludge sump). Cut some wide diameter plastic PVC pipe so that you can stand them in the bottom of the bucket and mount a grill on it (put some cuts in the end that wil be the bottom), I use that white plastic checker mesh for the grill. The grill needs to be just above the hole you made.

Now fill the bucket with a media of some description, I have used scoria rocks here but have since up graded to Bio-Balls because I got them cheap. Cover the scoria/Bio-Balls with a circle of filter wool. The schematic diagramme (below) shows the basic construction of the filter.

Diagramme of DIY trickle bucket filter

Above view of the filter

Above view of the filter, showing scoria & filter wool.

Close up spinner

Next is the lid and spray bar set up. The most expensive part of your filter will be this bit. (The spinner) You must mount the spinner into the centre of the lid

Exploded view of the spray bar assembly

Other than some end caps, the rest is just pipe. The photo shows an exploded view of the spray bar assembly.

lid & spray bar assembly

This is what it should look like (the lid & spray bar assembly) when assembled, I have cut holes in the lid to assist gas exchange (no idea if it helps or not *shrugs*)

The finished filter

That's it, water goes into the top and comes out the bottom! Stand the bucket in a deep plastic tray, put your pump and heater in the tray (careful not to have the heater touching plastic!) and your up and running.

This article was written by Mark Coleman for his website cichlids AU

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