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Old 06-22-2003, 01:05 AM   #1
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DIY Canister Filter

Alrighty, while I wait on the reply for the New lights at HD and lowes I was looking for other projects that would benefit my 38 gallon (at this rate I think it is now a 38 gallon and not a 37). But alas I did find a dilemna of mine which was the cost of a decent canister filter. I just finished a DIY lights with the LoA which should hold me off getting new lights for about a year or so.. so I thought I could the same with a canister filter! I came upon this website:

http://www.aquaticsbykr.com/DIYCanisterFilter.htm

It looks like fun and cheap to. Thinking it could last me about a year or so, what do you all think? Is this a good idea, and will the one he made work for a 38 gallon tank? thanks!

Oh yeah add any more sights that may have other people doing it.. I would like to know how well it worked for them thanks again!
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Old 06-22-2003, 01:33 AM   #2
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It will work. A little DIY will turn a basic water filter into a canister filter very nicely. You could put biomedia (balls, ceramic chips, etc.) in one, chemical media (activated charcoal, phosphate remover, etc.) in one or mechanical filtraton in one. One may not be enough for a 38 depending on the fish load, FW or SW. You could easily hook several together.

Do it!
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Old 06-22-2003, 01:47 AM   #3
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Thanks, I was semi excited to do this.. but now it on! I only have one fish a monster Jack demsey muwahha
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Old 06-22-2003, 01:42 PM   #4
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looks like a good plan!

I'm using one of those models right now on my goldfish storage tank, except instead of diy'ing the filter media, I just used a 5 micron spiral wound nylon cartridge (2 for $1.89) and then filled the space around it with acti. carbon ... so I got a cheap micron filter I guess instead of a general purpose filter ... I can also load 20 micron pleated paper cartridges (2 for $1.89) or 1 micron porous carbon wrap cartridges (2 for $5.99), but I'm sure the 1 micron's would clog too quickly, and will probably switch to 20 micron pleated paper after I use up my 2 since it looks like I can clean 'em easier


the pump I'm using (maxi jet 1000) isn't quite powerfull enough to push the filter and a 2 ft head, so the flow is kinda low, but it works
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Old 06-22-2003, 04:37 PM   #5
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what pump should I use for the 38 gallon if I do make the DIY canister, I am getting parts after I write this, but the pump I can get later after I actually finish the little beast. thanks
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Old 06-22-2003, 06:05 PM   #6
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well, this filter really beats up on my maxi1000, which is 260 gph I think, and I think I'm getting 100 or less with a 2ft head

get the most powerfull pump you can affoard (within reason), 500 to 600 gph? ... you can always put a valve in after the filter to slow things down ... if that filter nocks the gph in almost in half then a 600 gph pump would give you 300 gph, add some head to get the water back uphill from the floor to the tank, and you're looking around 240 ... which would give you a turn over of about 6x an hour
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Old 06-22-2003, 11:21 PM   #7
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Interesting sounds good thanks! Any suggestions for brand.. plus should I get a pump with a pre filter? thanks... thus far it looks like I am going to go with a Rio.. seems to be loved by many.. but suggestions are always wanted! Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2003, 12:37 AM   #8
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well I finally finished constructing the DIY canister filter. I have no real complaints.. but a couple of suggestions, and thoughts. To begin the actual construction of the filter was easy as pie. A couple of measurements, one cut, a couple of drilled holes, and some silicon and voila, you're set on the hard part. The rest involves getting canister goodies (ceramics, lava rock, carbon, filter foam). I guess the only annoying part was that I had to go to Home depot a couple of times before I got everything everything to actually build the thing. Just as a reference.. Home Depot carries the General Electric version while lowes carries the OmniFilter which the guy uses on his website, even though the front picture on the website is the GE version). The GE version is 14 bucks while the OmniFilter is about 10. I have not noted much of a difference b/w the two, but lowes ran out od Omni, plus they were being a bunch of bums when I asked about it (aka they were no help in finding it or if they had anymore and turned to another customer before I could finish another question... so they stink... losers!).

Next thing is the cost. Everything was real cheap... way cheaper than an actual canister filter until that is you buy the water pump. After juggling a couple of things in my head I realized something. When I searched for opinions about what flow rate I should get the pump at.. people mention a number much higher than what canister filters (major brands) actually do. Plus I thought how much it would bite if the motor in the canister filter were to kaplooey on me and I would be in a not so good situation. So I said screw it and bought the rio 1400. It gives me plenty of power and should the filter not work and I lose interest I can use it as a power head and what not. Unfortunately I can not tell you the success of my DIY canister filter as of yet because I will be back in gainesville on friday. I think it will work just fine, the contruction was easy and is sturdy.

