Saturday, December 19, 2020

Aquarium Filter Fix


I was given this canister filter and it worked great for a while. It eventually developed a leak that turned out to be fatal. The whole filter would have needed to be replaced. I had a fun time at Home Depot picking out all the parts, and the solution has been water tight since.

This filter has a quick release mechanism that relies on there being these tabs on the two black tubes in the picture above. One of them broke off, and of course it was the pressure side. No matter what I did, it developed into a constant leak.

This mishmash of parts is my solution. There are two things that I needed to address. The first is that I needed to figure out how to adapt the 3/4" Tygon tubing that goes to the tank to the filter outlet. And the second was that I wanted to maintain the quick release-ability. The parts on the left are to adapt to the filter and the parts on the right are for the quick release.

For the filter adapter I wasn't able to find a direct way to adapt things, so I found that 1 1/4" Tygon fit over the filter outlet. That was my starting point. Then it was a matter of getting from that to the 3/4" tubing. I found that the 1 1/4" also fit (albeit a little tightly) over 1" PVC tubing. Then I found a 1" to 3/4" threaded reducer, and a threaded 3/4" barb. That was the last piece to adapt to the filter. 

For the quick release, I first chose the valve. I decided on that one because only of the form factor. I liked how the valve had flanges to screw it to the tank stand, and how it had the garden hose threads where it did. Then I pieced it together from there, requiring PEX and Sharkbite connectors on the top and various garden hose adapters on the bottom.

The real trick of getting this whole thing together was getting the adapter fitted to the filter. It was tight, but I was able to get it tightened with a box wrench. Getting the second one in was even tighter than the first. I had to cut the tab off, and fit the tubing over. I was only able to get like 1/4 turn at a time, but I was able to get it tightened with a little determination.

It's a little tight in place, but this is the final product. After the leak, I started keeping the filter in a secondary containment to contain any future leaks. There haven't been any more. When wiring anything with water, you should always try to build in drip loops. That's to prevent water from being able to drip into the outlet. 

And here's a long shot of the cockamamie setup as it is now. Closing the valves prevents the tank from siphoning out when disconnected. And there hasn't been a leak since the repair. I plan to use this filter on the 125 gallon that I'm setting up, and I need to assess how much of this plumbing I'm going to reuse.

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