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I think this comes down to your choice. Personally, I like sponge filters since they are fry-safe, cheap (you can buy two of some sponge filters plus an air pump for the Fluval's price) and some are stackable - they can be grouped/scaled up if you move them to a larger tank. Admittedly, I've never found a really, really, quiet air pump, so that is an issue if you don't like a background "hum". Sponge filters aren't pretty, but they do work well. I'm using stacked sponge filters in my 125 and the water quality is great! Do another search for "sponge filters" on Amazon, you'll even see some triangular corner ones and some priced at $4-$6.

I've never used the Fluval and it looks like it would work, but it's also rated for "up to" 15 gallons, so might be undersize for you. I wonder how large the included foam pad is? I bet you'd have more actual filter media surface using something like the HydroSponge II.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think this comes down to your choice. Personally, I like sponge filters since they are fry-safe, cheap (you can buy two of some sponge filters plus an air pump for the Fluval's price) and some are stackable - they can be grouped/scaled up if you move them to a larger tank. Admittedly, I've never found a really, really, quiet air pump, so that is an issue if you don't like a background "hum". Sponge filters aren't pretty, but they do work well. I'm using stacked sponge filters in my 125 and the water quality is great! Do another search for "sponge filters" on Amazon, you'll even see some triangular corner ones and some priced at $4-$6.

I've never used the Fluval and it looks like it would work, but it's also rated for "up to" 15 gallons, so might be undersize for you. I wonder how large the included foam pad is? I bet you'd have more actual filter media surface using something like the HydroSponge II.

I've only used HOB and canister filters so when it comes to sponge filters or anything else I'm at a completely loss aside from the random bits of research I've gathered from forum searching.

The canister is pretty much dead silent unless I put my ear to the darn thing, and the HOB's I've had have a slight hum and occasionally a trickle if if the water evaporates low enough. But I'm not really even sure how loud a sponge filter really is.

I had cheap dinky sponger filter that came with some Grow-A-Frog kit aaaaages ago as a kid and I know that was pretty noisy. If its not much louder than an HOB I'd be okay with that. I was initially looking to buy a sponge filter for it until I read they were noisy.

With the Fluval one I linked, there are different models with higher ratings, I believe the "U2" is like 10-30 or something. And I believe the Fluval U1 was suggested in as a sponge filter sub in a few posts on here.

EITHER way, I'm still not sure unless the sponge filter "noise" issue isn't really all that loud. It would just blend in with the 3 HOB filters in the room >,>
 

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If you buy a high-quality air pump, the noise shouldn't be bad, certanly no worse than the gurgle from an HOB. The sponge filter itself won't make any noise, just the air pump running it. Oh, and don't forget to buy some airstones and air line if you order a sponge filter. Not using an airstone will make the sponge filter noisy and much less efficient.

Get two stackabe small sponges if they'll fit, or run one sponge filter at each end of the 20 long (probably a better idea, but then you'll need an air control valve and a slightly larger air pump). To clean, take one sponge, rinse well with dechlorinated water to preserve the bacterial bed, and reinstall. The next week, clean the other sponge.

I really like the Hydro-Sponge line, nice 1" tubes and stackable. Darn things never wear out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you buy a high-quality air pump, the noise shouldn't be bad, certanly no worse than the gurgle from an HOB. The sponge filter itself won't make any noise, just the air pump running it. Oh, and don't forget to buy some airstones and air line if you order a sponge filter. Not using an airstone will make the sponge filter noisy and much less efficient.

Get two stackabe small sponges if they'll fit, or run one sponge filter at each end of the 20 long (probably a better idea, but then you'll need an air control valve and a slightly larger air pump). To clean, take one sponge, rinse well with dechlorinated water to preserve the bacterial bed, and reinstall. The next week, clean the other sponge.

I really like the Hydro-Sponge line, nice 1" tubes and stackable. Darn things never wear out.
I definitely like the one at each end idea. I was looking at the Hydro ones or the Hagen Elite ones. Thanks for the tip on the air stones, I didn't know that =)
 

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For something like this I highly suggest going the route of a Sponge Filter. It's going to be the least likely to create excess current which betta's tend to not like (unless you go with plakats).

