View Full Version : DIY 5 gallon water jug skimmer

09/16/2017, 07:58 AM
Has been tried before, but I wanted a project. Amazon has the 5 gallon jugs with a wide neck available.

I picked up two and found several 5 gallon regular jugs out someone set out for recycling.

I hooked it up to a ASM Sedra 15000 needlewheel pump which worked well. I tested it up to four bottles high, but it was too much head pressure. Two bottles high worked very well with one pump. I put it next to a Euroreef 12-2 just for size comparison.

Just sharing my weekend project. I don't even need another skimmer, but I couldn't resist.

09/16/2017, 09:39 AM
Great build, It looks great, you can control the head pressure by adding ball valve or gate valve, but it should work great since air - water contact time is much long since it has longer chamber,

09/16/2017, 12:44 PM
How do you get a seal between the bottom and top bottles?

09/16/2017, 01:14 PM
just friction. They pull apart for cleaning. It is a snug fit. If you cut it like pictured, they go together perfectly.

09/16/2017, 01:18 PM
Got the idea from-


09/17/2017, 09:24 PM
Interesting for sure.
How is it working for you ?
any pictures of it in use ?

09/17/2017, 09:58 PM
I have a spare 75 gallon tank. Ill put it in there to show the side view of the skimmer in action tomorrow. One design flaw that I did was the skimmer top. If the skim mate goes too high, the single non vented drain causes a syphon which causes an overflow. It needs a vented skimmer cup to prevent that. Other than that it is a great large skimmer for 1/10 the cost. If you want it 24, 36 or 48" high it is just another $10 and maybe a second pump.

I am trying to find a bayonet style union like in picture. https://aquariumsource.com/products/skimmer-cup-o-ring-bayonet-version-1

09/19/2017, 07:07 AM
I ended up trying the four bottles high.

Twin 1" bulkhead inputs with two Sedra 15000 NeedleWheel pumps.

1 1/2" Drain with gate valve.

Neck is 4 inches in diameter.

09/19/2017, 11:00 AM
Bought a 4" Spears Union from Amazon.

Had a Euroreef 12-2 that was in my garage and borrowed the skimmer cup.

Now skimmer is 60 inches high. Probably overkill for a 400 gallon system.

09/20/2017, 08:12 AM
Looks great and it will pull out so much stuff out since you are giving air and water more contact time, Good Luck, I have built mine out of 12" PVC and it is 5 feet tall and holds 39 gallons, My tank water was so clear and no floating stuff in the water ..

09/20/2017, 09:25 AM
Have been testing for two days.

Four bottles high slows the flow. I think it is too much head pressure.

One high works with one or two Sedra 5000's
Two high works great with one Sedra 15000
Three high works great with two Sedra 15000's

My skimmate is much darker and foul smelling than when using a 6" diameter skimmer with the same !5000 pump.

I tried the 2 15000's on a 2 bottle and it was too much for a 1 1/2 gate valve without the head pressure to help. Maybe a 2" gate. Another weekend maybe.

The contact time is much better. I rest it on two poly pads under the pumps to reduce vibration.

I will update this. I was looking for a large skimmer that is overkill. I don't have a limitation to space. Lookup IBC tote if you want a huge sump.

Thanks, Stan

09/20/2017, 10:40 AM
My Sump.

10/04/2017, 11:24 AM

Been pulling put about 2 quarts of dark green out of a 125 gallon total water volume system.

I feed 5 times a day. Mixture of misys and brine shrimp.

If you don't have a 4" skimmer cup, I saw a 4" rubber pipe cap with an adjustable steel band around it for the top of the wide mouth 4" water jugs.


I used 1" inlet and 1 1/2 output bulkheads/gate valve from amazon. On the inlet, inside the jug, I used a 90* elbow pointing up to stop micro bubbles.

For me the two jug worked best with one Sedra 15000 pump.

I also tried a single 5 gallon jug skimmer with a Sedra 5000 and it also worked well. The 15000 with one jug was too much water flow for the gate valve.

I am trying to attach pictures but is failing to upload.

10/04/2017, 11:52 AM
This is the one I ordered for the 4" spears union. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BU960O0/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1.

The pics failed, but here is a video


Skimmer body is 11 inches around and total is 40 inches tall