How to Make a DIY Aquarium Filter With a Gallon Bucket

Written by naomi bolton | 13/05/2017
How to Make a DIY Aquarium Filter With a Gallon Bucket
A simple, self-made filter will keep your aquarium water healthy. (aquarium fish 5 image by cherie from

Fish and, in the case of reef aquariums, marine invertebrates such as sea anemones continually add metabolic waste to the aquarium water. Aquarium filters are containers in which various types of materials are placed in order to remove this toxic waste material. It is possible for the hobbyist to include mechanical, chemical and biological filtration in a single canister or container. Although aquarium dealers stock numerous types of filters, it is possible for the hobbyist to make a filter from a gallon bucket.

Push the 1-inch barbed fitting into the exhaust nozzle of the GenX -1500 volute submersible pump.

Place the 1-gallon plastic bucket next to the GenX-1500 volute submersible pump on a clean work surface. Push the GenX-1500 volute submersible pump against the bucket and mark the spot where the barbed fitting on the pump's exhaust nozzle makes contact with the bucket.

Cut a 1-inch diameter hole in the 1-gallon bucket with a sharp blade. Position this hole exactly over the mark against the bucket.

Add boiling water to a small bowl and hold one end of the 3-inch plastic tube into the boiling water for half a minute. Remove the tube and push it over the end of the 1-inch barbed fitting that is already attached to the GenX-1500 pump.

Work the opposite end of the plastic tubing through the hole that you have cut in the 1-gallon bucket.

Squeeze a teaspoon full of non-toxic silicone sealer around the area. Spread out and smooth the silicone with your finger to ensure a seal. Leave the bucket and pump combination to cure for a day.

Add at least a large handful of filter wool to the 1-gallon bucket and pack it tightly into the bottom.

Fill a nylon filter bag with 0.045 Kilogram of activated carbon and tie off the neck of the bag with the attached string. Rinse the activated carbon bag under running tap water until the water that runs out of the nylon bag is clear.

Put the activated carbon bag onto the filter floss in the 1-gallon plastic bucket. Pack the nylon bag down tightly.

Place 20 bio balls into the second nylon bag. Tie off the neck of the bag and place it next to the activated carbon.

Place the pump and 1-gallon bucket assembly into the sump of the aquarium. Ensure that the rim of the bucket is just above the water level. This sump is a reservoir that is normally positioned below the aquarium and is connected to it via pipes.

Plug the submersible pump into a wall power source and turn the pump on.

Things you need

  • 45-gallon aquarium
  • 1-inch barbed fitting
  • GenX-1500 volute submersible pump
  • 3 inch long, 1.5 inch diameter plastic tubing
  • 1-gallon plastic bucket
  • Marker pen
  • Sharp blade
  • Small tube, 100 per cent non-toxic silicone sealer
  • Kettle
  • Bowl
  • 1 large handful filter wool
  • Two nylon filter bags
  • 0.1 pound of activated carbon
  • 20 bio balls
  • !0-gallon aquarium sump

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