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DIY canister filter

50158 Views 21 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  dawntwister
I was asked a few times if I would post a DIY about a canister filter I made for a 2.5 gallon. So here I am finally getting around to showing how I made it.

First off I started with a sterilight 12 cup air and water tight canister. I forgot to take a photograph of the one I have...but it it the 12 cup square on the website.

I have surprisingly little amounts of full shots depicting what it looks like so bare with me...

this is the outflow.

I have the pump outlet shoved into a clear tube going into the fitting. however now it is slightly different. now I have an elbow 3/4" female threaded to 1/2 slip with a rubber seal, silicone and teflon tape on the threads.

this is the inflow.

(the only photograph I had of it...I never had problems with it so never needed to take a picture of it...)
This has the same elbow as the outflow. 3/4" female thread to 1/2" slip. (these were hard to find) along with the teflon tape rubber seal, and silicone.

This is the only way the electrical cord would be sealed 100%.

I used a 1/2 slip to 1/2 male thread with a female threaded endcap drilled to the diameter of the cord. both fittings are full of silicone. on the threads I have teflon tape, and between the plastic and the PVC I have a rubber seal with silicone.

The container it's self is not 100% airtight out of the assembly line so I did a bit of modification...

The tab that is used to release steam with microwaving food was not airtight so I added a bunch of silicone to it and fixed that problem.
Oh, and at first this may seem like the best place to put the electrical cord, but is me.

This is the intake I made out of old siphoning tubing.

I just used the trusty dremal tool's cutting wheel and cut three slices into the tubing. Then used a piece of foam (I am unsure what kind it is, I just found it in the garage not in a bag) and put a bead of silicone around it to insure it would stay in place. A rubber cork would work better.

this is another full shot of the filter. and gate valve I used for outflow regulation.

I would advise buying one of brass valves over the plastic much easier to work me on this as well. (make sure you do not buy copper if you have shrimp!)

For filter media I am using carbon bags, water polishing pads, pot scrubbers (sold in a 6 pack for .99 at the dollar store. you only need 4 for this size) and I had a bio-bag of ceramic cylinders laying around so I put that in there as well.

The filter has been up and running since early December without any problems and I plan on making more for other aquariums in the near future.

Hopefully this was helpful and I hope you enjoyed reading!

Please let me know if you have any questions, I'll be more than happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge.
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I used the smallest pump I had available at the time which ended up being an 80GPH fountain pump.

here is how I separated the filter media.

Top part is for pot scrubbers, middle has water polishing pads on top of the carbon bags, andi n the bottom I have the pump with the bio cylinders.

I had most of the parts, but for the sterilight container I paid 5.99, no more than 5.00 for plumbing parts (I had some of them already. the 90's.) .99 for pot scrubbers. polishing pad (way over priced in pet stores) 5.99. egg crate (used to keep media separate) I think way 5.00 or 10.00 for a 4 by 8 foot section. (I am not positive on that price...) and the brass gate valve was 6.00

for this it'll cost under 35.00 and it'll work for aquariums up to a 20 gallon, but I'd suggest using it on no more than a 10 gallon. easily done with larger aquariums, just need a larger container and pump.
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Thanks Jeepn4X4.

it took a little while to get the project going. I read a few accounts on people who have tried doing this with mixed results and some negative feedback. I can say that I am very happy using this filter and I would not buy a filter for a small aquarium ever again after making this one.
apparently brass is bad. copper and zink...both bad. need to replace the brass gate valve. glad I found out before I lost any fish of shrimp!
can you use air pump to make a air bubble filter for a 2.5G, air pump, filter sponge and a plastic tube(or a soda bottle) are the only things for this setup.

look at your project, I feel like you made yourself a nice 155mm gun but to shoot a mosquito.
I find that over filtration on a smaller aquarium than under filtration. I dislike bad water quality.

I hate using bubble filters. they take up to much room and look ugly in my opinion.
with this small of an aquarium I don't really 'need' a lot of space for filtration media. the egg crate is pretty small, but not 1/4" small.

when I make another filter for a larger aquarium I'll try and find what you are talking about because the more room the better. Thanks for letting me know.
niko the link is not working for me at the moment...

I'll take better photographs tomorrow and display how I hooked up the Powerhead to the output.
I honestly would go for a fountain pump. Powerheads in my experience tend to go out a lot faster than pond/fountain pumps. Which might be due to the fact that Pond/fountain pumps are designed to deal with sludge and debris.

I fail to see how that fitting would work...wouldn't I just end up doing the exact same thing I did with the 1/2" slip to thread and end cap? Or is there something I am missing?
of course it does. flawlessly for the entire setup this far. :)
Ok, well a few days ago I went into Lowe's to pick up a 5 gallon bucket. they happened to be next to the plumbing parts...well I found a CPVC dump and waste valve. (I think thats the name...) anyway, so I bought it for $4.00 and then two other fittings. 1/2" slip to 1/2" thread (which will fit onto PVC).

Previous valve

New valve

Fittings needed to make the valve work

This is not the best thing, but it will work fine and turns easily.

all the parts including the smallest piece of pipe I could find. ($1.50 for 5 feet)

measured the length of pipe needed by placing the valve on and marking the length of pipe that would enter the fitting

Glued and ready.

make sure to wrap teflon tape on the fittings.

Complete finally...

so now I can put fish/shrimp in the aquarium! I am glad that I can now without worrying about their health. Sadly it is a little bit wider than the brass valve, but it works, and will not leach copper into the aquarium.
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the tank is a 2.5 gallon rimless aquarium. I do not have a list of parts. if you would like some help on building one yourself let me know and I can give a few different scenarios asto what you can use to make it better suited to your application.
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