DIY - Projects & Ideas • DIY 300GPH Canister Filter

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DIY 300GPH Canister Filter

Postby caseyof99 » Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:58 pm

I setup a 150G tank about 6 months ago. When i first set it up all i had access to was a Fluval 404. I knew that it wouldnt be long before my water started to get worse and worse. I came up with an idea for a home-made canister filter. I got lucky when i was digging through my aquarium stuff and found a Little Giant 300gph submersible pump. I went to the local hardware store and checked out the buckets and lids they had. The lids didnt have a seal around them but they fit on the buckets pretty tight. Figured if I needed to I could put a small bead of silicone around the rim (didn't need to by the way). I had an old filter intake tube from a bio-wheel HOB filter i put on the intake of the pump. Then I decided to put a piece of pvc over that to hold the filter media off the pump and intake.

Heres the pump in the bucket
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the pvc i cut to go over the pump
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I decided to zip-tie the pvc to the pump so its not so permanent
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fit in the bucket very well
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Next was tackling a way to make bulkheads coming out of the bucket lid so they wouldn't leak. I chose to use half inch clear tubing for my lines (there was a flaw with this I explain later). All the pvc fittings i used are half inch. I bought two threaded fittings male on one side female on the other. These are for the top (outside) of the bucket lid. Two female to female fittings for the inside. Two rubber washers for the inside seal. and three hose slip fittings with a male end to go into the females ends on the fittings. The outtake on my pump with hook directly to the bulkhead on the inside of the lid.

picture of my home-made bulkheads
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bottom of the lid
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top of the lid
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For the cord i basically used the same fittings and rubber washers except for the top I used a cap that i drilled a hole in. I filled the inside of the fitting with fish safe silicone. GE silicone one works fine. I had to cut the cord to get it through. You can either solder them back together and use shrink tubes to seal it back off or buy a new plug end that you just wire up.

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Now I'm basically finished just need to cut my filter media to fit and test it.

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Thank God for Mountain Dew Big Gulps
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When i was first started testing it i noticed that it was slowly draining the water level down and creating negative pressure (lid was sucking in). At first I had an in-line shutoff valve on the intake side. I switched it to the outtake side and closed the valve just a little and it corrected the pressure and water level. This was the problem I mentioned earlier in the post. Most people when they build these or even when building an overflow sump they want the intake hose a little bigger than the outtake. Closing the shutoff valve a little was like making the outtake hose a little smaller. Other than that everything else went smoothly. I'm going to test it a little longer then I'll hook it up to my tank. I'll post some updates when i move it inside. Let me know what you guys think and maybe some corrections on some things I've done for others benefit.
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Postby Toby_H » Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:00 pm

So when the pump is running their is negative pressure in the bucket, which means if the lid seal leaks, it will suck air as opposed to spitting water. :thumb:


Just keep in mind when you (or nature) turns the pump off, there will be positive pressure in the bucket due to the pressure of the siphon. It won't be a ton of pressure but it will be something...


The thing that stops most of us from making such a filter and using it indoors is the concern dor the lid seal. Keep in mind you will be opening and closing the lid frequently to clean the media, which may wear the seal allowing a leak.
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Postby caseyof99 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:23 am

There is no seal on the lid, it was tight enough by itself. If I do wear out the rim of the bucket over time I'll just grab a new one. I cancelled the negative pressure by turning the shut off valve slightly. As for the issue of power outage I did what everyone should do with their canister filters and drilled a small hole an inch below the water line on the intake hose. I'm setting my return hose about an inche above the water line for surface agitation. If it does syphon when the power goes off it will only drain to that hole (which calculates to about 7 gallons). When i set it up I plan on setting it in a 15g tub. Even if there is a leak or a power outage it won't overflow the bucket and the tub. I will have to stay on top of refilling the water that evaporates so the pump wont go dry but thats ok. I understand what you mean by being hesitant to run something like this and you can bet I'll be checking it everytime i walk by the tank. One thing i forgot to mention about this build was the cost. I already had the most expensive part (pump) and the hoses but everything else ran me about $16.
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Postby KaiserSousay » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:44 am

