Introduction: Water Filter : Tuna Can Cartridge System

About: Robert started prepping 15 years ago in anticipation of the perceived Y2K crisis. Starting out small with just enough resources to get him and his family through a week of supply disruptions, this quickly turn…

We have seen home made water filters made from recycled water and pop bottles and I have made my share of those and demonstrated to hundreds of school kids.

These are great for emergencies if you need clean water. The only thing with them is that they can be quite clumsy and awkward to make. So I came up with a cartridge system that when one of the elements has passed it's use, you just clean out the tuna tin and put more of that element in and continue using the filter.

Hence the name Tuna can cartridge water filter.

This project is great for teaching it separated each of the filter layers and give them an opportunity to discuss and examine them in depth and I encourage schools, scouts and prepper survival groups to give this a try.

Please pass and share. I look forward to your comments and questions. If you have any comment's or questions please feel free contacting me Survival Central.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Needed Materials

Can opener

3 Tuna Cans

Drill or punch


Fine mesh, cheese cloth or old sock (clean)




Duct tape

Step 2: Open Tuna Cans

Open Tuna Cans

Eat contents or feed to the cat.

I ate tuna for three days and now have had my fill. I don't want to see the 100 or so can I have stored till the Apocalypse.

Once contents emptied, thoroughly clean tins

Step 3: Drill or Punch Out Bottom of Tins

Drill or punch holes 1-2 inches from the center in a circle so you can remove the center of the tin.

Once bottom removed, take your hammer and tap down any burrs that might be left from drilling or punching.

Repeat this step for all three tuna tins.

Step 4: Cut and Insert Mesh, Cheese Cloth or Old Clean Sock

Cut and Insert Mesh, Cheese Cloth or Old Clean Sock making sure that what ever you choose is bigger than the hole you made in the bottom of the tin.

The mesh is there to allow water to flow thoroughly and to make sure that each element of the filter doesn't fall out of the tin.

Repeat this step for all three tuna tins.

Step 5: Add Elements to Tuna Tins

For each of the three tuna tins add the following

1 tin gravel

1 tin sand

1 tin charcoal

Fill each tin leaving about 1/4" to 1/2" at the to so each tin can seat itself properly prior to being taped.

Step 6: Stack and Tape Tins

Stack tins in the following order

Charcoal Bottom

Sand Middle

Gravel Top

Once stacked in that order Duct Tape tins at the seams where the tins meet.

Step 7: Prime and Use of Water Filter

Once you have assembled your filter you will have to prime your filter.

Run water through the filter 3 to 4 times, this will clean out any charcoal dust that might be in the filter from when you made it. This is called priming your filter.

Once filter is primed you can now try out your filter with dirty water. The end result should be cleaner water than what you put in and should be good enough to drink.

Disclaimer: It is in my opinion that even after this filtration process can make the water drinkable, you should also rely on boiling and or chemically treating your drinking water with chlorine tabs or iodine before consumption.

"Be Prepared, Stay Safe and Survive!"

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