Originally Posted by Hallyx
To address Blake's concern with his Elite mini. I use that mini in my 5gal tanks. It's major limitation is it only has a small piece of foam in the filter chamber. That's the limitation of most filters, and the reason that overly-large filters are sometimes used, filters which blow your Betta around.
I got a piece of 1/2 inch thick filter foam, 4 inches by 8 inches, rolled it into a tube and sewed it up; sewed up the far end too. This fits right over the outlet nozzle and cuts the current to nearly nothing, even while allowing sufficient flow to support the nitrifying bacteria.
That 16 square inches of foam is also the most important reservoir of the bacteria. Combined with the 2 sq in in the filter and, perhaps another couple of sq in under the intake....that's a regular bacteria mansion.
I am about to sell my sponge filters. They do have enough foam to support a stable cycle, but:
--They ripple the water surface, making it uninviting for bubble-nest building.
--They raise my pH excessively (this can also be said for HOB/waterfall filters), which means I have to perform two smaller water changes back-to-back to avoid pH shock.
--It's bad for the plants.
--I find that low humming drone extremely loud and annoying.
Thanks Hallyx, you provided a lot of good info I needed to know.
I am still deciding on what I want to do. The Elite mini is very quiet which is very good for my bedroom. On the other hand I can use one air pump with multiple outlets to power all the sponge filters for the tanks. If the air pumps are loud, that's not going to be good because I keep all my babies in my room.
(Also I just got another betta on July 4th. Couldn't resist it but the local pet store had new shipment and he was gorgeous.)
Right now I don't think I could afford to buy three more elite mini for the 4 tanks. The Hydro I sponge filter is a bit cheaper but then I have to purchase an air pump. I think I will get filters in the near future just not right now, and if I would have filters I will cycle them in a bucket.
I wish those CONS about the sponge filters weren't true. :( My tap water pH is always 8.0-8.2. Do you think that's okay for my bettas? I have 2 CTs, 1 VT, and my newest addition HM.
Originally Posted by Hallyx
Betta have a very good sense of smell. They can tell food from poo from gravel, and they can smell pheromones from the opposite sex from quite a distance.
Blake, you're never going to cycle that tank without a filter. The bacteria need somewhere to live and they need flow to bring them food (ammonia) constantly.
Betta are pretty clean fish (compared to, say, Goldfish), and you're spot-cleaning the tank, which is good and I recommend you keep doing it. So I'm not surprised your ammonia i barely rising.
Get your Elite mini, add some foam like I did, open the air tube all the way, stick it in a bucket and try to find some live bacteria to put in there to seed your cycle.
Haha they are like puppies. Very cute indeed when they search for food.
I will cycle the filters when I either get 4 new Hydro I sponge filters and an air pump (though your advice really divert me from doing so) or 3 other elite mini (I don't think I want to just put a filter for one tank and not the others. Btw I could divided the 5 gallon tanks with dividers but it's too crammed plus if one betta gets sick....
I have a goldfish too so I understand ;)
Thanks for the bucket advice I will do that when the time comes.