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Old 07-30-2011, 08:53 PM   #1
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DIY PVC Filter

The first thing I was taught about keeping fish was DIY...

With a neighbor with tons of extra plumbing parts, an aquarium, and the DIY bug. Oh! I forgot some beers. Those make a project interesting to say the least.

I've never been happy with most HOB filters, and canisters are too expensive IMHO. So I decided to go DIY, but had a hard time finding a design on the net I liked. (Mostly due to a small surface area on the filter media). I designed one myself with the main idea of surface area of the mechanical filter.

Since I got some ideas from the net, and a open source guy. I wanted to post my plans on the net here.

Please, honest options! I'm always open to improvements.
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Old 07-30-2011, 08:57 PM   #2
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I'll have to take more pictures of the second chamber when I do a filter change. I've lost the ones I took earlier. I'll also have exact measurements if anyone is interested...
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:36 AM   #3
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I would love the measurements, if possible. This looks like a great idea, and I would love to try it out. Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:21 PM   #4
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It was a fun DIY, that was for sure. I just purchased a 20G-Long so when I finally have that one about to get going. I'm going to disassemble this filter since it will be going to the new tank and take more pics and measurements.. (Kinda overkill for a 10G).
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:57 PM   #5
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Rofl... you did all that for a ten gallon? Wow! Lol! I have been wanting to do something like that for my ten gallon, but the HOB filter works just fine... I need to save my funds for ordering fish online for my new five gallon right now.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:47 AM   #6
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Rofl... you did all that for a ten gallon? Wow!
Well, it's the cleanest water I've seen in a 10G

My fish seem to do nothing but play in the output of the filter. Very fun to watch
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by kjbuente

Well, it's the cleanest water I've seen in a 10G

My fish seem to do nothing but play in the output of the filter. Very fun to watch
My guppies like to go up and down in the bubbles.... they are weird.
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kjbuente
I'll have to take more pictures of the second chamber when I do a filter change. I've lost the ones I took earlier. I'll also have exact measurements if anyone is interested...
What did you use to pull the water outta the tank and force it through the filter back into the tank
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:24 PM   #9
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I have build my own pvc overflow and made a sump out of my 10g, all by my own plans. I love how useful a little DIY can be. I have a 55g now, and needed a little better filtration than the HOB. Since I had the 10g sitting around, this is actually cheaper and better than buying a good HOB. With the addition of your idea, my tank should be crystal clear! Thanks again, definately following this thread.
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:22 PM   #10
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I'm using a intake from a old aquatech 5-15 filter connected to some 5/8 tubing then going directly to my filter connecting by 1/2 pvc with a valve.

After going though the filter, the water exits though another 1/2 pvc with a valve. Then it hits the marineland 1100 pump. (~300GPH) It finally enters the tank via some 3/4 pvc. I had a spray bar here. But the current was to strong. Using the glass to diffuse the current works very well.

Some are probably are going to say that the pump needs to push and not pull though the filter. Gravity seems to feed the pump just fine at the moment. I'm sure that will change once the filter starts to clog. I also have my gravel vac connected to the filter intake when cleaning. The fear of some gravel getting stuck is another reason that the pump is after the filter. But mostly, I emailed marineland and they said honor the warranty regardless of the configuration.

The valves are a must! With both valves closed, the vacuum cause in the taller chamber when I open the shorter chamber prevents any water rushing out and spilling on the floor. (think of a glass under water being lifted out with the open end at the bottom). Just do not open both chambers at the same time with out draining some water out first!
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:28 PM   #11
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I'm actually thinking of wrapping some quilt bating around the micron filter. Hoping that this will help the micron filter last a bit longer. (not an issue right now, just thinking ahead). I don't like the small amount of polyfil that I have right now.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:55 AM   #12
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I'm actually thinking of wrapping some quilt bating around the micron filter. Hoping that this will help the micron filter last a bit longer. (not an issue right now, just thinking ahead). I don't like the small amount of polyfil that I have right now.
What kind of glue/sealant did you use to put it all together, and can u show me how the pumps are situated one the filter and what is the tall tube and what is the bottom tube
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:31 AM   #13
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I glued the pvc with a normal pvc glue, and used 100% acetone to clean the connections. After the glue dried, I flushed it with tap water a few hours every day for a week to get the glue odor out. Then I let it sit in the open air for a few days while my pump arrived. When it finally did, I ran it fill of water and activated carbon. After this there was not a slightest hint of smell from the glue.

As far as the short and tall sections. The short section does course to medium mechanical filtration. (depends how tight I wrap the filter media around the 3/4 pipe. I have a picture of this piece in the op). This then goes though the pipe at the bottom into the taller section. In the taller section.

In the taller section. The water is going to pass though some quilt batting, then though a 30 micron house hold water filter that you can pick up at almost any hardware store. (I want to use a larger size micron filter, but having a hard time finding any). The way I have the micron filter in place is hard to explain, I'll have pictures and a video to show how I built it. But after the micron filter, the water then passes though some activated carbon. (temporally there for now, after the filter is "broke in" I'll stop using it). Then finally though some bio media before reaching the pump to be pumped back into the tank.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:54 AM   #14
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Man I really wanna do that for the 30g I will be getting soon. I'm a DIY kinda person. Love building things. I understand the concept but were is the pump that pulls the water outta the tank located at. Is it in the tank or what and the second one is were also. Sorry I'm making this complicated but I wanna build one also
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:44 AM   #15
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There is only one pump, it is a Marineland 1100. It is located behind my tank, on the right hand corner. With it there, it is a strait shot up into the return for the tank.

Like it said, Hopefully I'll have more pics and a video of the entire filter and it's connections.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:43 PM   #16
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Very Nice, I love this DIY project. Looks very efficient
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:42 PM   #17
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I promised videos and here they are...

Two things....

I just my phone to record this. For some reason the video and audio tends to drop out.

Second, I never recorded something that I did myself before. I'm nervous and my speech is far from perfect. So please try ignore all the "umms" awkward pauses and repeats.

First video is the first chamber that catches the large particles.
‪DIY PVC chamber 1‬‏ - YouTube

Second Video is what is in the chamber that catches the finer particles and biomedia.
‪DIY PVC chamber 2‬‏ - YouTube

Putting it all together....
‪DIY PVC assembly‬‏ - YouTube

I'll have the lengths hopefully soon. Power just failed and running on UPS power...

Please let me know that you think!
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:53 PM   #18
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Very nice. That looks great
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:05 PM   #19
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Funny thing is i made one just like this with 3 chamber.
ill have a drawing out....


I use this with all my tank .. pretty much every single tank/jar is run by this filter... my betta drip system also run through this filter... the water pump everything back out to every single tank/jar.. note that every jar is connc with a controll vav to lower the drip...

in each chamber you pretty much add whatever you like, like filter floss, bio max, bio ball, bio whatever you name it...

also you can turn my design into a DIY RO system to filter your old tank water so u can reused the nasty tank water over n over and save money on water bills ... the stuff u use will have to be the same stuff a RO system use...
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:09 PM   #20
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Where do you get these designs
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