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6 DIY Aquarium Filter Ideas You Can Make Today! (With Pictures)

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

goldfish by oxygen filter

It’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of an aquarium filter. It steps in for nature and keeps the water chemistry stable with organic compounds at safe levels. It’s a vital step in the nitrogen cycle, which breaks down fish waste into a form of nitrogen that plants can use for nourishment as nitrates.

Your fish tank needs to go through a complete cycle before you fill it to capacity. That can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks, depending on your setup and filtration system. Your goal after that point is to keep the conditions stable to avoid stressing out your fish and plants from drastic fluctuations.

But the business end of an aquarium, with its filters, tubing, and heaters, isn’t attractive. It’s a distraction to the relaxing environment that you’re attempting to create with fish, live plants, and the décor that you add to your tank. That’s what makes DIY aquarium filter ideas so helpful. Let’s explore the possibilities.

The 6 DIY Aquarium Filter Ideas

1. If One Is Good, Then Two Is Better by BiTEN

The best thing about this setup is that you can customize it to the tank’s size. Swap out different bottles, and add the appropriate amount of Fluval for your medium. This product works well because the porous texture gives it a greater surface area to increase its effectiveness. Brilliant!

If you're a new or even experienced goldfish owner who is having issues understanding the intricacies of water filtration, or just wants a bit more detailed information on it, we recommend that you check out our best-selling book, The Truth About Goldfish. 

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It covers everything about creating the most ideal tank setup and more!

2. Make Your Own Sponge Filter by Ayush Sharma

Make Your Own Sponge Filter- Instructables
Image Credit: Instructables

Sponge filters are a popular option for aquarium enthusiasts. They provide the medium for the nitrogen cycle while adding surface agitation to improve the tank’s water chemistry. We like this one because you can paint the PVC to make it less obtrusive. It’s also durable and easy to clean.

3. Get Creative by Hasnah Kamilah

The great thing about this setup is how easy it is to make and set up in your tank. Not only is it a snap to install, but also it’s a breeze to maintain. These types of filters do double-duty with water quality, which makes putting this one together a no-brainer.

4. It’s a Filter for Any Size Tank by American Aquarium Products

It’s a Filter for Any Size Tank- American Aquarium Products
Image Credit: American Aquarium Products

We love this DIY aquarium filter because it gives you an option for smaller tanks and fishbowls. The problem with aquariums of these sizes is that the water goes foul quicker. Adding a filter creates a more stable environment for the fish so you can keep Bettas in a bowl.

5. You’ll Never Think of a Water Bottle the Same Way Again by Reef Builders

This is thinking out of the box to come up with an affordable way to keep your tank clean and healthy. The small size of the bottle makes it easy to hide, and replacing it only costs pennies. That makes it a more straightforward solution than buying replacement cartridges.

6. Go Through Multiple Stages by JDO Fishtank

The cool thing about this filter is the multiple stages that you can add with the customization options. Some fish are less tolerant of poor water conditions than others. This setup gives you a leg up on providing a healthier environment with stable water chemistry.

wave tropical divider

Final Thoughts

DIY aquarium filters are surprisingly easy to make and use. The best part is that you can put one together with supplies that you have around the house. It’s an excellent use of recycled materials that is also cheap to replace. You can customize them for your tank’s layout too, which makes them an even better option for the enthusiast.

Read More: 10 DIY Koi Pond Filters You Can Build Today

Featured image credit: CAT Foto, Shutterstock

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