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DIY Canister Filter
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azadean
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Location: Perth, Australia

PostPosted: 2007.01.17(Wed)19:42    Post subject: DIY Canister Filter Reply with quote

I currently have a 250L tank that has an eheim filter that has never given me a single problem in over 2 years of service. But I want to get a much larger tank. ie 650+ litres. Now that will need a great deal of filtration.

The tank is going to be planted so I do not want a sump to reduce the level of CO2 I intend to use. Other than spending big bucks on a couple of different filters, I have come up with a simple yet hopefully very effective way to make a large canister type filter. Before I undertake this experiment I would like some feedback on the design.

I have done a crude drawing but am having trouple posting it so I will try to explain. (I'm not a computer buff.)

Items
1 x Homebrew container (about 40 litres)
1 x power head (2-3000lph) or alternatively 2 x 1500lph
Filter materials (I will be using similar to eheim canister filter setup)
Fittings and hoses to and from tank

Firstly I will be using the existing tap hole at the bottom of the homebrew container, which has a thread to insert the correct fitting for a hose coming from the fish tank to the container.

The first thing to go into the bottom of the homebrew container is a small seperator that will allow water to flow into the container and keep the bio balls off the bottom.

Next I will add the bio balls or something similar. I have heard that just cutting up a length of water pipe into small pieces works just as well.

The next layer will be a piece of very coarse foam as a coarse filter. On top of this will contain the bulk of the fine media.

The next layer will be filter wool or similar as a fine filter. Lastly as an option a layer of carbon pellets or if I can get it a large pad of carbon.

Then a similar separator that I used on the bottom to keep it all together. The bio balls, fine media and carbon would all be kept in fine mesh bags for ease of cleaning and removal.

There would be little room for water to bypass the sides of the container as each level will be flush with the sides of the container.

Now to the lid. The good thing about homebrew containers are that they are completely watertight (except for the little hole in the lid). So I intend to use a power filter/head and install it with the inlet pipe going into the container and the outlep pipe going back to the fish tank.

All I will need to do is increase the size of the hole and use a special screw fitting from the hardware to create a fully watertight seal and allow water to be sucked into the container. Then I just attach the power head using hose from the container to the inlet of the power head and also from the outlet to the fish tank. If I go the option of 2 smaller output power heads then I would just repeat the process.

Now there are only a couple of issues I am not to sure about. The first one is priming, but I believe if I mount the power head below the water level in the homebrew container then using gravity it should self prime.

So that is basically it. Sounds simple enough so I intend to give it a go soon. If someone can direct me how to post a picture then I will add a drawing, but anyway if I can have everyones imput in the meantime that would be great.
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Bob
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Joined: 16 Jun 2006
Location: UK

PostPosted: 2007.01.18(Thu)4:10    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to build filters for Koi ponds all the time, but I never tried to build a cannister filter, the two main issues of a cannister filter are down to where it is normally housed (Under the tank).

This means you really need fantastic joints, otherwise your floor gets wet and your tank gets empty.

The other is fighting gravity, most pumps for powerheads etc are designed to circulate water, not pump it up hill. Unless your pump can cope long term with the head of water it needs to work with, it will wear out or stop working on a regular basis.

If you can house the filter above the tank in any way, then you can really go to town on filtration. You could use 40 gallon header tanks for filters and central heating pumps to lift the water (Gravity will get it back down) and you don't need to worry about the seals to contain the water pressure or priming.

Also if you build a cannister filter, you need to be able to shut the flow, so you can clean it etc.

Quote:
I used to build filters for Koi ponds all the time, but I have never tried to build a cannister filter


That statement should tell you something, if I can DIY it I will Wink

Hope that helps.

Bob
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azadean
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Location: Perth, Australia

PostPosted: 2007.01.18(Thu)6:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have called it a canister filter, but do not actually know if it is technically going to be one.

I believe that the lid seal onto the container will definitely not be a problem, and if I use good quality plumbing fittings and some silicone sealant then that should not be a problem either. I just hope the bottom hole has a universal thread.

As far as cleaning goes I will just turn off the pumps and if I have 2 taps on the inlet and outlet pipes then this will not be too much of a problem either.

I am concened as you have said about the pumps ability to return water to the tank long term. I thought that if I used 2 pumps then the load would be decreased. The water would only have to be pumped about 1.5 metres.

If I opt for a more expensive pump such as a magnetic drive water pump this may solve the problem but the cost factor begins to outweigh the benifit of diy.
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Bob
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Joined: 16 Jun 2006
Location: UK

PostPosted: 2007.01.18(Thu)7:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one pump that will work is a central heating pump, you could put the pump in the plumbing rather than in the filter, then just rig up the plumbing to the filter / tank.

The thing you need to take into account is the pressure, it's the tank full of water plus the fall, and as the pump is in the flow rather than the return this also builds up pressure.

If you do it the other way round, so the pump is on the return you would be nearer to a sump filter, and you wouldn't have to worry about the pressure.

Just the slight technicality of getting the water to flow out of the main tank, and stopping it if the return stops working, most folk who do sumps end up drilling holes in their tanks.

I think I would look around for a couple of second hand cannister filters.

Bob
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fishlover888
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Joined: 20 Dec 2006

PostPosted: 2007.01.18(Thu)10:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can buy a Fluval XP for the 600+ L tank. It should do a nice job for that kind of size. The cost is not going to be that much over your DIY project if you add in all the parts, especially the pump that can reach the head you need to overcome.

Another thing you need to consider is the noise. Most bigger pumps give out more noise than smaller powerheads. I'm almost sure the noise is going to the the killer for you. After all, you want to enjoy the fish without been bothered by the noise. I use a small pump while doing water changes. Even that I don't like the noise it creates. I just can not image running that 24x7 in my living room.
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azadean
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Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Location: Perth, Australia

PostPosted: 2007.01.19(Fri)18:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

What are the stats for the fluval xp? I can't seem to find it anywhere. It would have to circulate water at around 2500 litre/hour. (660GPH) I havent seen a filter that can do that. Meaning I would have to purchase 2 units which I know is better anyway for safety, but becomes expensive.

I live in Perth, Australia and we don't have huge ranges of product here. I know I can use internet but postage is a killer, and sorting out warranty problems becomes an issue. Picking up secondhand stuff is also limited here too. It just doesn't come up too often.

I am aware of the noise and could put some soundproofing around the area I will store the pumps. Also I intend to put the pump in the return line, not in the acutal container. I thought that gravity would assist in the return of the water to the tank. (At least to the top of the tanks water level.) If I made the line coming from the tank larger than the line going back I would think that this would increase pressure going back to the tank.
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