I just joined this forum because I am planning on getting another male betta (I have kept many over the years) and want to create the perfect housing for him. I currently already have a fluval edge that is empty and used to house a betta that is now deceased (after 4 years with me).
When I had it going I never filled it to the top so Amigo (my old betta) could use the entire surface for breathing. And I used the fluval heater and had 2 java ferns, 2 anubias, and 3 small marimo algae balls and natural gravel substrate.
My biggest issue with it was the filter flow from the aquaclear filter. It was too strong for him on the lowest setting and the opening to feed required that I put the food where the output was and made it difficult for the betta to eat. To complicate matters I resucued Amigo because he was stunted and dying and had a deformed mouth that left him with the ability and desire to only eat flake foods so they flew everywhere and made keeping the tank well maintained difficult and it resulted in algae blooms. In the end I had to turn the filter off each time to feed him an then turn it on and add water to prime it every day
I think I may set it up again with the difference of keeping it bare bottomed with potted plants (in case the food flies around). Adding the new sponge filter tube cover to slow down the flow further. And getting a fish without a deformed mouth that can eat better quality food that can float to a calmer area of the tank.
The other option I may do is getting a Amano style rimless glass tank 8 gallon and putting the smallest jemco hydro sponge filter in the corner. I would also keep this bare bottomed with similar plants potted in glass votives. I have yet to use this filter, but I assume the flow would be more gentle, but my concern is that it may be inadequate filtration for the size of the tank and I don't want to maintain a canister filter or have an ugly HOB that may be too strong.
There would be no other occupants of these tanks but low light plants, but the main focus is the betta, not plants. Also of major concern is aesthetics because I am a decorator, and space so please do not simply suggest I get a large tank. Expense, however, is not a concern for me; so if there is a better similarly sized high design tank that is totally different, I am open to suggestions.
For the most part your filtration should be for the critters in the tank.
I've got Tom's small sponge filters in two 2gal and a hydro I in another, all three provide sufficient biofiltration and the Hydro I provides enough flow to circulate the tank.
The smallest hydro-sponge is designed to support a 5 gallon tank. As long as you don't put any other fish in with him it should be more than enough.
Just keep the water level right above the top of the pipe and you should do fine.
Lee's Discard-a-stone plastic airstones actually fit directly onto the little nib inside the sponge without needing to use a short bit of hose and a glass or wood stone. I've found they're incredibly effective at the task.
For those not familiar with Jehmco: http://www.jehmco.com/html/hydro-sponge_filters.html
Remember you'll need airline tubing, an airstone and a pump for any sponge filter. The two "dirt magnet" at the bottom of that page are just like the Tom's sponges and only need a small pump and airline.
Last edited by Thunderloon; 06-05-2011 at 12:22 AM.
Thank you Thunderloon. It's definitely good to know that the filter would be adequate. And I hope you don't mind since I have the luck of speaking to the filter master if I ask more questions.
I guess the next question is which filter would be more ideal for a single betta in a 6 - 8 gallon? The Aquaclear HOB or the small sponge? I understand one might be more powerful filtration but the other less disruptive current.
And am I correct in assuming a sponge filter less disruptive to bettas? I have never used them. How do I maintain the filter? I assume since there are no other media you can never replace the sponge only rinse the sponge in old tank water.
Also is there a way to make the Hagen Aquaclear (the smallest I believe they make is the one in the edge) work for the edge with modifications? With teh sponge intake or changing out the media (I never tried because I did not want to make it not work properly) Or what if I replaced it with a red sea nano filter? Would that be gentler yet adequate? And if it wasn't flake food think it's possible to feed a betta in the current?
