Yep!!! This is it... The most popular home made pond filter on the net...
THE WORLD FAMOUS SKIPPY FILTER!
TO PLACE AN ORDER, YOU'LL NEED THIS STUFF!!
We have always taken the logical approach to this hobby called "ponding".
Actually, we are some real lazy people, kind of cheap and believe that you
should enjoy your pond, while not constantly fighting that old "green water"
problem and be able to maintain a pond without a lot of effort and additives,
especially that effort word as that means work, which is at the top of bad 4
letter words list.
The first update is this and it is going to spark a bunch of controversy.
DO NOT EVER CLEAN THIS FILTER! Wow, did we really say ever = never =
not at all = let it alone, etc. WE SURE DID. If you get a good balance
going, you should never have to clean your filter. Here is the story....
Skippy's Beautiful Ponds & Gardens is a small mom and pop operation in Taylor, Michigan. We got into
ponding when someone said "hey this looks like a nice place for a pond" and
someone else ran for a shovel. That's all we knew about ponds, the rest is
history, basically we made all the mistakes and therefore now call ourselves
experts. Right, but anyway here is the story we want to tell.
After a bunch of mistakes and through trial and mostly error we came up with
this design and all seemed to go well, i.e.: clean and clear water. That was
what we wanted so we just let well enough alone. A season went by and we got
busy or in truth ignored the filter, therefore did not clean it. One season ran
into the next and after 7 years of not so much as touching the filter we
maintained clean and clear water. Then one day some knucklehead said anybody
clean that there filter contraption lately? Real brainer here... when
everything was going just fine we decide to break the Cardinal Rule "If it is
not broke do not fix it." Off we go... The filter media was a nasty, slimly,
gunky, yuky... get the picture? (click here for the best media to
use) But what was happening is that the filter was doing exactly what it was designed to
do. That being (short version) the media was trapping the organic matter,
holding it long enough for the beneficial bacteria (click here for the best
bacteria to use) to decompose it
and then releasing it to begin the biological process all over again. 4 Keys to
making this filter work and it really does work... the dirtier the better!
Click On Each OF The Keys Above For Details oops, except for DESIGN as
that is what we are about to do and that just takes you right back here anyway,
so I guess I should shut-up and get on with it, etc and so on.
Many heart felt "Thank You's" for all the people who have emailed us and
are now using the
Another good reason to build this filter is it is cheap..... Nuf
Click Here to see
info on our Bio-Logical Filter Kits.
Building A Bio-Logical Filter for your Pond
As stated elsewhere, we believe the only way to go is with an out of the pond
filtration system. This is a true Bio-Logical filter, therefore all those
fancy UV's and other such stuff are useless. Actually using a UV with a
biological filter is an oxymoron. The UV kills bacteria along with the algae
spores and bacterium are one of the 4 keys to make this biological process
happen. For more explanation on why this type of filter works, see FM Cure for
Green Water elsewhere on this site.
Note: You will need some patience. Not now, but when you get the filter up
and running. Under ideal circumstances... good weather, right bacteria, etc.
Mother Nature takes her time. It may take from 4 to 8 weeks before the first
cycle happens. Green to Clear. Do not be surprised if it cycles several times, but wait it
out, don't clean, relax and it will happen for you. Here are a few things that
will hinder progress... Using any of the following: Chlorine in the water or any
other additive that kills bacteria, cleaning it, pond decorated with either
limestone or sandstone. This type of mineral matter is soft and erodes easily.
The suspended particles will attract algae and/or your water will always be
murky. Hint: Grand Canyon and the mighty muddy Colorado River. This is a good
time to start helping your pond to balance. Along with regular doses of
beneficial bacteria, you should be adding plants.
So lets build one:
New... picture of completed filter.. click here
Skippy's Tip: The reason we use
a Rubbermaid stock tank. -- Old Style -- New Style is because of the rounded sides
which enables the water to swirl in the bottom.
