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Filter or no filter

Cam0405

New Member
Hi all!

I am new in this forum. Please excuse my bad english (I speak French)

I plan to start a bigger tank (currently 33G — 50 to 60G next) for my Apistogramma borellii (2F, 1M). It will be a community tank, but I don’t like to have many fish. I will probably keep Apistogramma (this trio) and some Tetra or Pencilfish.
It will be a heavily planted tank like my first one.

My question is: Can I keep my fish with no filter, only plants and a substrate? Is anyone keeping fish without filter? If not possible, do you have any suggestions in regards of filtration (silent if possible)?

Thank you a lot, I am here to learn!!
Camille
 

Linus_Cello

Active Member
5 Year Member
Yes you can have a tank with no filter if you do a lot of water changes. But I would use a sponge filter.
 

Cam0405

New Member
Why do I have to do more water changes than a tank with a filter?

I never used a sponge filter... maybe someone can explain it to me?

Thank you for your answer!
 

ButtNekkid

Active Member
Hi,

In my opinion you can go without filtration but I prefer some form of water circulation.
If I remember correctly, Bart Hazes from the forums has tanks without filtration.
 

Cam0405

New Member
Ok thank you! Ihave some water turbines to add, but they are so strong (marine supplies?).. i don’t think it’s good for Apisto tank.

I will check on sponge filter with air pump but I think they are noisy (cheap airpump?).


I will also wait for other opinion!
 

Mike Wise

Moderator
Staff member
5 Year Member
Biological filtration of some kind is necessary to remove waste produced by the fish (also any uneaten food) and plants. In a heavily planted tank with very few fish the bacteria living in the substrate and on the plants should be sufficient without filtration. The question is how many fish (and plants) are too many. Think about how many fish live in a stream compared to the volume of water that flows past them. Not many! An unfiltered aquarium is like you trapped in a small room with no toilet! As the fish and plants grow they will produce more dissolved waste products (feces and dead leaves) that need to be removed either by frequent water changes or biological filtration. Also your A. borellii will most likely spawn and produce more fish, which increases the biological load in the tank. Also understand that even an unfiltered tank requires water movement in order to keep an adequate concentration of oxygen dissolved in the water. Yes, plants add oxygen to the water during the day but they remove it at night (net result = 0). So if you have to circulate the water anyway, you might as well circulate it through a filter of some sort. Sponge/foam/Matten filters are excellent biological filters.I suggest that you read about them on the web.
 

Cam0405

New Member
Hi Mike,
I really like your answer. I totally understand your point and I will check on sponge/poret filters.
I already have an Eheim 2213 in my 33G, will it be too small? On the other hand, I don’t like to clean it and I think that they are not very resilient (a stop of electricity can result in a crash... sorry I don’t know how to say that in English).

So, if I add an air driven sponge filter to my next 50-60G + a lot of plants, it will give my a little extra security for biological filtration?
Will it be sufficient for 3-4 Borellii + 15-20 Pencilfish?
If not, il will check on canister filter...

Thank you for your help!
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Hi all,
Yes, plants add oxygen to the water during the day but they remove it at night (net result = 0). So if you have to circulate the water anyway, you might as well circulate it through a filter of some sort. Sponge/foam/Matten filters are excellent biological filters.
I like a filter, ideally either a trickle or a Matten filter, as well, but the oxygen bit isn't quite right.

Plants are actually massively net oxygen producers. There are two reasons for this,
  • The first is physiological, for every molecule of CO2 used during photosynthesis a molecule of oxygen is evolved. Plants grow (they are constructed largely of structural carbohydrates) and that plant growth is the difference between CO2 used and oxygen evolved. This actually how the earth originally developed an <"oxygen rich atmosphere">, it was the "excess" oxygen production of Precambrian Cyanobacteria that created it.
  • The second is morphological, plants are full of spaces, and this internal spongy mesophyll and aerenchyma fills with oxygen during the photoperiod and it is largely this internal oxygen that the plant uses at night for respiration. The CO2 from respiration is also retained in the these same air spaces and then used by the plant the next day.
cheers Darrel
 

Cam0405

New Member
Ok, thank you for the explanation on O2/CO2! Really appreciate that.

I just read some articles on sponge filter and matten filter. I really loved the second option.
I found nice kits to build a mattenfilter on Angelfins.ca.
The only thing I don’t understand is if I need a airpump vs a powerhead for the mattenfilter? Is the airpump better because it can add some oxygenation to the water?


Thank you all formsolving my problem!
 

MickeM

Active Member
5 Year Member
Hi all!

