home Aquarium Do-it-yourself internal filter for aquarium

Do-it-yourself internal filter for aquarium

Making a bottom filter with a glass jar body

Another internal filter can be made by yourself. A standard glass jar with a capacity of 0.4 to 1 liter is used as the filter housing. Its body is closed with a regular polyethylene lid, in which holes are made for the supply of aquarium water, as well as a hole for installing a tube. A partition is made of a similar cover (filter material is settled between the partition cover).

DIY aquarium filter.

Novice amateur aquarists, as a rule, buy small aquariums and very quickly become convinced that fry grow poorly in such aquariums, adult fish feel uncomfortable, and the water height is low for plants. Such aquariums have to be changed to other, more voluminous ones. In large aquariums, the population grows evenly, and more and more often it is necessary to clean the aquarium of accumulating dirt.

As a rule, various mud scoops are used to keep the aquarium clean, dirt is regularly removed from the bottom with a hose, and special filters are used. Using a filter, you can cleanse the water in the aquarium from dirt particles (turbidity,) and at the same time saturate the water with oxygen, which is necessary for the breathing of fish and other aquatic inhabitants.

As needed, activated carbon is placed in the filters, which sucks in dissolved harmful substances from the water, peat to acidify the water, various pharmaceuticals that can have a beneficial effect on the inhabitants of the aquarium.

Manufacturing a bottom filter with a plastic box housing

A box with a tight-fitting lid can be used as a filter housing. To do this, you need to find a ready-made box (made of plastic). You can use a cut plastic bottle or stick it with organic glass.
In order to be able to observe the accumulation of dirt in the filter and to timely clean the filter material from it, it is better that the filter housing or cover is made of transparent material. A plastic tube with a diameter of 15-20 mm and a length of 150-200 mm is tightly inserted or glued into the housing cover. The air atomizer should be used with a ceramic commercially available one. A number of holes of such a diameter are made in the side wall of the housing so that snails or fry cannot get through them into the inside of the filter. The filter housing is not filled too tightly with the filter material. It should be noted that the efficiency of the filter largely depends on the operation of the atomizer, since the smaller the size of the air bubbles, the larger their total surface, which is in contact with water, in other words, the water is much better saturated with atmospheric oxygen, therefore, the water flow through the filter material increases.

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Filter designs

Functionally, filters are divided into internal and external.
The designs of the internal filters are ordinary. They are usually small in size and low in performance. They function with a microcompressor that supplies air through a tube. Air bubbles rising in the tube capture water and raise it above the water level in the aquarium. The generated water flow passes through the filter material and thus the aquarium is cleared of dirt. Such filters, in accordance with the mechanism of operation, are called airlift filters.

External filters are most commonly used for large aquariums. They are driven by an electric pump that drives the aquarium water through the filter material in the filter housing. Such filters are complex, relatively large and installed next to the aquarium or hung on its wall.

The performance of the filters, in other words the volume of water that passes through the filter at a certain stage of time, depends on the volume of air transmitted by the compressor, as well as the size of the filter. Internal filters are placed on the ground (day), wall and under the soil of the aquarium. When feeding the inhabitants of the aquarium, it is better not to supply air, so that the food does not get into the filter and does not decompose inside it. The filter must be often cleaned of dirt so that harmful bacteria do not grow in it.

In the form of a filter material, fine or coarse quartz river sand (pre-washed and boiled) is used, as well as synthetic fabric and threads (nylon, nylon, and others). Waterproof foam rubber is also used as a filter material, in large pores of which dirt accumulates well.

Aquarists can be offered several options for very simple, but very effective internal airlift filters, which are used to purify water in aquariums up to 100 liters. They can be easily made with your own hands from scrap materials.

Making a conventional bottom filter

Types of aquarium internal filters

Devices can be categorized by filtering capabilities. The simplest glasses carry out only mechanical cleaning of aqua and partially biological. Accordingly, they are the cheapest.

In some models, the number of sections for installing filtering material is increased, which also allows chemical water purification using activated carbon or zeolite.

Internal filters also differ in their performance, that is, in the volume of water that is pumped through the system per unit of time. It should be noted right away that a 300-liter capacity is a fundamental limit for the technical devices under consideration.

