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I am happy with my sponge filters, but I want to try a hang-on-back filter for fun. I am very picky about design, and any visible aquarium technology has to be symmetrical or at least left/right balanced, (like with a canister, uptake on one side, centered spray bar, heater on the other side). Besides the massive Marineland units, this seems to be the only symmetrical HOB filter. Has anyone used one of these? Thanks!
Alongside many fellow aquarists/aquascapists, I find myself dealing with surface film far more often than I'd like. Also alongside my fellow a/a's, I've spent far more money than I could have ever imagined when I first decided to grow underwater plants. In an attempt to arbitrarily draw the money line somewhere, at least until I gave a DIY system a try, I decided that purchasing a skimmer system for my "nano" tank was out of the question. Not to mention the lack of real estate in my 5 gallon cube, of which I decided HAD to have exactly half of its space taken up by substrate in an attempt to mimic something I saw in a recent Aquarium Hobbyist Mag—a decision I highly regret and appreciate at the same time. Surprisingly, the first attempt at a DIY skimmer worked! Now the question is whether or not the snorkel looks worse than the film it removes. Nonetheless, I've decided to show my work and how I did it, as well as my notes in case any fellow a/a would like to cheaply rid their tanks of surface film. Equipment: -Dymax Slim Flo HOB filter (the smallest they make) -length of 1/4” tubing (grab a piece longer than required, trim as needed) -scissors -patience Steps: 1: cut a small notch out of the 1/4” tube near one end. The notch will be a triangle shape with the narrowest part aiming down (toward the opposite end). My notch is about 1” in length and gets to as wide as half the tube’s circumference. 2: feed the other side of the 1/4” tube up the bottom of the intake tube to the filter. I had to cut a small opening in the intake tube in order for the 1/4” tube to fit through. 3: feed the 1/4” tube until one end is about halfway up the intake tube while the notch you cut from step 1 is at the waterline. Make sure to round the bottom of the 1/4” tube as it exits the intake tube so it doesn’t kink. If it’s too long, just trim it. Notes: -You’ll have to fiddle with the waterline on the notch as well as the amount of flow on the filter. You want a small amount of waterfall action. I found the best to be about 1” of a gap of air for the waterfall action (this is what brings the surface water into the tube) -The waterline too high on the notch and there will be no waterfall, so surface water will pretty much be stagnant unless you crank up the filter to max flow, but even then, you likely won't get surface water entering. -The waterline too low on the notch and you'll have a gap of air for the waterfall but surface tension will prevent water from entering the tube. -Filter flow too low and it won’t pull water from the tube into the filter. -Filter flow too high and you’ll get lots of skimming action but you might also suck in a tiny fish…like a phoenix rasbora…don’t ask how I know. -Keep in mind you’ll have to adjust the tube as evaporation lowers the waterline. -I routed my 1/4” tube in a quite visible location because I was fiddling with it and wanted to be able to move and see it easily. You can just as effectively route the 1/4” tube under the filter or behind some plants; something I’ll definitely do in the near future. -My tank is quite small, so, the 1/4” tube is perfect for me. Larger tanks might need a larger tube, but I imagine the same steps apply. Hope this was useful for anyone. If you make your own (using mine or a different setup) please share your project! Would love to see what’s out there. Cheers!