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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If the bacteria in the water/substrate convert ammonia-nitrtite-nitrate, and the plants absorb nitrate, what is the purpose for a filter? If its only for flow, could is simply be accomplished with a power head? Or am I just missing something very obvious........


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You're still going to get organic die off from the plants, which eventually gathers and ruins the aesthetics. Technically you wouldn't need the filtration depending on tank size, as long as there is water movement and agitation, but it might not look as pretty.

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Some possibly.. But then you would need to add filtration to remove animal waste. Because by the time it completely broke down organically for the plants to use it would have accumulated too much and would make the water quality unsafe for the fish.

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fish waste sinks doesn't it? And if so, how could a filter filtering the top/middle of the water column help that? Would a heavy root feeder/carpet plant be more beneficial for that? As the waste breaks down, it seeps into the substrate. If plants couldn't keep p, would a bi-weekly bottom vacuum solve this?


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Yes, but to a lesser degree for planted tanks. Whether you absolutely need a filter will be a function of the amount of flora you have and the proportion of flora to fauna. Erring on the side of caution, most folks would probably tell you that you should have one.

In a heavily planted, lightly stocked tank with relatively fast growers, it's less important. In fact with many hi-tech tanks, filtration servers almost equal parts in removing harmful ammonia and nitrites as it provides circulation for proper fertilizing and CO2 distribution.

However, without knowing specifics, I would recommend that you do have some sort of a filter.
 

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Yes, you could probably run without a filter, and vacuum every 2 weeks, but, it's just easier to have it collect the crud 24/7.

It's a little like when I vacuum the house, my roomba still manages to find some dirt. I suppose that's my sloppy vacuuming but it's catching stuff I missed.

Anyway, that being said, the low tech forums have examples of people who put your thoughts into practice by running filterless. You'll love what you find there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The tank I'm thinking of modifying has a Senegal Bichir, a Rainbow Shark, 2 leaf fish, and 2 algae eaters (plus however many ghost shrimp are still alive and haven't been eaten yet). So I do like fish quite a lot.


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Filters help in storing benificial bacteria that in turn breaks down waste better then not having one. By having one you not only add circulation but have a healthier system as the amonia and nitrates would be lower. Not to mention filters have "filter pads" which suck up any floating or mid level water column particles such as leaf debris. This in turn keeps your tank looking more clean and clear while making maintenance less of a hassle. Cleaning a filter pad once or twice a month is easier than spot sucking little pieces up weekely if not more frequently.

It is possible to run a tank without a filter and I personaly have quite a few. Those tanks are mostly inverts and bettas though as neither require strong airation and all are heavily planted.

With the fish you described above I peronally woudn't go filter less unless you had say a 75g+ tank and densly planted. Even still your levels will get toxic quicker in turn requiring the need for more water changes.

Definetly make sure you have surface agitaion as that helps in oxignating the water.

Hope that helps!
 
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