There are modern devices with additional options, for example:

  • built-in water heater to maintain the temperature in the aquarium;
  • an injector for supplying air with water;
  • pump power regulator and indicator;
  • flow direction switch and others.

Of course, additional accessories and options are reflected in the price of the device.

Advantages and disadvantages

There are many advantages of such devices. The best internal filters for an aquarium are usually distinguished by the following criteria:

  • Availability. They will cost at least half the price of an external device with about the same performance.
  • Complete security. Eliminates the likelihood of leaks, because the filter is located inside.
  • Reliability. Only the pump can fail, but as practice shows, the devices are capable of working without interruption for the entire period declared by the manufacturer.
  • Service. Regular cleaning of the filter material does not take much time. In a couple of minutes, you can remove the sponge and just wash it in water. This completes the procedure.
  • Bandwidth. It depends on the specific model and can reach more than two thousand liters per hour. Due to this, there is no doubt about the excellent circulation of water in the tank.
  • Power usage. Aquarists highlight the high energy efficiency of such compact devices.
  • Silence. Large external filters can emit vibrations and hum, but here it is completely silent.

Do-it-yourself internal filter for aquarium.

Going to buy a filter for purifying aquarium water, you need to imagine which device is more suitable in each specific case: external or internal, with high performance or low, expensive or cheap. A large number of aquarists opt for internal cleaners. There are many models of such filters, and the question often arises which of them should be chosen.

Device and principle of operation

Internal aqua cleaners have a fairly simple device. Each of them is a cylindrical body with slots for water intake, to which a small pump is attached.

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One or more filter materials are located inside the housing. In the simplest version, such material is foam rubber (elastic polyurethane foam).

Water, passing under pressure through the foam cells, gets rid of mechanical impurities and goes back into the aquarium. Colonies of saprophytes (microorganisms accumulating in foam rubber cells) biologically purify aqua, converting decomposed organic matter into inorganic substances.

The device looks like a glass in its appearance. This is what the owners of ornamental fish often call it.

Do-it-yourself internal filter for aquarium from a compressor

The internal filter made from the compressor has a significantly simplified design, so there will be no manufacturing problems. To get a reliable device made in accordance with all the rules, you will need to prepare the following materials:

Having prepared everything you need for work, you can start solving the question of how to make an internal filter for an aquarium with your own hands. A special sequence of actions is performed here:

  • The bottle needs to be cut in half, but not equal, but so that one is slightly smaller. In this case, the smaller one should have a throat hole. The main bowl is directed upward with a narrow edge and with a certain effort. This will allow the structure to remain tight.
  • On the outside, you will need to make a small hole where water will come. Diameter parameters are no more than 3-4 mm. The best option would be to arrange two rows of holes made, about 6 pieces each.
  • A small tube is inserted into the neck. It is important to ensure that there are no gaps between the top and the pipe.
  • The tube must protrude a couple of centimeters above the surface. The filter should not be placed on the bottom, as it is possible to encounter obstruction of the flow of liquid.
  • A little gravel is poured onto the bowl and a layer of high-quality padding polyester is laid. A tube and a prepared circulation pump hose are placed and everything is carefully fixed.

This filter category is ideal for maintaining optimal water composition and purity. The operating principle of the installed device is simple. It is completely based on aeroflite. This ideally saturates the water where the fish live with oxygen. That’s what a quality pump is for in an aquarium.

What is necessary?

  • a plastic container with a tight lid (a container for storing bulk products is suitable);
  • thick porous material or sponge;
  • sealed water pump with a fitting for attachment to the container lid;
  • ceramic granules or rings for biological filtration (for fine cleaning, plain cotton wool can be used as a filtering element);
  • 2-3 suction cups, adhesive resin.


First step

  • A hole is cut at the bottom of the canister, where a metal or plastic fitting with a one-way inlet valve is screwed tightly.
  • 2 holes are made in the cover: for attaching the water outlet valve and the electric pump.
  • The pump itself is attached through a fitting to the inside of the cover.

