How to DIY aquarium internal filter in under 20 minutes:

The inhabitants release waste constantly as they swim in the aquarium. If fish waste is not eliminated on time, the toxins may stress fish & may eventually kill them. Also fish food & other particles can make water cloudy if it is not removed on time. Every tank needs biological filtration which will reduce the required maintenance. Mechanical filtration can help clean aquarium water & make it crystal clear using different layers of foam which stop waste particle & allow clean water to flow. When choosing the top tank filter for your aquarium, an internal filter could be just what you need for your tank because it is small & sit inside your tank, & it does not need room for a bigger external filter. Internal filter can circulate water, if it is operated with an air pump then it can provide aeration & it can clean your aquarium water & can hold enough bio media.

Please watch the video on building an aquarium internal filter & let me know your feedback in the comment section below.

How to build an aquarium internal filter


The tools required to build a DIY aquarium internal filter are:
  • Electric Drill
  • Knife
  • Scissor


The following materials are used to build aquarium internal bottle filter:
  • Plastic Bottle
  • Air Stone
  • Pipes
  • Suction Cups
  • Coarse & Fine Foams

How to build internal aquarium filter in 20 minutes:

All the steps involved in making internal aquarium filter are provided below:

Step 1: Cut a bottle & drill holes

Making tank filter has never been that simple. I have provided a step by step video about how to build DIY internal filter for your aquarium in just 20 minutes. I have used a bottle as my internal filter for the tank. It will offer both mechanical & biological filtration & an air pump will be used to operate it.

Cut a bottle & drill holes

Drill small holes at the base of the bottle & then use a bigger drill to make these holes bigger. I am cutting the bottle with a knife somewhere close to the top half & the top section will be used for mechanical filtration & the bottom half of the bottle will be used for biological filtration. It is very important to use a knife with a sharp blade so that you don’t cut yourself & to finish it off with a clean cut I used a scissor.

Attach suction cups to filter

I drilled 2 holes on the side of the bottle for attaching suction cups. It can be used to attach the filter to the tank glass. I drilled last hole for the air tube. An air stone is connected to the end of air tube for quiet operation of the filter & for making many bubbles.

Step 2: Add biological & mechanical filtration media:

Mechanical and biological filtration

The bio balls will offer biological filtration. Any kind of biological filtration can be used. It is recommended to rinse the biological filtration media before adding it to your aquarium. To speed up the growth of good bacteria I put some cycled media from my DIY aquarium SUMP filter. It you want to build DIY aquarium SUMP filter then you can find the link below:

I usually use 3 layers of mechanical filtration in my DIY projects but to build aquarium internal bottle filter I am only using 2 layers of mechanical filtration media. One is a coarse foam which is attached to the cap of the bottle & the other one is a fine foam that will provide mechanical filtration. Water from aquarium will pass through the coarse foam first then it will pass through the fine foam & all the waste particles will be stopped & only clean water will pass through the biological filtration zone where good bacteria grows.

Step 3: Testing of DIY aquarium internal bottle filter:

Testing aquarium internal filter

The internal filter for the aquarium is ready & now it is time to connect it & test it. Connect the outlet of air pump to the filter. My DIY aquarium internal filter is working properly. All the disturbance is created on the water surface that will provide aeration. The results are better & you can see the mechanical filtration is catching all the debris. There are heaps of biological filtration media that speeds up the process of growing beneficial bacteria. The air stone can create enough bubbles to oxygenate the water which adds more oxygen to the water. No air pump is used in this project & everything is completed under 20 minutes. This way of making tank filter is inexpensive, efficient & fast.

Pros & cons of internal bottle filter:

Internal filter can provide mechanical & biological filtration which helps in effective filtration of the aquarium water. It can hold enough bio media to help grow bacteria colonies. It can operate with an air pump which can make enough bubbles to oxygenate water. It is a cheap filter & does not require a pump. It cannot circulate water in the aquarium because in my setup I have a heater close to the filter & the temperature of the water in the right half is warmer than the water in the left half of the aquarium. It cannot provide chemical filtration which is another drawback of internal bottle filter.

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