This swirl effect helps to ensure that the water is filtered evenly as it flows
upward through the media. Of course you have to have the right media. Sales
Pitch for media click here. You will notice the tank has indentations where the
drain plug is installed. When the water flow, coming into the tank out of the
elbows, hits these indentations it really creates a turbulence, which also
helps. We told you before that we have made a lot of mistakes. Some of them were
trying to use square tubs, 55 gal drums, everything from coolers to pickup truck
toolboxes as a filter. They all have one thing in common… they failed. The
Rubbermaid stock tank works. It is sturdy and strong so it will with stand
colder climates also, after all it is used down or up on the farm. No need to
thank us, for making all those mistakes for you, it's our job. I sound like a
Rubbermaid salesperson, I am not, but wonder if those guys are selling a lot
more tanks for ponds now than for the field. If someone knows please let me
know. Email Us
- A Rubbermaid stock tank. -- Old Style -- New Style.
(100 gallon size so far)
They come in sizes 70gals, 100gals, 150gals, and 300gals. (Also
available is a 50gal size but we find it too shallow to be used as a filter.)
Which one is best for you? Of course the size you will need is dependant on
the size of your pond. The bigger the pond the bigger the filter you will
need. Makes sense, but, how about a rule of thumb? Let us say this first,
these filters really work. We have a few thousand in use at this point and have not
had a single failure. That is, every one we have put in is working as
expected. Actually, using the S.A.G. approach (Smart As_ Guess) we think
the following will work:
- Updated as we have found these filters to work better than even we
- 70 gal size filter at least to a 2000 gallon pond size
- 100 gal size filter at least to a 3000 gallon pond size
- 150 gal size filter at least to a 4500 gallon pond size
- If you need a larger filtration system, we now suggest that you build two 150 gallon size filters.
- Worst case: If you built a filter so small that it did not work
for your pond, you could just build another and connect it to the first one
and double the capacity of the filtration process. Or, add another in a
different area of your pond, doubling the filtering capacity and
adding more circulation.
Okay, back to the parts list.
- 1 - length of 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe (1 inch PVC pipe for the Mini-Me Filter).
- 1 - PVC tee.
- 3 - PVC elbows.
- 1 - 1 1/2 inch to 1 1/4 inch threaded nipple reducer (For the Mini-Me, use
an appropriate fitting to attach the hose coming from the pump).
- 1 - 4 inch closet flange (For the MiniMe, use a 2 inch floor shower drain).
- 1 - plastic egg crate style overhead 2x4 light grate (or something
similar) we get a lot of emails as to where to find this item. It is in the
ceiling tile section of any Home Depot or similar home improvement store. It
is nothing more than a ceiling light grate panel.
- 4 - 1/4 inch by 1 1/2 inch bolt, nut and washer combinations (bolts not needed for the Mini-Me Filter).
- Filter medium.
Note: after you build the filter you also are going to need some
beneficial bacteria. We can sell you that too! See how good I am at slipping
in those sales pitches?
The steps to building the filter.
- The stock tank comes with a built in drain and plug. Decide if
you want this drain on the front or rear of your filter. We have found that
99% of the time it is best to have this drain in the back of the filter. Note
no cleaning, so this drain plug will rarely be used, so seal it with Teflon
tape. Caution, do not over tighten as you can easily break the bulkhead
fitting. Hand tightened is usually enough and check for a leak by filling the
tank above the fitting before you haul it out to your pond and place a ton of
rocks around it.
- On the top flat face of the tank (using the closet flange as a
template) draw a circle. Cut out this hole. Again
using the closet flange as a template drill out the mounting
holes. Mount the closet flange on the outside of the tank.
Also do not forget to silicone the flat area on the
flange before installing to insure it is sealed. See pictures.
- If you intend to hide your Skippy Filter behind a waterfall, you'll need
to put some liner material (EPDM) over the overflow flange to prevent water
from getting behind the rocks and running out on the ground. Here are some pictures to help
you with that....
- Cut the PVC pipe so
that it will fit the bottom of the tub with the tee and elbows attached. You
want the bottom elbows to face in different
directions so the swirl effect takes place. Cut the other length of PVC to
extend upward from the
tee. On the top of this pipe put another PVC elbow. Inside
the top elbow place the 1½ to 1¼ treaded nipple reducer. TIPS: A. The reason
we use a reducer is the fact that most sump pump hose kits come with a nipple
that will screw right into this arrangement. B. Do not use cement to connect
the inside PVC piping, elbows etc.. They most often are tight enough as is and
it makes it easier if you want to change the direction of the top elbow in
relationship to the incoming hose. If you cement the top elbow before you
do step 3 you will find it difficult to put down the grate. AND think
about cleaning time. C. You might be tempted to connect another length of PVC
pipe to the top elbow and bring this hose connection out past the lip of the
tub. Can be done, but if you do make sure the hose connection is watertight.
