My first DIY canister filter

ruthven78

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Ok this is my first DIY canister filter, and really, my first DIY aquarium project period. There was a lot of trial and error involved so I hope to go over that with you. My design as the water emptying into the top, flowing down to the pump at the bottom of the tank.

Materials used:
16 cup Loc-tite food grade canister by Sterilite
200gph submersible pump
2 - 1/2" ID bulkheads
1 - 3/4" ID barbed adapter (intake)
2 = 1/2" ID barbed adapters (output)
DAP aquarium grade silicon
nylon mesh scrubbies (think I had 8 Tuffies total)
1 white bath/shower scrubber, unraveled
1 cut-to-fit piece of NaturalAire washable furnace filter made by Flanders Precisionaire*
tubing to fit both barbs, I DO NOT recommend pre-cut lengths, see more about this at the end.

*This said washable and resusable and was the first thing I found before the nylon scrubbies...I went looking everywhere and found the nylon scrubbies at Fred Meyers. I did try out the filter in an HOB filter for a couple months and the first are still alive and it hasnt clogged since I put them in. Was easy to cut to fit the HOB filter sizes. I use a layer of this as the primary mechanical filter, see photos below. I dont know if I picked it up at Lowe's or Home Depot, i think Lowe's. Inexpensive too, plan to replace all my HOB filters with it.

First pseudo-mistake I made was with the powercord on the pump. It was a pump I had laying around but didnt feel like cutting the cord. So I cut a hole big enough to fit the three-prong plug through. This posed a problem with leak and also the silicon didnt seem to want to adhere to the container. So I cut out two circular pieces of plastic (from a cheap food storage container), bigger than the hole. I also drilled holes about the diameter of the cord in the center and made a cut from the outer diamter to the inner small hole so I could wrap it around the cord. I put one piece on each side of the container wall. I then used superglue gel (lock-tite brand) to glue the circular pieces to the container. I made sure to make a good bead of glue all the way around. I let this sit for a few days to cure and gass off. I then sealed both the inner and outter areas with a DAP household silicon that stated right on the package with a large image that it was aquarium safe. I let this also sit a few days and then tested for leaks. Had a small leak so I let it dry for a couple days then liberally applied more silicon to both sides, this fixed the leak.

On the lid I drilled two holes large enough to fit the threaded ends of the bulkheads on and tightened. i made to place to holes so that the output hole lined up well with the pump lead tubing. For the output tubing I used 1/2" tubing. A small piece connects the pump to the first barb, then the remainder of tubing connects to the 2nd barb as it exits the container. For the intake I used only one 3/4" barb and 3/4" tubing.

I assembled and tested for leaks and found a leak around the main seal between the lid and the container. The red seal in the lid just did not fit snug enough to the container. So what I did was take an oral syringe they use when giving babies medicine...should be able to pick one up at any drug store (no needles involved)...we had some laying around as my youngest is 16 months. I took the red seal out and filled the groove with silicon using the syringe and replaced the seal deep enough that it was higher than before but still able to get the lid on. After the silicone cured for a few days I did end up having to trim some of the silicone off to get the lid to snap down. This fixed the leak around the main seal.

filled it up, primed it by filling water into the intake hose until water came up the output side. I then placed both lines in a half full bucket in my sink with the container on the ground. I noticed leaks around the threads of the barbed adapters and around the bulkheads which I plan to fix somehow, maybe joint compound, threading tape, or cement? I went ahead with the test as the leak wasnt too terribly bad and it works great. You can hardly hear it unless you head is right down next to the container (see video).

For the tubing I would recommend some of the braided variety. This is because it wont collapse on itself if the suction gets too high and also kinks less. I purchased pre-cut lengths that were bundled up using zip-ties. The tubing has areas of multiple permanent kinks (see video) and I think this affected some of the output.

Otherwise I have rated this a success. My next project down the road will be a canister filter using a 5 gallon bucket with the same general design but with emptying into the bottom through the side with the pump near the top and it also leaving the bucket out the side.

BTW there is zero bypass as you can see, which is why I used the unraveled shower scrubber, to fill the gaps between the nylon tuffy's and the top filter
 

JustMe

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Not bad at all.

I just happened to finish making my first DIY canister filter as well. I can sympathize with you about the trial and error involved in making the filter...testing for leaks, going out for parts, the disappointment and frustration- I've had a healthy handful of all of it. But then again, when you plug in the pump and the water starts flowing out the output, the sense of satisfaction you get is priceless . Nice job, especially for a first.
 

Aquarist

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Hello Ruthven,

What a great DIY project! Thanks for sharing your progression with us.
Great job! (I'll have to book mark this!)

Ken
 
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ruthven78

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Can anyone recommend a good sealant to use on the threads? would ordinary plumbers tape work?
 
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