DIY Trickle Filter Made from Home Depot Buckets

This is a little article on how I built my DIY Trickle filter that sits in my 36x12 sump tank. Photos are located below.


Materials Needed


  1. Take one of the buckets and Drill a lot of 3/8" holes in the bottom to allow water to flow though the bucket. I drilled holes so the bottom was all holes, but would still hold the plastic pot scrubbers.

  2. Cut the bottom 2" off the other bucket

  3. Now drill as required a bunch of 1/6"-3/16" Holes in bottom of the 2" tall pail to act as a trickle plate. This is dependent on how much water your pump can handle, so a little trial and error is required. You want to ensure about 1/2" of water is in the trickle plate at all times when the pump is running.

  4. Clean all waste from the parts from drilling

  5. Fill the bucket with the plastic pot scrubbers leaving enough room at the top for the trickle plate.

  6. Put the trickle plate in the bucket ensuring it is a level as possible.

  7. Install the bulkhead in the center of the bucket lid

  8. Optional, I put some floss in the trickle plate to stop any big particles from clogging the pot scrubbers

  9. Put the lid on the bucket

Now you have your DIY trickle filter constructed, I just set it in the 30 Gallon sump for my 172 gallon tank. The ridges on the plastic pail result in the pail sitting on top of the sump and not falling in. If this does not work for you. you will need to make something to hold the pail up off the bottom of the sump.


Next I hooked the 1.5" ID pipe up to the filter from my internal overflow box in my tank and my mag 12 returns water from the sump to the main tank via a spay bar after going through the DIY trickle filter.


This setup is on my 172 Gallon tank. I cycled it with this setup before adding the xp3 to ensure the pot scrubbers would work.

Not a bad DIY trickle filter for about $40.


Pictures of the parts and final product!


Home Depot Buckets


Filter top and bulkhead


Filter top assembled


Filter top bottom view


Drip plate


Drip plate 2


Pot scrubber


Filter bottom with holes drilled


Filter with media loaded


Filter assembled


Filter in operation


Other Diy Filter Projects Information

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