And thanks for asking for pics pewpew. I most certainly will. One of the reasons I am very concerned about the perfect healthy set up is I plan on forking over the dough for a platinum white aquabid beauty and would be crushed if he were to perish young. I am hoping to go for a record long life
And I learned my lesson about getting the dying fish at the pet store. This time I want to skip the pet store all together. I am tired of supporting these places that let them just die in cups everyday
Again, cant say much about filters, but generally speaking, you dont need to worry terribly about the filter's power for a single betta. Mind, its not for airration or anything, and theyre not gross like goldfish (hah!), so Id say sponge filters are great. I have a HOB filter (which, Id like to give a different abbreviation, like POS, hah!), because I get them and have to immediately modify them because of the fish's long fins- both the intake and outtake (via baffle), which is annoying. The disruption on the surface, as well as the jet the waterfall makes underwater, do not a happy betta make!
And yay yay! Very excited to see! Have you considered cycling beforehand? Or planting the tank? :D
I would like to cycle it beforehand and ideally a fishless one, but I have never done that before. My plan was to get my anubias from a small LFS that has well maintained tanks (not where I got Amigo) that keep their plants in these spongy pots. They remain in thier tanks for long while (seems I am the only one who is interesested in them) and appear that they would be full of good bacteria (at least that is what they told me). So I was hoping by adding a couple of those in the tank 2 weeks before getting the fish would seed the sponge or biological media.
I just don't know about the adding amonnia method since I have never done it and it seems to be met with mixed reviews. On the other hand, I am fairly convinced that Amigo have fish tuberculosis when I recieved him and although he lived a long while for a betta, is what he eventual sucuumbed to so I am super paranoid about introducing bacteria from a petstore tank. On the other hand it is a small store with probably the healthiest looking tanks I have seen around here, and very little turn over. I see the same happy goldfish everytime I go in there.
Anyone have any opinions on how I could cycle best before the fish comes?
Also am I paranoid (my husband thinks I am) if I throw away or give away (with the caveat that I suspect fish tuberculosis) my current fluval edge even if I replace it with another? I heard that fish tuberculosis is very diffuclt to erradicate from a tank even with bleaching and I just don't want to risk infecting another fish.
Also it seems pewpew, despite the modifications that you do you prefer HOBs. Can you tell me what mods I could make to the Hagen aquaclear? I believe on the lowest setting it is only 33gph. And the sponge attachment would remove and fin issues. It's more a current issue.
Thanks again.. I can't believe I ever kept these creatures before the era of internet and forums. I have learned so much since my first days of keeping the poor creatures in 1 gallon unheated bowls over 20 years ago.
If you're worried about seeding (which I would be from the store), then have you considered fish-in? Its not as scary nor dangerous as some say, especially when you're diligent in monitoring it and/or have some live plants.
I've only ever owned them because its the only thing available in my tiny town :c Id love to go sponge, theyre neat! Heh, Thunder can help you with that one... ;D
I own a similar one, and I usually end up having to shove things into the intake (to slow it) as well as use sponge to dampen the outtake's current, partially submerged to disperse. It knocks around my fish otherwise, and with one with large fins, it breaks them, which is painful!
Anubias are beautiful, I adore them. I have a bunch in my tanks, they'd be great in yours! Java fern is also easy and lovely like the anubias, and commonly found.
Ive heard the same about fish TB, though havent dealt with it. I understand and agree with that logic :)
Yeah I am thinking of doing java ferns and anubias again. Perhaps 2 varieties of anubias. The marimo balls collected to much mulm and won't do those again. I would love to do some floating plants too. I am not a true aquatic plant head, its more for aesthetics and some benefit to the fish. I don't want to do co2 or special lights, so I am not sure if it would be enough fast growing plants to safely skip cycling.
But really that is the only way I have done it before. Get a bunch of plants, let them grow for 2 weeks and put one fish in and cross fingers. No deaths yet.
But then I am also paranoid about where to get the plants that can't introduce disease. Does anyone have a good method for quaranting plants or treating them with anything? I think I read somewhere what to do but I have forgotten now. Is it with an antibiotic?
I guess I probably will just do fish in. You think getting "good bacteria" from a pet store is risky too then?
Honestly, yeah, I think its too risky :c If you have any friends with a cycled tank, then steal something of theirs, like some gravel.
