DIY Solar Powered Pond Filter With Skimmer

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Introduction: DIY Solar Powered Pond Filter With Skimmer

I have a small pond. Professional filter systems are quite expensive. So I decided to build my own solar powered pond filter with skimmer. I kept the build simple with easily available items.

Supplies

Filter: 20 liter bucket, 20 liter lava rocks, 32mm/1 1/4" PVC pipe, 2x 90° elbow fitting, aerator

Skimmer: 5 liter bucket, pond plant basket, 1100gph bilge pumpe, 32mm/1 1/4" hose

Solar Power Systems: 2x 20W 12V solar panel, Solar charge controller, 3x 18650 battery,3s BMS,waterproof box

Step 1: Filter

  • First cut the PVC pipe. You need one piece the size of the 20 liter bucket's diameter and one piece the height of the bucket.
  • Connect the pipes with a 90° PVC elbow fitting. Put on one end a plug and on the other end another 90° elbow fitting. It should now look similar to a Z.
  • Drill holes in the PVC pipe with the plug. It will be on the bottom of the basket.
  • Put the assembled pipe in the basket and fill the basket with lava rocks.
  • You can install an optional aerator before the filter. It will help the bacteria to clean the water. Make sure, you install it in the right direction.

Step 2: Skimmer

  • Put the bilge pump into the 5 liter bucket.
  • Drill a hole for the pumps outflow.
  • Put the pump's outflow pipe through the hole. Put a short piece of PVC pipe on and fix it with tape to the bucket.
  • Attach one end of the hose to the PVC pipe and the other end to the filter
  • Use the pond plant basket as a filter screen on top of the bucket.

Step 3: Solar Power System

  • You can power the pump directly via the 12V solar panels. This makes the build even simpler.
  • Or, you can use a simple 3s Li-ion battery back. Use 3 18650 batteries in series, attach a BMS and put it in a watertight box.
  • Connect the battery pack to the solar charge controller.
  • Use the 12V power output of the controller to power the pump.
  • I included a switch to the power output to turn the pump on and off.

Step 4: Finished!

Now you should be finished with your DIY pond filter. Enjoy!

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    11 Comments

    0
    pcruser
    pcruser

    6 months ago

    Be sure to rinse your filter media first and it won't be cloudy.

    0
    irandar
    irandar

    Question 8 months ago

    Hello again,
    Have you had good luck with the bilge pump? I am thinking of ordering one.
    Thanks, Irving

    0
    irandar
    irandar

    8 months ago

    Hello,
    Your design is for an upflow filter, with the inflowing water entering at the bottom of the filter. How would you compare this with a trickling filter, where the inflow water would be sprayed at the top of the filter and run down over the packing to exit at the bottom? In this case, aeration would not be needed. The presentation is quite nice with the photos and could be improved with a schematic drawing showing the water and air flows. Very useful that you give sources for the equipment. I see that some filter authors use garden hose instead of pipe. Your pump seems to have 12V x 3.5A = 42 Watt rating and thus makes good use of the two 20W panels. Thanks and regards.

    0
    DirtyDieselPhil
    DirtyDieselPhil

    Question 10 months ago on Step 4

    This is very cool - I have a pond that could benefit from a similar system! A couple of questions:
    1 - What size is your pond? (surface dimensions & depth, cubic feet, etc)
    2 - How did you size the filter?

    Thanks

    Phil

    0
    Unboxingexperience7
    Unboxingexperience7

    Answer 10 months ago

    1. about 4x4yd ( approx 4000gal)
    2 - bought the biggest bucket I ve found in the DIY store :-)

    0
    DirtyDieselPhil
    DirtyDieselPhil

    Reply 10 months ago

    "bought the biggest bucket I ve found", 😝😝
    Since my pond is larger, I need a bigger bucket...

    0
    shalnachywyt
    shalnachywyt

    10 months ago

    Why do you need a filter in a pond that looks to me like it's a natural pond with plants and fish?. Shouldn't that natural pond filter out everything, and fish eat the mosquitoes, and everything else be in balance like a natural pond?
    BTW, how big is that pond and how deep?

    0
    Unboxingexperience7
    Unboxingexperience7

    Reply 10 months ago

    Debris is a problem. So I try to skim it off to avoid algae.
    Around 4x4y1yd

    0
    shalnachywyt
    shalnachywyt

    Reply 10 months ago

    Every video I've seen and everything I've read says that if you have plants and fish, there shouldn't be a problem with algae.

    Anyhow... 12 feet by 12 feet by 3 feet deep. About the size my (stay tuned to this channel ) pond (if it ever gets built) is supposed to be. I'm going to let whatever debris comes into existence fall to the bottom to feed the plants.
    Anyhow. Nice idea!

    0
    LarryB
    LarryB

    10 months ago

    Depending on the size of your pond (or if you want to do it as a cheap backyard pool fountain) a single 20 watt panel will direct drive a car windshield washer pump. At ~12 volts the fresh water won't short out the voltage (haven't tested that in salt water) so you can drop the pump in the water, without waterproofing the connections. The one I tested was from a Toyota Prius and it pumped about 1 Liter/sec with polarity one way and about 1/2 L/sec with reversed polarity. That one had a small centrifugal pump so direction of rotation changes flow and power draw. Pump was under $10 new but I bet a junk yard find would be cheaper.
    Remember one liter a second is 3600 liters per hour or about 950 gph. That was with lift about 1 meter above water surface with small plastic tubing.

    0
    Unboxingexperience7
    Unboxingexperience7

    Reply 10 months ago

    I already had 2x 20w panels so I used them both. A single one does not work that well on a cloudy day.