How to Make a Fish Tank Filter

How to Make a Fish Tank Filter

It just takes five steps to make an affordable homemade fish tank filter. Since filters can be very expensive, there’s a good chance you’re looking to try out a homemade one first. This one can be created for under $20.

First off, have a look at some expensive commercial filters available in the market. Pretty simple design, right? Making your own filter will be cheap and can be just as effective.

What You Need

  • Igloo Thermos with cap – It should be about 11” tall with a hole drilled in the bottom side for an adapter
  • A submersible pump
  • Activated carbon pellets
  • A plastic ring of some sort to go inside the canister and hold the medium in its place
  • Filter sponges
  • Sealant
  • Gravel and clay
  • Ceramic tubes
  • Inflow tube
  • An adapter
VicTsing Submersible Water Pump | $7.99

What To Do

Putting it together isn’t hard at all. Just attach the submersible pump to the inside of the thermos cap. Drill holes so you can get electrical wires through the top. Then, attach the pump using the sealant (to the lid). This needs to dry for a minimum of 24 hours.

Next, inside the canister, begin placing in the following. This is ordered from bottom of the canister to the top of the canister:

  1. Inflow tube, connected to the adapter which is installed on the bottom of the canister
  2. The filter sponge
  3. Ceramic tubes in their red mesh housing
  4. Gravel and clay
  5. Activated carbon
  6. Another piece of filter sponge

Make sure you have enough room at the top of the canister for the pump on the inside of the lid to fit in.

Fluval Carbon | $4.07

What a frugal way to create a fish tank filter at home!

Now, if you notice on-going issues with your tank, like bad odor or cloudy water, you need to either re-do this build because you’ve done something wrong, or get better filtration materials suitable for your tank. But for majority of tanks, the materials mentioned above are enough. Also, if you have quite a large tank, this filter might not be powerful enough to clean up after all of your fish.

It’s nice to save money when possible, but you shouldn’t do it at the expense of your fishes’ health. If you keep encountering problems, spend the money to get a working professionally-made filter.

There are a few other frugal ways to put together your own fish tank filter, including some methods that use just a plastic water bottle. But, this canister method is durable and works well. Plus, it’s made from things you may already have around your house.

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