How to Build DIY Aquarium Air Filter At Home:

A clean tank needs a filter that can trap all the waste particles & remove all the chemicals coming out of the waste. Fish waste releases ammonia, which can pass the mechanical filter media & hence bio & chemical media can stop it. In this tutorial we are going to help you in building a DIY Aquarium Air Filter at Home. The best feature of this filter is that it does not need submersible pump for pumping water to the filter & can work using air pump which is low cost & can add oxygen in water.

DIY aquarium air filter allows you to make a low price aquarium filter at home using a plastic container & an air pump. This filter is driven by air pump & no submersible pump is required. This way you can save money & can add additional oxygen from air in water which makes your DIY tank filter very efficient. Aquarium air filter works like a canister filter but this filter is located inside aquarium water. Container used to build aquarium air filter is air tight & we are using silicone to ensure our plumbing is water sealed & water passing through mechanical filter can enter this filter. Mechanical filtration will remove all waste particles & filtered water will enter chemical & biological filtration chamber. Bio media in this chamber will break down toxic ammonia that is released from fish waste into nitrites which is less toxic than ammonia. Nitrites will be further converted into nitrates which is even less toxic that nitrites & can be removed with regular water changes. Also if you have plants in your aquarium then they can treat nitrates as fertilizers & can absorb them which help them in growth.

How to Build DIY Aquarium Air Filter at Home

Air driven DIY aquarium filter consists of 2 inlets & 1 outlet pipe. Both inlet tubes are connected to rods that have multiple holes & these rods are covered with coarse sponges which do not suck small fish or babies. Also it traps the fish waste & then water flows through fine foam which further remove waste particles & only clean water flows through the bio media. We are using Zeolite as bio media in this air filter. We are using bio bakki balls too which help in effective biological filtration & a layer of ceramic rings is added in the top layer of aquarium air filter.

Material used in DIY Aquarium Air Filter:

  • Plastic air tight food container
  • Plastic connectors
  • Plastic tubing
  • Airtube & air pump
  • Zeolite Bio Media
  • Bio Bakki balls
  • Ceramic rings
  • Coarse & Fine Foam

How to Build DIY Aquarium Air Filter at Home

How to build a DIY Aquarium Canister Filter At Home:

Initially DIY tank air filter will only trap solid particles of debris but later it will start making colonies of good bacteria. But adding biological media from a cycled aquarium can speed up this process. Making aquarium filter at home is in-expensive & it is based on tank requirement. This filter has enough space for storing mass amount of good bacteria & it has 2 types of foams: coarse & fine foams for efficient cleaning.

Cut inlet hose & drill holes in container
Cut hose in 3 pieces & drill holes for inlet & outlet connections

I have cut a small plastic tube in 3 pieces. All pieces are equal in length. I have drilled 3 holes in the food container. 2 holes at sides & 1 at the top of the container. The side holes are used as filter inlet which sucks water from aquarium. The diameter for both inlet holes is 19 mm. This filter can be used for 3 types of filtration such as mechanical, biological & chemical. 1 hole is drilled in the lid of the plastic container which allows filtered water to flow out. It has the same diameter as inlet holes i.e. 19 mm.

Seal inlet & outlet connections via super glue
Seal inlet & outlet connections via super glue

I am using super glue which is aquarium safe for sealing the inlet & outlet connections. Use glue gently & apply glue to the inside & outside of container for permanent sealing. Hence water that passes through mechanical filtration media will only enter the air tight filter.

Mechanical, Chemical & Biological Filter Media Setup
Mechanical, Chemical & Biological Filter Media Setup

I am using zeolite for chemical filtration. I am using coarse sponge & fine foam for mechanical filtration. Bio bakki balls & ceramic rings are used for biological filtration.

Assemble filter
Assemble filter

It is time to setup filter & attach every component. 2 rods having multiple holes are attached to both side inlet tubes. I have inserted 2 sponges on both inlet rods. When I operate the filter, water is sucked through inlet rods having holes. Waste particles are trapped in the coarse sponge which serve as mechanical filtration media. Further water passes through fine foam which further removes the waste. I have used telescopic rod as filter outlet. This rod has adjustable height & it can release water at any height that I want because its maximum height reaches my aquarium top. I have setup bio media which includes chemical & biological filtration media. 

Rinse filter
Rinse Filter

I have closed the air tight food container & it is time to rinse air filter using water. It is recommended to remove all dirt before using aquarium air filter. For proper rinsing aquarium air filter, I have opened my filter so that water can enter my filter & clean up the mechanical & biological filtration media. I am using tap water for cleaning my filter. I am squeezing the sponges so that it can absorb water & release water & dirt. Doing this multiple times will ensure maximum clarity. Take the tap water out of the filter & sponges before adding your filter to aquarium because tap water contains chlorine which is toxic for fish. De-chlorination of water is required before using it in aquarium.

There is heaps amount of bio media which can take time to build up beneficial bacteria colonies. First my filter will act as a fish waste collector & then later on it will serve the role of chemical & biological filtration.

Air pump is connected to filter
Air pump is connected to filter via T-Shape Pipe

It is time to setup air pump that can drive DIY canister filter. My air pump has 2 outlets. I have connected them to the input of t-connector in order to take one output that can drive my filter. This way my filter will operate at better efficiency. A high pressure will ensure DIY canister filter run at high speed. I have connected the outlet tube of air pump to my DIY canister filter & it is time to install this assembly inside aquarium & check the performance of my homemade aquarium air filter. Gently place this filter inside aquarium. Do not hurt your plants & fish while placing it at the bottom of the tank. The main feature of my homemade DIY canister filter is that it has adjustable height & direction. Height can be extended till the top.

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