How to Make Your Own External Aquarium Filter to Keep Your Fish Happy and Healthy

Are you tired of having a dirty and unappealing aquarium? If so, it may be time to invest in an external aquarium filter. Not only does it improve the cleanliness of your water, but it also adds to the overall aesthetics of your tank. However, purchasing one can be costly and difficult to install.

The good news is, with a bit of knowledge, you can make your own external filter for a fraction of the cost. In this blog post, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of creating your own external aquarium filter. With just a few materials and a little effort, you can have a crystal-clear tank in no time.

So, let’s dive in and get started!

Gather materials

Before taking on the task of making your own external aquarium filter, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials. Some of the items you will need include a canister or container, a pump, filter media, tubing, and a spray bar. The canister or container will serve as the main body of the filter, while the pump will power the water through the filter.

The filter media will remove debris and impurities from the water, and the tubing will serve to connect the various components of the filter. The spray bar will diffuse the filtered water back into the aquarium. When selecting these materials, be sure to choose items that are the appropriate size and capacity based on your aquarium’s needs.

By gathering all the necessary materials in advance, you can ensure that the construction process goes smoothly and that your aquarium’s water remains clean and healthy.

Materials list

Before starting any project, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials first. This will save you from unnecessary trips to the store and ensure that you have everything you need to complete the task. When putting together your materials list, consider the specific requirements of your project.

Think about the tools and equipment you’ll need, as well as any specialized supplies. Make sure to include enough of each item, taking into account the size and complexity of the undertaking. For example, if you’re embarking on a large-scale painting project, you’ll want to ensure that you have plenty of paint brushes, paint trays, and drop cloths.

Having a well-crafted materials list will not only help you stay organized but also save you time and money in the long run.

how to make your own external aquarium filter

Tools list

When it comes to starting a project, gathering the necessary materials is key to success. This is especially true when it comes to tools. Before embarking on any DIY venture, make sure to take stock of the tools you’ll need to get the job done.

Some necessary items include screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, power saws, pliers, and measuring tape. Depending on the project, you may need additional tools like a drill, sandpaper, or a level. It’s essential to purchase high-quality tools that can withstand the task at hand, so don’t skimp on quality.

By having the correct tools and materials at your disposal, you can ensure that your project is carried out efficiently and effectively. By gathering your materials early on, you can guarantee a smooth and stress-free project experience.

Assemble the filter

Now that you have gathered all the materials, it’s time to assemble your own external aquarium filter. The first step is to attach the PVC pipe to the powerhead. You can do this by drilling a hole into the PVC pipe and then attaching it to the powerhead using a threaded adapter.

Next, you will need to attach the spray bar, which will help distribute the water more evenly throughout the tank. You can do this by drilling a few holes into another PVC pipe and then attaching it to the filter box using a threaded adapter. Finally, you can add the filter media, such as bioballs or filter floss, into the filter box before attaching it to the spray bar.

Congratulations! You have successfully made your very own external aquarium filter. Don’t forget to test it out and make any necessary adjustments before adding it to your aquarium. With this filter, you can ensure that your fish have a clean and healthy living environment.

Steps to assemble filter

To assemble a filter, follow these steps to ensure your filtration system works effectively. Begin by acquiring the necessary equipment, including a filter housing, filter cartridges, o-rings, and a wrench. First, lubricate the o-ring before placing it onto the filter housing.

Insert the filter cartridge into the housing and align with the direction of the flow arrow. Tighten the filter housing with a wrench, but be cautious not to overtighten. Turn on the water and check for any leaks in your system.

Additionally, it is vital to check the filter system frequently and replace the cartridges accordingly to maintain adequate filtration. By following these simple steps, you can assemble a filter efficiently and have clean and safe water for drinking and household use. Remember, a functioning filter is crucial for minimizing contaminants and ensuring optimal water quality.

Tips for proper placement

When it comes to proper placement of your aquarium filter, the first step is to assemble it correctly. This involves following the manufacturer’s instructions and ensuring all necessary components are included. Once assembled, the next step is to place the filter in a suitable location within the aquarium.