Now you need to make cassettes, or cartridges, with filter elements. They can be made from plastic flower pots by cutting off the upper wide part evenly.

The diameter of such self-made cassettes should be slightly less than the inner diameter of the canister.

Holes are burned in the bottom of each cassette for water passage.

The first cartridge, where the sponge is placed, is inserted into the canister so that its bottom is slightly higher than the adapter with an inlet valve.

Next, a second cartridge is installed, where the filtering material can be fiber, synthetic winterizer or cotton wool. A cassette with a filtering biomaterial is installed from above so that it is below the pump attached to the canister lid.

If the body of the external filter is made by yourself, then its bottom and cover are sealed with silicone or resin.

Tubing or hoses are attached to the inlet and outlet adapters with valves. Their length is adjustable depending on the depth of the aquarium and the distance to the filter.

External aquarium water purifier ready.

As in the first case, a working pump creates pressure, under the influence of which water is first sucked into the canister, goes through all the filtration stages and then flows back into the aquarium. Before starting operation, it is necessary to check the canister for leaks within 24 hours by filling it with water.

The main element of the cleaners is the pump. When choosing it, you should take into account the volume of the aquarium. For example: a pump with a capacity of 300 liters per hour is suitable for a 70 liter aquarium, and 1000 liters per hour for a 200 liter aquarium.

What is an external aquarium filter

There are two types of filters: external and internal. How to choose the one that is right for you?

First of all, pay attention to the size of your tank. If it’s big enough, then there isn’t much of a difference. But we usually have only limited areas that can accommodate either a small or medium aquarium. It is in this case that the use of an external filter will be appropriate.

Unlike the internal filter, the external filter is not installed directly in the aquarium, but outside it. This saves a lot of space.

The external filter does not take up space in the aquarium and does not spoil its overall appearance

The work of such a device is as follows: water from the aquarium enters the device, passes through the filter elements, and then returns back to the fish.

An external filter has the following advantages:

  • it does not take up useful space inside the aquarium;
  • the contents of the aquarium look more aesthetically pleasing without such devices;
  • filter media purify water better.

What can be done?

Making such a device at home will take more time.

do-it-yourself, internal, filter, aquarium
  • A round, tall plastic canister can be used as a body.
  • If not, then a piece of plastic garden pipe with a large diameter will do. True, the top and bottom covers will have to be cut and fastened independently.

How to care for your aquarium filter?

In order for the filter to function properly, it must be cleaned regularly. Otherwise, it will start to work worse, and then completely pollute the water environment (the latter concerns internal filters).

The smaller the filter area and the larger the volume of water, the more often the filter needs to be cleaned.

To determine the regularity of cleaning the filter, it is worth not only carefully reading the manufacturer’s instructions, but also observing the filter in operation. If it starts to work weaker, then it’s time to flush it. Small filters may need weekly cleaning, while larger models may need one cleaning every 2 months.

To avoid killing the beneficial bacteria colony, wash the filter with water at room temperature and do not do it too thoroughly. In addition, you should not wash the filter if you change the water in the aquarium, add new fish, introduce new food, otherwise you will upset the established balance in the aquarium.

Replacing the sponge in the filter is another important point. Don’t do this too often. Wait until it begins to lose its filtering ability and shape. In addition, the washcloth in the internal filter consists of several parts, and you only need to change one of them at a time, so that later beneficial bacteria from the “old” parts quickly spread to new ones.

Remember that the filter in the aquarium should work constantly and without interruption, so choose the right model responsibly and do not go after the cheapest option. Stop your choice on quality equipment that has proven itself well and will serve you for a long time.

DIY aquarium filter

Some aquarists believe that it is not worth skimping on the fish and food for them, but replacements for expensive aquarium equipment can be found. Some accessories and accessories, including a water purifier, are quite capable of making with your own hands. Of course, for this you need to know the basic principles of filtering aqua, as well as have some skills of a home craftsman.

DIY aquarium filter

Filler options

The aquarium filter filler is an important ingredient. There are several options for sorbents.

