Is a filter needed - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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Is a filter needed

I set up a 10 gallon planted tank with a 15 watt light no co2 and no heater and a cheap hob filter rated for 5-15 gallon tanks from Walmart. The filter seems to create a pretty strong current so I was wondering if I could take the filter off and just run like a bubble wall kind of setup to aerate the water. Currently there is only 1 betta but I was going to add just a couple of other small fish with him. Is the filter needed if water changes are kept up with?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 07:43 PM
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Unless the tank has no fish, you most definitely need some kind of filter on it, especially in a tank that small. You need something that will constantly move the water around if there's fish in it, or the wish waste will build up. In a tank that has no fish I would say that would be fine.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 09:24 PM
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Short answer: No.

But 'keeping up with water changes' when you have no filter is a LOT more than when you are running a reliable filter. There is a member here, who's name I forget, that has kept fish with no filter. But he/she did regular water changes (daily iirc). I would suggest stuffing the HOB filter with sponges to slow the travel of water or there is a neat water bottle trick to reduce the current when the water falls back into the tank. You basically cut a water bottle and put it in front of the area where the filter dumps. It directs the current against the wall and dissipates it greatly.

Lastly, search sponge filters. It may be better for you than a HOB filter.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Do you have a pic of the water bottle idea? Sounds like that would help but I can't picture how it's setup.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 09:42 PM
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Hello lee...

Yes, you can keep a healthy tank without mechanical filtration. This is possible if you're willing to change half of the tank water a couple times every week or about every 3 to 4 days for a small tank (no slacking). The filter just takes in toxic water and returns the same water to the tank, just a little less toxic. As for the good bacteria that lives in the filter media, there's plenty living on all surfaces in the tank. The air stone will provide the oxygen to the tank water and you're removing the dissolved wastes through the frequent, large water change. The water stays clean and aerated. This is all the fish and plants require.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 09:49 PM
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I have a low-tech dirted 10-gallon that houses one betta, and I am not running a filter. I've only had it up and running for 4 months, but so far so good. I've already had to thin and prune the plants, and I do not have an algae problem. The betta has gotten longer, showier fins and is doing very well.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 09:54 PM
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Filters help in so many ways it seems silly not to use one. A simple internal filter with a sponge and an airline works great and creates very little current.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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I found a pic of the water bottle idea and I will try that. It looks like I should fix my problem. Thanks for the input.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-18-2015, 10:29 PM
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I dont use a filter on my 10g better tank but I have a heater and a small pump to move water. The tank is also rammed full of plants.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 01:57 AM
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On my 29 dirt I didn't run a filter. And I sure didn't keep up with water changes. Yet I had no more trouble than any of my other tanks.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lee250 View Post
I set up a 10 gallon planted tank with a 15 watt light no co2 and no heater and a cheap hob filter rated for 5-15 gallon tanks from Walmart. The filter seems to create a pretty strong current so I was wondering if I could take the filter off and just run like a bubble wall kind of setup to aerate the water. Currently there is only 1 betta but I was going to add just a couple of other small fish with him. Is the filter needed if water changes are kept up with?
The short answer is, no. Read up on low tech tanks. Read this thread's links. https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...s-filters.html

You do need a heater for the Betta.

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Originally Posted by BruceF View Post
Filters help in so many ways it seems silly not to use one. A simple internal filter with a sponge and an airline works great and creates very little current.
For fish only tanks and tanks with few plants filters are needed, but a heavily planted tank filters are not needed. See link in other reply.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 02:12 PM
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Is it possible to keep an aquarium with no technology at all, the one which will not turn into a swamp in a month or two?

"Absolutely. One only has to look at rivers and lakes to see that a swamp is not inevitable. However, my tanks all have some technology. They all have heaters and strong artificial lighting (window light is not enough). I have filters or aerators to create mild water movement. This speeds up decomposition and the recycling of fish wastes into plant nutrients and CO2."
Aquariss.net | Intervju - Diana Walstad - Natural planted tanks
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 02:51 PM
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Non filtered Tanks

Hello again lee...

If you decide to run your tank without filtration, don't believe you can for a minute neglect the water. Water must be replaced regularly or your plants and fish will suffer. By not removing it, you're forcing the tank inhabitants to adapt to poor water conditions. They will for a time, but their lives will definitely be longer and healthier if you're constantly supplying them with waste free water. I mean if we were living in the same water we did our "business" in, we'd want the water changed daily. The least we can do for our fish is change their water once a week.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 03:01 PM
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its actually completely possible if you use alternatives. even without water changes.

I have kept some tanks over stocked, somewhere around 50 two inch long fish in a five gallon, without any water changes or filters. but, it did get relatively decent water flow from a small power head and the whole tank was essentially a giant algae scrubber. I was never able to detect any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate, even though I made sure there was food in the tank at all times(more than they could eat) and I kept the tank at insane stocking levels.


so, if you want to keep a simple ten gallon without a filter, I would suggest an up-flow algae scrubber. it will provide gentle flow, aeration, and the algae will reduce ammonia to minute amounts. plus, if you leave it on at all times and never turn it off, it will keep the water more stable than usual since it puts oxygen back into the water at night, when the plants would be using oxygen and producing CO2.

"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 10-19-2015, 04:52 PM
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Keeping a true, natural, low tech tank without a filter is possible. But lets face it, that route is not for your average hobbyist as it takes some knowledge and can potentially be quite a bit of work.

I think most of us are looking right past the OPs true problem which is too much flow in a small tank. A better question might be how you can filter this tank and reduce the flow. You've hit on a few ideas for physically slowing down your filter's flow now. Some alternatives could be an air powered sponge filter. In the absence of that a simple airstone should provide enough circulation through a small tank. You could take some sort of bio media like lava rock in a filter bag and put that right on top of the airstone to create a nice biological filter which should be more than enough to handle the tank. An algae scrubber as mentioned above sort of plays on the same idea.
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