Cheap and efficient filter solution
Planted Tank Forums
Your Tanks Image Hosting *Tank Tracker * Plant Profiles Fish Profiles Planted Tank Guide Photo Gallery Articles

Go Back   The Planted Tank Forum > Specific Aspects of a Planted Tank > DIY


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-18-2006, 10:47 PM   #1
Wasserpest
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (168/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,048
Default

Cheap and efficient filter solution


Sometimes the simplest things work out best. Here is a good example.

For a planted tank, a canister filter is the widely recommended choice. And it is easy to see why. However, there are some disadvantages to canister filters:

Cost - the cheapest ones will still cost >$50 (not talking about a "mini" here), with prices going up to $400+ for the latest Eheim.

Risk - however small, anything that lifts water over the tank rim has a potential of emptying out a large tank in minutes. Hope you are around when that happens. Also, canister filter inlets can be deadly to smallish creatures.

Efficiency - going through the (clogged?) input strainer, the water runs up the tubing, through x elbows, bends, and kinks, into the filter housing, down to the bottom, up through (around?) the various media, further through the impeller housing back into the tubing, up to the rim and out into the tank via spraybars etc. All of this creates friction, turbulences, or just simple blockage, which is made up for by added wattage.

Cleaning - as convenient as they are, cleaning still involves a lot of steps, well you probably know.

CO2 - to use a canister filter for dissolving CO2 gas, an inline reactor is a good solution, still, it needs to be built or bought, and somehow be plumbed into the flow.

So here is an idea which removes these disadvantages, plus offers a great way to dissolve and distribute CO2 without having to construct an inline reactor:



Cost - the pump which I used (AC30) costs between $15 and $20. A big piece of sponge comes in at $5. I cut that in four, the quarter is big enough to filter my 36 gal tank for several weeks:



Risk - no risk. 'nuff said.

Efficiency - here is where the internal filter shines. The AC30 uses 6 or 8 Watts (will check this later) and provides plenty of flow for my 36 gal tank. Compare that to 20 or 30 Watts for the average canister filter.

Also, the filtration is outstanding. The sponge (that's the nature of the beast) fills up very very very evenly. After a few weeks the flow goes down, and it is amazing how much stuff comes out of it! Since we are using a solid piece of foam, that's a lot of capacity even when compared to a large canister filter with "pads".

Cleaning - I have the sponge sitting on top of the pump. I just lift the sponge off, use some sort of dish to catch the dripping water, and off to the sink or (if you clean in tank water) bucket it goes.

CO2 - an airline is connected to the powerhead so the CO2 bubbles are smashed up by the impeller into fine mist, dissolving on its way to the surface. I get more CO2 into the water with this setup than in my 10 gal where CO2 bubbles into the AC Mini. Surface agitation (lack of it) is big part of this, but it also tells me that all the CO2 gets dissolved.

So what are the cons?

- Need to find a pump that doesn't mind sitting upside down. For example, an AC50 got very noisy when running that way. The AC30 I have works great for a couple of months already. Absolutely no noise (I have to look into the tank to make sure it is running). Of course you could put the pump on top of the sponge, but that would make cleaning a little more involved.

- Visual impact - there is some trade-off here... instead of an inlet and an outlet pipe, you have a pump and a sponge sitting in a tank corner. In a corner tank, having it sit in the corner, covered by plants... totally invisible. Depending on your scape, you would need to think about how to hide i. Many obviously don't care about showing some tech stuff so maybe it doesn't bother them. I prefer covering it up with plants.

Can not think of any other disadvantages... what do you think?
Wasserpest is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 05-19-2006, 04:15 AM   #2
Hoppy
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hoppy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (74/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 18,639
Default

That looks good to me. I use a little pump to get water flow in the tank and to run a CO2 mist, but the problem I run into is blockage of the inlet grill by debris, snails and leaves, plus it keeps pulling off the glass where the suction cups are trying to hold it. It ends up spraying the outlet straight down to the substrate.

I like my little Fluval filter, but keeping the inlet tube free of debris and snails so it isn't being blocked has been a problem. This seems to solve all of those problems at one time, plus clearing more space under my tank, and avoiding a failure that would syphon all of the water out.

What filter sponge do you use, and is it at all LFS places? Do you keep washing it and reusing it or is it a disposable thing?
__________________
Hoppy
Hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2006, 04:35 AM   #3
Wasserpest
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (168/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,048
Default

Thanks for the feedback Hoppy. Here is where you can buy that sponge.

