Cooking Oil Bottle
Overflow and Sump

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The container being modified started life as a cooking oil bottle. A Weller brand 25-Watt electric soldering iron is being used to cut slots which will allow water from the aquarium to overflow into the bottle.

A plastic food storage container has been modified to serve as the overflow box.

A one inch diameter section of PVC tube attached to a threaded male fitting has been inserted thru a hole cut in the bottom of the plastic container.

The container is secured to the aquarium frame with a section of PVC tubing cut lengthwise and threaded with blue rigid
A threaded female (grey) connector is attached to the white male fitting thru the overflow box.

A rubber O ring with a small amount of petroleum jelly insures a water tight connection.

The clear nylon tubing directs water from the overflow box to a 15 gallon sump and refugium below the main tank.

The cooking oil bottle has been submerged so the slots are just at the water surface. Blue rigid wire wrapped around the neck of the bottle secures the bottle at the desired depth.

The wire is flexible enough to allow small adjustments in the bottle position which determines the water level in the main tank. A nylon tube provides the siphon path from the bottle to the overflow box.

As the water level rises in the main tank as a result of water return from the sump, it overflows into the cooking oil bottle. It then siphons into the overflow box until it reaches the top of the PVC tube.

The oil bottle and overflow box insure the siphon between the main tank and overflow box won't be interrupted regardless of water levels in the main tank.

welcome to
do-it-yourself aquarium and semi-aquatic background designs beyond the traditional
Dramatic AquaScapes
Disclaimer: Exercising reasonable safety precautions when performing the steps described in this article are the responsibility of the individuals building the background. is not responsible for personal injury or property damage as a result of following steps outlined in this article.