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pump for diy canister filter


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i am looking for a water pump to run my filter. i will siphon the water down about 3.5 to 4 feet and the i will pump it back up.


what would be the recommended gph for:


a 5.5 gallon tank?

a 10 gallon tank?

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Some people here will probably say mag drive or some other pump, but I am partial to powerheads b/c they are more versitile.


I use a maxijet 1200 to pump my water changes from the floor into my tanks (4'-5' high). It pushes the water pretty fast, but that kind of flow might be ideal in a 10g tank. You could probably use a smaller maxijet (like a 900) for the 5.5g.

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Blind Tree Frog
Some people here will probably say mag drive or some other pump, but I am partial to powerheads b/c they are more versitile..

The advantage to Mag-Drives (and similar) is that they have less head loss then Powerheads generally. So if you need to force water throuh filtration stuff and then up a hieght, you should need a smaller mag drive then you would need.


Since I know how to find this page. Check out the head loss on the various mag drives:



Actually even better:


Head loss calculator. A maxi jet 12 is what? 300gph? Roughly the same as the Mad Drive 2.


Toss both in with the same configuration. At 4 feet on a .75 inch pipe the Mag Drive is putting up 116gph while the Maxi 12 is putting out 0gph.



So as I said in the first post, if the flow is going to be restricted, go with a mag drive (or similar.. like Quiet One)


BTW, I've got 2 3/4" pvc pipes siphoning water out of my 30 gallon. A Mag Drive 1.5 seems to be perfect for pumping the 4 feet back up to my tank.


If it's just a return pump, that is my recommendation (or a 1.9). Even if you use a bigger siphon pipe, larger pumps will put out a lot more heat then you want to deal with (I used to be using a Mag Drive 7).


If you need to pump water through a filter medium.. then it depends how much you are pumping through. Small pumps for the win though.

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I don't think anyone has adressed this yet, but if you are making a canister filter and not a sump you may have over flow issues. If you are making a canister filter and the power goes out theres a good chance of a flood unless you have a very good seal on your canister. also if your pump is too powerful you may flood your tank. well enough of being a pessimist, if you do make one please post pictures and how you made it

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I guess I still don't get why you wouldn't just want to pick up a cheap HOT magnum, but...





This is a pump that is only for in-tank (submerged) duty. This is due to the design of the intake, which doesn't allow for a direct, leak-proof plumbing.



This is a pump/powerhead that has a good seal around the intake collar and an intake that can be plumbed with pipe or hose. As such, it can be used for external as well as in-tank duty. Generally, these are only used in-tank, however.



This, as well as mag pumps, are used in-tank, in-sump, or externally equally often. They can be counted upon to stay sealed w/o leaks due to their firmly-fitted screw down intake collar.


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