Possible to have zero filtration? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-20-2017, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
Lightbulb Possible to have zero filtration?

I'm bored... its 2:30am and I'm watching Youtube videos. That's what people do when they're up this late, right? Anyways, I've watched a few of TheGreenMachineLtd's videos in the past, and stumbled across them again tonight and wondered something. I don't usually see any filtration system in his tanks. Now perhaps he just removes them for the purpose of the videos, I haven't read into these guys at all, just know them through youtube, but it still prodded that question:

Can one make an aquarium properly, without the use of a filtration system? With the proper balance of fish to plants to surface area... can't one create an ecosystem that doesn't require a machine to keep it healthy? Afterall... that's what nature does right? Now granted, water sources are of course constantly moving to some degree, but like natural ponds for example, that rely on rainfall to keep from diminishing, outside of water being added through rain, that water for the most part just sits there, correct? Don't some fish also live in said ponds?

I don't know, just a curious question that I'm very interested to know about. I keep my reptiles in vivariums. Bio-active vivariums. REAL, thriving ecosystems, not ones where people just put in dirt and plants and call it bio-active (a good chunk of people in the reptile community that are a bit new to it seem to think that's all bio-active means). I have plants that thrive from the light I provide, and then micro fauna that thrive off the plant matter (occasional mold growth) and droppings of my geckos (of course the only thing 'artificial' with the setup is that I of course feed my geckos. I can't throw a colony of insects in the tank) and it's wonderful to see every day. Wouldn't it be amazing if I could do that with an aquarium as well?! It fills me with wonder and joy to see mother nature replicating itself in my own home.

I want to hear your thoughts, hence why I put this in the advanced section. People who have had years of experience in fish keeping, I want to know. I NEED to know if it's something that can be replicated. Plants feed off fish waste and produce oxygen into the water that fish need to live. It's the perfect circle, so why filtration?

Please no rude comments about "making your fish go through that, uhg, such a horrible person". I'm not currently doing anything, in fact I don't even HAVE a tank right now. I did about 3 years back and was quite successful for my first tank. I don't have the space for the tank i want right now, but when I move one of the first things I plan to do is add an aquarium back into my life. It was a true beauty to have within my home. I'm honestly very curious about this process and the idea behind it and I just want some insightful answers, or even more fuel to add to this question.
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-20-2017, 06:28 AM
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Possible to have zero filtration?

Yes it's called a walstad method. One of our members beaslbob has derived his own method from that, though I honestly don't know how different they are - not into that very specific way to keep a fish tank. And, I actually prefer to keep fish in my tanks. Anything is possible if you are willing to make the requisite sacrifices.

Hey I hear you on the "horrible person" business. We don't have too many of those types around here - it's a hobby, to be enjoyed by people however they want. Granted, if someone wants to do something that's downright stupid, we are going to say so, but that's really limited to a "I want to keep an oscar in my 10 gallon, with my goldfish" kind of thing. A lot of forums impose their collective moral views on everyone that come to them, sometimes rather rudely. Haha okay quite often rudely

But yeah, sacrifice - the plants can handle the fishs bioload, but to handle a larger bioload, from larger fish, requires more plants, which takes space away from the larger fish. So yes there is a balance, if you are willing to forgo the flexibility of getting whatever fish you want, appropriate for the tank of course.
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125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta

Last edited by jaysee; 03-20-2017 at 06:30 AM.
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-20-2017, 06:52 AM Thread Starter
Ah i see, so say you wanted bigger fish, you'd need a larger than average tank (larger than one may usually keep said fish in) to accommodate the larger amount of plants you'd need to support the bio load? To put it simply, anyways, lol.

