Join Date: Feb 2020
Location: Dundee, Scotland
I have a vertical blue interpet air pump running two smallish foam filters and an airstone and the bubbling is way more audible than the filter which is whisper quiet and quite old too.
Also as the impellers wear on internal filters they can make noise as well.
I have just added a foam cover to the inlet on my fluval 106 because it was getting clogged with plant bits and sucking up dwarf water lettuce roots and I suspect tired live daphnia before the fish can eat them. It will also add a reasonable volume of bacteria growing surface which never hurts. It's a dark water tank it's at the back next to a vertical dark piece of wood so is hardly visible.
I too would try and keep your external filter if you can, the top edging and the top of my tank won't allow something like that. Hence the 106 which replaced a UGF so I could grow plants in the substrate as well as on the bogwood. That has worked well. Except the 'dwarf' vals were not dwarf and grew like crazy across the surface. Another thread on here gave me the idea to replace them with floaters, the lettuce and frogbit. My dwarf rasboras love the forest of roots. The Betta seems to like pushing himself between them, maybe likes the rub. Also hunting the daphia amongst the roots is harder. Keeps them busy for hours.