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Thread: DIY Trickle Tower/Wet Dry Filter Sump 60g Cube Puffer Tank

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    DIY Trickle Tower/Wet Dry Filter Sump 60g Cube Puffer Tank

    Here's my current project I am working on, a 60g Cube for my Puffers.

    I figured I would put this up here in case anyone needs a good sump filter but doesn't have hundreds of dollars to spend on one. The most expensive part in this build was the return pump.
    For the sump itself I am using a 16 gallon clear plastic tote, it's the biggest I could find to fit in the stand, $6. The Trickle Tower is a plastic 3 drawer cart, $8.

    The plumbing pieces I got from Home Depot for about $20. 2 Ball Valves (Threaded), 5 Threaded/Barb hose adapters, 1 Reducing Male Adapter, 1 90° Threaded Bend, and Plumbing Tape. The hose I got from CK Fish World to match the return and overflow plumbing that came with the tank, $15.

    I am using a Rio+ 2500 as my Return Pump, $80.

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Take the plastic drawers out of the cart and drill your drainage holes. The top 2 drawers only drill in the bottom of the drawers, and start with a small drill bit and increase the size if needed. You want about 1/4-1/2" of water to be in the bottom of the drawers while its draining, so make your holes accordingly.

    Some people remove the bottom drawer compley to make room for a heater and any equipment, the water will be almost to the bottom of the second drawer when the sump is running. I chose to leave the bottom drawer in and drill bigger holes in the bottom and sides to allow proper flow for the pump. I did this because I am going to put filter media in the bottom drawer for the draining water to land on so I don't have the raining sound of water hitting water.

    Next mark where you want your plumbing to enter the top of the filter and drill a hole slightly smaller than the threads of the Reducing Male Adapter. When you have the hole drilled, screw the adapter into the hole from the inside of the drawer cart. Cover the threads with plumbing tape and screw on the 90° Threaded bend. Cover the threads on one of the Threaded/Barbed hose adapters and screw it into the other side of the 90° bend.

    Attach your hose to the Hose adapter and cut it where you want to put your first ball valve. I didn't have much space to work with so you can see I used a small length of tube to connect the ball valve.

    Cover the threads of the other Hose Adapters and screw them into the other end of the ball valve, as well as the other ball valve for the return.
    Now we're going to add filter media to the drawers before finishing the plumbing, its easier with the tubes and pump out of the way. For mechanical filtration I am using Poly-Fil ($5 for a bag at Wal Mart) and Filter Padding. The Bio Media is Plastic Pot Scrubbies ($1 for a pack of 4 at DollarTree). Spent about $25 on filter media.

    Put your filter padding at the bottom of the top drawer to keep the Poly-Fil from clogging the drainage holes, and then add your poly-fil on top of that. Load up the second drawer with Plastic Pot Scrubbies and put enough in the bottom drawer so the water falls on the scrubbies as it drains.

    Put your return pump in the plastic tote and attach your hose. Cut the hose to attach your ball valve, and then run your hose from the ball valve to your return for the tank. You can also attach some hose from the other ball valve to the overflow plumbing from your tank at this time. I had to run a longer length of hose from the overflow to the filter than I had originally wanted, but the dimensions for the tank stand make it somewhat difficult.

    I still have to fill the tank to test everything and make any final adjustments, but it's pretty much done at this time. I will be posting in the next week with testing and a video of it up and running.
    Last edited by Kole85; 06-29-2018 at 01:14 PM.
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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Here's the video of the tank up and running. Got it all filled and started up last night. Will be updated and time goes with maintenance and cleanings.
    https://youtu.be/ki5N6eHmpKc
    Last edited by Kole85; 07-10-2018 at 11:37 AM. Reason: Added Video Link of Filter Running
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    Water is Life 5000 posts, Officially addicted to SCAPE! Zenzu's Avatar
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    I understand what you are doing, but it still doesn't make much sense to me. Should be a pretty cool build. What are you planning on doing for the tank itself?

