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-   -   Is it ok to have no filter (in a planted tank!)? Some questions... (

Austin 03-11-2010 11:51 AM

Is it ok to have no filter (in a planted tank!)? Some questions...
In my 10g tank I want to just leave it without a filter. I don't really want any current in the tank because it's going to be heavily planted and it's just a small tank anyways.

So ya I have some questions:

Is it ok to not have a filter in a small tank like that if I keep one or two fish only? Because won't the plants take care of the ammonia anyways? I have a ton of hornwort and stuff in there and once everything grows more it's going to be very heavily planted...

(ok I guess that's BASICALLY one question)

Anyways, something I noticed today had to do with water temperature. The water far from the heater was pretty cold, while the water near the heater was warm... I know this is probably because of no flow...

So, if you answered yes to the first question, do you know a way to make some current in the water at least? :-P

Thanks!!! :)

Oldfishlady 03-11-2010 12:07 PM

In my soil based very heavy planted 10g spawning tanks I don't use any filtration or air stones, I keep yellow shrimp and pond, rams, trumpet snail and a pair of Betta splendens in it until they spawn and I remove the female then the male once the fry are free swimming, at that point I will have roughly 100 or so fry in that tank for 3-4 weeks and all is fine, I do however, have the warm and cold spots in the tank from the heater and lights but it has not caused a problem for livestock or plants. Without water flow not much you can do about the warm and cold spots that I am aware of.
Once plants are actively growing and you have enough of them they will work as the filtration system and use the ammonia before it will convert and often you will not even have nitrate reading because of this, however, this is on soil based tanks, I am not sure how it works with gravel or sand only substrate planted tanks, the decomp in the soil plays a role as well in my systems.

Byron 03-11-2010 02:08 PM

I concur with oldfishlady. And it works fine with gravel substrates; the detrius builds up in the substrate quickly, filter or no filter.

Different water temps occur I think in most tanks; even in my 90g with the heating unit built in to the Eheim canister filter which you would expect would circulate even-temp water more effectively than the 115g where two heaters hang at opposite ends, they are the same. When I put my hand in during water changes, there are obvious temperature differences, and quite variable too, all around the tank.

For a filterless 10g my choice for heater would be a submersible that could be placed lengthwise along the back wall just above the substrate so rising heat would at least be consistent across the length of the aquarium. Normal convection currents would do the rest. It is also more "natural" for plants; in nature, the substrate is slightly warmer so warm water rises from the substrate, cools, then returns back.


Austin 03-11-2010 03:56 PM

Thanks guys :) That's exactly how my heater is placed right now. It seems the side with the heater feels warm but the side without it feels cold... as long as this is ok on the fish. (: Thanks! ^_^

iamntbatman 03-12-2010 02:39 AM

Call me paranoid but I'd have some sort of mechanical filtration and water movement at least. Maybe something like a Whisper 10i with nothing but the bio-bag in it?

molliefan09 03-12-2010 08:36 AM

you maybe able to use a small powerhead just for some water movement

Austin 03-13-2010 02:31 PM

hmm, ok thanks I'll consider getting something like that soon. I know it's probably cheap but I'm practically broke and the only filter I have spare is a 200 GPH HOB.

Byron 03-13-2010 02:57 PM

A powerhead is not required nor is it advisable; the water movement would be detrimental and destructive. In small tanks a simple sponge filter is sufficient, but then you're back into filters, and I thought your whole point was not having a filter. For more than a hundred years aquarists had healthy tanks of fish with no power equipment like filters. But don't take my word for it, after all, what do I know. Track down the online articles by Diana Walstad, Rhonda Wilson, Karen Randall, Dr Ted Coletti, Robert Hudson... they will all recommend no filters in planted tanks as a viable option to a healthy aquarium.

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