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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran PythonWallace's Avatar
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    DIY - 3 stage aquarium filter



    I bought my girlfriend a pair of southern red belly turtles over the weekend, so I had to make a good water filter. After figuring out what I had laying around, I came up with a 3 stage, closed system rig. It works great, and cost me about $5 to make since I had most of the materials already. To start from scratch would probably cost about $30. These instructions are for a 30g long tank, so adjust the lengths of the pieces to fit your tank. If you have a really large aquarium, use 3"+ PCV and adjust the plans to fit.

    Materials:
    1x - submersible pump (120 gph+) w/a 1/2" output adapter
    1x - 1/2" I.D. / 5/8" O.D. vinyl tubing (16")
    1x - 24" x 2" PVC tube cut down to:
    - 1x 4" section and 1x 6" section
    1x -1 1/2" to 2" increaser
    1x - 2" end cap
    1x - 2" coupler
    2x - 2 1/8" rounds of vinyl screen
    1x container of activated aquarium carbon
    1x 3" sponge filter (small mesh)
    1x 3" sponge filter (large mesh)

    Tools:
    -Miter saw
    -Drill with 5/8" drill bit or circle cutter


    -Start by cutting 2x -0 2 1/8" circles from a small vinyl screen.

    -Push one of the screens into the 2" end of the 1 1/2" to 2" increaser, then connect your 4" PVC tube section into the 2" end of the increaser to hold the screen in place.

    -Pour activated carbon into the 4" section until it reaches the top.

    -Push the 2nd round of screen into the 2" coupler until it reaches the center lip, then push this onto the top of the 4" section. You should now have a 4" section capped by a screened coupler on the top, and a screened reducer/increaser on the bottom.

    -Cut the 3" tall sponge filters into 2 1/8" cylinders. Attach the 6" PVC section to the top of the screened coupler, and insert the smaller mesh sponge filter, followed by the larger mesh sponge filter.

    - Drill a 5/8" holoe in the top side of the 2" end cap, and attach it to the top of the 6" section.

    -Find a way to attach it to the side of your aquarium. I used the plastic hanger from a rat water bottle. It was $3 at Walmart, and I took the plastic piece and hot glued it to the top back of the filter.

    -Insert one end of the vinyl tubing into the hole you made in the end cap. Insert the other end around the 1/2" adapter on your pump, and place secure the pump to the bottom of the aquarium, near the filter.



    That's it. The pump will pump water into the top of the filter, through the large mesh sponge material to catch larger debris, through the small mesh sponge material to catch the rest of the debris, and finally through the carbon to purify the water before it flows back into the aquarium. This can be used for fish or any aquatic animals. These kinds of commercial filters work great and are expensive. I took the filter out for about 8 hours and the water got murky. I put it back in before I went to sleep, and when I woke up this morning it was crystal.

    This can be made into an open system by running this in a resorvior. These can also be used as an exterior closed system by using a slightly larger pump, then running a series of 1 1/2" PVC from te bottom of the increaser, around and back over the side and into the tank using sections of 1 1/2" PVC and four elbow joints. You can also do the same, with the filter on the inside or outside, to use the output to supply a waterfall.

    What are these mojavas I keep hearing so much about?

    J. W. Exotics

    Reptile Incubators

  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran Patrick Long's Avatar
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    Re: DIY - 3 stage aquarium filter

    Excellent write up.


    My friend needs one of these actually!

  3. #3
    BPnet Veteran PythonWallace's Avatar
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    Re: DIY - 3 stage aquarium filter

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Long View Post
    Excellent write up.


    My friend needs one of these actually!
    Thanks, Pat. You should print this out for him. These kinds of filters cost over $100 without the pump if you buy them online.
    What are these mojavas I keep hearing so much about?

    J. W. Exotics

    Reptile Incubators

  4. #4
    BPnet Veteran shadi11's Avatar
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    Re: DIY - 3 stage aquarium filter

    that looks awsome. I wish i would have thought of that years ago, i have bought several filters and none of them have kept the turtle tank clean. I think im going to build one of those. It going into a 60 gallon tank so im going to have to get a bigger pump but i could install 2 of those and it would probably keep it cleaner than all the other filters i have tried.

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