A common mistake is to place the filter directly underneath the water flow from the tank’s pump, which can cause the filter to become overwhelmed with debris and reduce its effectiveness. Instead, try placing the filter in an area of low water flow where debris tends to accumulate, such as near the bottom of the tank. Additionally, make sure the filter is securely attached to the tank and the pump, to avoid any accidents or malfunctioning.

By properly assembling and placing your aquarium filter, you can ensure a healthy and clean environment for your aquatic pets.

Maintain the filter

Now that you’ve made your own external aquarium filter, it’s important to maintain it properly so that your fish and plants can thrive. One of the most crucial aspects of maintaining an aquarium filter is to ensure that it’s clean and free of debris. Every few weeks, take a look at the filter and remove any excess dirt or grime that may have built up.

This can be done using a soft brush or by gently rinsing the filter under cool, running water. It’s also important to replace the filter media on a regular basis to ensure optimal filtration. The frequency of media replacement will depend on the size of your aquarium and the number of fish and plants you have inside.

By keeping your aquarium filter clean and properly maintained, you can provide your aquatic pets with the clean, healthy water they need to thrive.

Cleaning schedule

Maintaining the filter is an essential component of any cleaning schedule. An unclean filter can cause a myriad of problems, from poor indoor air quality to reduced efficiency of your HVAC system. To prevent these issues, it’s crucial to regularly clean and replace your air filter.

Depending on the type of filter you have, you may need to clean or replace it every month, every three months, or every six months. Keep in mind that if you have pets, live in a dusty area, or have allergies, you may need to clean your filter more frequently. A dirty filter can lead to clogged ducts and put a strain on your system, causing your energy bills to soar.

As such, it’s crucial to check and replace your filter regularly to ensure that your system is running at peak efficiency. By making filter maintenance a priority in your cleaning schedule, you’ll enjoy better indoor air quality, lower energy bills, and a more efficient HVAC system.

Troubleshooting common issues

One of the most important components of maintaining the health of your aquarium is the filter. It is crucial to keep the filter well-maintained and functioning properly to ensure proper circulation and filtration of the water. A common issue that many aquarium owners face is neglecting to clean and replace filter media regularly.

This can result in the filter becoming clogged and ineffective in removing debris from the water. To prevent this issue, it is essential to clean or replace the filter media based on the manufacturer’s recommendation. This will not only improve the water quality but also prolong the life of the filter.

So, don’t forget to make proper filter maintenance a part of your regular aquarium maintenance routine.


In conclusion, making your own external aquarium filter is not only a fun and rewarding DIY project, but it also allows for a truly customized filtration system tailored to your specific aquatic inhabitants. With a little bit of creativity, some basic materials, and a bit of elbow grease, you can create a functioning and cost-effective filter that will keep your tank clean and healthy. So why settle for a run-of-the-mill filter when you can craft your own? Go ahead and dive into the world of custom filtration – your fish will thank you!”


What materials do I need to make my own external aquarium filter?
To make your own external aquarium filter, you will need a plastic container, filter media, tubing, a water pump, and silicone sealant.

How do I assemble my own external aquarium filter?
First, cut holes in the plastic container for the tubing and water pump. Then, attach the tubing and water pump to the container. Next, add the filter media to the container and seal it with silicone. Finally, connect the tubing to your aquarium and turn on the water pump.

Can I use any type of plastic container for my external aquarium filter?
No, it is important to use a sturdy and watertight container such as a storage bin or food container. Avoid using containers that may release chemicals into the water.

How often should I clean my external aquarium filter?
It is recommended to clean your external aquarium filter every two to four weeks to prevent clogging and maintain proper water quality in the aquarium.

How much will it cost to make my own external aquarium filter?
The cost will depend on the materials you choose to use, but it can range from $30 to $50.

Can I use my own filter media for my external aquarium filter?
Yes, you can use various types of filter media such as foam, filter floss, and ceramic rings. It is important to choose filter media that is appropriate for your aquarium size and the type of fish you have.

What are the benefits of using an external aquarium filter?
An external aquarium filter can provide better filtration, increase water circulation, and improve the overall health of your aquarium inhabitants. Additionally, it can free up space within the aquarium for decorations and fish.