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Foam sponges are considered the most common. They have a specific structure that allows the filler to be saturated with dirt less often. Sintepon in this case is inferior to sponges. In addition to mechanical filtration, foam rubber is also responsible for the biological purification of water in the fish habitat. Many beneficial bacteria settle in the sponge, which neutralize nitrates and nitrites with their vital activity.

Sponges are found in different types of filters. Often aquarists make their own devices using these “dirt absorbers”. The sponge can be used for both external and internal filters.

The long-term presence of such a sorbent in water is well reflected in the biosphere of the liquid. However, the sponge can still be clogged, then the water flow through the filter will be reduced. This will definitely affect the quality of the water. Therefore, at least once a week, the cleaning unit will need to be removed and washed.

Aquarists with years of experience sometimes turn to ceramic fillings. Such parts are responsible for biological water purification. They have a porous structure, due to which there is the possibility of multiplication of a large number of colonies of beneficial bacteria that take part in the nitrogen cycle in the aquarium.

Such sorbents should not be disdained for novice aquarists, since ceramics is a wonderful “tool” designed to establish biological balance in a dwelling for fish.

This type of filler does not need to be washed. you can only rinse it occasionally in the aquarium water. Most often, ceramic elements are used in devices for external filter models.

In order to mechanically improve the quality of water, they resort to installing a synthetic winterizer filler in the device. “Vata” has a high density, so it is able to absorb even microscopic particles of lime.

If there is a padding polyester filler in the filtering system, then after thorough cleaning of the aquarium, such material is able to catch almost all the dust and dregs that rise up after the soil siphon or the treatment of aquarium plants.

The synthetic winterizer filler has one important drawback. it clogs up very quickly. After a week of work, such material sticks together, turning into a dirty lump. All absorbent properties are then inevitably lost. There will be no sense from the filler. It will be possible to use this kind of filler again, but only after scrupulous rinsing under running water.

Due to such a short operational period, it is recommended to contact the sintepon filling of the filter only in emergency cases, when it is necessary to get rid of a large percentage of mechanical suspension.

Used for filtering aquariums and material such as zeolite (ion exchange resin). It is responsible for cleaning the chemical type and can absorb various chemicals into the structure, as well as exchange cations. If you use this material in your filters, remember that it can lower the pH in your aquarium and also lower the phosphate level. The best zeolite is considered to be the products manufactured by Hydor.

Many aquarists choose volcanic lava or expanded clay balls as filling. These sorbents can contain silicates, phosphates and even heavy metals. They must be rinsed well before using in an aquarium.

Clogging of such fillers is very slow, but during the rinsing process they often give very strong haze.

Activated carbon is also used. This filler is capable of removing a wide variety of compounds from the aquarium water. However, it cannot be called a biological material for filtration, because it absorbs both soluble and insoluble substances. Usually, coal is not used permanently due to its short service life. In external models of filters, activated carbon, as a rule, is used in conjunction with other types of fillers when the water is very cloudy or it is necessary to intensively filter the liquid for the treatment of fish.

It is not possible to name the specific service life of such a sorbent, since it directly depends on the installed filtering system and the tasks that are assigned to it.

Usually, within 2 weeks of coal operation, the water has time to be quite well cleaned.

Separately, it is worth talking about peat fillers. Peat has been used in an aquarium for many years, but only in isolated cases as a filtering component. Such a sorbent enriches water with tannins and humic acids. It is to such a filler that you should contact if you need to achieve the optimal level of water softness for fish and plants of certain species.

How to make?

The external filter is easy to manufacture. you just need to adhere to a certain sequence of actions.

  • At the bottom of the container, you need to make a hole for water to enter the filter, at the top (cover). two: for water and for the pump wire. Using the fitting, we firmly fix the pump on the inside of the lid.
  • Thoroughly coat all joints with a sealant.
  • We make separators for filter media. To do this, cut out an element of a slightly smaller diameter than the container itself from the plastic box. Pour in the filler, separating it. The larger the volume of each cassette, the better the filtration. Combining fillers will result in higher performance and better outlet water quality.
  • Next, you need to assemble. The sealant must dry for at least a day. Once dry, install the filter in your work area and start measuring the hoses. This should be done as accurately as possible. The longer the hoses, the more powerful the pump should be installed.
  • After that, a test run of the filter is carried out, the device should work for at least a day. If, after this time, no leaks are detected, then such an aquarium unit is completely ready for operation.

