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It depends on whether or not you want live plants. I wouldn't do a carbon filter with live plants as the carbon will remove nutrients from the water that plants need. A bubble filter is ideal as it produces less water movement than a power filter. I no longer use power filters with my bettas; I now just use bubble filters. You also could go filterless with enough live plants.
 

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For silk plants a carbon filter would be fine. I have other problems with carbon, but that's another story.

A bubble filter is an air-driven filter (as opposed to a power-driven filter like most carbon filters). The force of the air being driven upward pulls the water and small particles into a sponge. They are generally cheaper than carbon filters in the long run because you have to keep buying cartridges for the carbon filter.
 

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I've never actually replaced the sponge. You don't need to. It will destroy the colony of good bacteria on it.

Because I have a small tank like you do, I used a little squatty bottle. I honestly don't know how to describe it any better. It's like half-size, and I found it at the grocery store. I wish I could remember the brand. I had to use a dramel tool to drill the holes, and I got it wrong a few times. My best piece of advice is to get a lot of bottles because accidents happen.
 

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Getting a lot of bottles is no big deal haha and just to make sure a standard water bottle should be ok for a 5gal right? For the middle though, what is that stuff? Could I get it at petsmart? And any sponge is ok to use right, or should I get an aquarium sponge?
A standard water bottle might be a little tall. I have the shorter water bottles in my 10 gal. The stuff in the middle of mine is AquaClear bio-media. The sponge I bought was the Aquaclear sponge that I cut in half. I found all of that stuff at Petsmart. Make sure you use an aquarium-safe sponge. Most kitchen sponges already have some kinds of soap in them that's why you should never use them inside your aquariums.
 

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I've just got two right now, but I can have up to 4. I'm having trouble keeping the water quality good with just 2, so I'm going to wait a while before I add any more. I've got a red ryukin and a calico veiltail. Both are around 5 or 6 inches in body length, but the veiltail has another 6 inches in fins behind her.
 

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My goldfish are pretty big. It's funny to see people's reactions when they actually see how large goldfish get with proper care. My boyfriend always seems to forget just how large they are.

I was just outside with my koi today watching the snow. They are all between 12 and 18 inches long. I've heard of koi that have been bred to be larger but never bred to be smaller. lol You could in theory keep one in a 500 gal tank, but koi are social creatures and do best in schools. Another problem with keeping them in tanks is that koi were bred to be viewed from the top in ponds. They actually look rather funny when viewed from the side.
 

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My goldies were about the size of the ones you see in the store when I bought them. Man have they put on weight! :lol: Most people don't realized a lot of the fish you see in the store are babies less than a year old. Things like oscars, silver dollars, and goldfish will be almost double that size when they are adults.

Koi get huge. 12 inches is actually on the small side for a koi. My 12 inch one is the youngest. I can expect him to get around 24 inches before he'll stop growing. They all should top out around that size. I think the largest koi on record was close to 4 feet long. They are another fish that is sold as a baby in the story yet can easily double its size in under a year.
 

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Oh ya. They mostly sell babies at stores. It's the same way with cats and dogs. It's an economics thing.

I'm pretty sure keeping a goldfish in a 5 gal bowl will cause a lot of problems. Stunting being the first that comes to mind and ammonia poisoning the second. That probably was why your friend had so much trouble. For people with a little room, bettas are the best fish. ^-^
 
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