Custom Aquarium Filter Ideas

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We get loads of questions on setting up tanks with large Hamburg Mattenfilter style filters, so this is a good time to get a little deeper into the subject of filtration with our high quality custom-cut foam product. As we've said in the past, all you have to do is move water through the foam to get great filtration. There are probably more than a million ways to accomplish this, and we'll list a few.

Many want the foam to be hidden. The aquarium is decorative and they do not want it to be obvious. Putting it close to a side wall will make it less obtrusive. Some will even try to get plants to root themselves along the visible side. Others will stack rocks and driftwood in front of it. Although these can work to a degree, the best option if to make an undergravel filter out of it or to simply use a small tank as a sump to filter out of view. Constructing an undergravel filter is probably the easiest way. Take a piece of "egg-crate" used to diffuse fluorescent lighting and cut it to slightly less than the size of the tank bottom. Then get if off the tank floor by gluing (silicone) some marbles to the bottom. You want it off the bottom about 1/2" or so. By using a power head and some vinyl tubing of the right diameter, you can draw water evenly through the foam. Put the powerhead into a hidden corner and then extend tubing from it, through a small hole in the sponge that you will cut for this purpose. Leave the tubing long enough to extend to the center of the tank (under the egg-crate) to create an even draw.

If you prefer to have the lift tube air-driven, just extend the tubing to the top of the tank, attaching it to the tank wall with suction cups (like the kind that come with a heater). Then, drop and airline with an airstone to the bottom and you're good to go. If you want more flow, put one on each end of the tank. A one inch thick piece of foam with some gravel covering it will look great. Make sure to use gravel and not sand. First, the gravel will not clog the pores of the foam and it allows greater water flow through it.

Now you have a few suggestions. The other 999,997 will have to wait for another time.

Enjoy your fish,

Steve Rybicki

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