Filterless tanks - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
 
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Filterless tanks

Does anyone have experience of running planted tanks without a filter?

I am sure that with constant plant growth taking nutrients from the water, as well slow movement through the substrate created by undergravel heating cables that a tank stocked lightly with animals would be sustainable without a filter.

In fact I'm planning to give it a go, just wondered if anyone else has any experiences of doing this.

I will use a small powerhead to ensure that heat, CO2 and oxygen are well distributed around the tank, with at least a strainer, but probably a small piece of foam to prevent clogging, and see how it goes happens.

I like to carry out two water changes of 25% per week, so I'll be removing mulm/dead leaves etc on a regular basis anyway.

Looking forward to any feedback,

Cheers,

Mark
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 01:04 PM
 
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I'm sure it can be done, but the tank should probably be lightly stocked with fish that are not messy (goldfish, cichlids, etc.) or those that produce lots of waste (plecos).

Otherwise, if you stock it more heavily, I would assume that you would have to perform more water changes. It's basically the same principle as using undergravel filter of letting the benificial bacteria on the substrate to take care of the fish waste and the powerhead to keep the water agitated to keep it oxygenated for the fish. Also like using a sponge filter for the biological filtration and an aeriator (sp?) to keep the water agitated, which I've seen alot of breeders use, especially with a bare bottom tank.

I would just monitor the water parameters more closely and frequently, especially the ammonia and nitrite levels.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 01:35 PM
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I agree with crazie eddie. I've had a 4 gallon set-up with a HOB filter with no media to keep the water moving. It's got 2 ottos, 1 platy and a bunch of pond and ramshorn snails. It's been a very stable tank for me. 50% WCs once a week or two, capful of excel and a squirt of a concoction of N, P, K, trace, Mg and Ca. Planted w/ hairgrass, willow moss and hemi. calitri. (I never can spell the latin).

It's been great, but I'm tearing it down to combine it with another nano tank. No heating.

Fish Pros in Raleigh, NC had a 120 gallon tank set-up filterless for ages in their old location. Nice growth, breeding fish with an occasional DIY CO2 set-up with an airstone.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 01:53 PM
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I think the powerhead is key. With water movement you should be fine. They call still water "stagnant" for a reason.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for replying all!

I would like to reply:

I perhaps should have made clear that I am talking about

a) small tanks (that's the nano part of this forum's name), in which I would not consider goldfish, plecs, or any cichlids larger than an apistogramma. (My rule of thumb for putting animals in aquaria is that I don't like to see any animal in a tank that's more than one tenth of the tank length - so in my 18" tank 1.5 inches is the upper limit. I don't think that it's impossible to keep larger animals than that, but it looks wrong to me. Similarly in my small tanks I don't use any plants with large leaves.)

b) tanks that are set up to encourage optimal plant growth (the planted part of this forum's name), which to me means an aquarium with a decent depth of a suitable substrate for plant growth, sufficient lighting for strong growth, and availability of all nutrients needed, eg CO2 Iron etc., (certainly no airstone!). The oxygen in my tanks is generated by photosynthesis. I didn't make any of that clear in my original post.

Lastly, in the tank I'm thinking of the addition of CO2 keeps the pH below 7, so ammonia does not occur.

So to be a bit more specific, has anyone tried removing the filter, or just the filter material, from a tank set up as described above? As I said before, I'm talking about lightly stocked tanks with a decent substrate, dense planting, CO2 and trace element additions, and a light stocking lever - eg in my 18"x12"x12" 40l (10 US Gal) tank I have 2 Ottos (1.5"), 12 Green tetras (1") two sparkling gouramis (1.2") and 5 shrimps (1"). Plant growth is excellent, and I remove a couple of cups of plant material each week.

Thanks again to everyone who's responded so far!

Mark

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazie.eddie
I'm sure it can be done, but the tank should probably be lightly stocked with fish that are not messy (goldfish, cichlids, etc.) or those that produce lots of waste (plecos).