It is definitely not the disposable kind. You can use that for years. I have Filstar foampads for 3 years and just recently started to swap them with new ones. (When I wrote: <<filters for several weeks>> I meant: before you need to give it a good squeeze!)

Of course the little pumps with inlet screen will not work for this, you need one that has an inlet which can connect to a piece of pipe.
Wasserpest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2006, 12:19 PM   #4
tazcrash69
Planted Tank Guru
 
tazcrash69's Avatar
 
PTrader: (22/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Hawthorne, NJ
Posts: 3,207
Default

Wasser, looks like a nice solution to a lot of small tank filter problems, and of course it's scalable for bigger tanks (add another).

I have a bit of a question about the CO2, How many BPS are you running, and are you getting a lot of CO2 mist around the tank?
__________________
Walter
Visit my 125 profile and gallery or my 5 gallon low-tech. Proud member of:


--May the floor under your tank always be dry, and your glass clear!!!
tazcrash69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2006, 04:14 PM   #5
Wasserpest
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (168/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,048
Default

I think this is even good for bigger tanks. It is easier to hide for sure! The trick is to find a Powerhead that you can turn around. They are made to suck from their bottoms (to be used for UGF's) so in some the impeller will make a racket if you turn them upside down.

BPS is not a real good number to compare to, since it depends on the size of the bubbles my BPS number is really meaningless to you. I run pressurized in 3 tanks, the 100 gets 2 bps, the 36 about 0.5 bps, and the 10 a little less, maybe 0.33333 bps. However, that is done with my DIY bubble counters. All 3 tanks together use about 2 bps using a Milwaukee bubble counter.

So anyway... The powerhead sits in the bottom corner, and blows fine CO2 bubbles towards the front. They raise up slowly to the surface. Thing is, in the morning, when there is no O2 saturation, you don't see much of the bubbles since they dissolve quickly. Later in the day, O2 saturation leads to some gas exchange and the bubbles drift to the surface, presumably as O2.

Like I said, this method works very well for fully dissolving and evenly distributing CO2 throughout the tank.
Wasserpest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2006, 04:18 PM   #6
BlueRam
Wannabe Guru
 
BlueRam's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,666
Default

The filter works:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/241504-post2.html

As I was trying to build a Wasser-Mattenfilter when I ran out of time and tossed the powerhead in upside down with a sponge. It looks like the circular sponge solves the problem of food collecting where the angels can't get to it.
__________________
Moved to Tucson.
BlueRam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2006, 04:31 PM   #7
JenThePlantGeek
Planted Tank Guru
 
JenThePlantGeek's Avatar
 
PTrader: (36/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 3,143
Send a message via AIM to JenThePlantGeek
Default

Wasserpest - I recently picked up a foam block with an inlet like this at a going out of business sale. I've been thinking about doing this exact same thing! I doubt I'll actually replace my Eheim, but the extra water movement and added filtration will be a plus!
__________________
Circle City Aquarium Club (Indianapolis) - VP & Horticulture Awards Program Chair
I <3 Eheim #195
Everyone seems normal... until you get to know them.
JenThePlantGeek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2006, 05:11 PM   #8
Wasserpest
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (168/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,048
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueRam
As I was trying to build a Wasser-Mattenfilter when I ran out of time and tossed the powerhead in upside down with a sponge.
Hehe... imagine that After fooling around with the Mattenfilter I now concluded that this is a better solution.

Of course, an internal filter with a sponge is nothing really new... it's just that sometimes we forget that "simple is beautiful".
Wasserpest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2006, 05:48 PM   #9
BlueRam
Wannabe Guru
 
BlueRam's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,666
Default

The exposed sponge is much easier to clean than the full mattenfilter but it is still visible equipment and does not hide the heater (which the angels lay on) so it is not the ideal solution but it works. I also have a powerhead mounted normal with a sponge in my 20 long. I guess I will have to call it the reverse-Wasserfilter

Anyways, the documentation on Wasser-wear is always first rate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
Hehe... imagine that After fooling around with the Mattenfilter I now concluded that this is a better solution.

