Introduction: Super Cheap Animal Drinking Fountain
Here is a super simple, low wattage using device to circulate drinking water in a kiddie pool, for dogs, cats, or other pets. Circulating the water will make it fresher and more appealing to pets, and help prevent stagnation and stench or wasted water. It could possibly prevent the pond from freezing. I haven't tested it for that.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
You will need a "kiddie pool" from Dollar General, Kmart, Walmart, etc. They can be had for under $10, for the smaller ones. Sometimes people throw them away after the summer.
You need a 5 gallon clean bucket and lid, for the water pump to sit on, and to keep the wind from blowing it away .
You need a "5-15 Aquatech" water filter machine (walmart has it for $10). Don't worry about the filters. This can work without them, or you can use them if you wish. (I also have an instructable for using cheap scrubbie pads as replacement filters, for bait-buckets and stuff.)
You probably need an outdoor suitable extension cord.
You need an old soldering iron, to cut the plastic bucket. If you don't have that, a box cutter can be used, to score the cuts and repeatedly knick them until you can cut cleanly through.
If you don't care if the pump draws from outside the bucket, you might not need the flex hose or couplings.
If you want it to draw from inside the bucket (as a leaf filter), you will need a couple feet of hose. You can try for fit at Lowes or Home Depot in the plumbing section. You will need to cut a hole for the hose to snugly fit through somewhere on the bucket side near the pump pipe. See next photo set for idea.
Step 2: Mark and Cut the Bucket for the Pump
You will need to hang the pump on the lip of the bucket, to mark the width of the cut needed for a notch, to place the pump in. Use a sharpie marker to mark your width. Move the pump, then measure the depth of the cut needed for it to hold the pump below the bucket lid. Mark that also, drawing out the shape you want to cut.
Use the old soldering iron or a hobby knife or box cutter to score and cut out the notch. Test fit your pump. It should sit in the notch and hang from the bucket.
The Aquatech pump comes with an inlet pipe and extension, and a little cone-shaped filter. Follow the manufacturer instructions to install those. The pipe should be near the bottom of the bucket, but not hitting the floor of the bucket.
If the pipe is too long, measure the excess length and cut off the excess, so you can fit it in the bucket.
Tip: You can buy a foot of vinyl hose from the hardware store that will fit over the plastic piping, and use 2 hose clamps to secure it, creating a flexible joint that will allow the cone filter to rest on the bottom of the bucket. You could also use silicone glue to secure the hose to the plastic pipes. Allow full cure to prevent leaks.
If drawing water from inside the bucket:
Mark and drill 8 to 16 small holes 1 inch above the bottom of the bucket (remove the pump first). (Make small holes such as under 1/4", to prevent leaves and trash from getting in the pump.)
Cut a hole on the side of the bucket, for the flexible hose to snugly fit through. This routes the intake pipe inside the bucket, and uses the extension tube to source water from the bottom of the bucket.
The power cord will need to come out of the bucket. You can send it out under the pump lip, or next to it, or over the top of it. You can also make a small notch somewhere along the top rim of the bucket, so it fits under the lid. It's your choice.
Step 3: Install and Test Your Pump
Put the bucket in the kiddie pool. Put the brick inside the bucket, to prevent it from moving or blowing away. Install the pump.
Fill the pool to a level at least over the inlet holes in the bucket, and over the top of the filter cone, or else the pump will fail to draw water and maybe burn out.
****PRIME THE PUMP first before turning it on. You will need to fill up the reservoir on the top of the filter machine, till water spills out the waterfall.
You can run the pump without the filter, but you will have to clean the pipes and impeller out more often.
Route your power cable safely out of the pond, to a power post or stake with the extension cord tethered to it, and plug it in to the cord. Plug in the cord to household power and observe the pump for correct flow.
If the pump starts and runs, you're set. You can set the pump according to a timer, or just unplug when not in use.
Monitor the pool level daily to keep the pump under adequate level of water, and prevent dirt buildup.
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