I strongly dislike the commercially available internal filters which come in such an unsightly and boring container they are however a neccessity to keep our aquatica alive and happy
. They also come in an awkward shape which is difficult to easily hide creating a black skyscraper in out near faultless tankspace.
Atm these instructions are a brain fart I have built it 3 days ago but I won't know for a month or 2 how well it works and undoubtedly in that time I will make small corrections and improvements hopefully resulting in an efficient design comparable to your standard internal filter. So keep checking any major updates I will edit the original post as I go atm it is very simple so that anyone can follow with ease.
My filtration and moss wall tile is 355mm x 203mm x 36mm (LxHxD) which has a filter area of 0.001441 m³ compared with the fluval 1+ which has 0.000148 m³ which is 9.7 times the surface area and potential for bacterial growth and biofiltration. My tank is 20L and I previously had a fluval 1+ filtering now my tank water is filtered 37.5 hour without a strong current due to the natural dampening effect of the sponge, thus restricting surface movement which could lead to loss of CO2 not good for you plant lovers.
(prices don't really relate as I was buying mass quantities to allow for room for a LOT of error I still have enough let over to build another tile check dimensions before you start)
1. Plastic grid with approx 15mm square holes, must be atleast twice the length of the area you wish to cover. I got 6meters x 0.5meters from my local garden centre for £3
2. Approx 40 zipties (cable ties) 100mm in length £0.75
3. 1.5 meters Eheim aquarium piping (12/16) £8 for 3 meters
4. 0.5 meters Eheim aquarium piping (9/12) £6 for 2.2 meters
5. Maxi-jet 750 £24.99 (not essential I can use my fluval 1+ and 2+ as the hose fits on the outlet I preffered the pressure of the 750l/hr)
6. T junction for 12/16 tubing £2
7. Christmas tree moss £5
8. 6x Suction cups with 6mm air line clips £2.50 (available from your LFS)
9. Fluval 4+ 4 pack of coarse filter sponges £5
10. Match stick (temporary)
11. Large thick
sewing needle (thinner standard needles had tendency to bend) (parental supervision required)
12. 1.25 meters Fishing line
14. Sharp knife (parental supervision I cut myself 3 times my gf had to leave as she felt ill from the blood)
15. Tape measure
16. 1 hour of time
17. Cold beers (18+ ofcourse)
total: £57.50 by me yours should come out to cheaper
Step by step:
(prepare a suitable working area before hand) (click on pictures to enlarge and click on subsequent images to enlarge further)
1. Confirm measurements of area, mark and cut filter sponges to size mine were 185mm (save scraps)
2. Line up sponges next to each other making sure all are level. Thread the large needle with fishing line, providing a small loop at one end (opposite end to needle)
3. Push needle through the first sponge approx 15mm from the top of sponge, pull the slack through until 20mm of line and the loop is left on the side. Place matchstick through loop and pull tight
4. Thread all the sponges together using a ruler to check that the thread is uniform across the internal of the sponge as you pierce the sponge. Do this at 3 heights. I did 20mm, 90mm and 160mm
5. Check sponges fit when conjoined and work out how much of the spare sponge scraps need to be added to ensure a tight fit.
6. Measure and cut out the plastic grid to which the whole structure will be contained remember to cut at double the length of the area you wish to cover. Cut and measure the 16/12 hose to length twice, allow for a loop from one side to the other and back again. Mine are 700m x2
7. Start attaching the hosing to the grid using zip ties. Try and create as gentle a curve as possible, so that there are a limited number of kinks which may restrict flow and create dead spots in the filter.
8. Do the same for the other tube and using the knife make V shaped cuts in the tubing on the side that isn't covered by the grid (see diagram), so that you can visibly see through to ensure water escapes when turned on. The angles must be different for the sides of the cut for the flow to self regulating ensuring that the fist vents don't let all the pressure go to waste. The elongated angle side needs to be opposite to the theoretical predominant flow of water as shown, half way along the S bend you will need to change direction of the V due to water entering from both ends equally.
9. Where the two ends of 16/12 meet use the 9/12 tubing with 2 zip ties per joint as supports to ensure the water doesn't leak under pressure (you can also use the 9/12 tubing for the curves spreviously mentioned as it is easier to bend this upto user disgression). Secondly use the 9/12 and the aforementioned technique to extend the circuit tubing out of the top of the grid and give sufficient length to reach your pump/ fluval filter, I reccomend you just leave along amount on and cut once in the tank.
10. Take your preprepared filter sponges and lay them on top of the pipes then cover with an EVEN
layer of moss if it is uneven you may end up with patching of the moss and leaves that are covered may rot and brown due to lack of light.
11. Now seal up with zipties ensuring it is secure and impossible for anything to move apart. Use the needle and fishing line again to reinforce any rows where moss appears loose and easily escapable
12: Attach the suction cups on the reverse side which will be against the tank wall ensuring they are tight against the grid and unlikely to move without excessive force. A view of the other side:
13. Add the T-valve so that the loop is complete with one intake, you will need 3 small lengths (40mm) of 16/12 to adapt the piping from the 9/12 currently going out of the loop to the T-connector and from the T-connector to the pump. I have made mine super long so that it is more accessible for experimentation :shifty: yours only needs to be long enough to reach the pump/ fluval filter.
(to be extended as stated)
Straight after building:
My shrimp seem to like to molt behind the filter (they walk over the top above water line) as its a restricted area where they aren't disturbed I am currently think of a way to cut them off completely. So far it seems safe for them to molt there but I do check every few hours incase one gets stuck for an extended period. So far had 2 molts behind it with no casualties. I have also noticed a new behaviour in my amano's they like to bask in the morning they aren't trying to escape and remain with only there heads just above the water line. I have heard cases that they can be out of the water for upto 24hours and survive so I gave them a ramp incase they were trying to escape and put water pots all around my room for them to find a new home if they wished. Not one left for 2 days/nights.
I am using my fluval 1+ filter atm to power the loop in the hope that this will speed up the cycling of the new filter.
The water pressure may cause loose substrate such as sand to be moved if it is exposed directly to an outlet in a tube this can be easily fixed with some insulation tape to divert outlet in the tubing and silicone to ensure it stays in place.
Air bubbles are normal for the first couple of days of running however if prolonged then you will need to discover the source. Shaking the pump whilst underwater should help release any trapped air.