Otherwise, if you stock it more heavily, I would assume that you would have to perform more water changes. It's basically the same principle as using undergravel filter of letting the benificial bacteria on the substrate to take care of the fish waste and the powerhead to keep the water agitated to keep it oxygenated for the fish. Also like using a sponge filter for the biological filtration and an aeriator (sp?) to keep the water agitated, which I've seen alot of breeders use, especially with a bare bottom tank.

I would just monitor the water parameters more closely and frequently, especially the ammonia and nitrite levels.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-07-2006, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyMark
Does anyone have experience of running planted tanks without a filter?
turtlehead had a filterless nano that was one of the best nano's ever on PT:



There was no filter, heater, or CO2 and he grew HC well with only 7 watts:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/pl...ight=cube+vase

I have a 60cm ADA tank laying around and enough Aqua Soil to give it a shot as an equipmentless tank, probably with a 36 watt CF.

-Craig
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2006, 07:38 PM
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I've done a filterless 20g with 5wpg and co2 off and on. I do like to keep a powerhead on these tanks, but I've ran them months at a time without the powerhead on them without much problem. I'm currently running a 55g with 5wpg that only has about 70gph of flow in it with a sponge over the inlet. I do rinse my sponges with hot chlorinated water tap water, and it's seemed to work fine for me.

I do like flow in the tanks, I think that does help things. With flow, you have a giant mixing pot, which helps things along quite nicely. Similar to having an undergravel filter, all of your surfaces are your 'filters'. I think mulm would break down quicker if there was some flow, than if there wasn't, and flow also helps discourage any surface film that might occur. Also, it gives me peace of mind that the heater will evenly heat across the tank and that the Co2 will get everywhere (I do tend to notice more pearling next to the co2 than further away).

I have kept my 20g stocked heavily (40 white clouds at one time), and still have yet to detect any amounts of nitrogen by-products with testing.

Now, if you're not doing high lighting, I would question going filterless. 2wpg or less might not be the best, although I've heard of people going filterless with a boatload of java moss in their tank. I'm sure they have nitrogen products left over in these tanks...

One added bonus, is that I used to have copepods a plenty in my tank when it was just a sponge filter at best. They might have been cyclops, or something, but there was a constant supply that was enough to sustain my bumblebee gobies and dwarf puffers for over a year. I feel that strong filter intakes on normal canister and HOB filters suck these guys up and either kill them, or get them stuck permanently in the filter floss. With just a sponge prefilter over a powerhead or something of the sort, they're capable of 'getting away'. They're excellent for their gentleness on fry and baby shrimp (Don't want em getting sucked into a filter).
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-08-2006, 07:42 PM
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I've run a low light (not that light is any issue) filterless 10 US gallon tank for years with no adverse affects and very little algae. I have one air bubbler in the tank to prevent stagnation. The substrate is Florabase but could be anything. The plants include moss, Java ferns, Anubias sp. I have shrimp in it and one SAE (in retirement). I change 50% of the water like clockwork once a week and keep the temperature now lower than 75F. Go for it, you cannot really fail.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-09-2006, 04:37 AM
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i had a 3.4 gallon bowl with kitty litter, plants and cherry shrimp in it. no heat, no filter. they did great in it. breed several times as well. but then they over populated it so i moved them into my 20 where they contiune to make babies

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-12-2006, 05:51 AM
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I have a 1 gal betta hex that started with a very small internal filter/powerhead and heater. I have since removed both and it is doing extremely well. Started with java moss, crypts, and duckweed...removed most of the java moss and duckweed...and now the crypts are about to bust the seams on it. Here is a quick progression of it over the last few months and changes:







It looks absolutely filthy, I know...but I love it. It's a bright green spot in the corner of the kitchen, with a bright red fish swimming around in it.

"I go right into the aquascaping without any design."
-Takashi Amano
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-12-2006, 01:49 PM
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Filters seem to do better than non filtered tanks. The rational for smalltanks is that the filters are too big, but the palm filters do well.

I'm not saying it cannot be done, but good filtration does help and adds some buffering against algae etc and good current for larger tanks.

I have 6 nano's they all have filters.
I've turned the filters off, or the water evaporates so they don't work as well and the plant growth is affected.

I use ADA soil.

2 are non CO2.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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