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DIY Bucket Filter for IBC grow out

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Hello all

Although I don't have an ibc as of yet I plan to use one as a bulk African cichlid grow out. However I realised that I would need some more filtration than simply 2 sponge filters powered by a resun lp 20 which I plan on purchasing soon.

So after a little bit of research I decided to try build a bucket filter...

The first step was to work out what other people had done and how well it had worked. I figured out that most people used a 5 gallon bucket (20L) as a base for the filter and most had an overflow as a return. 

The idea of the filter is really simple.

After deciding on what I wanted to achieve I worked out my materials list for the first part of assembly...

1x 20L bucket with a lid

3x 15mm pvc elbows

1x 15mm 1m pvc pipe

1x 15mm pvc T

1x 30mm pipe 10cm

The first step was to drill the intake and overflow, I used a 20mm drill bit for the intake (the intake does not need to be airtight) and a 30mm drill bit for the over flow.

I then cut the 15mm pvc piping to size. 2 small sections at 5cm in length to be used to attach the elbows to the T for circulation in the bucket and one larger piece at 40cm for the intake that attaches to the T and a elbow which then attaches to a pump inside the IBC. I then inserted the 30mm pipe for the overflow.

Fitting all of this together was really easy with some pvc aquarium safe pvc cement and silicone. However as you can see I did a horrendous job! I did not cement the T to the 15mm 40cm of piping as I need to be able to remove it for maintenance and for adding in the filter media later.

This is all I am able to do to this little project as of now until I can get the filter media which will most likely be some fine and coarse filter sponge, bio balls and ceramic rings however I am not sure on what I'll get and use. If some one could suggest what media to use that would be great!

 Lol notice the filter looks like a darlic from Doctor Who!










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Got all the media for Christmas this morning,

3x 2 packs fish 101 filter + bio filter sponge

1kg ceramic rings

200 32mm bio balls

1x fine filter sponge 600mm x 450mm

I added the fish 101 coarse filter sponges first and the bio sponge in an overlapping pattern at the T and elbows and packed then down tight to prevent gaps. Next I added then fine filter sponge and wrapped it around the pipe and folded it behind the fish 101 sponges so that it covered the whole diameter of the bucket and would also stay in place. Finally I simply dumped all of the bio balls and ceramic rings in the remaining 3/4's of the bucket.

It was time to test the Darlic...



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The Darlic passes with flying colours!

By simply jamming a garden hose into the inlet I could test how well it runs and I was pleasantly surprised...

The only downside is without removing all of the media I cannot access the inside of the bucket without disconnecting the T from the main pvc pipe.

Also I only took one crappy and blurry photo of the inside of the bucket before I added the ceramic rings and sealed the Darlic shut for the last time until I have to clean it.


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I used a cheapo pond pump from Bunnings which according to the box has a max flow rate of 2400Lph. As for placement the bucket is proped up on a panel of wood which conveniently snapped off an outdoor lounge chair, if this hadn't happen though I would of just bought some timber to do the same job.

I also purchased an LP 20 pump to further agitate the water, especially during summer...





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Cool thanks for the pics I might do something similar with my aquaponics setup. I wanted some sort of bio filter apart from a grow bed on a different pump so it wont cause dramas for the fish when the plants die off or whatever in the grow bed. Thanks!



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