I need more filtration, but I'm on a tight budget. I have a 55 gallon Malawi Cichlid tank, so I should provide twice as much filtration as mfg recommended, so the right store-bought filter for me would be an AquaClear 110/500. However, I've been considering a DIY sump/wet-dry filter with overflow. I'm going to do a cost analysis to see which makes sense and document in this thread. I will likely be editing these post(s) to keep the number of posts at a minimum.
First, a quick explanation of the AC110/500. It's an HOB
rated at 500 GPH
max output (166 GPH
full flow control), and rated for 60-110 gallon tanks. It features a multi-stage filtration system, and includes AquaClear foam bio material (mechanical filtration), activated carbon (chemical filtration), and BioMax (inert ceramic rings for biological filtration). It sells online for about $70.00, and in store for about $90.00.
The sump/filter that I would consider would have similar or more capabilities. I'm using this post on a DIY-Sump/Overflow as my starting point Good inexpensive second filter
. Oh yeah... it can't look ugly. It's got to be as easily overlooked at the AC110. I've seen a number of very clever and hefty filtration systems that although I'm sure work effectively, they are an eyesore. It also has to be as quiet as possible. Not silent, but not overly splashy. If I can manage to make it airtight, I would love to hide it underneath the aquarium stand; but I don't want condensation to weaken the integrity of the particleboard that the stand is made of.
Here are the materials that I would need for my DIY filter and estimated costs, so far:
- Container for the sump. Searching local stores...
- A ~500 GHP water pump. Still researching...
for the overflow. Est 3"x10" : $8.83 at Home Depot
for the return. Est 1"x10" : $1.73 at Home Depot
- Tubing and coupler to connect the pump to the return. Est $5
- The "jet" head at the end of the return. Not sure what to call this or where to buy it. Still researching...
- Mechanical and biological filtration. Not too concerned about activated carbon.
My 55 gallon aquarium is 48.25"L x 12.75"W x 21"H (<47 gallons). The hight in particular is what I will need to calculate how much PVC
I would need for my overflow.
I would need much larger diameter on for the overflow PVC
than for the return to ensure that water can flow freely to the sump.