O.K. here we go... i took a heap of photos today when i took it apart to clean it. this whole tank/sump setup has been built on a super tight budget, this sump/filter cost less than $50 to build but i had a lot of parts to begin with so if didnt have these parts it would have cost significantly more.
kshah: i run an in tank power filter also this is mostly for flow in the tank but it does a lot of mechanical filtration also.
I did not want to drill the tank so i had to work out how to run a HOB overflow and after a heap of reading i found plans to build a very simple constant siphon overflow out of P.V.C. pipe. It took me a while to get my head around the concept of a siphon overflow that wont flood my house if the power shuts off but this does the trick.
Here the plumbing from the overflow enters the bottom of the cabinet and enters the lid of the bucket
I didnt glue this joint for ease of maintenance, i was worried about leaks but it hasnt been a problem yet
Here you can see the tube that runs into the top of the filter and spreads the flow through the filter floss in the top.
This is just a salad bowl with a bunch of 1/8 inch holes drilled though it, its normally filled with a heap of filter floss but i had a friend who need to jump start a tank for his turtles so he got all of the media filled with billions upon billions of little bacteria to help him
This is the bucket with as many body scrubbers as i could fit in and a bag of carbon for good measure. I couldnt get a pic of the bottom of the bucket, i kinda built the stand around the sump and it doesnt fit out, but if you use your imagination and picture a bucket with a heap of holes drilled in the bottom you will be pretty close.
The sump itself is approx 16g tank (24" long, 12" wide, 16" tall) which i had laying around. It holds about 10g when the pump is running and when the power stops the main tank drains down a bit and fills the sump, so no flooding. The pump is nothing special i bought it from a local hardware store, its sold as a water feature pump, and pumps about 100gph at this head, which doesnt seem like much but it does a great job of cleaning the water.
The pump returns the water to the tank via a spraybar that i build out of some flexible clear P.V.C tubing, and the cycle starts all over again.
There you have it, a simple cheap DIY sump and filter that almost anyone could build themselves.