Updated on December 13, 2023


Created on May 27, 2016

Tulip Siphon Filter

A portable silver-enhanced ceramic water filter.

Developed By
  1. Basic Water Needs
Tested By
  • Waterlaboratorium Noord (WLN)
Content Partners


Product Description

The Tulip® Siphon is a portable water purifier for daily or emergency use and is comprised of a silver enhanced ceramic candle filter (Tulip® or CrystalPur®) with a plastic casing and a siphon mechanism to initiate filtration.

Target SDGs

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

SDG 1: No Poverty

Market Suggested Retail Price


Target Users (Target Impact Group)


Distributors / Implementing Organizations

Local partners in Ethiopia, Zambia, Ecuador and Guatemala. NGOs, commercial networks, national, regional and community entrepreneurs.

Competitive Landscape

Direct competitors include Living Water Treatment Systems.

Manufacturing/Building Method

Ceramic candle filters are manufactured in China using diatomaceous earth, nano silver, and activated carbon. Production locations include China, India, and Kenya.

Intellectural Property Type


User Provision Model

Basic Water Needs partners with local entrepreneurs, NGOs and other organizations to establish local distribution networks.

Distributions to Date Status

Including filter models in addition to the Siphon model, roughly 500,000 Tulip units have been distributed. Correspondence with manufacturer

Manufacturer-specified flow rate (L/hr)

5 L/hr

Bacteria reduction

4 log

Virus reduction


Protozoa reduction

> 4.5 Log ( >99.995% )

Heavy metals and/or arsenic reduction


Maximum recommended influent turbidity level (NTU)

Tulip filters have been tested under various turbidity levels (8 – 806 NTU) depending on country tested.


Effluent turbidity levels (NTU)

~0.13 – 5. Tulip filters remove ~99% turbidity.  Turbidity levels vary depending on country tested.


Manufacturer-specified lifetime volume (L)

7,000 L


Design Specifications

Dimensions: 20.5 x 14 x 9 cm Weight: 0.5 kg

Product Schematics

Technical Support

Provided by user: When flow rate slows, clean filter by backwashing by closing the tap and squeezing the rubber bulb, to force water back through the filter element. If sufficient flow rate is not restored, scrub filter with included scrub pad. Users should check filter diameter using the tool provided, and when diameter is less than indicated on the tool, the ceramic filter should be replaced. A washable pre-filter can be used when filtering turbid water to reduce clogging.

Replacement Components

Replacement components are available through local agents or distributors.


7,000 liters or until diameter less than indicated.

Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters

Performance targets: Capable of removing 99.995% bacteria, >99.995% protozoa, and 99% turbidity. Flow rate is up to 5 L/hr.

Vetted Performance Status

Laboratory testing: Removal efficiency of Silver impregnated Ceramic filters


2.5 – 6.5 ppb silver in filtered water, below US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and WHO secondary standards for silver in drinking water (0.1 mg/L).

Complementary Technical Systems

To preserve filtered water quality, use with a safe water storage container with lid and tap.

Academic Research and References

Mohamed, H., et al., Microbiological effectiveness of household water treatment technologies under field use conditions in rural Tanzania, Tropical Medicine and International Health, 2016, 21 (1), 33-40.

Luoto, J., et al., What point-of-use water treatment products do consumers use? Evidence from a randomized controlled trial among the urban poor in BangladeshPLoS One, 2011, 6 (10).

Barnes, et al., The Biosand Filter, Siphon Filter, and Rainwater Harvesting, 2009. [MIT Group Report]

Renzi, D., Effects of Solids Loadings and Particle Size Distribution on Siphon Ceramic Candle Filters, University of South Florida, 2011. [Thesis]

“About – Basic Water Needs,” Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/about-2/ 

Goal 6. (n.d.). Sdgs.un.org. Available: https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal6

bwn, “Tulip Technology in Top 100 innovations,” Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/tulip-technology-in-top-100-innovations/ 

V. D. V. Klaas and R. Korse, “Gravity operating ceramic water filter,” 2009087670:A2, 16-Jul-2009. https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2009087670A2/en 

“Home,” Techxlab.org. Available: https://www.techxlab.org/ 

“Basic Water Needs – Domestic water. Safe. Affordable. Simple,” Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/#tulip 

Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/wp-content/uploads/qaqc/Netherlands/Netherlands/Netherlands%20WaterLab%20Noord%20%282%29.pdf

“WLN – Waterlaboratorium voor waterkwaliteit onderzoek en behandeling,” WLN, 21-Feb-2018. Available: https://wln.nl/ 

U. S. Epa and OW, “Secondary Drinking Water Standards: Guidance for Nuisance Chemicals,” 2015. https://www.epa.gov/sdwa/secondary-drinking-water-standards-guidance-nuisance-chemicals 

Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/wp-content/uploads/qaqc/Malawi/Malawi/MALAWI%20Ministry%20of%20Health%20%20approval%20letter.pdf

“Philippines DOH Certification.JPG (739×1024),” Basicwaterneeds.com. Available: https://www.basicwaterneeds.com/wp-content/uploads/qaqc/Filippines/Filippines/Philippines%20DOH%20Certification.JPG


Compliance with regulations

Malawi Ministry of Health approval, Philippines DOH Certification (expired May 2015), National Laboratory test results

Evaluation methods

Laboratory and field evaluations

Other Information

Selected as one of Toekomstmakers Top 100 in 2015. Other Tulip technologies include: the Tulip Table Top and Tulip Group Filter.

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