Make DIY Canister Filter From Clear Glass Jar for Aquarium at Home:

If you have difficulty in searching for the right size filter for your aquarium then it will persuade you to become a little creative & make a DIY canister filter for your fish tank at home. I have a 20 Liter fish tank, & I have built a 3.3 Liter canister filter from a clear glass container. I won’t say it is a low-price filter but this is the perfect size filter for my small aquarium. I am using a pump that has low operational cost. The model of the pump is: Aquapro table-top pump with a flow rate of 200 Liter / Hour. Both inlet & outlet hoses of my DIY canister filter are attached to a swivel 2-way coupler that can rotate 360 degrees.

I have attached both intake & outtake hoses to the same side of the aquarium only for demonstration. If you want to make a DIY canister filter at home then make sure you setup inlet / outlet hoses on the opposite sides of the aquarium for water circulation.

It is very important to choose the right size of pump because for best filtration, pump 4 - 6 times of the total aquarium water in an hour. Large tanks need powerful pumps.

Make a DIY Canister Filter From Glass Jar for Aquarium
Make a DIY Canister Filter From Clear Glass Jar for Aquarium

How does a Canister filter work?

Canister filters draw water from the aquarium via the inlet hose. Dirty water will be pushed to the bottom of the filter using an internal tube. It will rise upward through the mechanical filtration media that will trap solid waste particles, then water will pass through the biological filtration that will wipe out toxic chemicals released from fish waste, & clean water will flow back to the aquarium from the top of the canister filter via the outlet hose.


Materials required for building a DIY canister filter:

It is simple to make a canister filter at home with the help of a clear jar & a water pump.

I am using an airtight glass jar for building a DIY canister filter. Every material is bought from a hardware store such as vinyl tube, swivel 2-way coupler, elbow connector, hose joiner, & suction cups. A pump is required for operating the canister filter. Use an airtight jar because water will not leak through the filter.


Filtration media used in a Canister filter:

My homemade DIY canister filter can offer both mechanical & biological filtration. Chemical filtration is optional so I am not using it in this filter.


Mechanical filtration media:

Mechanical filtration media will stop solid waste particles such as fish poop, remaining food & other detritus. Coarse foam will stop all large particles. Medium foam will trap medium particles while small particles will be trapped by fine foam.

For this project I am using coarse & medium sponges as mechanical filter media. It is strongly recommended to use fine sponge as well for better water filtration.


Biological filtration media:

Biological filtration media will remove dangerous chemicals released from fish waste. These chemicals will flow through the mechanical filter media but will be wiped out by the bio media.

For this project I am using bio balls, ceramic rings & bakki balls as biological filter media.


Ceramic rings:

The outer surface of ceramic rings consist of numerous minute holes, & the middle of the ring contains a big hole that goes through the complete ring. Water will be allowed to flow through the outer surface as well as through the middle of the ring.

Ceramic rings contain both nitrifying & denitrifying bacteria that is why they can purify every impurity present in the water.

Nitrifying bacteria are used for breaking down toxic ammonia into less toxic nitrites. Further nitrites are broken down into nitrates that are even less toxic than nitrites. Nitrifying bacteria can’t remove nitrates from the water.

Along with nitrifying bacteria, ceramic rings also hold denitrifying bacteria that consumes nitrates. Denitrifying bacteria lives inside the tiny little pores of the ceramic rings that are oxygen free regions.


Bio balls:

Bio balls offer little plastic homes for allowing nitrifying bacteria to cling to its surface. They are very important for purifying water & allowing nitrifying bacteria to grow on its surface. Large surface is offered that allows lots of beneficial bacteria to grow on them. Inside the bio balls, you will find a foam that offers more surface for allowing colonies of beneficial bacteria to grow on it.


Bio bakki balls:

Bio bakki balls are built of ceramic. Ceramic is heated at extremely high temperatures for very long periods of time that break down the internal bonding of the ceramic, & makes many tiny little holes in the surface that let colonies of good bacteria to grow on it.

Bio bakki balls can only hold nitrifying bacteria that will wipe out ammonia & nitrites.


How to make a DIY canister filter from clear glass jar for a fish tank at home:


Step 1:

Drill 2 holes in the lid of the container. Refine edges with the help of a sand paper. Either use washers or thread seal tape for sealing connections or use silicone to prevent water from leaking.


Step 2:

Connect intake & outtake connectors. Use a garden tap adapter on the top of lid for intake & outtake connections. Use washers on the bottom side of the jar to stop water from leaking through the canister filter.


Step 3:

It is time to attach a swivel 2-way coupler on top of the garden tap adapter. Swivel 2-way coupler allows you to rotate it in both directions. Drill another hole in the top of the lid for pump wire.


Step 4:

Attach the pump to the bottom side of the lid. Attach one end of the vinyl tube joiner to the outtake of the pump. Connect another end of the vinyl tube joiner to the garden tap adapter.


Step 5:

Use vinyl tubes for drawing water from the aquarium & pumping water back to the aquarium. Put vinyl tubes in the sink & turn on the water tap to allow hot water to flow on them that will straighten the tubes.


Step 6:

Connect the vinyl tube joiner to the garden tap adapter. It must be attached to the inner side of the container that will serve the role of the internal tube that will push water to the bottom of the canister filter. Another end of the internal tube is connected to the elbow connector. 


Step 7:

Attach tube joiner to the hose coupling. Connect the vinyl tube to the tube joiner for increasing the length of the hose.


Step 8:

I am using coarse & medium sponges for mechanical filtration. I would recommend you to add a fine sponge too for catching very small particles.

Cut a hole in both sponges with the help of the scissors. Pass the elbow connector through the hole in both sponges.


Step 9:

I am using ceramic rings, along with bio balls & bakki balls for biological filtration. After cycling the aquarium, heaps of beneficial bacteria will grow on the media of the canister filter.


Step 10:

Connect vinyl tubes to the swivel 2-way coupler. Adjust the position of the swivel 2-way coupler. It can be rotated 360 degrees.


Step 11:

Attach the vinyl tubes against the aquarium glass using suction cups. Connect elbow connectors to the end of vinyl tubes. These tubes will serve the role of inflow & outflow hoses.

I hope you have learnt how to make a DIY canister filter from clear glass jar for a fish tank at home.

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