How Does A Phytofilter For An Aquarium And How To Make It Yourself

How Does A Phytofilter For An Aquarium And How To Make It Yourself

Man is a part of nature and is closely associated with it. It so happened that many people get their own pets. But there are such circumstances when it is impossible to get fluffy pets, and then people start aquarium fish.

Despite the fact that these creatures do not require daily care and attention, they also need a comfortable habitat. Here a phyto filter can come to the rescue, which will create a favorable environment for aquatic inhabitants.

What is it and what is it for?

Plants in the aquarium, both underwater and external, play a huge role. They help clean the aquarium of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds, thereby creating a favorable environment for fish. But it so happens that the aquarium cannot be populated with green plants, for some reason – eating them with aquatic creatures, strong currents from a powerful filter, or the high temperature required for some species of fish. For this, aquarists have invented a water purification system such as a phyto filter.

Operating principle

How Does A Phytofilter For An Aquarium And How To Make It Yourself

Conventional aquarium biofilters only oxidize harmful toxic substances that accumulate in the water and harm fish.

Such water must be constantly changed to avoid high concentrations of hazardous compounds, which adversely affects aquatic inhabitants. But many species of aquarium fish do not tolerate water changes. This is where fito-filter comes to the rescue.

Its uniqueness lies in the fact that roots of plants absorb all compounds unfavorable to the existence of fish, without accumulating them. Thus, the aquarium water is purified and a favorable habitat is created for aquatic organisms. With such a cleaning system, a constant change of water is not required.

Advantages and disadvantages

The main advantages of the phytofilter system include:

  • infrequent replacement of aquarium water;
  • simple design of the product, which can be invented independently for the size of your aquarium;
  • convenient care of plants, not interfering with the inhabitants of the aquarium;
  • filling the water with oxygen and maintaining the life of useful and necessary microorganisms;
  • decorative element of the interior of the room.
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Despite the usefulness of the phytofilter, it also has several disadvantages:

  • rather cumbersome device design, which requires careful installation and fixing, in order to avoid negative consequences;
  • the need for additional equipment for lighting plants;
  • fairly rapid evaporation of water from the aquarium;
  • in case of inaccurate manufacturing of a structure, an incorrect process of the system is possible and, as a result, contamination of the phytofilter.

Suitable plants

In the fitofilter it is impossible to populate any green plants. For maximum proper functioning, the plants for the phytofilter should have certain requirements: to have a sufficiently rapid growth, the possibility of maximum absorption of toxic compounds and high resistance to rotting of the roots. These plants include:

  1. Spathiphyllum – A fast-growing plant requiring high air humidity and light; content temperature of 17.
  2. Fittonia – requires high humidity and temperature not lower than 22 ℃.
  3. Ficus creeping – more suitable for decorative purposes; requires high humidity and temperature of 18.
  4. Chlorophytum crested– does not require mandatory lighting, can grow at a temperature of 12-25, unpretentious.
  5. Tradescantia – grows well in shade and partial shade with high humidity and a temperature of 23-27.

How to do it yourself?

Materials and tools

Phytofilter device consists of the minimum components:

  • tray or flower pot or a rectangular plastic box;
  • substrate (preferably gravel, expanded clay or ceramics);
  • aquarium pump;
  • corrugations and siphons;
  • foam rubber or sponges;
  • fast-growing and moisture-loving green plants (flowerpots).

For the manufacture of fitofilter need the following materials and tools:

  • plastic box;
  • siphon and pump;
  • plastic corrugation tube;
  • plastic sheet 4mm thick;
  • sealant;
  • saw and drill with a round nozzle;
  • tape measure with a pencil;


The height of a plastic box or tray should be on average 10 to 15 cm, provided that the substrate is 7-12 cm wide. The box must be at least half its height to ensure gas exchange and sufficient space for the plant roots. The length should be on the entire rear wall of the aquarium.

Read more:  Biological Water Purification In The Aquarium

Connector for water from the pump is better to make 2 – 3 cm above the bottom of the tray, in order to avoid drying of the filter at long-term shutdown of the pump (pump). Behind him it is recommended to install foam rubber or a sponge, for the implementation of a coarser mechanical filtration of water. To drain water from the aquarium, a gap is made between the substrate and the height of the box about 2-5 cm, which, if desired, can be additionally equipped with foam rubber.

Also, if a more powerful pump is connected to the phyto filter and the filter filters more than 3-4 volumes of water in the aquarium per day, you need to install a splitter so that some of the water flows back into the aquarium without falling into the box with the plants.

Additionally, a double bottom, partitions for plants and other devices at your discretion can be made into a phytofilter. But, as practice shows, the final state of the treated water does not change with additional constructions of the fitofilter.

Further on the photo you can see the phytofilter scheme:

How Does A Phytofilter For An Aquarium And How To Make It Yourself

How Does A Phytofilter For An Aquarium And How To Make It Yourself

Step by step instructions for making

  1. When plants are selected for the phytofilter and all materials and tools are prepared, you can start creating a phytofilter.
  2. On a selected box or tray, with a pencil, marks a hole under the drain of water equal to the size of the siphon.
  3. Drill a drill with a round nozzle on the intended circle and insert the siphon. If you do not have a drill at hand, you can pierce the circumference with a simple drill and cut a hole with a knife.
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For clarity, you can watch the video about creating a fitofilter with your own hands:

How Does A Phytofilter For An Aquarium And How To Make It Yourself

The design of the fitofilter does not require any special care, since natural self-regulating processes occur in it. Due to this care is minimal, and much easier than for underwater plants.

The ease of maintenance of such a phyto filter is that a person does not interfere with the aquatic environment and does not interfere with its inhabitants.

The entire care of the phytofilter is as follows:

  • flushing the siphon approximately once every 6 months;
  • washing the substrate from silting 1 time in several months;
  • cleaning foam (sponges), if such are installed in the design – 1 time in 1-2 months;
  • replacement of poorly growing plants with new ones as they wither.

Do I need additional cleaning devices?

It is difficult to answer this question unequivocally, since each aquarist decides the need for this, depending on the size and quality of the fitofilter.

But the presence of an additional prefilter in the form of a medium-porous sponge will not do any harm. On the contrary the presence of an additional filter will help the fitofilter not to silt and stay longer in working condition.

Related videos

Watch the video about the fito filter for the aquarium:


An aquarium in an apartment is a separate ecological system with its inhabitants and internal rules. Aquarium fish, like other living creatures, want to live in comfortable conditions, without polluting and destroying their substances. But there are times when it is impossible to populate underwater plants in an aquarium.

In this case, it is easy to make a phyto filter yourself. Individual sizes and selected vases will make the design ideal for your aquarium, which will additionally serve as a useful room decor!