No filter plant tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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No filter plant tank

Hi Everyone

I am going to setup a Plant tank with small number of fish but without a filter. Since my tank will be in furnished basement I will be using lighting fixtures to light the tank for the plants. I do have one concern and it's the heater.

Since the basement gets cold during the winter months in the northeast US. I am wondering how I will be circulating the heat coming off the heater inside the tank. Does anyone see a concern or have an idea how I can heat the tank without water circulation?

Thank you in advance!

For the love of fish, plants and shrimps!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 05:39 PM
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I’m not sure that you will be able to make this work, for a number of reasons, but I’ll make a few suggestions that may help.

- Make sure that you buy plants that can survive on very low light levels.

- Plants need nutrients, but tap water often has many of them and fish food can supply a few others. To be safe, it might be best to dose a good quality all-in-one fertilizer at the lowest recommended dosing.

- Fish will die from too much ammonia (read about the nitrogen cycle). Plants can take up some of it but, with the slow growth of your plants, it may not be enough. A filter can remove ammonia and trap debris (which helps keep things clean). You can buy very small filters. At least monitor ammonia with a test. Seachem makes something called “Ammonia Alert” which hangs inside your tank so you can view it anytime. I think that, without a filter, you will have to make numerous water changes, on the order of 20%, several times a week, depending upon your fish load.

- Without circulation, particularly of the surface, it can be hard to maintain good oxygen levels in a tank. If you see your fish hanging around the waters' surface, that is a sign that they need oxygen. The other benefit of a filter is that it provides circulation. The heat from the heater will create some minor circulation, but it may not be enough to create a uniform temperature. I suspect that it will be enough, though, and fish will move toward it if they need it.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-15-2020, 08:59 PM
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Heat rises so it will create little convection currents rising up from heater elements all way to top of water. Just be sure to put heater elements at bottom of tank.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 12:45 AM
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Hi @fishandplantsguy,

I am picturing duckweed, lots of duckweed, and hornwort.

It also depends how big your tank will be - @Deanna makes several solid points.

Heater positioning like @DaveKS mentions will also make a difference - but what is cold?

You could go with white cloud minnow and avoid the need for a heater!

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Deanna, DaveKS and Tuister! Appreciate the suggestions. I think I may use a filter after all.
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