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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-15-2015, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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DIY filter cartridges

Howdy there! I recently went to the dollar store and bought a whole bunch of random stuff to make filters and thought I should share it with everyone, maybe get some advice on how to improve it. In total I think I spent around 12 dollars and now have easy to clean filter sponges and up to 10 uses of carbon.
I will start with what I bought, the price and where I got it-

I did visit my nearest walmart, carbon is not something you usually find at a dollar store ;A;

3 little red clay pots, meant for biomedia.

These are coarse scrubby sponges, the ends are sewn into the sponge on the inside so in order to get the sponge out you have to cut one of the ends off.

After cutting, pull open the cut end so sponge can be seen. (messed up on blue sponge, red is taking its place)

Pull coarse layer inside-out so the sponge is no longer inside of it, this will also help release some of the loose fibers created by cutting.

Now rip them apart, carefully though. It is okay to rip the sponge but do not tear the coarse layer, as it will make a hole that will prove inconvenient in the next few steps.

Take the coarse layer and turn it right-side out. This is the step when you should wash it or let it soak, if you are worried about possible dyes and loose fibers.

After you're done with whatever, fill that baby up with some activated carbon. Choose whatever amount is suitable for your tank and wallet.
http://vid270.photobucket.com/albums...psxtdpvhga.mp4
A little video on how to close the open end, the fibers stick to each other, like a weaker version of Velcro, and prevents carbon from spewing every where. (sorry for noisy background) Thats it for the carbon steps.

Sponge step-

Make thinner layers of sponge by cutting them in half and removing the scrubby side. This can be done with a serrated knife or a pair of scissors.

Now you have a little filter sandwich with carbon in the middle.

Biomedia-
This is not finished, I will be adding a part on homemade ceramic bio-media soon.

Take a little clay pot and put it on a wash clothe and wrap it up nice and snug. Go grab a hammer now.

Smash it into smaller pieces.

Then put the pieces into another coarse sponge bag.

and make an even bigger sandwich. <3
I haven't gotten to wrapping the pieces together, perhaps I can get some suggestions on that. I was thinking of some kind of mesh baggy or maybe twine/string of some sort.
How much 12 dollars will give you-

Sponges clean easily, coarse bags can be reused, and 9oz of carbon will last for me about 10 baggy refills. So after you get all of that, all you will need to re-buy in the future is carbon. Share your ideas with me! I love improvement.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-15-2015, 07:39 AM
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That is genius
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-15-2015, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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That comment just absolutely made my day ;u; Thank you so much <3
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-15-2015, 11:39 AM
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The carbon bags can be bought online for less than a dollar.
Be careful with any cleaning sponges, many are toxic to tanks.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-15-2015, 01:01 PM
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I haven't used carbon in decades. Not needed in a planted tank really. And the sponges will have more bio on it then the clay pot ever will. There is just not enough surface area there.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chris_ranger View Post
The carbon bags can be bought online for less than a dollar.
Be careful with any cleaning sponges, many are toxic to tanks.
I will be sure to look for them and see if it would be a better buy, since they are online I have to take in account of the shipping. And thanks for that heads up, I will be sure to test the ones I have now in separate water to see if it changes anything and to be sure its safe.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s
I haven't used carbon in decades. Not needed in a planted tank really. And the sponges will have more bio on it then the clay pot ever will. There is just not enough surface area there.
I wish my tank were like that, unfortunately my main tank is not planted enough yet to ditch the carbon filter, I don't want to take the risk so better safe then sorry. I felt the sponge would be sufficient enough for bio, thank you for confirming the thought, now I can subtract the pots from the grand total (they will make cute little decorations now)
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by namicat101 View Post


I wish my tank were like that, unfortunately my main tank is not planted enough yet to ditch the carbon filter, I don't want to take the risk so better safe then sorry. I felt the sponge would be sufficient enough for bio, thank you for confirming the thought, now I can subtract the pots from the grand total (they will make cute little decorations now)
Guess I wasn't clear. I don't use carbon in ANY of my tanks and haven't for years. Mostly because I just kept forgetting to put it in after a change but I found it really didn't help much if at all if I was doing maintenance. Heck I even use to get my wife's nylons and cut the toe off for a carbon bag before filter cartridges came around. I just never really noticed a difference in my fish only tanks either. I still have a ton of it left over in a sealed container. This is that area that is neither right nor wrong. If it makes you happy do it.

BTW I use those little pots for plants. Put a bit of top soil in plant a stem or 5 and add some sand for a cap, plop it into a tank.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-16-2015, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
Guess I wasn't clear. I don't use carbon in ANY of my tanks and haven't for years. Mostly because I just kept forgetting to put it in after a change but I found it really didn't help much if at all if I was doing maintenance. Heck I even use to get my wife's nylons and cut the toe off for a carbon bag before filter cartridges came around. I just never really noticed a difference in my fish only tanks either. I still have a ton of it left over in a sealed container. This is that area that is neither right nor wrong. If it makes you happy do it.

