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Old 02-05-2013, 05:09 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Will this setup work?

I want to create something where I do not have to change water at all, and will just have to add water as it evaporates. Also sorry for a long list, but I just want opinions, I really need some setup where I can build everything right, and never have to change anything ever again.

Here are the list of items I am planning to use.

Fish tank:
My coworker has it, and it is amazing I want it! I intend to leave the top of mine completely open to have water evaporate.

For surface: ($14.99)
Very low current and is amazing filter, have been using it for a while and it is amazing!
For ground: ($26.39 + $9.99)
Never used it, but it will be necessary.

For surface: ($12.99)
No matter what anyone says this little thing is the most amazing heater I have ever seen, and is highly reliable. I use it for my 5 gallon and it works perfectly! Also it is just for the surface.
For ground: ($29.99)
This is just more powerful one, that way I am ensured even distribution.
Thermometer: ($2.99)

Air pump: ($8.99)
I currently have rena air, and it is good, but produces craploads of noise, I need something queter, and am open to suggestions.
Aeration: ($29.99)
This thing is very cool I like it a lot and am planning to put it at the very back of the tank.

For plants: ($29.99 + $29.99)
I had these for a year now, and they look very stylish and are at the same time very good at growing plants.
For nighttime: ($16.99 + $10.99 + $10.99 + $10.99)
I actually own these, and they are truly amazing!

My Betta only likes long stringy plants without any big leaves.
5 of these ($3.99 * 5)
And 3 of these ($3.99 * 3)
And 3 of these ($6.99 * 3)

My Betta does use this. So did my deceased cat fish.
My ghost shrimp and my Betta do not like hiding places at all, I have tried with so many different setups, but my ghost shrimp does love climbing them and sitting at the top.
And for gravel a mix of these

I use all these every time I add water.
1 ml per gallon:
2 ml per gallon:
5 ml per gallon:
And I always drop one tiny piece of aquarium salt. And I mean just one tiny piece, as in a small tiny fragment 1~2 mm in size.

My Betta of course! (Male)
One swordtail (Male):
One ghost shrimp (Male):
And two oto catfish (Male):

I will have the surface heater and the tank at the back left hand side on the top of the fish tank, and my ground filter and heater at the back right hand side on the bottom of the fish tank. I will use the decorations to try and cover up the ground filter, and plants to try and cover up the surface filter. By cover up I mean just block from the view. And my aeration will go on the very back bottom middle of the tank. And the three night lights will be just randomly scattered throughout the tank.
Waste control:
With two filter, chemicals, plants and 3 fish cleaning, I think that there will be minimal waste remaining. That would allow me for 25% change weekly. If anyone has any idea of how to reduce it to zero water change I will be absolutely happy to hear it.
Plant health:
I own 5 gallon tank with 5 plants inside, that plant gro chemical does wonders on them, and the Betta gravel by Marina also seems to help. And they will have sufficient lighting.
Fish health:
I think every fish except the catfish should be happy. I just don't know how to feed catfish, the wafers never work on them, and they only seemed to like cucumbers.
Total cost: 379.14$, considering that I own half of these items even less probably, so I am looking to spend around 200$ most likely.

Will the setup work?
Is there any changes that I can make to completely get rid of any water change at all and just add water as it evaporates?
Any other chemicals to add to treat water as I add it?
Any suggestions or ideas?
Also am open to suggestions for air pump, because I need super quiet one.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:15 PM   #2 
White Mage
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I have that air pump.. it's LOUD! D: it also tips a bit and has a tendancy to walk off the table, I quit using it. A lot of people suggest the Tetra whisper air pumps. I think some of those also have dual air places so you would have an outlet for the air stone, and one for the sponge filter.

I'm not an expert, but I don't think you'll need 3 filters... lol I would just keep the filter that came with the tank and put the sponge filter at the bottom just for extra BB. One good heater should be enough also... just put it near a place with good water flow (near the airstone, or filter maybe) to balance it out, don't wanna overheat with 2 heaters!
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:00 AM   #3 
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Firstly, you will have to change the water - you will have to siphon out the substrate to remove the waste, as a filter doesn't remove waste, just sucks it out of view. Chemicals and filters WILL NOT remove the waste. You WILL have to do water changes, regardless. So having 3 filters and over using chemicals is over kill.. and well.. can kill your fish. Chemicals have to be very precise and some do not mix well together. The ones you linked are a joke (to be honest) and don't actually remove the waste and does not truly prevent ever having to do a water change. All you will be doing is causing all these chemicals to enter into the fish and into their already fragile organs and cause damage.
You are trying (not to be rude) to go about having an aquarium the lazy way - it's like keeping a dog in a closed room with a broom and expecting a cardboard cut out to clean up after it. The single shrimp is the only scavenger you have and even then he won't be eating all the poop.

No need for 3 filters... you will be creating such current throughout the whole tank that the poor fish will be tossed every which way.. can't imagine trying to swim through a whirlpool with those long fins.. it is not needed at all. One filter for that size of a tank is all that is recommended.. no need to stress out the fish with having 3 currents pushing him around (and it does not matter how strong each current is - that tank is tall rather than long) and the surface area is small, which means all 3 filters will be pushing against one another at the top.. which can also make it impossible for the fish to get the air it needs.

One heater is all it needs.. unsure why you think there needs to be multiple? One 50-75w heater will heat up that whole tank... keep the heater at the bottom and the heat will rise...

The SINGLE filter will give the tank enough aeration for the other fish.. keep in mind, bettas do not need aeration. But add all those filters, plus a bubbler is just a nightmare for a betta. Can have the bubbler, but with only ONE filter that is baffled/set on low. Make sure the bubbler isn't strong either, as I mentioned, the surface is quite small and the fish need calm surface to breathe easily.