Well done.
:thumb: :thumb:
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Postby BenHugs » Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:05 pm

I tried to make a DIY canister filter with a 33g glass tank it worked great until the siphon pressure when shut off blew it up. Tested the marriage quite well. :roll:
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Postby Tinga » Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:17 pm

Awesome idea.. if anybody else is looking into this try taking a look at some beer brewing supplies. They have 5-10 gallon food grade buckets, drilled and plumbed with bulkheads that are made to be water tight and even remain sealed under the pressures of fermentation.
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Postby caseyof99 » Sat Nov 28, 2009 3:57 am

Well I ran into my first problem. I was controlling the flow in and out with a shutoff valve closed slightly on the outtake side. Doing this i could hear the pump struggle a little bit. This was something I should have just done right the first time around. I blame it on me trying to use things that i already had. Decided to it the right way by using 3/4 inch hose on the intake side. This corrected the problem of the pump draining the bucket, but corrected it too much. I fixed this by buying a 3/4 inch shut-off valve. Took the 1/2 inch shut-off off the outtake side. This fixed the problem and now it runs like a champ. I can run a fully submerged filter or a wet/dry filter setup now. The water level stays at the same place now.
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Postby Toby_H » Sat Nov 28, 2009 4:40 am

When set up on an aquarium as in "typical" use... what is the flow like?


At 4' head pressure a 300 gph pump will flow lower than 300 gph... varying by brand/design...

But if your system filter is a completely sealed system (which it is), they you don't actually have 4' head pressure. Because the "siphon" feed the return line back up to the water level and the only true "head pressure" is the couple inches to push the water over the lip... (just like in every canisters)...


But you will have the restriction caused by the media...
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Postby Malawi_Junkie » Sun Nov 29, 2009 1:16 am

Very creative idea. After watching this project during the test phase I can tell you it works great. Replacing the 1/2" intake with 3/4" and addition of the control valve really did help to maintain constant water level in the filter and it pushes water up to 4' very effectively. I'm sure this will be great addition to your tank keeping clear and healthy!
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Postby KaiserSousay » Sun Nov 29, 2009 5:08 am

No matter the number of times it happens, it still gets done. :oops:
You are almost finished with a build and instead of making that, one more trip, you scrounge through the “partsâ€
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Postby caseyof99 » Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:44 pm

So I hook it up to the tank tonight. still adjusting the check valve for the right flow. Seems to be doing alright. This one's outtake combined with my fluval's outtake seems to be blowing all the poo into one corner. Nice little plus. Now all i have left is to hope this last me 10 years. :?
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Postby caseyof99 » Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:54 pm

Had it runnin now for 6 days now and the water level in the bucket is the same. Have the shutoff valve turned just right. I chose to keep the water level around 1.5 to 2 inches from the lid becuase I made a little spray bar for the intake into the bucket for even distribution. With the outtake hose being smaller than the intake it wont make a siphon if the power goes out. The smaller hose can't push as much as the big hose is pulling in so it blows air up the intake breaking the siphon. That was just a unintentional bonus. I can even put a bigget pump in it to make it a 700gph filter. Any bigger you might have to go up sizes in hose but it would still build the same. I guess the next time you see this post pop up its going to be me saying it exploded and shattered my tank or something.. :lol: :lol:
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Postby car0linab0y » Sun Dec 06, 2009 11:01 pm

we have just about the same setup, except for I didn't know what to look for as far as the bulkheads, so mine isn't really air tight. my pump is a 560gph, but I don't get the total flow since it's not completely sealed. good thing about the holes drilled to break the siphon, my tank level reaches an equilibrium at that level, so it's letting a little air into the intake. keeps the filter from leaking water because there's always an air pocket at the top. my only regret (aside from not using bulkheads) is using the 1/2" pvc. if I could go back in time I' use 3/4"-1".
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Postby BenHugs » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:47 pm

look up uniseals they are amazing they can even seal the side of a bucket
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Postby herny » Tue Dec 22, 2009 4:10 pm

so how is the out take tube connected o the pump?
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