On March 31, 2013 I removed all of my livestock to a 20 gallon long I'm setting up and finally modded my tank!
Though I really like the Aqueon Evolve, I wasn't satisfied with the filtration. If you are unfamiliar with the Evolve, it has a large, main chamber for livestock and plants, ect. and in the back are two connected chambers for the filter and pump. The stock filter is just a single slide in pad that the water is pulled through into the pump chamber then pushed back out into the main chamber. However, the water and any loose particles pass mostly through the top of the filter only and when it's time to replace the filter all the bacteria you've grown go out with it. Several weeks ago, in preparation for my modifications, I stuffed a couple of bio-bags into the filter chamber along with the old filter to start growing bacteria.
I used HunterX's modification plans as the basis for my own. His tank journal (Hunter's First Shrimp Tank
) describes the modifications he made.
Anyway...on March 31st I removed the livestock, pumped out most of the water, and removed everything from the back filter/pump chambers. Then I drilled holes into the bottom of the filter chamber, which sits above part of the pump chamber.
(Below is a shot of the filter chamber before any modifications.)
(Holes drilled, I may have added a few more after I took this picture.)
After drilling the holes, I super glued a piece of plastic over the small opening between the filter chamber and pump chamber. This will force the water down through the filter media and the new holes in the bottom of the chamber instead of just through the top of the chamber.
(I used a piece of Five Star plastic notebook cover and water proof super glue.)
Then I layered my filter media, put the pump and heater back in, and filled with water. However, I noticed that while the water flow was normal, nothing was being sucked into the filter. I drained the water a bit again and rearranged the filter media. Now the media is all layered within the filter chamber with two bio-bags in the bottom, a small bag of carbon/ammonia remover, and finally an Aqua Clear 70 sponge cut to fit. This seems to have fixed the suction problem, I guess I just had too much media stuffed in the chamber (there were multiple sponges at first). I also wrapped a bit of sponge around the pump since it can be pretty loud if it happens to bump against the chamber wall.
(Before I refilled the tank)
Since I want to add shrimp to this tank, I need to block the filter intake. Would the AquaClear sponge be enough or should I add stainless steel mesh?
Sorry I didn't get very many pictures of the modification process or of the different chambers. If anything I've said is unclear let me know.