We think it best to keep the hose connection over the tub in case of drips.
- Cut the grate to
fit inside the tank(Small
tank or Large
tank) and to rest on the bottom ridge. If using a larger tank and want
extra bracing under the grill, try this. If you cut it too
small do not panic. The purpose of this grate is to create a space between the
bottom of the tank and the filter medium to act as a type of sludge pit. If
you cut the grate too small just put a couple pieces of 2x4 in the bottom as
risers. Cut a center hole
in the grate for the up turned PVC pipe to fit through. When done put the
connected PVC pipe in the tank and put the grate down.
- On top of the grate lay in the filter media. The amount of media is
determined by the size of the tank. It should be tossed in loosely,
but still come up to, or just below the lip of the overflow. You could put another grate on top of
the filter media, but we have found that it really is not necessary. See
pictures. The best filter media we have found is simply cut up commercial
floor scrubber pads. This fibrous material provides a generous surface area to
trap debris, algae etc. and creates a wonderful habitat for the beneficial
bacteria to live and flourish. Nothing else is as good and the material will
last for years. We have tried all the other things and have found them all to
fail. Lava rocks because they clog quickly and are good for about 1/2 of a
season even if you clean them, (which by the way kills off the bacteria
colony). Brushes do not hold or trap nearly as much. Bio-balls are a joke
along with furnace filters, foam rubber, carpet padding, sponges etc. Since
the bio-filter is so important we recommend you use the best. Sometimes this
material is difficult to find in bulk at a reasonable price so if you want you
can order it from us. This filter media can be found and ordered at "Stuff We Sell at Skippys".
- Put on the top
elbow and align with the direction you want your hose to come from the
pond. Put in the 1½ to 1¼ treaded reducer and screw in the 1¼ nipple.
Attach your tubing or hose from here to your pump and away you go. Tip: Have your pump
located in the pond as far away from the filter as possible to insure good
circulation. ALSO do not put your pump on the very bottom of the pond. Reason? Koi and even goldfish get real mad if for some reason the water gets
completely drained from the pond.
That's pretty much it. With this type of construction you do have many
options. Here are just a few:
- The closet flange is not the only way to go. You could use 2 2" flanges
and with a little pre-thought and PVC fittings, change the direction of the
flow of the water to have 2 separate waterfalls. Or, Have your filter some
distance from the pond and pipe the return to it. Use your imagination and
PVC; it is a great combination.
- Plants are important in your pond and any plant you add is beneficial.
They work along with your filter and bacteria. The top of the filter is a great place for water hyacinth and other
plants also. Just keep an eye on them. If they get too big or you decide
you don't like them, just yank them out and put them elsewhere in your pond. See Picture 1.
See Picture 2. See Picture 3. See Picture 4.
- You can hide the filter
with slate and it makes a wonderful waterfall. Make
sure you put a liner under your waterfall! Why? Does the name Grand Canyon
give you a clue?
- Remember PVC is a cheap, great product; you can plumb this filter anyway
- After you get the filter up and running, start doing regular doses of beneficial
bacteria. That is the way it works best. Click here to see
information on the Bacteria that we recommend.
- Give this filter a little time to work. The biological process takes time,
but it worth the wait.
- Do not clean this type of filter! Cleaning means the process has to start over. We
have a 150 gal size on a 3200 gallon
pond and believe it or not, our pond stays clear all year round. This is the main reason we
like this type of filter after all we didn’t get as fat as we are because we
Mini-Me Skip Jr. Biological Filter
Many people have asked
if there is a smaller version of the Skippy Filter!
Per your request, here is
the Mini-Me Skip Jr. Biological Filter.
Good for ponds up to about 750
gallons is our best guess.
Click here for the Mini-Me
We're Open All Year
Phone: (313) 383-8653
Fax: (313) 383-5190
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