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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have done countless searches for a DIY cannister filter made from a 5 gallon plastic bucket to no avail. When I do find a filter utilizing a 5 gallon bucket it's not presurized and is being used in a wet/dry setup. Am I missing something? Seems as tho someone would have figured it out by now.

Imagine FX5 capabilities at a fraction of the price. I've been working on a design/prototype. I should have a working model soon.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I remember several attempts that have passed through but never seen the final working result. I'm afraid it is one of those cases where it has a number of flaws to work out before it works and at that point the person finds he has spent way more money and gotten less performance than if he had just laid out the money. The bucket ideas that I have seen all have had trouble getting a seal and still being able to get it open to clean. Buckets also tend to be flexible and split over time. No reason not to try to work it out but I would go at it as a way to learn and accept that I might fail.
 

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I would try to find a food grade bucket. Brewing stores may sell them or you maybe able to get one from a fast food place for free. The generally have a rubber gasket in them to seal the lid tightly.
 

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Guys, let's just cut to the chase here and use a 55 gallon drum. Those have a nice seal/reseal system. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
JoelRHale's suggestion reminds me of a thread I followed awhile back on a saltwater site. This guy had a very large display Reeftank located on the main living floor of his home. In his basement, a considerable distance away he had an even larger sump tank (wet/dry, protein skimmer, refugium, heater, auto top-off, several reactors, etc).

I forget how many gallons of water the supply/return lines held which was factored into his sump capacity in case of power failure. Needless to say it was one of the most impressive home setups I'd ever seen.

So back to the matter at hand. I do have a seldom used closet on the lower level almost directly below the display tank on the main level. Fill a 55 gal drum with filter media and it would be years before you had to clean it. I almost want to do it just to see the look on my wife's, "your gonna do what?".
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Most the 5 gal buckets I've looked at are constructed of HDPE, high density poly-something. What makes it food safe (aquarium safe) is the container must be made from virgin materials (not recycled) and certain approved dyes for color if any.
 

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Cunados, if you have the space, time, money, and know how to do this: I support you 200%.

I'm of the mind that bigger is better and pushing the limits of feasibility. I know other people have similar set ups but right now my 75's entire capacity is filtered >20 times an hour and it has a sump, canister, and aquaclear 110 on it.

A 55 gallon drum run by some sort of really strong pump (maybe mag 24 or even a swimming pool pump) would be one awesome build. :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Did some more digging around on the net last night, specifically the Fluval Fx5. Attempting to set a benchmark for performance/price to have something to compare the prototype to.

Here's what I found: while the Fx5 has numerous features, functions, bells and whistles I am choosing to focus on price, operating cost, filter volume and flow rate with media. Reading the user reviews on this site, I think it is safe to say the unit is well regarded by those posting a review. According to the manufacturers owners manual
Unit holds 1.5 gallons of media.
Approx. 600 gph with media.
Rated at 50 watts.
Price $230 - high $300's prices includes shipping*
* per My search on Ebay. Several months ago I priced them and they were $350+ hence my journey to design a better mouse trap aka "The Holy Pail". I'm skeptical about the recent listings at such a drastically reduced price. If anyone has any recent first hand knowledge without plugging a particular retailer I'd appreciate your input.

I have three 5 gallon and two 6 gallon pails. The sixes formerly contained pickles thus I consider them food safe. Finally I have two different style lids w/ gaskets to test. Holding off on the Gamma Seal lids in the true spirit of DIY to see if what I already have works. Finally I have a submerseable (sp?) pump from an old protein skimmer rated at 480 gph at 0' head drawing 37 watts.

Next step is to thoroughly clean lids and install a fitting so I can test how much pressure they'll take til failure.

Thoughts comments and/or observations are welcomed.
 

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What is the general idea regarding input/output flow? Siphon start to fill the bucket then start the pump for the return which creates suction to keep it filling? If a 5 can fit neatly in the 6, will that be how you separate clean and dirty water?

Joking about the 55 gallon drum got me, too, thinking last night.

I want this to work so bad, if it does I will most likely build one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Conceptually I see it the reverse of an Eheim Classic. Input line through either the lid or near the top on the side. Water flows through progressively finer filter pads to some type of bioballs, pot scrubbers etc. Pump located in bottom of pail and pumps filtered water out the side of pail near the bottom to return to display tank. Basically an Eheim Classic in reverse.

To start the siphon I'd take the return line out of the display tank, wipe thoroughly on my shirt and suck. Just like I did during the entire 90's with my Eheim. Or install a ball valve on the supply line just above the filter and basically you never lose your prime on the supply side. Think I'll go with the later.

I estimate the return pump will displace approximately 1 gallon of filter capacity within the 6 gal pail. Thus

6 gal pail
5 gal useable space for filter media
Est 400 gph flow rate
37 watts

Remaining obstacles:
Water tight resealable lid
Make 3 penetrations water tight (in/out and elec cord)

The water level of the display tank will be approximately 4 feet above the top of the filter so that equates to roughly 2 psi.
 

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I know you're wanting to use the skimmer motor but if you used an external pump like a mag-12 you would only have to worry about the water/pressure tight resealable lid. That would make the possibility of a leak dependent on your hose connections.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
JoelRHale thanks for the suggestion. An external Mag 12 would reduce by one the number of penetrations (potential points of failure) in the filter by my count. You'd still need a supply and return line (2 POF).

In theory I think it makes more sense to put the pump inside the canister.

The pump should run cooler being submersed in water.
Any noise generated by the pump would be minimized.
Perhaps most importantly, I already own a submersible pump.

As an asides, my neighbor, a retired engineer, while not a fishkeeper is rather enjoying our daily talks discussing the theory and principles involved with a closed loop system.

Hopefully this weekend I'll find some time to proceed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
http://s1229.photobucket.com/albums/ee4 ... =photo.jpg

Here's what I have so far. From L to R on the lid, air bleeder valve, 1/2" return line and 3/4" supply line. On the side of the bucket is a fitting for the electric cord to go through.

Hope to test it next weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I apologize for the link. I can't figure out how to make the picture appear in my post.
 

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Hint--- Once you have it on Photobucket, pull the picture up, click on IMG code on picture. That copies it to memory. Go back to where you want the pic. Hit control and "V" at the same time to copy it into the message. Test by previewing before submit.

I might suggest a change for the pump output line. When working with fountains, I find having solid pipe from the pump to the output makes me lift the pump each time I move the top. This will put pressure on the fitting at the lid and make it break or leak. Flexible tubing with extra length may get better results. Ignore if I missed where you are going with the pipe..
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
To clarify: the pump will reside in the bottom of the bucket with the return line centered. A coupling on the underside of lid will form a friction fit when lid is applied to bucket.

So, thus far:
pump 400 gph @ 37 watts
media volume 5+ gallons
(flowrate v. media volume very comperable to Eheim Pro 3 2280)

If it holds water, presto, The Holy Pail. Cannister filter for about $100. If lid gasket leaks I'll get a Gamma Seal Lid and make all my penetrations in the side of the pail.
 

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Cunados said:
I apologize for the link. I can't figure out how to make the picture appear in my post.
Cunados all you have to do to get the picture to appear is to copy the direct link. click on the 'Img' button paste the link then click on the 'Img' button again. Presto.

Also for your 5 gallon pail idea. How about adding a rubber seal to the top of the lid to keep it water and create a distribution header to parse the flow into different areas of the lid. You could easily create this with 3 tees separating the flow into 4 points or even drill holes into the PVC (large enough so they wouldn't clog leaving the ends open to ensure they wouldn't clog)to have better distribution of dirty water over the filter media.
 
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