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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi my name is Mark aka Retroguy, I have had a betta before and now want to get another one. I am interested in a non filter set up. It’s for my therapy office and I am hoping to find a really nice quality approriate “glass bowl” zen like look. Any thoughts? I am hoping there is one to order that also has a light. What is the least volume?
 

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Hi Mark! Welcome.

Bowls aren't typically recommended for fish (bettas or others) because the shape can be disorienting and they're very hard to keep clean.

Some people will tell you you need at least five gallons. I might get crucified for this, but I think 3 gallons is the minimum. However, if you want a setup that small that doesn't require a filter, you'll need to do small water changes constantly to keep your water parameters safe for fish. You'll also probably need some live plants to help with water quality.

Bettas also need heaters unless the temperature in your office is in the high 70s constantly.

I have this rimless tank from Aqueon, and I love it. I have a 50w preset heater and a small sponge filter in it.


This tank doesn't come with a light. I just use a clip-on desk lamp I got from Home Depot. It cost me all of $12.

Here's my setup:

Water Liquid Vertebrate Amber Fluid


Note that the water is darkened - this is intentional. The goal with small tanks like this for me is to create a biotope that doesn't require a ton of attention. That means putting in lots of natural materials like driftwood, leaves (which I allow to break down), and live plants (I like Java ferns especially; he also has dwarf water lettuce and hornwort in there).
 

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A non filtered tank with live plants is commonly called the walstad method. It’s an ecosystem that is self reliant. To do a tank this way you’ll need a deep soil foundation topped off with sand and planted thickly with heavy root feeding plants. If you wanted to go this route you’ll need a much bigger tank than 3 gallons to accommodate a deep layer of substrate. The more you have in your tank the less room for water you see. I would do a 10 gallon. Set it all up and baby the new plants until they have a nice root system going. Then when the plants are flourishing add the betta. This type of aquarium is an ongoing process. A different choice would be a 10 gallon biOrb tank. It comes with a built in filter system and can be very striking depending on amount of money spent on decor.
 

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A non filtered tank with live plants is commonly called the walstad method. It’s an ecosystem that is self reliant. To do a tank this way you’ll need a deep soil foundation topped off with sand and planted thickly with heavy root feeding plants. If you wanted to go this route you’ll need a much bigger tank than 3 gallons to accommodate a deep layer of substrate. The more you have in your tank the less room for water you see. I would do a 10 gallon. Set it all up and baby the new plants until they have a nice root system going. Then when the plants are flourishing add the betta. This type of aquarium is an ongoing process. A different choice would be a 10 gallon biOrb tank. It comes with a built in filter system and can be very striking depending on amount of money spent on decor.
Yes, to be clear my 3g needs regular maintenance even with a filter. Just less than it would if it wasn't heavily planted. Definitely not a Walstad method tank. 😁
 

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I find fish keeping in general very zen lol, an aquascape with lots of natural woods and live plants that look like it could be a place in the wild is always impressive and a joy to look at. I’m a fan of guppy grass floating in my tanks. Sucks up a lot of bad stuff in the water and looks like a jungle. Water lettuce is my second favorite floater. I like the look of dark water tanks too, but it’s not for everyone.
 

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I find fish keeping in general very zen lol, an aquascape with lots of natural woods and live plants that look like it could be a place in the wild is always impressive and a joy to look at. I’m a fan of guppy grass floating in my tanks. Sucks up a lot of bad stuff in the water and looks like a jungle. Water lettuce is my second favorite floater. I like the look of dark water tanks too, but it’s not for everyone.
100%. There is so much solitude in the tedious aspects of fishkeeping. 😌

The only thing I am not very zen about us my desire to force tinted natural aquariums down everyone's throat. 😠
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi Mark! Welcome.

Bowls aren't typically recommended for fish (bettas or others) because the shape can be disorienting and they're very hard to keep clean.

Some people will tell you you need at least five gallons. I might get crucified for this, but I think 3 gallons is the minimum. However, if you want a setup that small that doesn't require a filter, you'll need to do small water changes constantly to keep your water parameters safe for fish. You'll also probably need some live plants to help with water quality.

Bettas also need heaters unless the temperature in your office is in the high 70s constantly.

I have this rimless tank from Aqueon, and I love it. I have a 50w preset heater and a small sponge filter in it.


This tank doesn't come with a light. I just use a clip-on desk lamp I got from Home Depot. It cost me all of $12.

Here's my setup:

View attachment 1037437

Note that the water is darkened - this is intentional. The goal with small tanks like this for me is to create a biotope that doesn't require a ton of attention. That means putting in lots of natural materials like driftwood, leaves (which I allow to break down), and live plants (I like Java ferns especially; he also has dwarf water lettuce and hornwort in there).
Thanks Molly,
nice set up and thanks for the input And welcome. I will take a picture once I set something up.
 
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