Of course, an internal filter with a sponge is nothing really new... it's just that sometimes we forget that "simple is beautiful".
__________________
Moved to Tucson.
BlueRam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2006, 07:13 PM   #10
Wasserpest
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (168/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,048
Default

The big advantage over the WasserMattenFilter is that you don't have to worry about bypass. Stick the sponge over the strainer, and it is pretty much waterproof

While it doesn't hide the heater, you can probably squeeze the heater into the corner behind it, and all the water going through the sponge should prevent temp gradients.
Wasserpest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2006, 11:57 PM   #11
Hoppy
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hoppy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (74/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 18,639
Default

Yesterday I bought a Maxijet 600, and a Cascade biosponge, which is big enough to make two sponges for the powerhead. I cut small pieces to plug the hole in the end - the Cascade sponge has a hole down the middle. I poked the CO2 line thru the sponge plug and into the plastic grid thingee that is made for sponge filters and comes with the Maxijet. Today I replaced my Fluval 104 and the minijet pump I was using. So far it works pretty good, but I wonder if the CO2 bubbles are actually sucked back down into the impeller. I'll keep watching it before I decide it is working well. Very nice idea though - no more spraybar, no more filter inlet tube, no more blockage of filter inlet or minijet inlet. And, I have to look hard to see it in the tank.
__________________
Hoppy
Hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2006, 01:48 AM   #12
Wasserpest
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (168/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,048
Default

That's great Hoppy! You should hear if the CO2 thing works by the faint noise of bubbles being smashed to mist in the impeller. I like the audible feedback... Once or twice the silence was an indicator that something didn't work right in my tanks (Plus if there is some serious overdosing I would hear that too!).

Did you route the CO2 line through the sponge? I avoided that because of maintenance concerns, didn't want to have to take the whole apparatus out of the water you clean the sponge.

How does the MaxiJet work when turned on its head? I had a MaxiJet 600 (I think it was a 600) a while ago and I returned it because it vibrated and was very loud. Might have just been the one I got.
Wasserpest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2006, 11:46 PM   #13
Hoppy
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hoppy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (74/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 18,639
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
That's great Hoppy! You should hear if the CO2 thing works by the faint noise of bubbles being smashed to mist in the impeller. I like the audible feedback... Once or twice the silence was an indicator that something didn't work right in my tanks (Plus if there is some serious overdosing I would hear that too!).

Did you route the CO2 line through the sponge? I avoided that because of maintenance concerns, didn't want to have to take the whole apparatus out of the water you clean the sponge.

How does the MaxiJet work when turned on its head? I had a MaxiJet 600 (I think it was a 600) a while ago and I returned it because it vibrated and was very loud. Might have just been the one I got.
Somehow I neglected to answer this comment. So, better late than never.
My maxijet works great upside down, no noise difference from rightside up. I, too, use the bubble chopping noise to regulate my CO2, and right now I have the bubble rate so high the chopping is almost continuous, but the mist effect is awesome - major pearling for most of the day. The Maxijet has no other way that I could find to introduce the CO2, so I do pass it thru the sponge - down thru the top, where I plugged the hole in the center of the sponge with a piece of sponge. To clean it I just pull off the sponge, with the CO2 line and the sponge support grid. Then I pull out the CO2 line and rinse the sponge, squeezing it a few time to get more of the mulm out. Reinstalling it wasn't a problem. Lately, my cherry shrimp have presented me with many additions to their family, so the sponge tends to be the dining table for them. This has been a great idea for me, and I really appreciate how well you sold it to me!
__________________
Hoppy
Hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2006, 06:25 PM   #14
capricorn77
Planted Member
 
capricorn77's Avatar
 
PTrader: (21/100%)
Join Date: May 2005
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 268
Send a message via MSN to capricorn77 Send a message via Yahoo to capricorn77
Default

OK, please don't be mad, but I'm trying to figure out what the difference of this unique filter is compared to most internal filters like a fluval plus or eheim aquaball?
__________________
member of SFBAAPS
capricorn77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2006, 08:23 PM   #15
Hoppy
Planted Tank Guru
 
Hoppy's Avatar
 
PTrader: (74/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 18,639
Default

The differences for me are:
It is cheap - under $30,
It provides very good water circulation,
It is a good way to get CO2 mist circulated in the tank,
Maintenance is a breeze,
No worries about plugging up,
It is very effective as a filter.
__________________
Hoppy
Hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
internal filter, what filter

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:10 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright Planted Tank LLC 2012