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Old 10-25-2013, 12:02 AM   #1
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DIY canister filter idea

The backstory-

I work at Lowes, technically in delivery, but still spend many days on the sales floor. Ever since I have gotten my tank, my fish are all I can think about. So I was walking through the store the other day, and saw the submersible pumps used for pond waterfalls/fountains and right next to it were stacked those blue 5 gallon Lowes buckets. See where I'm headed?

Any thoughts on a DIY canister?

My idea is to use a bucket with a lid that has a hole cut out and a sections of pvc pipe siliconed to it.
One pipe would be very short, just enough to attach a tube to allow water to travel from the tank, into the bucket via siphon.
Another hole would be cut at the bottom of the bucket, with a piece of pipe attached to allow for the return tubing.

As far as the power cord for the pump, Im a little lost. I was thinking another hole at the bottom to allow for it, but dont know how to seal it. Silicone comes to mind, but I'm worried about possible leaks and flooding.

Like my current canister I would use several trays to hold the media, a sponge and media sintered glass on one, a sponge and lava rock on the second, and then a tray with filter floss. The trays would allow for easy removal when the need to clean the media comes up.

You wouldnt need to fill the bucket with media, the surface area of the diameter of the bucket itself will be a lot. This would add, in my estimation, another 3-4 gallons of water to the tank. Not a lot, but it is more than I currently have.


To further my idea, a second bucket with matching holes drilled into the bottom could be siliconed to the top of the first bucket.
The siphon would drain directly into the top, and the original intake tube would be lengthened to now act as an overflow.
The top bucket would be left open, as a refugium. A short light could be attached above the bucket, and some plants and maybe shrimp or snails would stay in this.

A line could be split off of the intake tube, with a valve shutoff to control flow. This could be used to acclimate new fish to your current water conditions.

This set up would now add another 4 gallons (I wouldnt want the top, open, bucket to be completely full) bringing a total of 8-9 additional gallons to your tank.

The whole point of this is a cheaper alternative to the regular sump tank.

The buckets are just about $2.50 each
A submersible pump from harbor freight is $14.99 for 264GPH or $34.99 for 620GPH
5/8 ID tubing is $0.46 a foot, lets use 10 feet - $4.60
And we'll use $20.00 for the few pieces of pvc pipe and silicone.

If my theory holds water .. This would give you a 9 gallon sump/refugium at right around $65 for the 620GPH only 45 for the 264GPH. Not counting the lights of course.

Have I missed anything? Any thoughts or ideas?
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:20 AM   #2
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The problem here is that the pressure has the potential to warp these buckets. Also, just the cover and silicone are not enough to prevent water from spilling out. It's been done, but many have made it successful and complain that the maintenance isn't worth it. I'd advise you stick with a DIY sump/wet dry system involving a sturdy rubber maid and one of those buckets
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:22 AM   #3
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Oh well, Im glad I asked here rather than attempted the build and found out on my own.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reaper216 View Post
Oh well, Im glad I asked here rather than attempted the build and found out on my own.
Yeah I've looked into it before as well. It's easier to avoid the "pressurized" route which is what canisters are famous for. You could build it and leave it at the same level of the tank but that's usually not an option for most of us. I'd look into a wet/dry DIY like I mentioned if you wana stick with a project, otherwise there's always good used finds on Craigslist and eBay. Sun sun canisters are cheap and work great as well
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:38 AM   #5
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Craigslist isnt too worth it where I am. Hard to find good deals, and when I do they turn out to be fakes lol. Had one guy a few weeks ago with a post for a whole mess of decorations, 2 resin driftwood pieces, 12 rock caves, 20+ fake plants etc for $25.
2 hour drive later and the guy never showed up, I got a text 2 days later saying he already sold them.

Everyone else wants just about retail price for used items.

I have a hob and canister on my 40 now, this was just something to do lol.
I'll look into a wet/dry now, have never heard of that before.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:55 PM   #6
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Look up urajoey on youtube. He has a butt load of diy videos for aquarium hobbyists. He has several videos on how to make wet/dry, trickle, hob filters. He covers just about everything, even how to build your own aquarium. As far as using a 5g bucket, yes, just google or youtube how to build a shut off system to prevent overflow.
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