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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I have many questions about my fish tank. I have a 20g long tank in my room, it has a 45g filter with a waterfall, and I plan on putting live plants in it soon. No fish are in my aquarium yet, as it is still cycling. I have a glass lid for it (which I don't really like because it has a lot of condensation on it and I've read some bad things about glass lids). I have no light for the tank yet.

The reason I got the glass lid is that I wanted a filter that had a waterfall because I liked the noise and thought the surface agitation would be good for the tank. But I couldn't find a lid with a built-in waterfall filter, which is why I got the filter and a glass lid. Unfortunately, the filter is big and takes up a large area of the tank, which I don't like. I would like my tank to look as natural as possible.
Since I want to put live plants in my tank, I'm going to need some lighting too. So it seems like some of my problems will be solved by just getting a new lid with a filter and a light built into it. I'm just hesitant to do that because I spent a lot of money on the lid and filter before I really researched the stuff because I'm a fish tank newb and I didn't think it mattered much lol.

My questions are:
1. Are the hoods for fish tanks any better in terms of gas exchange?
2. Since I want a betta, would it be safe to just go completely lidless? I've heard that bettas are jumpers, but being lidless would be ideal for me, since it looks more natural.
3. If I decided to get rid of the large filter to get a smaller one, would it be difficult to sell? Same for the lid?
4. Would it be safe to have no filter if I only have one betta in a 20g and do water changes frequently?
5. Is there some kind of filter that is hardly noticeable?
6. Is surface agitation really good for a tank?

I may add more questions later, but any help is appreciated! Thank you.
 

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My questions are:
1. Are the hoods for fish tanks any better in terms of gas exchange?
Unless it is totally sealed, gas exchange is just fine with most of the hoods that are out there, or with no hood. The glass cover is good to minimize the moisture getting to the light fixture.
2. Since I want a betta, would it be safe to just go completely lidless? I've heard that bettas are jumpers, but being lidless would be ideal for me, since it looks more natural.
If you go with some plants that cover the surface that might help, but some fish may still jump through the plants. The plants could be floaters, or could be rooted in the substrate, and be tall enough to arch over.
3. If I decided to get rid of the large filter to get a smaller one, would it be difficult to sell? Same for the lid?
Depends on where you are. Around here used aquarium equipment is pretty cheap, in otherwords you won't get much money for it. What brand and model of filter do you have?
4. Would it be safe to have no filter if I only have one betta in a 20g and do water changes frequently?
A filter also provides water circulation which keeps the fertilizer, CO2, oxygen and so forth moving around the tank which is better than still water.
5. Is there some kind of filter that is hardly noticeable?
A canister filter is mostly under the tank, with just an inlet and an outlet actually in the tank. Much more subtle than a hang on back filter. But once the plants grow even the HOB filter is hard to see. Depends on the planting, of course.
6. Is surface agitation really good for a tank?
It is very important.
a) oxygen and CO2 enter or leave the water only at the surface. Without water circulation these will stay within the top few molecules of the surface. To assure that the fish have oxygen and the plants get CO2, water circulation is necessary.
b) Debris falls to the floor. With water circulation will keep the debris in motion until it can be picked up by the filter intake.
c) Water that is not circulated will become warm at the surface, cool on the bottom. Mixing the water will make the temperature even throughout the tank.
d) A film tends to form at the surface composed of oils, protein, dust and other things. This can further slow the gas exchange. Proper water movement (agitating the surface) will break up this film and circulate it so the filter can remove it.
Generally you should figure on a minimum water circulation of about 5 times the tank volume per hour. This is good for long finned fish, and fish that come from slow moving water in nature. Up to 10x is reasonable. This is good for most of the average fish. 20x or more is required for fish from fast moving water like Hillstream Loaches. Most of the sturdy plants are fine with 10x. More delicate plants should have less water movement, such as planting them in a calmer part of the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I have an Aqueon QuietFlow30 - it says it's good for tanks up to 45g fresh or salt water. I really like the filter, it seems powerful. I'm starting to think that maybe I could just make my own custom lid for the tank, so that I won't have to get a new filter. A backdrop would hide most of the filter, too.. Another thing I've wondered is if the placement of the filter is important, since it has a waterfall and makes a current on the left side of the tank. Would it be better to move it to the middle? Would moving it to the middle make the circulation of the water better? And when I get a light, would it matter to the plants where I put it (front, back, etc.)? I'll have to have a water heater as well for my betta, if I remember correctly - would a tank light add much heat to the water?

Edit: Oops, thought of some more questions - I want to have a carpet of plants on the bottom of my tank - is smaller gravel on top of the dirt better for thick carpeting, or does it not matter? I'd like it to look like this:

http://s137.photobucket.com/user/SSiska/media/IMG_9916.jpg.html

Is this plant micro sword, or pygmy chain sword? I think it's a micro sword but I'm not sure..

I also like the look of this one:

http://www.publiclogic.com/fish/DSC03204.JPG

This plant is Marsilea Minuta, right?

It seems like these pictures don't have any gravel in them, but maybe I'm wrong? I've heard that when you have dirt in your tank, you need to have gravel over the top of it so that it doesn't make the water cloudy. Maybe the substrate in those pics is not dirt?

Also, could I use a lamp like this one for my tank?

http://assets.inhabitat.com/files/konceptledlamp2.jpg

Thank you very much for the info, it's very helpful!
 
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