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After seeing clean nice planted 1 gal picos, wanted to try it myself, missing obvious points: they had no heater and no source of water movement.

Now I have plants in 18x6x7 in. rimmed rectangular tank, 25W adjustable Theo heather and smallest Tom Dive Clean Mini Internal Filter, 48 gph.

Placing them to make water move around heater is an eyesore, and I don't see the way how to position them to make them less noticeable, especially heater. Tom DC filter, with filtert removed, takes minimal place and keeps flow low enough not to disturb soil (SeaChem hummus aquarium substrate, 2-3mm granules with silt, even rinsed).

Mini heathers with no shut-off overheat tanks or heat them not enough in the winter. I don't plan DIY route with thermostated bottom heating. Air pump for moving water is also out of question, too loud for this room.

As nano reefer, I have other small pumps and heathers, HOB AquaClear (prefer not to use it for this, too much flow, and DIY impeller modifications I would like not to do).

1 gal betta cube for a pico reef was simpler: bare bottom allows 20x flow problem-free and there was no need to hide Theo heather, it looks nice with glass walls and bare bottom.

Now I can't wrap my mind around how to keep flow without disturbing substrate, and keep temperature more or less even. Any ideas?

Tanks I can use for this:
6x6x6 in. rimless betta cube (less than 1 gal),
18x6x7 in. long betta tank (2.3 gal),
and, as a last resort (too big for intended place) long 4 gal Aqua One Reflex 15 Aquarium Kit, with hidden filter and pump.

Thanks.
 

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I like wood for hiding things. It can be vertical to help the heater work best and I also find it somewhat easy to cut and fit to cover things. My solution would be to use an outside the tank canister to remove most of the bulk and then use whatever elbows and fitting I needed to run tubing or plastic lines up and over the edge. It will take a bit of thought to find the least objectionable method. Tuck the heater into a groove cut in the back of the wood and run one filter tube into that area. The filter flow will even out the temperature as well as make the heater sensing better. Run the other tube to a remote part of the tank. I find I can do this if I bury the tubing behind/under the substrate.
One way that might but I'm sure there are many different methods. I also like using a heater that can be run horizontal as they are easier for me to hide under rockwork. For this, I like the heaters with controls outside the tank.
 

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After seeing clean nice planted 1 gal picos, wanted to try it myself, missing obvious points: they had no heater and no source of water movement.

Now I have plants in 18x6x7 in. rimmed rectangular tank, 25W adjustable Theo heather and smallest Tom Dive Clean Mini Internal Filter, 48 gph.

Placing them to make water move around heater is an eyesore, and I don't see the way how to position them to make them less noticeable, especially heater. Tom DC filter, with filtert removed, takes minimal place and keeps flow low enough not to disturb soil (SeaChem hummus aquarium substrate, 2-3mm granules with silt, even rinsed).

Mini heathers with no shut-off overheat tanks or heat them not enough in the winter. I don't plan DIY route with thermostated bottom heating. Air pump for moving water is also out of question, too loud for this room.

As nano reefer, I have other small pumps and heathers, HOB AquaClear (prefer not to use it for this, too much flow, and DIY impeller modifications I would like not to do).

1 gal betta cube for a pico reef was simpler: bare bottom allows 20x flow problem-free and there was no need to hide Theo heather, it looks nice with glass walls and bare bottom.

Now I can't wrap my mind around how to keep flow without disturbing substrate, and keep temperature more or less even. Any ideas?

Tanks I can use for this:
6x6x6 in. rimless betta cube (less than 1 gal),
18x6x7 in. long betta tank (2.3 gal),
and, as a last resort (too big for intended place) long 4 gal Aqua One Reflex 15 Aquarium Kit, with hidden filter and pump.

Thanks.
to have both heater and pump, the only way to hide the filter pump and heater is to go external.

you can get external pumps the size of a big fist. get long tubing and hide it somehwere.

heater- you can drop money and get a overkill inline heater on your pump. will you have sensitive fishes? if not you can just go without a heater.
 

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Get the 2.3g. a 6" cube is only about 0.7-0.8 gallon, with substrate, decor, heater, and filter your probably under 0.4g, not much room even for a betta.. if you're planning to house any fauna.

My personal minimum tank size is a 2g (anchor hawking cookie jar at walmart is about $10-love this but may not be your style) same tank over a year apart, different plants same wood and equipment have a sponge filter and heater+temp control sensor in there
black bar on the right is the lamp behind the tank, not heater.


now you can't even see the back


For your constant on style heater get an azoo palm micro temp controller. Use them on most several of my 2-3g tanks that have constant on heaters.

If you want an HOB filter look at Azoo palm (aka azoo mignon) very low flow rate. I prefer sponge filters in picos and use tetra whisper air pump with jardin mini cylinder sponge filters.

Use of large driftwood or rock pieces help hide equipment but you loose some of the flow/create dead spots with these.
 
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