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Old 04-14-2011, 03:22 PM   #1
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DIY Filtration

Freshwater filtration. (sorry SW, but my waste water books just don't cover that topic... unless you want me to change it into freshwater.)

Freshwater filtration has 3 normal stages.

Mechanical: this basically removal of large suspended particles. A medium to fine sponge will accomplish this easily. 20NM for average aquariums is my recommendation. 10NM for fine particles and higher water quality.

Biological: This requires a surface area for bacteria to grow. I perfer to use bio balls or another form of suspension media. Bio balls seem to give the best surface area and are easily cleaned.

Chemical: This normally takes the form of activated carbon. Activated carbon will remove chemicals from the water absorbing the chemicals into itself.

My Design: I prefer to use only mechanical and biological. This is because you should not need chemical unless your treating something in your tank or have just added new drift wood or rocks. Otherwise I recommend against chemical treatment. Keep activated carbon around, you will need it occasionally but as a primary treatment, no.

First I took an Aqua tech 5-15. These are about 10 dollars at walmart. That makes it an excellent filter to make mistakes on. I also go some flat sponges and bio balls from my LFS total was $10 again.

Below I will explain how I made the filter and add pictures.
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
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Aqua tech 5-15.
Mod 1:
Pull out of box. Open top and measure area filter cartridge was going to be inserted into.

Insert sponge into filter. Insure it has been cut short enough top can close. Fill area behind the sponge with bio balls. Attach to aquarium and allow to run. Congrats! you have set up your own filter.

Maintenance: Every 3 months after a PWC I take out the sponge and the bio balls and put them in a bucket with the spent aquarium water. Gently shake the sponge in the water to clear it. Put it back into the filter, then do the same with the bio balls. This should keep your filter clear. If you have a much bio load you may wish to do this more frequently. This is all the maintenance required.
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Old 04-14-2011, 03:43 PM   #3
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Aqua tech 5-15 (Pictures to follow as soon as I find my cord.)
Mod 2:

This mod merely increases the retention time in the filter. Why would you want to do this? GPH flow rate isn't really a true measure of the filtration capacity of a filter. Suppose that in 1 hour your filters bacteria are capable of treating 100 gallons of water at average everything. You filter moves 240 GPH. That extra 140 GPH dosn't accomplish anything. The "retention time" Time in the treatment system is what matters. For mechanical filtration of course more is always better.
On to the filter.

Pull out of box. Open top and measure area filter cartridge was going to be inserted into.

I took an old and broken whisper 40 filter but almost any sort of sturdy water container that is plastic and can be attached to your filter will work.

I cut the pump area (which was broken) off of the whisper 40, sanded and washed the edges and then glued it to the side of the aqua tech 5-15. After a day I siliconed the inside of the join.
Allow the silicone to dry and then cut out along the wall between the aqua tech and the whisper. I made sure to leave a nice cushion on that part.

Insert sponge into filter. Insure it has been cut short enough top can close. Add a second sponge over the outflow area of the add on. Fill area behind the sponges with bio balls. Attach to aquarium and allow to run. Congrats! you have set up your own filter.

Maintenance: Every 3 months after a PWC I take out the sponge and the bio balls and put them in a bucket with the spent aquarium water. Gently shake the sponge in the water to clear it. Put it back into the filter, then do the same with the bio balls. This should keep your filter clear. If you have a much bio load you may wish to do this more frequently. This is all the maintenance required.
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:54 AM   #4
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Simple idea, that will work. However, bioballs are a poor choice for the biomedia in this type of setup; they don't have that much surface area. you would be better served using plastic pot scrubbers as they have more surface area for the same volume. Bio Filter Media for Ponds and Koi is a worthwhile link for anyone wanting to optimize their filtration.
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