A homemade filter can be of any design and any appearance.

The assembly diagram is always approximately the same (container, hoses, pump, filter elements).

Before choosing a device design, you need to understand that there is no one universal filter for all aquariums and occasions. Each of them is made for specific purposes, tasks, volumes and types of fish contained in a given aquarium. Therefore, before settling on a particular filter model, you need to take into account the characteristics of your pets.


The aquarium filter is a very important component of the entire biosystem of the aquarium, since a large number of bacteria useful for the inhabitants of the “reservoir” settle and live in the pores of the filter element (be it a sponge or loose filler).

There are two types of aquarium water filters: internal and external.

The choice of a specific device must be made based on the volume of water in the aquarium, always with a margin (for an aquarium of 300 liters, you will need a filter from 350 liters, for 100 liters. 150 liters).

Internal filters are affordable, but they take up a lot of space in the aquarium and do not always look aesthetically pleasing, and if the aquarium is long, then 2 devices will be needed at all, which will be installed on both sides, thus hiding a lot of space. At the same time, no less efficient external instances with the required set of functions are very expensive, although they have a number of advantages over their internal “brothers”:

  • do not spoil the view in the “pond” with their bulky structure;
  • designed for more impressive volumes;
  • are maximally convenient to use;
  • they require a little less cleaning and maintenance.

How to make an external filter for an aquarium with your own hands?

Any aquarist, even a beginner, knows about the need to filter the water in an aquarium. Constant cleaning of fish waste products will allow the owner to devote less time to cleaning in the home pond. How to make an external aquarium filter with your own hands, we will analyze in this article.

Care advice

Many newcomers to the aquarium hobby do not know how to properly clean an aquarium filter. As mentioned earlier, large colonies of beneficial bacteria live on sponges and other filter elements. When the sponge gets dirty, it naturally needs to be rinsed.

The sponge is taken out of the aquarium and carried to the sink. This is where the most common mistake appears. rinsing the sponge under running water, all bacteria so necessary for the life of the aquarium are washed off from it, after which the clean, but empty sponge returns to the reservoir.

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In order to preserve bacteria and wash the sponge correctly, you need to perform a simple procedure: take a basin or a bucket, pour some water from the aquarium into it and rinse the sponge in this water.

This will wash away the dirt, but all microorganisms will remain in place, and the “living” sponge will return to the aquarium. This flushing method is relevant for all types of filter elements, be it a simple sponge or baked glass balls.

Useful Tips

For the convenience of working with a homemade filter, transparent food-grade silicone hoses are well suited. They do not become stiff over time, do not contain harmful substances, and the transparent material will help you see deposits inside the tubes, which will tell you about the need to clean the filler.

Please note that it is undesirable to maintain the aquarium or perform any manipulations with it while your electrical appliances in the water are turned on (filter, heater).

Any type of work must be carried out in a completely de-energized reservoir.

If you are afraid to make serious mistakes when making your own filter for an aquarium, do not waste your time. buy a ready-made model, of which there are a lot on sale. It is advisable to give preference to high-quality filters from well-known companies.

How to make an external filter, see below.

How to make an external filter for an aquarium

Every aquarium should have a filtration system that will purify the water, keeping fish and plants healthy. As you know, the waste that the inhabitants of the reservoir leave behind, as well as the remnants of food, suspended particles of soil, are very harmful to fish. Food that is not eaten is oxidized to toxic ammonia. In order for the water to go through all the cleaning steps in a timely manner, it is better to make an external filter for the aquarium with your own hands. It will prevent the appearance of harmful substances that can poison living beings.

How a handcrafted external filter works?

A home-made external filter is designed on the basis of aero-lifting: air bubbles that come from the compressor rise to the tube from which they come up and lower the water flow from the filter along with them. Clean and oxygenated water enters the top section of the glass and passes through the gravel. Then the water enters the bowl through the hole, goes down the tube, and enters the tank. The synthetic winterizer here functions as a mechanical filter. This material prevents the process of siltation of the gravel substrate.

