DIY External Canister Media Baskets

I decided to redo my (EHEIM 2211) external canister filter setup because honestly it was not setup as efficiently/correctly as it should have been (big thanks to PondGuru). In doing so I decided I wanted some canister media baskets for my canister filter since it did not come with any (the basic concept for these media baskets is credited to Mike Creuzer). I got all these supplies from WalMart, I made two media baskets, and I had plenty of material leftover.
Completed media basket.
Items Used
Stiff Plastic Canvas (the stiffer the canvas the sturdier the basket)
Fishing Line (I chose 15lb to ensure durability for my basket/s media weight needs)
Plastic Elastic Cord (or similar)
Sharpie Marker
Basket Sides
Start by placing and forming the plastic canvas into the inside of the canister filter to figure out what dimensions the basket will need to be (measuring is the most crucial step for this project). Add on an extra overlapping inch to the width measurement to allow for more support to the sides of the basket. Use a sharpie marker to mark where you'll need to cut your canvas. Cut out the plastic canvas size needed. Cup your canvas together to form a circular tube shape and use fishing line to sew/knot together the canvas sides (I did triple knots). To better secure the knots I took a lighter and burned off any loose ends just to melt everything together a smidge.
The two shapes needed to create a media basket.
Basket Base
As a base template for the basket I used the round filter basin that this filter came with to trace where to cut out another piece of plastic canvas. Attach the base to one end of the basket sides using the fishing line to complete the basket (it's not necessary to sew the entire base, just enough to hold the media in).
Basket handle
Basket Handle
To make the basket/s a bit easier to remove from the canister filter tie on some plastic cord to the top sides of the basket to create a handle. Don't make the handle too tight because you want to be able to get your media in and out easily and you don't want your basket to awkwardly bend inward.
Completed media basket.
Your basket/s should now slide nicely inside the canister filter and once full of media the baskets should sit on top of one another (assuming you made more than 1 basket). If for some reason it doesn't than you could always add on a small semi-circle piece and attach it to the top rim.


Lionhead Progress (4th Month)

The lionhead have now turned into Nisai with the new year and it has now been another 30 days since the lionheads last weigh-in. They have been on a fairly strict diet of New Life Spectrum Thera A 1mm pellets (this is the first month I have tried NLS Thera A) all month. I do feel that my lionhead seem a bit more vibrant in color this month, especially the yellow coloring on Pocky.
Ramen, Sumo, and Pocky (left to right)
This month Ramen is the slimmest at 44g with a 7g gain since last month. The 2 pellet foods which Ramen has showed the most growth on in the past has been NLS reg. and Hikari Lionhead.

Sumo is no longer the smallest in weight as he now weighs in at 46g with a 12g gain since last month. The 2 pellet foods which Sumo has shown the most growth on is NLS Thera A and Omega One.

Pocky is still the biggest lionhead at 49g with a 8g gain. The 2 pellet foods which Pocky has showed the most growth on is NLS reg. and Omega One.

The average gain this month was 9g (0.3g gain daily), unfortunately Pocky and Ramen both fell short as Sumo apparently ate the most food. This coming month I may try to mix their pellet food to be... 1 part Hikari Lionhead, 1 part NLS Thera A, 2 parts Omega One, and 2 Parts reg. NLS in hopes that they will all have a huge gain for next month. Today I finally reduced their water temperature from 76-78F down to 72F because there tank is honestly feeling like it's in the Bahama's right now and may be why the tank has been smelling regardless of water changes, etc.


Lionhead Progress (3rd Month)

After another month (30 days) the lionhead goldfish are still gaining weight. I did get concerned with Pocky's dramatic color change this month so I put them on a strict pellet diet for the most part. I was a bit lazy doing water changes this month as every week I usually change out 25% of the water, but this week it turned into 25-50% water changes every 10-14 days. I think it basically averaged out in the end but the lionhead do seem to get a bit irritable when I wait too long to do a water change (as they'll act skittish and hide).
Sumo, Pocky, and Ramen (left to right)
This month Sumo is still the slimmest at 34g, which is a 10g gain from last month. Ramen weighed in at 37g which is a 12g gain from last month. Pocky weighed in at 41g which is a 13g gain from last month showing that he is in fact still one healthy goldfish. Which means on average these fish gained around 0.39g daily this month which is significantly less than last months at 0.52g, and shows me why Ramen has been looking straight up at the waters surface for more food lately. In terms of weight gain for the past 3 months these fish are averaging 8-9g every 30 days.

Although my lionhead are still rapidly gaining weight it seems I should probably up their food intake for the month ahead.. or I could choose to lower the water temperature (the tank is usually kept at 78F) a bit and put them into a mild winter fasting which may be the natural solution for them. Judging by their weight in comparison to my ranchu's when I got them I would now estimate that my lionhead are around 7-8 months old (almost nisai time for all 2014 goldfish!).


Who's the New Fish?

It's Pocky!
Recently one of my lionhead goldfish starting going through a dramatic change which happened in under 2 weeks (mostly within a week).
Before and After
My fastest growing lionhead 'Pocky' has rapidly lost his orange coloring. Overall Pocky's behavior has not changed and none of the other lionheads have yet to show any dramatic color changes. I can not pin-point the exact cause of Pocky's change although it could be due to... a lack of light (so I started leaving the light on at night where-as before I didn't really use it), low acidic pH (I have fairly high pH at 7.4+ which makes my water alkaline), food (I had started mixing in OmegaOne pellets last month which could be a possible cause), disease (so I treated the tank as a preventative), or age (I have had these lionhead for under 3 months now).
Before and After (mid transformation)
Whatever the case may be.. at least it is easier to distinguish Pocky from Sumo currently as it's almost like I have an entirely new fish. The little bit of orange that is currently left on Pocky is still rapidly disappearing so, we shall see what happens with Pocky over the next few weeks but I honestly feel this may only be age or gene related (which may perhaps mean that one of Pocky's parents was of the lemonhead variety, and if that's the case I believe Sumo is its sibling so I would perhaps anticipate Sumo changing colors as well).