I did change one step though. I used epoxy instead of silicon. My dad assured me it was very safe and actually much tougher than silicon. I believe him because he uses this stuff 24/7 and he knows what he is doing just about all the freakin' time. I must admit it set very fast and is rock solid. Anyway please ask questions or throw your thoughts!!!
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Old 06-26-2003, 01:07 AM   #9
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sounds sweet man - great work putting it together, hope it works well for you.

here are a few things I've "reflected" on, now that this particular project is fresh in my mind...

as electrobes observed, a pump with considerable GPH was recommended. Much higher GPH than most any commerically produced canister filter is rated at ... this is because of the "inefficient" design of these "whole house" type filters ... they are designed to work with water pressure of 40 to 100 psi, which forces the water through all the bends, turns and what-not ... when using a simple aquarium pump with one of these filters, most of the pumps power is wasted on those same bends, turns and what-nots ... a commerical canister filter would be designed to eliminate as many "bottlenecks" as possible, to ensure a smooth and easy flow of water ... this lets them use a much smaller pump, and still maintain a good flow rate

the second thing about using one of these "whole house" filters is media capacity. with the 'strainer' tube in place, you can probably get 2 - maybe 2.5 cups of activated carbon into the cavity ... that's not a lot of media ... my fluval 404 (which cost around $90) can hold 2 liters of media (~8.5 cups) ... that's nearly 4 times the capacity, and only costs about 2 times as much (omnifilter + strong pump + fittings + hose = ~$50) ... I'm not saying the fluval is a great filter (it works fine for me), but if you look at the "value" of it, it is clearly a better choice than the diy method

finally... asthetics; i didn't used to care much about how my tanks looked, I was more interested in the mechanics and biology, than the decorative and asthetic appeal of the tank ... but now my tastes have changed ... to me having a large pump with some sort of sponge prefilter on it would look "out of place" in one of my tanks now ... I would try to hide it best I could, but it would be there still ... sure, you could setup an overflow to a sump and hide everything in the sump, but I've yet to figure out how to make an overflow 'silent' ... there is always noise, from a gurgling to a whoosing to a splashing ... my fluval: absolutlely silent ... even at full output ... plus, the intake strainer sits low in the back corner of the tank, hidden behind some anacharis, the outlet (which is connected to a spraybar) sits closer to the surface of the water, it was once a stark white pvc contraption that has now been adopted by algae and bacteria, and turned a good shade of brown ... with a little fox tail and anacharis draped over it, blowing in the current, it looks pretty cool ... the fluval sits in it's cakepan (to catch drips from maintainence) under the stand, quitely filtering away ... I can usually go for 2 months between cleanings ... it lets me know when it's time as the impeller starts chattering once enough gunk builds up in the impeller shaft well

these are just a couple 'o things to keep in mind for others looking to re-create this project

l8r,
glm
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Old 06-26-2003, 10:53 AM   #10
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Okay glmcell got a lot of interesting points in! And he got every single one on the dot. Well I'd like to start off about my 38 gallon. Basically it came with a "Whisper Power filter" I am not one for whisper products (not all bad but bad history with them). Then I wanted a canister filter really bad. Two tubes in your tank and presto!?!? Awesome! So I set off.. and did narrow choices down and then saw the DIY page. My problem: I love building stuff and then improving the design from there. Dang dad did that to me, stupid genetics! So of course I dove into it. Everything about the construction went pretty smoothly but of course I did mess one thing up now that I remembered... the strainer part of the pipe... I don't think I did enough.. but it still works fine so blah. But...After reading that page like 6 times I realized that he spoke of a much higher flow rate (as glmcell mentioned above) and I was like okay might as well get a water pump, since I never owned one before and it seems to be pretty helpful. Now about the ooglyness (heh Bearfan is not gunna like this) of it. Since living with power filters I haven't gotten used to the uglyness of the canister tubes that go in. To help with the hiding of the water pump, I am most liekly going to put a black background in the back of the tank. My power filters already make too much noise, so I think the canister or water pump noise will probably be alright if not magical to me :P . Also just IMO I think cleaning may be easier on a DIY canister simple because you can get more cleaning in and more approriately. heh we'll see I guess. I just hope my Jack Dempsey, "Pimpsmack" likes the set up and doesn't encounter too much discomfort
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