Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Small fountain pump, depending on the size of the tank and how far you will have to lift the water. If you can set the bucket on a chair, next to the tank, for example, a smaller pump will do the job. If the bucket is on the floor, then you will need a larger pump to get the water up that high.
Read the label on the pump. There will be a chart showing how many gallons per hour it will pump at certain heights.
Use this chart to figure out what size pump will work for you. If you get one that is too strong you can usually slow it down (many pumps are adjustable). If you get one that is too small you may have to get a chair.
I would look for a pump that will do between 60-200 gph.
60 = smaller tank, probably need to have the bucket up pretty high, near the tank.
200 = larger tank, or pumping from a bucket on the floor.
While you are in the store, pump in hand, go to the vinyl tubing aisle, and get enough tubing to reach from floor to tank, and extra so it can make a gently curve and end up aiming horizontally across the surface of the water. Do not short yourself of tubing- you can always trim it shorter. Not so easy to make it longer.