Can someone please help me figure out why my tank always looks dirty?
So, I've had a 10 gallon tank now for ~8 months, it was stocked with just a single male betta and planted fairly well (6-8 plant species). I was using a Tetra Whisper 10i in tank filter but hated the space it took up and I constantly had what looked like dust and dirt that would settle on the leaves in the tank, despite frequent water changes.
I've since replaced the in tank filter for a sponge filter, but am getting much of the same results (settling dust/waste/dirt) on the plant leaves. I have a white sand substrate that gathers a lot of dirt too.
I change 2 gallons of water every 2-3 days, and try and siphon as much of this dirt as I can, once a week I'll take a paint brush and lightly disturb the substrate and kick up all the gunk at the bottom and then siphon as much of that as I can.
For feeding, with it just being a single betta, I just give him a tiny amount of pellets twice a day and he eats all of what is given to him.
How can I keep this dirt from settling? I feel like my maintenance is plenty good enough to keep the tank clean. Since the inhabitant(s) of the tank prefer calm water, how can I ensure there is some kind of current that might keep things from settling like that but not enough to stress out the fish? My current sponge filter tube fires straight up, which keeps everything pretty stagnant throughout the tank.