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I am a brand new betta owner and did a lot of research before selecting my tank, food, habitat. Because of limited space I chose a Fluval Spec III knowing I will have to be more rigorous in changing and monitoring water quality.

I ran into a very odd problem in my betta's 1st week that really scared me (and him) and could easily been much worse. I wanted to share to avoid similar issues.

The Spec III and Spec V use (I think) the same filter pump...which seems to work well but that many think has too much current for betta fish even at the lowest settings. The problem and solutions are well described in the "Help My Fluval Spec Filtration" thread. (I have to have more posts to link)

I ended up doing both solutions: Putting some small holes in the plastic output piping, and adding a Fluval Edge Pre-Filter Sponge. The sponge was loose so I put a rubber band around it close to the tank as prescribed on some other sites. It worked great...I can turn up the pump above minimum to get good filtering but the turbulence is totally gone.

Then, Sunday afternoon I was reading next to the tank and heard some splashing...again and again. I went over and saw my betta Henry was stuck between the back of the sponge and the tank (where the rubber band is). He could not move forward (the sponge is almost to the edge of the tank) and could not move backward (I am not sure why...whether it was the current right next to the sponge, or the space, or if something got caught up). He was moving violently to get free, but stuck solidly.

Fortunately I saw it in time and was able to lift him out. He was totally exhausted...did not move at all for about 1/2 hour. In about 2 hours he was fine and eating. I see no damage to him.

BUT: With this happening the 1st week I made a modification. I tried to attach photos of my mod but do not have rights to use attachments yet. The Mod: I cut a circular slice off of a 2nd sponge filter...then put a slit in it to fit over the rubberband so he cannot get in there. I am sure it is safe now.

I have never heard of this happening to anyone before...but the fact that it happened in my Henry's 1st week makes me concerned it might happen to others. If you use a Sponge Filter on these without a rubber band....make sure it is pushed right up against the tank. If you use a rubber band like I did, make sure it is covered.

Odd and scary.
 

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Welcome to the forum! Sorry to hear that happened to Henry. You sprang into action, fixed the issue and Henry is okay. That's what matters.

To share, a few years ago I tried the Fluval sponge thing for my Spec V, but it didn't work for me. I actually place a piece of filter mesh bag strategically over the output nozzle. It helps tremendously. I've seen some tanks with cut up BioMax bag material (without the ceramic rings of course) rubberbanded over the output nozzle.
 
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