Have you considered stem plants? Stem plants, like anacharis (especially!) suck up ammonia while still allowing the cycle to progress. They keep the ammonia low and safe.
Usually, a good way to prevent disease is to QT for about 3 weeks. A long time, yes, but effective- generally speaking, anything that may be living on it would die without a host, nutrients and food. Ive never heard of using antibiotics, and dont really recommend. Its much like in humans; you dont want to over use in fear of resistance.
As for floaters, I really like anacharis and water sprite, theyre pretty and easy as pie. Adding a CFL/fluorescent bulb (sold anywhere, the spiral ones) to the tank is easy, and this will help promote plant growth and not algae growth (which seems to live incandescent light, bah!) I dont use cO2 or anything fancy, just florescent bulbs ad a smidge of $5 fertilizer ;) (college budget, ugh!)
Buying out-of-tank plants, like ones sold in those tubes in Petsmarts, are generally a good bet for safety. Credible, online retailers are great, too. I've bought from a few with good results. Pet stores with plants in their large tanks worry me, though... Regardless, QT for about a week for good measure :)
For a betta I say put the sponge filter in the center of the tank. You'll still need to do siphoning of the bottom for chunks and such.
When you're done with the siphoning let the water settle in the bucket then simply reach around under the sponge filter with a net and slowly lift it out while its running, the net will catch any plants/fiber that are on it and then you simply put it down in the siphoned water bucket. A few vertical squeezings of the sponge portion then inspect the air stone while you have the sponge compressed. Its often easier to do this with the clear plastic pipe disconnected but you don't even have to turn off the air pump.
You should get a few good black squish-outs.
For extended maintenance where the sponge is the only filter and is a single sponge I suggest carefully cutting the sponge into two rings so you can squeeze both out then wash one ring thuroughly each time (alternate between them).
Some gooey guck builds up on them over time, a little hot tap water with salt in it is a good wash, then rinse with tap and squeeze it a few times in a cup of water treated with a drop of prime.
The closer to the surface the top of the clear lifting pipe is, the slower the tank circulation. You can simply cut off a portion of it at a time till you have a mild flow that still doesn't bother your boy. If you have a strong air pump you can make the pipe extend above the surface a little and get very good surface agitation.
Fish out or fish in, just get the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits (or for same total price a master kit) and keep ammonia and nitrite under 1.5 while feeding your imaginary fish each day until they both get very close to zero and the nitrate starts to build. One ammonia will become two nitrites will become four nitrates, so if your daily input doesnt change and produces 1.0 ammonia per day your nitrate production should be 4 or 5 per day. In that the fish will convert the starches in the food to protein as well, with him you may see 6 nitrate per day in one gallon. The larger the tank the more slowly these things happen.
Once your tank is eating the food you put in and the ammonia and nitrite drop to zero each day its fine to put a fish in and feed them carefully.
I normally advise starter bacteria bottles, one I'm using lately is TLC Optimizer. You can refrigerate most the bacteria products on the top shelf. For your fish-out cycle do it without rocks, floss, carbon or plants at first and just scrape the scum that forms off the glass and let it flow to the filter and get stuck on the sponge/bio-media.
Aquaclear 20 are actually excellent for betta keeping in 4 to 10 gallon tanks. I bought a large block sponge that goes in 28gal nanocube and cut it to fit the filtration stack on a 20, I stuck the air-stone between two layers of sponge inside the assembly and run it with the lid off so I can lift the pipe up as well as swing it over. I can get it down to about 5gph without creating a reverse siphon with the intake pipe. Keep the little bag of carbon that comes with it, if you cut the end off carefully then use a plastic paper clip or rubber band you can refill the bag dozens of times with bulk carbon before having to replace it. You'll need a rubber band or rubberized twist-tie to keep a fluval intake sponge on the aquaclear 20. (as opposed to paper-wire twist-ties)
Last edited by Thunderloon; 06-07-2011 at 09:11 PM.