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I was wondering what most of you think about this topic as well. I like the fact that it circulates the heat more evenly in the tank and pevents any scummy layers from forming on the top of the water. I wonder sometimes though if the plants would do better without it or would it make a difference at all. My filter presently provides a very gentle surface circulation. What do you guys think? Thanks !
 

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weelllll... While I'm ok with a large tank with tonnes of plants in it and maybe one or two smaller fish having no filter, the filter really is mainly for the fish. Most people put more fish in a fish tank than the plants in the tank can really support (bioload-wise). Like, I am certain that my thirty gallon aquarium with plants would be fine for one betta - but since I put two dwarf gouramis and four female bettas as well as six otos and snails in there...

also, a filter helps to keep the water clear. I know some people are patient enough to wait a month for the sediment to settle in their tanks, but I'm not! If I can have the excess mechanically filtered out through filter floss, I'm all for it.

I think most people here just don't use the carbon filtration, as it leaches all the "good stuff" that plants use out of the water... but of course, there are plenty of people who will vouch for no filtration in heavily planted tanks, but mostly for situations that I described above.

And also, I'm not positive, but I THINK the filter helps turn the ammonia into nitrites and then nitrites into nitrates that the plants can use more readily. I could be very wrong, though.
 

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I do like using a filter in my tanks for 3 reasons:-

1) The water flow mixes the water keeping temperatures and nutrients level.
2) The filter elements provide a huge surface area, all surface areas in an aquarium are inhabited with bacteria, all areas served by
oxygenated water harbour beneficial bacterias, the filter flow provides oxygeneted water to its media.
3) The mechanical filteration keeps the water clear.
 

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As said it all depends on what it is and what's in it.

I have a 2.5 gallon glass cookie jar sitting next to my head on a widow sill of the kitchen. No fish just pond snails. No filter No heater.

Bottom is a clump of java moss. Top is capped with Ricca that needs to be thinned out and a clump of java fern floating under the Ricca. :)

Tank is the easy one of the three I'm keeping right now. What surface scum it
s all Ricca. ;)

Any how take a look at the circulation = tank health question I asked a couple of weeks ago. This may answer some of the questions your looking for.

What I'm finding is exactly what is suggested here. System is fine and dandy till it over grows itself and the body of water turns stagnant...foul. rotten...

For me this is my high tec tanks right now. It's time to source another canister filter for the beast.

So in some cases it's nice to have a low tech do nothing grow out bowl. :)
 

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I never use filters just a airstone to move water a little. Water changes and lots of plants work just fine....well at least if you keep a close eye on things and know how to keep them in line when needed.

FYI
Some plants do better in stagnant water IME.
Ex ricca,pellia,duckweeds,lillys,grasses,some hyrgos when emersed.
moss in 1 inch of water grows great in a sunny window
 

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3) The mechanical filteration keeps the water clear.
I was wondering about this. I had read somewhere that even the though filters like power filters clear the water they don't really clean the water, because it just keeps flowing through the muck they have collected. This makes sense to me. Does anyone know if this is true?

On one hand--I use filters on most my tanks. I'm more of a fish person so I need it. The reason I got into plants is because of how much better it is for the fish and how much prettier they make the tank.
On the other hand--you'd be surprised how many fish you can keep healthy in a well planted, non filtered tank. Last summer I had a 5 inch goldfish and about 15 minnows and a 30g outdoor, no filter "pond", completely filled with elodea. All the fish thrived.

So, I think if you do it right you don't need a filter, but I still prefer to use them, because it is easier.
 
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