BTW I use those little pots for plants. Put a bit of top soil in plant a stem or 5 and add some sand for a cap, plop it into a tank.
Whoa that's fascinating, I will have to try to take it out sometime and see if anything changes, it would be much more cost effective just to drop the carbon completely. The nylons might be a good idea for the filter bag idea im looking for to keep everything together.
I do that too *u* But I use organic potting soil with a little piece of clay, I do top it off with sand though. Sometimes I think they look tacky but if you place them just right they look great Certainly a lot more sturdier and appealing then the containers from the pet store.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by namicat101 View Post
Whoa that's fascinating, I will have to try to take it out sometime and see if anything changes, it would be much more cost effective just to drop the carbon completely. The nylons might be a good idea for the filter bag idea im looking for to keep everything together.
I do that too *u* But I use organic potting soil with a little piece of clay, I do top it off with sand though. Sometimes I think they look tacky but if you place them just right they look great Certainly a lot more sturdier and appealing then the containers from the pet store.
Not sure what you use the little piece of clay for.

I use only the top soil. Never had trouble. And a lot less work.
I use the clay pots in the small size and also a 4" azalea clay pot. It's shorter than a standard pot. Think I pay about 75 cents for them. I also use net pots. Mostly use them though to give the plants a start in a tank. Have a few in my 75. I put a 3-4" gravel bed then bury the net pot into that bed. Gives the roots a good start until they branch into the gravel.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
Not sure what you use the little piece of clay for.

I use only the top soil. Never had trouble. And a lot less work.
I use the clay pots in the small size and also a 4" azalea clay pot. It's shorter than a standard pot. Think I pay about 75 cents for them. I also use net pots. Mostly use them though to give the plants a start in a tank. Have a few in my 75. I put a 3-4" gravel bed then bury the net pot into that bed. Gives the roots a good start until they branch into the gravel.
Ah its for a little extra iron boost and bonds to the dirt a little so it stays put better.
What are net pots? Never heard of them before :0
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 09:04 AM
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I like carbon.

namicat, those are some good ideas in the OP. Thanks for sharing. Another good media you might want to consider is nylon pillow stuffing. It is a good alternative to "filter floss." I buy $3.99 pillows from the Dollar store it lasts forever.

I used to have a few tetra whisper filters. Instead of buying the new inserts, I used the frame and covered it w/nylon panty hose filled with pillow stuffing, charcoal, whatever. Worked pretty well.


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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 11:03 AM
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Purigen instead of carbon, IMO.


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-17-2015, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by namicat101 View Post
Ah its for a little extra iron boost and bonds to the dirt a little so it stays put better.
What are net pots? Never heard of them before :0
Net pots for hydroponics.

I doubt a fired clay is going to add much of anything to the situation. I've got tons of them and the dirt comes off pretty easy. Raw clay may be a different story. BTW so far in this game I've rarely added fertz of any kind. But I do change things out pretty regular and I am on untreated well water so there are minerals in that.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by burr740 View Post
I like carbon.

namicat, those are some good ideas in the OP. Thanks for sharing. Another good media you might want to consider is nylon pillow stuffing. It is a good alternative to "filter floss." I buy $3.99 pillows from the Dollar store it lasts forever.

I used to have a few tetra whisper filters. Instead of buying the new inserts, I used the frame and covered it w/nylon panty hose filled with pillow stuffing, charcoal, whatever. Worked pretty well.
Thanks! I have used Polyester fiber meant for pillow stuffing before, can get a large bag for 4$ just about any store with a sewing section. That stuff is great, catches so much dirt especially after fogging up the water after doing a bad job with adding substrate (those were dark days ;A Ive gotta get me some of those panty hose everyone keeps bringing up, unfortunately even though im a girl I was never into wearing them neither was anyone else in my family. What charcoal do you use, any special type? Im trying to learn up on filter mediums, charcoal is not something im knowledgeable with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chocological
Purigen instead of carbon, IMO.
What is purigen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s
Net pots for hydroponics.

I doubt a fired clay is going to add much of anything to the situation. I've got tons of them and the dirt comes off pretty easy. Raw clay may be a different story. BTW so far in this game I've rarely added fertz of any kind. But I do change things out pretty regular and I am on untreated well water so there are minerals in that.
I will have to keep an eye out for them, would love to learn more about hydroponics some day, this year im going to try setting up a aquaponics system using a metal frame intex pool. gonna be interesting.
Oh the clay I put in with my substrate is not fired Generally I put a nice amount in there while its wet and if I feel like putting some in later I dry it in little balls so it doesn't make a mess in the water. I have well water too but im fighting against high ph so sometimes my plants dont do well, it seems to help if they have a little iron boost. Im also thinking about removing the dirt substrate completely and replacing it with sand as my friend did this with the same water as mine and her plants are doing extremely well, making me jealous.
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