Unsure how you are going to fit all those lights on the tank...? Also keep in mind the fish should have darkness at night, all fish need darkness at night - day/night schedule like us.. if kept in light 24/7 will cause stress and can even cause health issues due to stress and lack of proper rest.

Decorations are fine - keep in mind that betta leaf/hammock does have metal inside of it, along with a hole towards the end and it does become rusty.

Those chemicals are just too much.. not to mention, not all should be used with every water change. You are risking the health of your fish each time you use all of those together... all they need is ONE thing - water conditioner. Anything else is a waste. 20+ years of tropical fish keeping and only twice had health issues - once was ich 18 yrs ago, once a bacteria outbreak that was brought into my fishroom from another fish. And I have NEVER used anything other than a single conditioner.
Live plants will help keep the water clean - no need to rely on chemicals that can harm the animals.

Swordtails, ottos and ghost shrimps do better with groups.. so would get a few females (2-3 minimum per male) for the swordtail, and some more shrimp. Also the ottos do like bigger groups.. they can be a bit hard to care for, as most come from the wild. They need a ton of live plants and lots of veggies fed to them.. as they are small they are constantly eating and need a constant supply of food. So make sure to have a ton of live plants.

25% a week is doable with the right plants - it's doable with one filter, only water conditioner/plant fertilizer.. don't need to go overboard on everything. 25% is doable because you will have a lot of live plants, not because of the chemicals you are using.
Will need to vacuum the substrate 1-2x a month, as the plants will use the waste for fertilizer, but it still will add up and needs to be removed from time to time.

You can build a whole system to make it so you don't have to ever do a water change, but that requires multiple tanks, etc. In my opinion, honest and blunt, you are creating chaos where there needs not to be one - you are blowing money on items not needed and that can be more of a stress/problem for the animal because you want to do less work. You can make that a beautiful home, but the more you try to make it "easy" the more you're making it unlivable for some of your fish.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:31 AM   #4 
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I have noticed over time Myates and I seldom agree on much, unfortunately, but in this instance I totally agree with him
Water changes are the lifes blood of any aquarium. Not only are you removing waste, you also replenish minerals.
I am curious. Why would you want to waste all that money to bath a fish in enough chemicals to start your own division of Dow Chemical? Water is cheap.
Aside from the cost, I just don't believe man has made anything better than nature does, to the point that I have my own RO unit so I don't even have to add dechlorinator to the water!

I don't intend to sound mean, I just care about the animals we keep. If you don't want to do water changes in your aquarium, may I suggest getting a dog you can let outside.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:41 PM   #5 
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How would you like to be swimming in a swirling soup of chemicals and your own waste? You wouldn't? Then why would you do the same to any living creature?

An aquarium properly (and responsibly) stocked will have a filter, a heater, a thermometer, and plants along with decor. No matter what size tank you have- water changes will always be required to ensure the health and happiness of your fish! It doesn't have to be some mad house of boiling water, strong currents and chemicals...

I hope that you will do some legitimate research and find a means to create a home fit for the animals you plan to keep- if you can't find the time to invest simple love and care into a fish or any animal- I would honestly hope that you don't keep any fish or animals at all.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:41 PM   #6 
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Thanks so much to everyone, and I am completely sorry for sounding like an idiot. Reading all your comments made me realize how much of a fool I was writing this post.
I went to the museum and they were selling biospheres where they had shrimps living all on their own, and I was told that the environment was completely self sustainable. That's why I got curious thinking I can create that. I would never be lazy to change water for my precious Betta, and would do anything to ensure that he is as happy as can ever be. Screw dogs, Betta is the pure joy
At the same time I have learned really good lesson from you guys. I was using all these chemicals in my 5 gallon (and doing weekly 50% changes), but I will stop using them now completely and go natural, and see what happens. I wish all these salesmen at the store wouldn't keep on saying that without the chemicals fish dies.
Thank so much again for all of your suggestions And I shall now build a very proper tank where my Betta can be happy, and I will do all of the water changed properly and diligently.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:20 PM   #7 
White Mage
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Really the only chemical you NEED AND HAVE TO HAVE, is a water conditioner, and maybe a healing agent like StressCoat for damaged fins.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:34 PM   #8 
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this is probably redundant but I will put it here anyway

old tank syndrome
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:44 PM   #9 
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I don't know if I would put a swordtail in with a betta, particularly in a tank that is only 15 gallons. Swordtails grow fairly large, do best in neutral-hard water, and you would need a couple of them to be happy. I also think they look like the kind of fish that would attack or be attacked by a male betta.

Can I ask why you use so many chemicals? I use tapwater and Seachem Prime and my fish are all happy and healthy. You are just wasting money IMO on anything but the water conditioner.

I didn't see your post about using the chemicals. It is good that you are going to stop using them in your tanks.

Last edited by LittleBettaFish; 02-06-2013 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:55 PM   #10 
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The closest you would be able to come to creating a closed system would be with a heavily planted tank with a soil base. There are a few members on this site that keep them and if the tank is large enough, do only 1-2 water changes a year. That being said, you have to be prepared for a tank like this and still do regular testing. It isn't something that you should jump into for a first tank. That being said, you can do a NPT (Natural Planted Tank) anyways and do the one 25% change a week. If done right, it will be more forgiving of lapses.

Of course you can't have a completely closed system as the betta is a carnivore and will need food provided. Also, the plants will greatly benefit from added fertilizer, and the tank will likely look better with regular maintenance.

I love the idea of a closed system, and so does NASA. lol. You should look at some of their research into biospheres and such. Nature tends to do it right (as it is, we are in a biosphere, albeit a very large and diverse one), no need for weird chemicals.
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