DIY canister filter
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:57 AM   #1
FBG
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DIY canister filter


Thank you to some of the AAPE members who helped my elong with some advice. even if it was not from their personal experience!

First off I started with a sterilight 12 cup air and water tight canister.
http://www.sterilite.com/Category.ht...tCategory=163# I forgot to take a photograph of the one I have...but it it the 12 cup square on the website.


this is the complete filter.



This is the outflow pipe going to the aquarium with a gate valve for flow regulation.

(left side)

(right side)

(close up of the fitting I used. 3/4" male thread to 3/4" slip with 1/2" reducer slip.)


this is the inflow.

it come directly from the aquarium right into the filter.
(the fitting used is female 3/4" thread to 1/2" slip)


This is the only way the electrical cord would be sealed 100%.



I used a 1/2 slip to 1/2 male thread with a female threaded endcap drilled to the diameter of the cord. both fittings are full of silicone. on the threads I have teflon tape, and between the canister and the PVC fittings I have a rubber seal with silicone.

The container it's self is not 100% airtight out of the assembly line so I did a bit of modification...

The tab that is used to release steam with microwaving food was not airtight so I added a bunch of silicone to it and fixed that problem.
I also have to have zip ties running around it two directions to keep pressure on the lid...I need to find a batter way to do this.
Oh, and at first this may seem like the best place to put the electrical cord, but is not...trust me.

This is the intake I made out of old siphoning tubing.

I just used the trusty dremal tool's cutting wheel and cut three slices into the tubing. Then used a piece of foam (I am unsure what kind it is, I just found it in the garage not in a bag) and put a bead of silicone around it to insure it would stay in place. A rubber cork would work better.

This is how the filter media is separated.

top level contains 4 pot scrubbers
mid level has carbon bags on top of water polishing pads
bottom level contains the 80gph pump with bio cylinders.

I drilled a smaller hole for my CO2 tubing right into the outflow pipe to get diffused.


another full shot of the filter finished.



The filter has been up and running since early December without any problems and I plan on making more for other aquariums in the near future.

I have the filter on this aquarium.



Part List:
1/2"* PVC** ***
Egg crate
pipe fittings to direct PVC to desired location
3/4" male thread elbow to 3/4" slip
3/4" male thread to 1/2" hose barb
3/4" female thread to 1/2" slip
3/4" female thread to 3/4" slip
3/4" to 1/2" reducer X2
airtight container of appropriate size
tube of silicone.

*size used for small aquariums. use larger for aquariums over 20 gallons.
**be sure to buy enough PVC. the filter demonstrated is right behind the aquarium on the stand so I needed under 4 feet. being under the aquarium in a stand it'll be a lot more.
*** you can also use flexible tubing which would be a little bit easier in some cases.

I couldn't find all of the 1/2" PVC joints I needed in 1/2" so that is why I have 3/4" with 1/2" reducers.

Hopefully this was helpful and I hope you enjoyed reading and looking at the photographs.

Please let me know if you have any questions, I'll be more than happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge.

Last edited by FBG; 02-04-2009 at 01:08 AM.. Reason: added more information
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:24 AM   #2
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is that a brass valve?
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:33 AM   #3
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Wow, very creative! I've never seen anything like it. Nice job!
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:34 AM   #4
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It is a brass valve. is there something I should know about brass and fish/shrimp? I thought that only copper was bad...
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:34 AM   #5
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Thanks fishkid!
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:42 AM   #6
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Yeah i'm afraid brass is just a mixture of copper and zinc. Both can be toxic in an aquarium environment, especially if you inject CO2 and create mildly acidic conditions. I would replace that with a PVC valve asap. Luckily the threaded fittings shouldn't make that too hard.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:46 AM   #7
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now I get to redo the outflow then! oh joy lol

thanks for letting me know I'll replace that as soon as possible. sadly I am busy for the entire week and will not have time to stop at home depot of lowes... I guess no filter is better than having dead fish.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:52 AM   #8
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Sorry man. Kudos on trying something new though. A lot of things we take for granted every day started out as DIY projects.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:58 AM   #9
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I didn't know about the brass valve either. Still looks like a nice little diy.
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Old 02-04-2009, 02:59 AM   #10
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all too true. I'll go down and buy a PVC valve as soon as I can. I started out with a PVC valve but it got stuck fully open and was pushing the water out of the aquarium...I'll have to search around for a good PVC gate valve this time.
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:46 AM   #11
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As much as I always commend DIY projects, I bet you could have purchased a Tom's canister filter for less then the amount you spent on parts.

Fun anyway though. Why even have a valve at all on the outflow??
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:53 PM   #12
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to restrict the flow of water going into the aquarium. it is only a 2.5 gallon aquarium. rather small for an 80GPH pump.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:24 PM   #13
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Hmmm. So you force back pressure against the power head to restrict flow? I am not a fan of that, but whatever suits your needs.

In the future, something to consider would be to do what people with sumps do, add in a bypass loop that goes back to the filter. Then by adding in a throttling valve, you force flow back into the filter as opposed to just creating "extra work" and back pressure against something that is not designed for throttling.

Will post up a picture in a few to show you what I mean.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:35 PM   #14
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Here is what I am talking about. You use two valves.

Have them both wide open at first, as you throttle flow down to tank, the back pressures is lifted from the power head and bypass water is "re-filtered" through filter.

You can then even throttle that down a bit to keep things tidy (if needed).
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:59 PM   #15
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I'm making a DIY canister filter too, though unlike yours, mine will look like it was put on by a poorly trained monkey. I'll copy your idea of cutting the intake tube like you did if you don't mind. Do you think using a plastic screen on the end of it would be the same as using sponge? I don't want to reduce the flow of the intake.
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