Why I think Skippy filters are the one of the worst DIY filters.


JohnHuff

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The Skippy was the first DIY I ever built. In fact I think I even posted a picture of mine way back when here. Now that I know a little more, I think it's one of the worst DIY filters and should be forever stricken off DIY lists. A big Pro of building it is that it's easy and fun to build but there are a lot more Cons.

Firstly, a good filter should have two components: a biofilter and a mechanical filter. A biofilter allows the beneficial bacteria to neutralize toxins in your pond - it needs 3 things: a lot of surface area; good aeration because the bacteria is aerobic and good water flow so the nitrogen compounds can get to the bacteria.

A mechanical filter gets rids of solids in the water; that can be anything from algae to dead or alive organic material. When people say their pond is crystal clear, that means all this solid material has been removed. It doesn't mean there aren't any toxins in the water, only that it looks clear. Apart from that, you need to get rid of the solids, otherwise it will clog up your biofilter.

A Skippy filter using scrubby pads is basically a gigantic mechanical filter. I.e. any solid waste that goes through this filter will get trapped in the pads. But once those scrubbies get clogged up, it won't filter any more solids and the waste will merely go around the scrubbies. And I don't think it's a great idea to leave this waste in the pads for a year, at least for my indoor tanks, I have to remove the solid waste, otherwise it poisons the tank. So where is the surface area that the beneficial bacteria needs to reside on? There is none, or at least not much.

However apparently the Skippy works, not in the least in negative evidence that when according to the owner, they botched it when the cleaned the filter. So here is what I think happened:

1) Those Skippies with open tops, the algae on top works as a veggie filter.
2) The gunk in the filter developed anaerobic bacteria because of the lack of oxygen. http://www.aquaworldaquarium.com/Articles/TonyGriffitts/silent_killer.htm. And when they took apart the filter, the anaerobic byproducts killed their fish.
3) The Skippy filter's surface area << surface area of other surfaces around the pond and it's actually pump moving water around all these surfaces that is converting the ammonia and nitrites.

Anyway, it's my opinion that the Skippy is just a mechanical filter that gets clogged up pretty quickly. And once it clogs up, it won't mechanically filter any more. It will hold some beneficial bacteria on its outside surfaces once it clogs up but I think there are much better DIY filters.
 
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JohnHuff

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I plan to write up a bunch on monologues on filters and filtration. Stay tuned!
 
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Do you have a diy filter that works well? I would like info please.
Barb
I made two bio filters using 55 gallon food grade barrels and rocks. Lowest layer is large river rocks, next layer is medium stones, followed by small stones, then pea gravel and the top layer is chic feed (broken up shell and stuff) as a fine filter.

This system IMO is about the best DIY filter you can use. Properly built it will keep your pond clear and healthy. Cleaning is only needed once in a great while and all you need to clean is an air compressor. (part of the filter is a PVC pipe running around the bottom of the barrel with holes for the air to escape which forces all the crud up to the surface and then pumped out to your yard or garden. It makes great fertilizer.)
 

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