I recently aquired my betta a few days ago, but I've noticed him having a hard time swimming. He is in a 10 gallon tank I bought at Walt-Mart (shouldn't have), the brand is Aqua-Culture. Anyways I wanted to see what would happen if I turned the filter off and he expanded beautifully! I was so happy to see him so big, but then I read that the filter should NEVER be turned off so I quickly turned it back on, and once again he is looks stressed :'( All the stores are closed right now, and I would hate to see him stress any longer, is there anything I can do to reduce the current?
My betta hates his filter, but needs it to distribute heat, so I have two different types of homemade baffles going (pantyhose+water bottle).
This sticky talks about how to make a filter baffle out of a plastic water bottle: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=30139 It's really easy and practically free; Vimes stopped showing stress stripes just a few minutes after I put it on.
I honestly don't like using filters, I just use plants like anacharis instead, it tends to suck up all the unwanted ammonia and such, and I also use mossballs, my boys HATE filters, and they started building bubble nests once I removed the filters. So its really up to what your fish likes. I have a sorority with girls who don't mind the sponge filter, and some boys who don't mind sponge filters either. But the normal filters, no matter how much I try to baffle them, always stressed out my boys so I just removed them completely.
I've gone through three filters trying to get one for my Kaze, luckily I had three on-hand at the time (lots of tanks at one point)! I've found sponge filters (which are powered by an air pump) to be the gentlest; they have an adjustable bubble flow that you can turn up or down depending on your fish's preference. The pump can get rather noisy though and you might find yourself needing to do more regular water changes (depends on the power of the actual sponge filter itself though).
I tried baffling my first filter (hang-on-the-side, mechanical type) with a plastic bottle but Kaze tried jumping into the bottle repeatedly. I then tried the sponge method but obviously botched it as it didn't reduce the outflow too well. In the end I swapped the filter out as the intake kept sucking in his fins (luckily no damage was done, but my word it was a little scary). If you find you have issues with the intake you can always attach some old stockings to the intake of the filter using rubber bands, unfortunately I couldn't do that as we have no spare stockings.
Regardless of my own failures, baffling your filter is a great way to maintain filtration without the stress on your betta. Using the bottle method really does reduce the outflow - it's fantastic. Sometimes you may find or feel the need to use the sponge method as well as/or instead of the bottle.
The sponge method simply requires a piece of sponge to be placed inside the outflow of the filter and to be attached via a piece of nylon string or rubber band; if done correctly it should reduce the outflow of the filter quite substancially - of course it depends on the type of filter you have. The nice thing about having the sponge there is that it also gives more space for beneficial bacteria to develop.
Thanks guys! I found that the filter sucks in too much water too fast, so I taped down some of the sides and it reduced the "sucking" and thus, no more strong current! :D I did this a while ago, thank you for your tips!!