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that tis the question.

So, I've had my betta for about a week and I am going to be upgrading him to a 2.5 gallon tank (I'd go bigger but I'm crunched for space) with a small heater. However, my main dilemma is whether to get a 2.5 gal with or without a filter.

I have been trying to research filters and the carbon cycle and what not and it all just seems like a lot of hassle and I can't really seem to find straight answers anywhere. My questions about filters : How often do I have to clean them? Can you use them to cycle a 2.5 gal tank? What's the best way to muffle them if they're too strong? How often am I going to have to buy replacement parts / media? Do I have to get a siphon to do the 25-50 percent changes or can I use something easier like a turkey baster (I just got new carpet in my room and the idea of putting a bucket on it for a siphon makes me nervous)? Are they really that necessary for bettas?

The two tanks I'm looking at that come with filters are the Fluval Spec III and the aqueon mini bow 2.5 with the led lighting. If that makes any difference...

I know you have to do more water changes when you don't have a filter but that really doesn't bother me. I'm already cleaning out my 1 gal every other day. It takes me like 5 minutes. If I can get away with doing one 50% change and one 100% change every week, I'm cool with that if my betta's cool with it. The main worry I have about not having a filter is that the heated water won't circulate but in a small tank is it really that vital...?

Overall, for a 2.5 gallon tank, what do you guys recommend? Have you had good experiences without filters? How hard are filters to maintain?
 

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How often do I have to clean them? The filter? I just take out the cartridge once month and swish it around my dirty tank water (That ive removed with a gravel vacuum.)
Can you use them to cycle a 2.5 gal tank? You can, but cycling a small tank takes longer.
What's the best way to muffle them if they're too strong? Depends on the type of filter but you can easily use a sponge, or water bottle. I baffled the filters in my 5&10 gallons with water bottles and it works great.
How often am I going to have to buy replacement parts / media? You should have to. I was worried about this at first to, but found out you shouldn't ever have to replace the cartridges, unless they are literally falling apart.
Do I have to get a siphon to do the 25-50 percent changes or can I use something easier like a turkey baster (I just got new carpet in my room and the idea of putting a bucket on it for a siphon makes me nervous)? You can use a turkey baster, Siphons are just easier.
Are they really that necessary for bettas? They aren't necessary, but they are great and help a lot.
 

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How often do I have to clean them?

you don't need to really clean the filter, just wipe in down in a paper towel wet with old tank water at least once a month. Also take the cartridge/media out once a month a swish it in old tank water.

Can you use them to cycle a 2.5 gal tank?

yes, I have three 2.5 gallon tanks and they are all cycled and they hold a cycle.

What's the best way to muffle them if they're too strong?

I personally prefer using filter sponge. Just cut a piece the fits the output end (where the water reenters the tank) and secure it with a rubber band. Then just check that the sponge isn't too thick that it blocks the flow completely by dropping a pellet in front of it and see if moves. If it doesn't then cut some of the thickness away.

How often am I going to have to buy replacement parts / media?

You should replace the filter media when it is LITERALLY falling apart. I've had media for over a year now and it is fine. When it starts to fall apart, lay a new cartridge on top of the old one for at least 3 weeks so some of the beneficial bacteria transfers.

Do I have to get a siphon to do the 25-50 percent changes or can I use something easier like a turkey baster (I just got new carpet in my room and the idea of putting a bucket on it for a siphon makes me nervous)?

yes, you can. However I used a turkey baster for a long time and i personally think the gravel vac gets the tank cleaner.

Are they really that necessary for bettas?

I am going to say they are very highly recommended. A 2.5 gallon without a filter requires one 50% and one 100% water change every week while a filtered 2.5 gallon only needs two 50% water changes a week. Since I added filters to my tanks my fish are healthier, more active and NONE of my fish have been sick since I cycled my tanks. I used to think that bettas didn't need them but now I am convinced that they have a better life with them.

As far as recommendations go, I think you should just by a glass 2.5 gallon tank and get the Azoo Palm Filter (it is reasonably prices and reliable). If you prefer to buy a kit the Tetra 3 gallon cube is popular, The Fluval tanks are popular (they have a 2.5/2.8 gallon size), and the Aqueon Mini Bow 2.5 gallon (make sure you get the LED light version). I personally have the mini bows and I'm not a HUGE fan of the filter BUT I was able to cycled the tank with them.
 

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I have a three gallon tank, and I have chosen not to filter or cycle it. If you were to filter/cycle your 2.5 gallon, the OldFishLady guidelines say that you would need to do two 50% cleanings, one with gravel vacuuming, every week. That is after your cycle is established. An uncycled 2.5 gallon requires one 50% and one 100% cleaning per week. I personally would rather do the 100% change and avoid having to deal with a filter in a small tank. If I do decide to cycle the tank in the future, I will not use the filter that came with my tank, I will get a small sponge filter instead, they take up less room.

Whether you decide to filter/cycle or not, your twice weekly water changes will be sooo much easier with a gravel vacuum siphon! A turkey baster works but you would have to remove water with it over and over, dripping water every time.
 
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