What filter should I get?
I need a good filter for a 5.5g tank. It is heavily planted, and it houses two bettas with a plastic mesh divider. The tank is right by my bed, so I need a very quiet filter.
I would like to change my substrate to sand, because I've read many positive things about it.
For the filter, I am considering two options: AquaClear 20, or sponge filter with a power head. I don't want to get an air pump, because its too noisy for me.
As I said, the tank is planted, so I am mainly looking for good mechanical filtration to remove plant debris and fish waste. My main concern with AquaClear is that it will stir up the sand too much (maybe I should stick with gravel?). The idea is to move a divider to about 1/3 of the tank, and put my smallest betta in there. He is very slow moving due to his large fins, and he mainly hides out in the plants. The larger active betta would go into the large partition with the AquaClear. The intake would be covered with a sponge, and I will construct something to soften the outflow.
The second option is one or two sponge filters. I have never used sponge filters before, and I don't now how efficient they are at mechanical filtration.
What would you recommend?
A sponge filter would be an excellent choice. I use them almost exclusivelyin my tanks. They are quite useful for mechanical filtration as well as the biological processing for fish waste. They are also ideal for situations where there are fry in the tank (breeding) because they will not be sucked up by the filter. You could still use an air pump, and keep it quiet by placing it inside a styrofoam- lined box.
Additionally, Bettas spend a lot of time in the upper areas of the tank and would appreciate a minimal water flow. Strong water curents in the tank make it very difficult for them to move aroundThe tank. Any fish with elaborate finnage appreciates a gentle current. A sponge filter and an air pump would be very a adjustable combination for a small tank such as yours.
Welcome to the forum, both of you
I abhor air pumps and couldn't imagine having one right by my bed, but I recognize that for many small tanks, its the best/only option. I run an azoo palm filter on my 2.5. It's a mini HOB with an adjustable flow which is nice, and is cheap - only like $8. I have sand in the tank and it's no problem whatsoever. I would put one on each side.
Sponge filters are, in my opinion, most suitable for Betta, as the flow is moderate and very controllable. They are excellent chemical/biological filters with a large capacity for nitrifying bacteria. You can locate the pump some distance from the filter and wrap it in a towel for quiet. However, they aren't the best for mechanical filtration.
For that, I agree with Jaysee. The Azoo is a cheap, adaptable filter with enough room in the chamber for filter floss to get all the particulates out of your water.
Thanks everyone for your replies. The Azoo filter sounds great. I'll see if I can get it here in Canada. If not, I'll go with a sponge filter.
I have three Tetra whisper 20 air pumps operating in my living room (fish room) and I can't hear 'em. I think the secret to using air pumps (which I used to hate because of the buzzing noise) is to mount them on something big and solid like a floor. Mounting them on a table top or shelf makes the mount a sounding board similar to a piano board. The areas of the table top or shelf amplify the sound of the pumps and make it worse.
Muffling the sound with a foam box or wrapping in a towel or blanket will also help. I have tried both but still got annoying sound. I don't know what the result of putting the pump on a carpeted floor. All my floors are tile.
Both of my 5.5G Betta tanks are running with sponge filters and air pumps with a air control valve and check valve. Since my air pumps are on the floor the check valves are absolutely necessary to prevent a flood in the event of a power outage or pump failure.
BTW Welcome to the forum.
I personally hate sponge filters/air pumps, as I find them ridiculously loud. I tried one in my 10 gallon and had to bin it after a few weeks, I just couldn't sleep with it running.
AquaClear filters are great, and super quiet (some take a few days to break in, but once the impeller builds up a slime coat it's silent), but the flow can be pretty strong, especially in such a small tank. You could always use a sponge or baffle though. I have the flow on my AC 30 on my 10 gallon baffled with a sponge set under where it flows out, so the water diffuses in all directions.
The Azoo palm filters are also a great adjustable filter, I have one on a 3 gallon. I find mine to be a touch louder, but only because of the way it rests on the back of the tank. I haven't found a way to keep it from reverberating.
I also run both of these filters without the lids on the filters, as that can cause an echo noise and make them seem louder than they are.
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