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenzu View Post
    I understand what you are doing, but it still doesn't make much sense to me. Should be a pretty cool build. What are you planning on doing for the tank itself?
    I can see why the lack of understanding so I will elaborate on why I went this route. The tank is a 24" cube, inner dimensions of stand are less than 24" = Not much choice for a sump. I thought about doing a 10g with the baffles, but I want it as big as possible for the filtration and room for drainage in case of a power outtage. They make custom sumps for 60g cubes, but they cost a few hundred bucks and I would still need the return pump and media. The options I was left with was either a custom tank from FujiMoto or put my DIY skills to use. Plus, this type of filter is awesome for what the set up I am doing.
    For the tank setup/aquascape I'm going for a "long term" scape.....like 10-15 year lifespan at least (Puffer Lifespan if cared for properly). Going for as close to a Mangrove Estuary as possible, but with real mangroves. I might use some driftwood to mimic the mangrove roots for a while, but eventually the mangrove roots will establish and be big enough on their own. The lights are going to be either hung from the ceiling or mounted to the wall above the tank to allow the mangroves to grow above the tank line, I plan on this being a floor to ceiling scape when all is said and done.
    I'm gonna use a small layer of organic potting soil, pool filter sand, and crushed coral gravel for the substrate. For the hardscape I am going with Feather Rock (pumice) using cement and silicone to make the rock formation I want to use to try to disguise the corner overflow. Going to have to attach the rock to the bottom of the tank since Feather Rock is very buoyant until it has soaked for a while. I'm also sanding down the Feather Rock some to remove the sharp edges.


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    Water is Life 5000 posts, Officially addicted to SCAPE! Zenzu's Avatar
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    Again I understand what you are doing. Why not run a CFS700 canister? It can hook up to your overflow and return line since it uses 1" slip hose. Or just run a smaller sump with better bio, and cut to fit pads. I know that pot scrubbers are the go to for budget, but require more space than traditional bio balls to be effective and even bio balls are only a fraction as effective as ceramic media.

    I like feather rock, I just haven't found a use for it that I have the time for atm, I really like the fact you can mold and texture it to fit your needs. Seems like more people are being drawn to puffers and I am completely okay with that. I hope all ya'll start a trend and people start importing/breeding more rare sp's and create their own morphs/lines.
    Last edited by Zenzu; 06-29-2018 at 02:14 PM.

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenzu View Post
    Again I understand what you are doing. Why not run a CFS700 canister? It can hook up to your overflow and return line since it uses 1" slip hose. Or just run a smaller sump with better bio, and cut to fit pads.

    Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk
    I thought about going with a cannister filter, but everything I researched and looked up and people I asked pointed to a sump.....bigger is better. And a smaller sump gets into the questionable realm of flooding during any power outtages. A 10g tank would fit under the stand, but when running will be about halfway full if not a little more. That doesn't give much room for the overflow from a 60g tank, better safe than sorry. And with using this type of filter the water gets VERY oxygenated allowing the bacteria in the bio filter to thrive like crazy.
    What really sold me on this style was when I went to CK and talked with Peter about what options I could go with when setting up this tank and stand. He took me over to one of his stands running several tanks and underneath he was running this exact type of setup. He said he uses it for several tanks and is an amazing filter. #SOLD

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    Water is Life 5000 posts, Officially addicted to SCAPE! Zenzu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kole85 View Post
    I thought about going with a cannister filter, but everything I researched and looked up and people I asked pointed to a sump.....bigger is better. And a smaller sump gets into the questionable realm of flooding during any power outtages. A 10g tank would fit under the stand, but when running will be about halfway full if not a little more. That doesn't give much room for the overflow from a 60g tank, better safe than sorry. And with using this type of filter the water gets VERY oxygenated allowing the bacteria in the bio filter to thrive like crazy.
    What really sold me on this style was when I went to CK and talked with Peter about what options I could go with when setting up this tank and stand. He took me over to one of his stands running several tanks and underneath he was running this exact type of setup. He said he uses it for several tanks and is an amazing filter. #SOLD

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    I see, what puffers are you planning on getting if I may ask.

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenzu View Post
    I see, what puffers are you planning on getting if I may ask.
    I have a Figure 8 Puffer and a Green Spotted Puffer in my 29g in the living room. They're small now but are gonna outgrow that tank really soon, this is going to be their new home.

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    Water is Life 5000 posts, Officially addicted to SCAPE! Zenzu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kole85 View Post
    I have a Figure 8 Puffer and a Green Spotted Puffer in my 29g in the living room. They're small now but are gonna outgrow that tank really soon, this is going to be their new home.

    Sent from my LGMS550 using Tapatalk
    The wife had a green spotted puffer that she named killer (killer kill) because he ate everything else in the tank.

    I wanted to get pea puffers again, but maybe I will just go green spot.

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zenzu View Post
    The wife had a green spotted puffer that she named killer (killer kill) because he ate everything else in the tank.

    I wanted to get pea puffers again, but maybe I will just go green spot.

    Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk
    I have 2 pea puffers in the 20g community tank since they are freshwater puffers. I have 3 bumblebee gobies in with the fiugre 8 and green spot. I love my puffers, the figure 8 is Puff, and the green spot is Little Bob.

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Just brilliant, man. We are lucky to have you in the club, Kole.
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    SCAPE Member 1000 posts, Semi-Pro SCAPEr geektom's Avatar
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    Why use an elbow on the top instead of it coming straight out?
    I am an old dog trying to learn some new tricks...

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geektom View Post
    Just brilliant, man. We are lucky to have you in the club, Kole.
    Thanks Tom.
    Quote Originally Posted by geektom View Post
    Why use an elbow on the top instead of it coming straight out?
    With the height of the stand and the height of the drawer cart, going straight into the top would have caused a bend in the hose and would be harder to put the ball valve in. Plus, I think it looks better too lol.

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    SCAPE Member Just Planted DanielN's Avatar
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    Kole
    I think you might need the drip plate before enter first filter pad/poly fill which evenly distribute water throughout the poly fill. I think you can add one layer of pot scrubber on top to trap big particles before water go down to poly fill and fine filter pad.
    I see the pot scrubber, but since you have feather rock. Why don’t you break feather rock to small size and use it as wet/dry (shower filter like Koi pond) media ? You can drill couple holes on the side of second drawer to allow the air exchange.
    Since the sump is small. I think you should add Check Valve on your return. It will prevent back flow when power outage.
    Just my 2 cent.

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    SCAPE Member SCAPEr Ravensrose29's Avatar
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    Gotta make sure that co tainer doesnt bow from the weight
    "Keep your sleeves wet"

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielN View Post
    Kole
    I think you might need the drip plate before enter first filter pad/poly fill which evenly distribute water throughout the poly fill. I think you can add one layer of pot scrubber on top to trap big particles before water go down to poly fill and fine filter pad.
    I see the pot scrubber, but since you have feather rock. Why don’t you break feather rock to small size and use it as wet/dry (shower filter like Koi pond) media ? You can drill couple holes on the side of second drawer to allow the air exchange.
    Since the sump is small. I think you should add Check Valve on your return. It will prevent back flow when power outage.
    Just my 2 cent.
    Thanks for the advice. The feather rock I am using for Hardscape, at 50 cents a pound that would be a bit pricier of an option for filter media. I might mess around with the drain into the poly fil as I go and fine tune things as I see the need. I'm going to do a siphon break on the return, that with the volume of the sump should prevent any type of flooding during a power outtage.

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    SCAPE Board Member Pro SCAPEr Kole85's Avatar
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    I'll add this onto this thread since its still DIY. Here's how I am setting up the HardScape.
    Went to Ontario Building Material and picked up 40lbs of Feather Rock (they also have Black Feather Rock, same price if anyone is interested) at 50 cents a pound. Took it home and put it in my bathtub and filled it up just to check, its quite a sight to see such big rocks float! Lol. I bought a brand new tube of silicone to attach the hardscape to the glass anyways since its going to be a long term aquascape, so not much of an issue.
    I took 3 of the rocks out to the garage to start my rock formation. The rock is very easy to carve so I used a file and a drill to carve the rocks so that they stack together sturdier. I used some cement to attach them together and let it dry for a few days. After it was nice and solid I used some 220 grit sand paper to smooth the edges and brought it inside and started to mess around with the placement, using yoga padding under the rock to keep from scratching the glass while moving it around (feather rock is sharp). Once I found the placement I wanted I removed the pad and used the silicone to attach the rock to the bottom of the tank.

    I let that dry overnight before adding more. I sanded down the sharp endges on the remaining rocks, carved the edges to make them fit better, and started to cement them in place. I used the placement of the rock to create a little cave system through and around the rock and corner overflow. The rock is freestanding and not leaning against the overflow or glass.

    The hardscape has been dried for several days now and is very sturdy. I think it came out pretty good so far. I might add another stone or two, not sure yet. What do you guys think? I just gotta remember that theres going to be a few mangrove trees growing in this tank too, lol.

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  24. #19
    Water is Life 5000 posts, Officially addicted to SCAPE! Zenzu's Avatar
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    I think it looks good, the stone color, testure and size makes a good backdrop for the main show the mangrove root ball. I wanna see this beast sump in action.

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    Sergeant of Marines 3000 posts, Grand Master SCAPER John7429's Avatar
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    glad to see it still in the family



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