Filtration on a budget
Hi all, New member here. Wanted to share my thoughts and dabbles into filtration.
Scenario - one large oscar, three medium chiclids in a 550litre (approx 147 gal) freshwater tank.
Filtration originally - single internal pump with attached bio filter 2000 Litres per hour hooked up to a rain bar.
This was proving sufficient for awhile, but with no plants at the time and no undergravel filtration, I was finding algal blooms and fluctuating water quality to be an issue as the chiclids grew.
Decided against the more expensive canister filter option; deciding to build my own external filter.
One 54 litre black UV resistant tub - $12.00 AU
One sink drain fitting with pipe bend - Free, reused/trash and treasure
Two lengths of metre long 20mm poly - $9.00 AU
Various connectors - $ 2.00
One small tube marine sickaflex $10.00
River stone - $10.00
Gravel - $8.00
Bio Sponge mats - $ 2.00
Zeolite pads - $8.00
ceramic beads - $15.00
bio balls - $2.00
Optional - self watering pots (varies in price usually around a $1.00 each)
peat based potting mix for indoor plants - $12.00
Wall braces - $16.00
soldering iron (useful to smooth down the plastic after cutting)
wet dry fine grit sandpaper.
Method to the madness...
1. Cut a hole in the base of the tub to fit your sink assembly
Place the hole in the far corner on one side, creating a longer flow distance for the water to travel.
2. Sickaflex this into place.
NOTE: The reason for the sink assembly is it's easy to drop a plug in it when u need to clean it. Also allows you to fit pipes up that are large enough to happily flow upwards of 3000 - 5000 litres an hour. Also, there are self sealing assemblies that allow you to disassemble the plumbing for ease of cleaning .
3. Fit up your return plumbing first, let it cure etc and test it for leaks. Make sure you measure twice and cut once.
Depending on the location of your tank to the location of your filter will determine your requirements for the intake and outlet plumbing, but in principle it's simple.
Water goes in the furthest point of the tub; is filtered through your choice of filter medium and is fed back to your tank.
Leave a little bit of space between the return drain and the water level of your tank; this will help oxygenate the water by breaking the surface.
I run terrestrial plants in self watering pots on top of the substrate and also have a little contingent of semiaquatic acorus gramineus planted directly into the substrate helping to filter it.
This in conclusion; gives me a semi cleaning wet/dry biofilter.
Some people find it difficult with any sort of subtank/external filtration system to get the water levels right without flooding their tanks.
The filter can sometimes get blocked and flood out ... Easy fix is to pipe up an overflow line in your filter to dump the water back into your tank