Ditto on the noise thing though. I've run a few different things thing, and with sponge filters I prefer a power head. I'm not sure you can find one small enough and gentle enough for the intended tank.

Whispers, FYI don't bother with them air pump wise. Noisy buggers, no matter how big or small you buy them. Now that said Deep Blue makes one call the Deep Blue Sphere. It surprised me out much more quiet those cheap units are when compared to the Whisper: Deep Blue Pro Air Pumps

But it's still a cheap unit. I bought one, it was good. Bought a second didn't work. Third one worked...this is at different times. I currently run one of these as a supplemental for my 150 hooked to an air-stone disk. The noise isn't that bad.

I've heard mixed reviews on Fluval's air pumps. Mostly that they stop working after a while, sooner than they should.

Warning! Make sure if you go this route with an air pump that you pick up a check valve. Otherwise you run the risk of water backing up into the unit the moment you have loss of power or disconnect the unit from power. The check valve prevents this by creating a one way for air. Nothing can come back the other way. They are not expensive and worth the extra few dollars for the safety factor.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
anyone have experience with the Rena air pumps?

Aquarium Air Pumps: Rena Air Pumps

Seems to have "decent" reviews both on drfostersandsmith and amazon. I don't see many brands with any "stellar" reviews. Rena seemed to be one of the better.

Was going to do a hydro sponge filter on each side as suggest.

Not sure which model to get. This 20 long will eventually be swapped with a 36 bow.. which is the same length just taller and a tad deeper.

I was thinking the 300 model which says 30-80 gallons. Would that be too strong? Models 200-400 have an airflow adjustment knob.

Models: 100 1-10 gal
200 10-20 gal
300 30-80 gal
400 65-160 gal
 

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I've had three Renas so far, all different sizes (100, 200, and 300). Ok pumps, but they just don't seem to put out as much air as I'd expect for the size. I also don't like the way the hose attachment point is recessed. I've had the hose slip off a couple of times and on one pump the plastic deformed (do NOT use silicone airline against the Rena plastic-some strange chemical reaction), making it almost impossible to connect the airline to the pump. I went with one of the deepwater whispers for my 125. GREAT pump for massive air volume, but noisy as heck. Unfortunately, I think it's almost a roll of the dice with air pumps.

+1 on the check valve or you can place the pump somewhere above the water line.
 

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I got a Rena for the sponge filter in my ten gallon and it was ridiculously noisy. Maybe I'm just used to my dead silent canister and AquaClear, but it kept me up at night (tank is also in my bedroom).

That is, until it fell on the floor and broke, in a way that lessened the air output and made it dead silent o.0 I have no idea what happened, but now it has a low air output and makes no noise whatsoever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I got a Rena for the sponge filter in my ten gallon and it was ridiculously noisy. Maybe I'm just used to my dead silent canister and AquaClear, but it kept me up at night (tank is also in my bedroom).

That is, until it fell on the floor and broke, in a way that lessened the air output and made it dead silent o.0 I have no idea what happened, but now it has a low air output and makes no noise whatsoever.
Rofl, that's kind of odd. I'm thinking no matter which air pump I chose its going to be a ton noisier than my canister. Probably as loud or slightly louder than my HOB's when they run sort of low. I suppose I'll deal. Can't be any worse than 4 male african clawed frogs calling all night long. >,> That cr*p is LOUD.
 

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You know there is another option....and that is to go with something like a internal unit. I am running such a thing on a 20 tall. All it does it push water around. The tank is planted, and has a single half moon double tail betta, a juvenile bristlenose and a ton of little trumpet snails. Tank is pretty clean and I've yet to have problems.
 

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I actually like to have one of each going in my 20longs.. a light duty hob and a sponge, if fry occur, I simply turn off hob, to prevent fry getting sucked up or too much turbulence.
 

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Good point - The advantage of using a small HOB also is it will remove some particulate matter before it gets into the sponge filter. I have one tank set up that way.
 

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I found that the noise level for air pumps is some what dependent on the surface it rests on. I had a whisper running on a book shelf, noisy moved to the tile floor. SILENCE!
Added another for my Betta tank, when on the desk top some noise, on the floor quiet.

Just my observations. Hope it helps.
 
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