I am new in this forum. Please excuse my bad english (I speak French)

I plan to start a bigger tank (currently 33G — 50 to 60G next) for my Apistogramma borellii (2F, 1M). It will be a community tank, but I don’t like to have many fish. I will probably keep Apistogramma (this trio) and some Tetra or Pencilfish.
It will be a heavily planted tank like my first one.

My question is: Can I keep my fish with no filter, only plants and a substrate? Is anyone keeping fish without filter? If not possible, do you have any suggestions in regards of filtration (silent if possible)?

Thank you a lot, I am here to learn!!
Camille
Hi Camille + all..

I´ve kept small Apistos with Boraras-species, Pseudoepiplatys annulatus, Aplocheilichthys macrophthalmus , Aplocheilus blockii , Pseudomugil luminatus and Aspidoras-species successfully in planted tanks without any "motorized filter" .... But .. with some parts of the bottom covered with fine sand and also 40-50% of the glassbottom covered with good gravel/ common sized aquarium-sand without any calcium content. (Fine sand where the Apisto caves are placed)

One thing many new hobbyists/people doesn`t understand is that the gravel-bed+plants is a filter !! .. A biological one!!
.. and together with reasonable amount of feeding, some snails/shrimps you`ve got the most simple+effective low-tech "filter" you can get !!

In a tank with a porous layer of sand/gravel + some light you will create a tank where the tank-system is biological ok.
I have never experienced problems with suffocating fishes...!!!!
The creatures demanding the most amounts+most important oxygen is the decomposing bacteria-species living in the tank !

Regular fishfood/fish restproducts rarely reach to "deadly" amounts or contains enough poisonous substances as long as you change some water now and then!!?? (And the snails, shrimps, plants and the sand-bacteria reduces the levels of " rest-products" as long as they are alive and function normally !!
As long as you have a tank that is not higher than it is long+/wide, you will probably never have any oxygen problems in a "normal" planted tank!!
Sometimes ,I guess, an old biological bed of gravel might even "biologically heat up" the bottom-substrate, making it to a kind of a water-compost..
.. "heated" water then rising from the bottom-area creating a slooooow movement of warmer water rising up ..and colder water going down to the bottom with "new" dissolved oxygen for the bacteria.. (not visable to our eyes!!!!)

One shall also consider that fish rarely are warmblooded animals.. (like us.. or cats+dogs..) (Some tuna have specially heated muscels I`ve heard!!)
Fish normally doesn`t need to eat food/energy every day to keep their body-temp like we do !!!


Have a look at this link from a store in Stockholm.. using no mechanical pumps at all!! .. "Pure natural functions " !!:);)

Cheers,
Micke

https://www.apistogramma.com/forum/threads/some-pics-from-a-basement-with-planted-tanks.17497/
 

Cam0405

New Member
Wow, that is so interesting! I am glad to post here and have this great discussion with you!

I am happy to see that you are able to keep fish without motorized filters. Are your tanks biologically mature (« old »)?
I also think that plants are great biological filter. I already have a small (30L) tank with a Betta splendens without any filter, but a looooooot of plants and a good porous substrate.

I think my problem is that my tank will be very recent/immature. I can switch my acutal plants in the new tank and maybe de sand, but I will have to add new sand or soil even with the old one. Also, if I buy new plants, some will be in their immersed form so not very good to absorb nutrients in the water. Finally, I may have a problem with my actual Apisto... Can I switch them directly to the new tank (I will close the 33G)?

For all these reason, I may add my old canister filter with (or without????) a sponge filter to have a little security on biological filtration. I probably can removed them (the canister filter, I really hate it... and/or the sponge). I will also wait few weeks/months before add new fish (other than my 3 borellii).

Do you all think that is reasonnable.

Thank you so much for helping me! I learned a lot today!
And sorry if I make mistakes in my writting... I don’t think my sentences are grammatically correct !
 

Cam0405

New Member
Also guys, is someone here using sump (« décante » in French I think) as a filter? How do you use it?
Pros/cons about sump?

Good night!
Camille
 

SharkII

New Member
Another thing a filter (usually) does is break up the surface tension of the tank water. Oils from feeding the fish and fish waste generally collect on the surface and can really reduce oxygen exchange. Breaking up the surface "scum" layer is a major benefit of even a simple bubble filter like a sponge.

Tom
 

Dee Vura

New Member
Hi all!

I am new in this forum. Please excuse my bad english (I speak French)

I plan to start a bigger tank (currently 33G — 50 to 60G next) for my Apistogramma borellii (2F, 1M). It will be a community tank, but I don’t like to have many fish. I will probably keep Apistogramma (this trio) and some Tetra or Pencilfish.
It will be a heavily planted tank like my first one.

