Instructables

How to make a cheap Cascade 80 fish filter for your fishy friends

Picture of How to make a cheap Cascade 80 fish filter for your fishy friends
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I got tired of paying a whole-lotta-cash for my Cascade 80 fish filters that I was having to replace every couple of weeks. So I decided to make my own, using furnace vent covers, activated charcoal and and an old filter. I would imagine that this would work for any filter that is a charcoal/batting material. It's been a couple of months and my fish isn't dead yet, but don't hate me if yours dies.

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Step 1: Step one!

Picture of Step one!
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Alright, so you'll need 3 things:

- Activated Charcoal
- Old Cascade 80 fish filter - I would imagine that this would work with any other type of cartridge filter
- Vent filters - these are used to cover your furnace vents it your house. I would image that a sewing store would have some similar type of material

Step 2: Step Two!

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The second step is to remove the old filter and charcoal from the filter cartridge. I used a screw driver and peeled it all back; you could use any method you want. Just get it off and pour it out.

Step 3: Step three!

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Alright so you have the old filter material off, now it's time to pour some new charcoal into the old cartridge. I put about two tablespoons in, as that's about how much is in the old filter. It's important to have this stuff as it is what balances the water.

Step 4: Step Four

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Now it's time for you to cut some of the vent filter, I found that it works best if you use 3/4ths of the vent filter folder over on its self twice. You can use the other 1/4th after a couple of replacements.

Step 5: Step Five!

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Now it's time to slide it carefully back into the filter holder/pump assembly.
Then throw it back on you tank, prime, and plug it in!

Step 6: Step Six!

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Great, now your fish can enjoy a clean tank and you can enjoy some extra cash in your pocket.
 
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i like your koi but the tank looks cloudy
agree. I have a small tank with 2 goldfish and the water is crystal clear. Why? because my filter has a turnover rate of 800 liters per hour, yet i have only 15 gallons.......
bassmonkey5 years ago
that tank looks too small for a koi, how many gallons???
Spartan8575 years ago
Actually charcoal is usually worthless in a tank unless you are helping to remove medications or dyes, or your tank has a weird smell. other than that like I said Charcoal is worthless
kilcom76 years ago
your filter is backwards. filtration process works in this sequence:
mechanical(filter pad) then chemical(activated carbon). Also, biological [beneficial bacteria] is occurring before, during, and after.

"poly-fill" is the best bang for the buck filter material (less than $2=1lb bag walmart, found at most craft/fabric stores), use your plastic screen from old filter cartridge to keep poly-fill from entering tank. Also, get a small fabric mesh bag (pet or craft store) and put your activated carbon in it. place in filter 'after' the ploy-fill and smile =D. you just stretched alota dough.
hope that helps

ps: your koi will be alot happier and live longer in a larger tank with more filtration, more hiding places, and some compatible friends.
happy fishkeeping ~><=>'
trainwiththom (author)  kilcom75 years ago
He was only kept in this tank for a short time as I was between living spaces. He's now much happier with a 20 gallon tank and spaces to explore. Thank you for your concern!
I used the wet dry vac filters sleeves and sewed around the edges for my wisper 2 cartridge filter for over 20 years. If you make sure all the carbon is out you can scrub them quite well, also you can use the vent filter as a insert for better filtration. I have saved thousands over the last 20 year in taking care of 2 55gal tanks as well as other peoples tanks. 20 years and still counting
Do u think felt fabric, might possibly work as well? Im just curious, b/c that is what i currently have at hand. :D
trainwiththom (author)  HarryJackson6 years ago
Yes it probably would, I would just watch to make sure that it doesn't kill the flow of the filter. :)
Sgt.Waffles6 years ago
I don't see how such a large fish stays alive in such a large unkempt tank.
feeshy6 years ago
You could save even more money in the long run by replacing the carbon with something useful like sponge and only rinsing it in old tank water when it requires it. On a tank so small and with such a large bioload, you need all the filtration you can get...
trainwiththom (author)  feeshy6 years ago
The sponge is good stuff, it may restrict the water flow too much if you got a really dense one. You need the carbon however - e-aquariums.com states: "Activated carbon or charcoal is a common substance for this purpose. It can absorb chemicals found in fish waste and hold them until the carbon is removed. The carbon has a finite lifespan and should be replaced regularly. Activated carbon can also absorb other chemicals in the aquarium such as chlorine and heavy metals."
No, you don't need the carbon. It's another way for the big companies to part you with your cash. The biological filter, the most important aspect, lives in filter sponges, ceramic media and similar- the bacteria convery ammonia to nitrite, and nitrite to nitrate, which is then removed by water changes. Using a dechlorinator will remove chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals from the water, and water changes will remove other things in the water. Carbon has done all its adsorbing in the first 24 hours or so, after that it's near enough useless as the surface begins to get covered in bacteria and particulate waste.
iman6 years ago
DARN YOU DARN YOU TO HECK lol :) you beat me to it I guess I will have to go for phase two of my contest winning plan Mwahahahaha! *runs to workshop*
trainwiththom (author)  iman6 years ago
SORRY! :) You had the exact same idea?? Would you change anything? ~Thom
lol its fine I Have another plan that will work :) I like your fish <><
Nice job! I like your fishy. :-) Great Instructable, I like it, I might post one about fishes too.
trainwiththom (author)  GorillazMiko6 years ago
Thanks! Post away!
Pyrowuzzup6 years ago
good idea. i hate buying new filters every month. i have 3 tanks too so this'll save me some money.