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Thread: Questions about canister filters (possible DIY project)

  1. #1
    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Questions about canister filters (possible DIY project)

    I've got a DIY trickle filter that I have never thought was all that great, and it towers above my tank, the girl hates it lol. So I was thinking about doing a DIY canister build, probably using a 5-gallon bucket like Joey did in one or more of his DIY videos. But some questions.

    1. Is the way a canister filter works that I can have one sitting below the aquarium, and the pump in/outside of it will cause a continuous re-circulation of the water out and into the aquarium? Probably a poor way to ask the question. In other words, the pump is sucking water out of the bucket canister filter, returning it via hose (or PVC pipe) to the aquarium, and the pump running is likewise causing water to be sucked into the bucket, creating a (theoretically) never ending cycle? This would be cool if so - I wanted a sump but I can't drill my tempered glass tank - if what I am asking is true it seems to me very similar to a sump just no need to drill tank or have an overflow in the aquarium. Obviously not as flexible, but very cool if this is right.

    2. If the electricity goes out or pump otherwise dies, I take it no flooding should occur - water stops being pumped out, as does water being sucked in, so water just stops moving, no flooding? Do not want flood!

    3. Is the inside of a canister filter completely filled with water - I would think this would be needed more/less to keep the flow going.

    4. Is there any substantial positive or negative pressure build up in the canister? Do not want it grenading on me.

    Thanks, I am sure I am leaving some off and will have more! Much appreciated!

  2. #2
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    1. Yes, the pump continuously circulates the water
    2. Yes, no flooding
    3. Yes, you should install a way to 'burp' or purge out air for optimal efficiency and noise reduction, some designs will self prime and purge but if not a simple way to manually do it is to install a small on/off valve on top of the canister, when it's running you can crack this valve open ever so small to let air out then reclose...
    4. There will be a negative or positive pressure in the canister depending on where you install the pump, I like the idea of negative pressure...

    Note, when you are DIY canister filters from buckets it can be tricky to get a balance of the right positive or negative pressure in the bucket as to not cause leaks... I have seen some people have no issues, but I believe HillbillyHomer had a lot of leaking issues when he tried building one...

    When I was considering building one, I was going to tuck it under the tank/stand, I had envisioned two lengths of 4" PVC with a few elbows to make a U shape to get a decent canister volume and maintain a low profile, but you can also install the PVC upright, and again the U shape gets you more volume if that is needed and it's cheaper than 6" or 8" PVC...

  3. #3
    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Meep Click here to enlarge

    Note, when you are DIY canister filters from buckets it can be tricky to get a balance of the right positive or negative pressure in the bucket as to not cause leaks... I have seen some people have no issues, but I believe HillbillyHomer had a lot of leaking issues when he tried building one...
    YES had major problems with both ways.
    With positive pressure "pump before" it would leek water.
    With negative pressure "pump in or after" it would suck air and after hours or days the pump would go dry.
    Tried three times. Each time different 5gl buckets,pumps,pipe...

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    DIYFK member Homeslice's Avatar


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    Thank you gents! Thinking about it more - I actually bought a bucket from home depot yesterday, along with a gamma seal top, but for other unrelated reasons (to use as a bucket lol). But its not very study AT ALL compared to my old one that I got when i bought some product and used it up long ago. So I think the PVC tube is the way I will go. I'm sure I'll be back with more questions. Thanks!

  5. #5
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Homeslice Click here to enlarge
    But its not very study AT ALL compared to my old one that I got when i bought some product and used it up long ago.
    Yeah the 5 gallon buckets sold at big box stores are 'jobber' grade aka 70 mil thickness, you can still get strong 90 mil thickness but they might still have issues depending on the design...

    PVC pipe is significantly stronger...

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