DIY Surge

What is a surge?

A surge is a container that will fill up with water and at a certain point release the water into an aquarium to simulate a wave.

What style of surges are there?

The two most popular surge styles are the Borneman and Carlson surges.  This site will focus on the Borneman style surges.

Why use surges?

Surges are a unique way of creating random flow in an aquarium.  Surges are fairly inexpensive to make and operate compared to other water movement device’s such as close loops or power heads.

How do I make a surge?

Follow the diy guide on the next couple of pages!

View the DIY Surge in Action!

Video of the surge I made filling and firing.


Video of both surges firing in my 240 gallon tank.


Video of surge firing from the top view of the tank.


Part List

A: 90 degree slip to slip 3/4” elbow
B: Toliet flush valve
C: 90 degree FTP to slip 2” elbow
D: Plastic chain
E: Plastic toliet float ball
F: Rigid toliet flapper
G: 2” slip to 1” FTP reducing bushing
H: 90 degree FTP to Slip 1” elbow
I: 1” PVC pipe cut to length
J: 90 degree Slip to Slip elbow
K: 1” PVC pipe cut to length
L: Misc tie wraps
M: 1” male threaded adapter
N: 1” bulkhead FTP to FTP

The pvc parts can vary depending on your personal preference.  These are what I used.  Other variations will work as well. This surge is design to use a 1” return line to the tank.