How To Make a DIY Canister Filter For Fish Tank:

It is difficult to find the right size filter for a small aquarium in the market that cleans water efficiently. You always have an option to make one for your aquarium. My filter container can hold 1.7 liter of water & it is powered by a pump that runs at 200 L/H. Pump is connected to the inside of the canister filter. I am using a glass storage container & I have explained every step for making a canister filter in this tutorial. Make sure you test your container for leaks before start building the canister filter.

In this video, I will show you how to make a DIY canister filter at home:


Easy to build a homemade canister filter


Steps: Build a DIY canister filter for fish tank from homemade stuff:

I have purchased the container, vinyl tube, submersible pump, tube joiner, elbow connectors, & other tools required for building a homemade DIY canister filter.


Materials required for making DIY canister filter
Materials required for making DIY canister filter


Materials:

  1. Vinyl Tube
  2. Submersible Pump 200 L/H
  3. Vinyl Tube Joiner
  4. Cable Gland
  5. Plastic Elbow Connector
  6. Glass Container 
  7. Suction Cups
  8. Silicone Glue


Step 1: Leak test:


Canister filter leak test
Canister filter leak test

Half fill the glass container with water. Close the lid & shake the container to test for any leaks. If your container is leaked then the inside water level will drop.

 

Step 2: Drill 2 holes in the container lid:


Drill holes in the canister filter lid
Drill holes in the canister filter lid

Remove the unwanted labels from the glass container & lid. I have drilled 2 holes in the plastic lid of the glass container for inflow / outflow connectors. Use a sandpaper for smoothing the rough edges.

 

Step 3: Insert both inflow / outflow vinyl tube joiners:


Insert both inflow & outflow vinyl tube joiners
Insert both inflow & outflow vinyl tube joiners


Cut vinyl tube joiner in half to make it 2. Insert each joiner in each hole of the lid.

Pump will create pressure inside the container which will draw water from the aquarium & water will be pumped back to the aquarium using an outflow vinyl tube.

 

Step 4: Drill a hole for the cable gland:


Setting up a cable gland
Setting up a cable gland

Drill another hole in the lid for the cable gland. A cable gland is a sealing device so pass wire through the cable gland & lock the cable gland to seal proof your container.

 

Step 5: Attach a submersible pump:


Attach submersible pump to outflow tube
Attach submersible pump to the outflow tube

Connect a pump to the outflow vinyl tube joiner from the inside. It will force water back to the aquarium & will create a strong suction force which will draw water from the aquarium using an inflow tube.

 

Step 6: Seal connections using silicone glue:


Seal connections using silicone glue
Seal connections using silicone glue

Connections are sealed using silicone to make them waterproof. Wait until the glue completely seals. Apply a layer of silicone on both inflow & outflow pipes as well as the cable gland. Different silicone glues have different bonding time. You will find the bonding time on the silicone glue tube.

 

Step 7: Straighten vinyl tubing:


Straighten vinyl tubing
Straighten vinyl tubing

Straighten vinyl tube by placing it in hot water for up to 20 seconds. It is very easy, just fill the sink with hot water & place vinyl tube in hot water for some time.

 

Step 8: Setup internal tube of the canister filter:


Setup canister filter internal tube
Setup canister filter internal tube

Connect an elbow plastic connector to the bottom end of a vinyl tube & attach the top end of the vinyl tube to the inflow tube joiner from the inner side. Dirty water drawn from the aquarium will be pushed down to the bottom of the canister filter using this internal tube. Water will start rising upward inside the canister filter. It will first pass through the mechanical media then it will flow through the bio media before a pump catches clean water & forces it back to the aquarium.

 

Step 9: Mechanical filter media:


Setup mechanical filter media of canister filter
Setup mechanical filter media of canister filter

I am using mechanical filtration media as well as bio media in my DIY homemade canister filter. Mechanical media includes coarse & medium foams. All large solid waste particles will be stopped by coarse foam while small particles that are able to cross the coarse foam will be stopped by medium foam. I am using ceramic noodles as bio media which is very porous & it allows heaps of useful bacteria to grow on its surface which keep water free of toxic chemicals.

Coarse foam should be setup before medium foam because medium foam gets clogged quickly if it traps large particles.

Make a hole in both coarse & medium foams. Pass the plastic elbow connector connected to the vinyl tube through both foams.

 

Step 10: Bio media:


Setup bio media of canister filter
Setup bio media of canister filter

I am using ceramic rings as the only bio media. Another name of ceramic rings is ceramic noodles. They are used for growing heaps of nitrifying & denitrifying bacteria. Heaps of good bacteria will colonize on the ceramic noodles because they offer lots of surface due to its porous media.

Nitrifying bacteria breaks down ammonia into nitrites & then into nitrates. Nitrates are less dangerous than nitrites, & nitrites are less toxic than ammonia. Presence of high levels of nitrates is still toxic to aquarium fish.

Denitrifying bacteria consumes nitrates. They live in oxygen free areas. Tiny little pores in the ceramic noodles do not allow air to enter so denitrifying bacteria live inside these pores.

Add ceramic rings on top of the foams.

 

Step 11: Fill canister filter with water:


Filling canister filter with water
Filling canister filter with water

Add water to the canister filter. Completely fill the canister filter before turning on the submersible pump. 

 

Step 12: Attach inflow / outflow tubes:


Setup inflow / outflow tube of canister filter
Setup inflow / outflow tube of canister filter

Connect vinyl tube to inflow / outflow vinyl tube joiners of the canister filter. Attach a plastic elbow connector to each of the opposite ends of vinyl tubes for drawing & pumping water back to the aquarium. Use suction cups for fixing both inflow & outflow tubes against the tank glass. Shake the filter to help trapped air to escape.

 

Why canister filters be air tight?

Canister filter will not work if it is not air tight. It will not work if pressure inside the filter is not enough.

 

Enjoyed Reading? Please have a look at similar DIY aquarium filter builds:

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