BOX FILTERS?! ARE YOU KIDDING?

By Kyle May
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Kyle May
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Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: NothEast Ohio, USA

BOX FILTERS?! ARE YOU KIDDING?

Post by Kyle May » Tue Dec 07, 2010 9:50 pm

I was freaking out. My fish room was expanding at an uncomfortable rate because 1) I was being offered all the fish I ever wanted at unbelievably low prices and 2) Stuff in my fish room was breeding like crazy.
I was buying ten and 20 gallon tanks like a crack addict buying his evening fix. Every night as I drove home from work,my route inevitably took me home via the local fish store (LFS) so I could get another tank.
When all this was going on, glass tanks were cheap as rice in the US, so expansion was not putting a financial strain on my marital bliss.....well the tanks themselves, that is.
Filtration is expensive. Let me rephrase. Effective filtration can be expensive. I couldn't afford to buy even the cheapest model of back filters for this many tanks, and cannisters were definately out.
Even sponge filters were too expensive for the amount of tanks I was purchasing. But I had fry coming out of my ears, and while I didn't have sponge filters, I did own a large diaphram pump (AP-100) and had plenty of air.
After some thought, here was my solution:
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Yup....box filters. The local auctions were rife with cheap, clean, barely used box filters and the sellers seemed happy to get rid of them.
These use very little air, were cheap, and were gentle enough to use in fry tanks...they won't suck up the fry like a canister filter or back filter.
They remove tons of particulate matter, are easy to clean, and can harbour tons of bacteria. Simply keep a little bit of dirty media when cleaning
and the bio filtration reamains relatively stable.

Before use, I silicone the filters to a peice of 4" x 4" bath tile, making sure to attach the filter to the rough side.
Once dry, the tile provides plenty of ballast to keep the filter submerged, plus it provides a sturdy base.
The tile can be found for pennies each at the local home center, and if you don't mind a weird color, you can really get them cheap.
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Filter Floss can be expensive but I've found that Hypoallergenic Pillow stuffing from Walmart is incredibly cheap and works just as well.

I’ve even devised a handy dandy holder that keeps the floss handy.
It’s made from a 3” pvc tube, (from a home center) with a 3” cap for the top to
keep the dust out. Drill some holes in the tube then attach to a wall to keep the floss close.
An eventual upgrade will be to cut a 1” wide slot in the front from top to bottom to make it even easier to use. This little project is easy for the handy aquarist to pound out in a short period of time.

One last word on the box filter. After my fortunes changed and I upgraded the fry tanks to sponge filters, I found that the box filters were perfect for secondary filtration in my other tanks. Any time I have a tank that needs some water polishing, I use the back filter. I also use it to run carbon on a tank from time to time. The larger box filters allow you to add gravel at the bottom for an additional bio filtration. Keep your eyes peeled for these at the next auction and give them a try in your fish room.
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Kyle May
Ohio Cichlid Association
Northern Ohio, USA

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Jshakour
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Location: Northeast Ohio

Re: BOX FILTERS?! ARE YOU KIDDING?

Post by Jshakour » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:21 pm

Great post Kyle!
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-James

dogofwar
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Re: BOX FILTERS?! ARE YOU KIDDING?

Post by dogofwar » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:28 pm

I pair boxes and sponges in almost all of my tanks. I find the boxes easier to clean than sponges, so I dial the air up on them...and down on the sponges.

Instead of the tile (which is a great idea), I keep a handful of gravel in each box.

Matt

dogofwar
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Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:25 pm

Re: BOX FILTERS?! ARE YOU KIDDING?

Post by dogofwar » Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:22 pm

The cheapest source of pillow fluff for me is Michael's craft supply... They usually have 40-50% off coupons in the paper most Saturdays and Sundays. That way I don't need to enter Wal-Mart...

Matt

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Kyle May
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Location: NothEast Ohio, USA

Re: BOX FILTERS?! ARE YOU KIDDING?

Post by Kyle May » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:59 pm

Zach and Matt,

Thanks for the tips. I will look at Michaels when they have a coupon. I typically buy 2-3 bags at a time at Walmart anyway, so that'd be some real savings!
I like the idea of the batting too. I think I'll test the batting this winter. I'll bet I could cut that to fit into my backfilters too.

Kyle
Kyle May
Ohio Cichlid Association
Northern Ohio, USA

Dan Woodland
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Re: BOX FILTERS?! ARE YOU KIDDING?

Post by Dan Woodland » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:45 am

When I use box filters I also when to Joann Fabric for batting. Cheap cheap cheap....

As far as sponge filters, I use the reticulated sponges from ATI. They hold more gunk, clean easily and won't clog!

This can be an expensive hobby, thanks for sharing your ideas boys.

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