My question is: Can I keep my fish with no filter, only plants and a substrate? Is anyone keeping fish without filter? If not possible, do you have any suggestions in regards of filtration (silent if possible)?

Thank you a lot, I am here to learn!!
Camille[/QUOte

I would say filter but don't use a canister, I like the aquaclear external filters. Dee
 

Dee Vura

New Member
Hi all!

I am new in this forum. Please excuse my bad english (I speak French)

I plan to start a bigger tank (currently 33G — 50 to 60G next) for my Apistogramma borellii (2F, 1M). It will be a community tank, but I don’t like to have many fish. I will probably keep Apistogramma (this trio) and some Tetra or Pencilfish.
It will be a heavily planted tank like my first one.

My question is: Can I keep my fish with no filter, only plants and a substrate? Is anyone keeping fish without filter? If not possible, do you have any suggestions in regards of filtration (silent if possible)?

Thank you a lot, I am here to learn!!
Camille[/QUOte

I would say filter but don't use a canister, I like the aquaclear external filters. Dee
 

Fish Folk

New Member
(Disclaimer -- I'm new here... listen to the pros...)

A filterless, low-maintenance tank can work if (1) the bacteria is reasonably well established, (2) if there are enough proper plants to remove nitrate buildup, (3) there is harmony with other micro organisms in the tank, (4) if the fish stocking is minimal in proportion to the overall water volume, (5) and providing that feeding of the fish is not overdone.

We sometimes follow Foo the Flowerhorn channel on YouTube for examples of small, filterless tanks. The maintenance demonstrated there may be more than you are hoping to avoid . . . but at least the soundtrack is French! (Satie)

I do not know the borellii well, but if they like to sift through sand like the cacatuoides, some consideration should be given to the nature and extent of substrate.
 

Cam0405

New Member
Hi all!

I will go with a Mattenfilter in combination with my old canister for the beginning because my tank will be really new. I hope to remove the canister filter after few weeks. I will switch some easy plants from the old tank to my new one and buy new plants to occupy the rest of the space.

My Borellii s do swift sand. Actually, I have Flourite Sand, but I will switch for pool filter sand. However, there is a lot of snails feces on the bottom + decaying leaves. Should I remove it?


By the way, I have a question for you all! My bigger female seems to have lay eggs (she is hiding in a cave and her coloration has changed, I thought she was too young!). However, it has been roughly 7 days and I don’t see any fry. She only leaves the cave for eat 2-3 bites of frozen food. I am a little bit worried given the fact that she is one the skinny side rather than the fatty side (I received her thin).

Thank you for your help and advice!
Camille
 

Happyfins

Member
Reading this with interest. I think some form of filtration really is necessary in most cases and certainly when it gets hot in summer like here in Australia you do want some form of circulation for oxygen.
Sponge filters are good for small tanks and fairly easy to clean but Mattenfilters are better if you don't mind the look. You can buy special bits to use a Mattenfilter with an air pump and the flow is surprisingly good with a decent air pump. Example: https://www.ebay.de/itm/Luftheber-f...337044?hash=item3d7e062554:g:dKoAAOSwEVlcJmTn
You can also make it yourself probably but I would not trust myself. You can also run a powerhead through the foam but I felt this was too strong a current when I tried it.
Any filter can fail whether it runs on electricity or on air (which is produced by electricity in some way). I am now inclined to use 2 forms of filtration for all my tanks in case there is a problem in the middle of summer. Special air pumps provide backup electricity through a battery and keep the air going. I have recently bought a few "HOPAR" air pumps that work like this and they work pretty well so far and don't cost the earth.
Another option are the Ziss bubble bio filters. I like the concept but I am not sure if they are really effective or just a gimmick (actually wouldn't mind an opinion from someone who understands these things better than I do). So far the verdict seems to be out.
No filtration means very few fish or very regular water changes and I sometimes get the impression that not every fish appreciates a lot of new water all the time even if is ages/treated etc so in my opinion most people esp when starting out will need some form of filtration. Repeating myself so better I get to the end of this post.
 

Cam0405

New Member
Hi Happyfins!

I will check on the air pump you talked about. I am in Quebec (Canada) and it doesn’t get very hot here (just few days in the summer) but rather very cold.
About electricity, will the Mattenfilter die in the tank (loose all his filtration properties) as fast as a canister? Maybe because of the bigger volume (tank vs canister) and the air surface, it will last longer in case of a electricity problem...

I understand your point and I am happy because I learn a lot here!


Still want your opinion on my borellii (see my other post before Happyfins please).
Than you!
Camille
 
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