I am helping my friend set up a 79 gallon cylindrical acrylic tank. It already has two holes drilled in the bottom. He purchased a Fluval 304 canister filter for the tank, and he is currently building a cylindrical stand for the tank. He wants the filter to be as invisible as possible. He does not want to see any tubes or hoses associated with the filter. I thought of two ways to proceed:
1. Buy a hexagonal undergravel filter. Plug one of the two uplift tube holes in the filter plate. Place filter plate in tank. Insert one end of the canister filter intake tube into one of the holes in the tank bottom so that intake tube is flush with tank bottom. Seal joint with silicone sealant. Insert the output hose through the other hole in the tank bottom running it up through the unplugged hole in the undergravel filter plate. Apply silicone sealant around joint in tank bottom. Attach output nozzle to output hose and add gravel to the tank to hide everything except the output nozzle. Canister filter is hidden inside the stand.
2. Insert canister filter intake tube through one of the holes in the tank bottom so that intake tube protrudes a few inches above tank bottom. Seal joint in tank bottom with silicone sealant. Attach intake strainer to intake tube. Intake strainer will be pointing up not down now. Insert output hose through the other hole in tank bottom so that output hose protrudes a few inches above tank bottom. Seal joint in tank bottom with silicone sealant. Attach output nozzle to output hose. Add gravel to tank to hide everything except the intake strainer and the output nozzle. Again, canister filter is hidden inside the stand.
Would either of these ideas work? What are their weak points? Is there a better way to create an invisible canister filter setup?
P.S. The intake strainer for the Fluval 304 canister filter has a built-in ball valve. Does this work when upside down?
Cast plexiglass tube is nearly completly transparent and can be purchased without having to get a UGF (the tube that comes with the UGF's is extruded and has some slight visible white lines thoughout its length)
If you go route 2, dont silicone the in/outakes into the bottom of the tank. Too much potential for leaks. Use bulkheads it's the only way to do it right and they only cost $1.50