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Air Powered Aquarium Vaccum
Topic Started: Jul 9 2007, 07:05 PM (2,095 Views)
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Air powered aquarium vaccum

One of the things I hate the most about using Side drop filtration in my fish room is the fact that most of the fish waste tends to build up under rocks. So this got me thinking, can I build an air powered vacuum?

I searched the net and there are some air powered vacuums out there so the idea has been tried. I probably could have bought one off the net but had nothing to do one Saturday and thought I would give it a shot.

I firstly netted out an idea of what I needed. Luckily I had a few 45 elbows lying around and the PVC pipe was here, but I still got to make the trip to the hardware store to by some more stuff.

Here is a list of what I needed to build the vacuum

2 x 45 degree, 15mm elbows
2 x 45 degree, 15mm elbows
2 x 15 to 20mm Tees
some 20mm and 15mm PVC pipe
A couple of meters of air line
an old stocking
Cable ties
A 4mm barbed 90 degree bend

As for tools you will need

Measuring tape
Drill and bits
PVC glue
Cable ties
A 4mm barbed 90 degree bend

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First thing I did was cut the bottom off one of the Tees. This would give me a base for the Vacuum. I also filed the edges so that they werenít sharp and to remove the daggy bits.

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I then cut two 40mm lengths of 15mm PVC to use as joiners and then cut 100mm and 60mm sections from the 20mm PVC.

The 100mm section, which I later cut down is to act as a breather on top of the vacuum. Because it is air powered the air had to escape some where and it does it out the top. The 60mm section is to attach the vacuum bag, or the wifeís old stocking. To attach the stocking I used a ring clamp. I did originally use a cable tie but it became impartibly when I had to remove the bag to clean it.

I laid all the pieces out to make sure I hadnít missed anything and to get a good idea what it should like when I glued it. Everything was good so I grabbed the glue and stuck it together.

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Next I measured the tank to get the height right. I am using 18 inch high tanks in my fish room so I made it to suit. From the bottom of the vacuum to the center of the tee I worked out it had to be about 370mm. This meant the water level in the tank would be at the center of the Tee. I cut the pipe and glued it in place

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The next thing I had to do was drill a 4mm hole for the barbed 90 degree bend to go in. I filed down the barb that was going into the PVC and used a bit of silicone to hold it in place.

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All that was left to do was add the bag and tubing. I attached the tubing to the PVC with cable ties mainly to keep the airline out of the way when I am using the vacuum. I also add a couple of dabs of sic lone between the airline and PVC to see if it will hold.

The finished Product......

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While testing this vacuum I found that I needed to add a valve to the airline to slow down the flow of air. I was sucking up too much sand and gravel and filling the stocking too quickly. I also have to find a something a little less fine for the filter bag. The stocking also stretches to much IMHO when full. All-in-all it works well and then best bit is it cost me less then $10
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