External filters chemically and mechanically purify water. It is better to install such structures in a large aquarium with a volume of 200-400 liters. Larger aquariums with a capacity of 500-1000 liters will require several of these devices. Branded external water purification systems are expensive, so it’s best to make them yourself. Materials are inexpensive and affordable for everyone.

How to design an external filter?

Before making an aquarium filter with your own hands, you should understand how the filtration system works. Biological filtration in an aquarium is the process by which ammonium is converted to nitrite, then to nitrate. Biofiltration is carried out thanks to beneficial microorganisms that live in the aquatic environment. This process depends on the amount of absorbed oxygen, therefore it is important to maintain a constant supply of aeration in the tank using a filter and compressor.

See how a homemade external filter made from plastic bottles works.

To make an external biological filter with your own hands, you should prepare the following materials:

  • 0.5 l plastic bottle for mineral water;
  • A plastic tube with the diameter of the neck of this bottle;
  • Sintepon;
  • Compressor and hose to it;
  • Aquarium pebbles up to 5 mm in diameter.

The plastic bottle must be divided into 2 parts so that fragments of different sizes are obtained from it. You should get a cup with a neck and a big bottom. The bowl should be directed with the neck side up and firmly seated in the bottom. In the outer circle of the bowl, several openings must be made through which water can enter the filter. The recommended diameter of the openings is 3-4 mm, their arrangement is in 2 rows, with 4-6 holes in each.

Next, the tube should be inserted into the neck of the bowl so that it fits tightly into it. After the procedure, you should not notice any gaps or holes between the tube and the neck. The length of the tube itself is chosen taking into account the protrusion above the structure by 2-3 cm. over, it should not touch the bottom of the bottle. If the step is not performed correctly, water will not be able to flow into the mechanism.

Take gravel and sprinkle it on top of the bowl in a layer of 6 cm, and cover it with a piece of padding polyester. Install the hose from the aerator in the tube, and fix it. When the mechanism is ready, it needs to be placed in the aquarium. Then the compressor must be turned on in order for the filter to begin its work. Useful microorganisms will appear in the operating equipment, which will process ammonia into nitrates, which forms a useful microbiological environment in water.

Another way to make an external filter

For the next external filter, you need to prepare the following parts:

  • Plastic container with a tight-fitting lid (you can take a box for storing cereals);
  • Sponge or thick porous material;
  • Sealed water pump and fitting for attachment to the container lid;
  • Biological filtration material (medical wool, ceramic granules);
  • Multiple suction cups, resin adhesive texture.

See how to make an external filter yourself.

  • You need to take a thin file and make cuts around the entire perimeter of the lower compartment of the plastic container. The incisions will allow water to pass through.
  • Put a sponge in this plastic container, on it. cotton wool or other element for biofiltration.
  • Make holes on the container lid that will match the diameter of the pump connection.
  • Insert the fitting into the hole made and secure it with resin or aquarium silicone.
  • A pump should be screwed onto the fitting, which can create pressure inside the container.
  • Several household suction cups should be attached to the side of the container, which is wider.
  • The internal filtration system can be considered complete. Suction cups will be able to hold the device on the wall of the aquarium.

Such a homemade filter can be mounted not on the wall, but placed on the ground of the tank. The soil will also act as a biological filter. A nozzle made of plastic in the form of a long tube extending outward can be attached to the outlet of the sediment. Then, after cleaning, the water will be saturated with oxygen.

Instead of a small plastic container, you can use a plastic canister or canister made of stainless, non-toxic metal. This design is suitable for large aquariums; large cassettes and cartridges with filtration elements can be placed in it. Homemade filters need to be serviced at the same frequency as branded.

If the filter leaks, then check all its elements:

  • The clamps of the mechanism are tightly closed. You may have inadvertently secured the parts with glue or resin. You can solve the problem by re-fastening the clamps.
  • The sponge or suction cup may become dirty in the filter while it is running. Slime and debris can be cleaned off with water. Check the construction for cleanliness monthly.
  • Damage to the plastic container, which will have to be replaced by altering the filter itself.