Just from briefly reading about this method, it seems, at first glance, simple enough to set up if you know your limits ahead of time (the fish you want, tank size required, etc.) I'll have to read further into it, but I feel it's something I may wish to try in the future as it's so very interesting and when it works, wonderful. I plan to start off small after I move. Probably a smaller tank (20 or 10 gal.) with just a Betta (I love bettas <3 and want one again, my female had such an amazing personality). Of course much more research would be done before that time, but oh boy it would be so amazing to put together :D
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-20-2017, 07:02 AM
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Possible to have zero filtration?

Hahah yes there is a finite amount of space in the tank so if it's packed full of plants that leaves less room for the fish.

Yup you nailed it - it's great for its intended purpose, terrible for anything else.

If you find a post by beaslbob you can follow the link on his signature. Admittedly, I haven't seen any pictures of his tanks so I cannot attest to whether you would WANT to follow his method, but he is the resident expert on such tanks. At least that's the message he is driving


If you are a reader, Diana walstad wrote a book on her method.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta

Last edited by jaysee; 03-20-2017 at 07:13 AM.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-20-2017, 07:21 AM
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Like Jay said it can be done.

I have setup tanks with a low number of fish and lots of plants it has done well, just make sure you don't over stock the tank. Most people like to keep more fish or bigger fish in a tank then our plants can keep up with. And some fish will do better than others, Betta should do great where a Oscar you need a HUGE tank for that one. lol

I agree Betta are awesome little fish, they are in my top five fish I have ever keep. And speaking of picking up another I got a email from Petco this morning I have $5 in rewards to spend this month and they have Betta on sale females are as low as $2.50 so I'm sure I will get a few this week. How I need more tanks.


You can follow Old Fort Exotics on You Tube and on my Fish room thread.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5l...KdIa-pb3K2zb7A
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/d...h-room-517930/

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post #6 of 14 Old 03-20-2017, 03:00 PM
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To answer you question the only possible way:


NO.


Is simply is not possible to maintain an aquarium without filtration.


I just use plants for the filtration.


now here's my signature.

maintain Fw and marine system with a strong emphasis on balanced, stabilized system that as much as possible are self substaning.

have maintained FW systems for up to 9 years with descendants from original fish and marine aquariums for up to 8 years.

With no water changes, untreated tap water, inexpensive lighting by first starting the tank with live plants (FW) or macro algae( marine)

see: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...-build-295530/
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-20-2017, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
LAWL you know what I meaaaaant. Come ooon. xD

Ty Beaslbob. I shall check it out after I come back from my outings
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-20-2017, 05:38 PM
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Possible to have zero filtration?

Since you sound like you're more of an outside the box kinda person - you're plants don't have to be aquatic.....
It's not too difficult for someone mechanically inclined to set up an aquaponics system. I grow veggies from my 90 gallon with goldfish and a pleco as my source of fertilizer. If you got yourself one of those double tank stands, you can simply put your tank on the bottom and your grow bed on the top. The lighting requirement isn't any different than an aquatic planted tank. Now, there's going to be a pump to move the water up to the grow bed so if you're looking for a tank with no moving parts, this isn't it.

Now I have found after several months that I needed to add mechanical filtration to clean out the particulates that accumulate in the tank from the expanded clay growing media. I hooked up a canister filter to it cause I could barely see the fish! Cleaned up in a day. I am totally redoing my system soon, and think I'm going to place some sponges under the outflow of the new system which should eliminate the need for the canister.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-20-2017, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
oh yes I've seen systems like that. Sadly I don't know how useful it would be for me as I am a very anti-green person LOL (I don't like veggies HAHA) and I dont cook enough to use them in my cooking P:
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-20-2017, 10:50 PM
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You can make a nice flower bed just the same

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
125 - cichlids (severums, bolivian rams, chocolate), rainbows ( turquoise, red), loaches (angelicus, zebra, kuhli and horseface), plecos (BN, RL and clown), denison barbs, tiretrack eel, pearl gouramis, betta
90 - Congo tetras, african knife, upside down cats, spotted ctenopoma, kribensis, delhezzi bichir
2.5 - betta
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