5 Gallon Tank Aquaponics & Ecosystem Settings

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Subhojit Paul

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Dear friends,
In this lockdown situation around the world, my fish tanks got reduced to only one 5 gallon. I have shut down all others tanks due to lack of food, medicine and time in maintaining. So, I was thinking about an aquarium (5 gallon) that can clean itself without major human interference; an aquarium where I don't have to clean water for a couple of months. So, I found about Aquaponics system. I read a couple of articles and watched a dozens of video and got some ideas about it. But I still wonder, if the system really keeps the water as clean as it is advertised. I want your opinions guys. If I really create an aquaponics system for my 5 gallon Betta tank, will it really keep the water clean for nearly 3 months, stop algae growth and keep ammonia down?? Moreover, if I do create an aquaponics system, will I still need a filter or airstone in the aquarium?? Please help and share your experiences on it if you have tried.

Again, I found about Ecosystem aquarium; an aquarium that is more like a natural system found in lakes or ponds. I learnt that I need a good soil based or sand based substrate, and quite a lot of aquatic and floating plants. I also need adequate light for plants which I can provide. But I wish to know what kinds of problems I may face in a planted aquarium. Will the algae be under control, will the water be clear, will it require more time for maintenance?? I currently have a very minimalist barebottom 5 gallon tank. But, if I really create an Ecosystem Aquarium for my 5 gallon Betta or Neon Tetra tank, do I really have to invest very little time in maintenance?? So little, that I don't have to do almost anything except for feeding my fishes. Or a minimalist barebottom tank with weekly water change and monthly algae removal is better?? Moreover, if I place potted plants in my barebottom aquarium, what advantages or disadvantages may I face??
 
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Archangel8

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In my experience planted tanks take more time to maintenance.
 
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Ghelfaire

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No. Those are all lies to sell products. Water still needs to be changed because it's dirty, and to replace old oxygen as well.
The smaller the tank the more work they end up being for water changes.
I know people with larger tanks who do a largeonce a month clean but I still prefer to do a smaller weekly clean on mine.
 
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AngelfishDude722

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Yeah just a bare bottom tank will take little matinence and just weekly water changes.

Ghelfaire said:
No. Those are all lies to sell products. Water still needs to be changed because it's dirty, and to replace old oxygen as well.
The smaller the tank the more work they end up being for water changes.
I know people with larger tanks who do a largeonce a month clean but I still prefer to do a smaller weekly clean on mine.
Larger tanks get tiring though Like in my 65 for a small water change I need to empty a few 5 gallon buckets.
 
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Ghelfaire

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AngelfishDude722 said:
Larger tanks get tiring though Like in my 65 for a small water change I need to empty a few 5 gallon buckets.
I have a 55g that I do that with. It's not as bad as a 50% once a month change.
 
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AngelfishDude722

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Ghelfaire said:
I have a 55g that I do that with. It's not as bad as a 50% once a month change.
true
 
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Subhojit Paul

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So, guys, if I want less hassle in maintaining the tank, I should stick to barebottom minimalist setting?? And Aquaponics system will draw more time from my schedule??

o_O
 
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fishnovice33

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You must change the water. There is really no need to try so hard to not have to maintain a living creature either you have the time or don’t to responsibly care for it. Nothing you do will allow you to ignore it for 2-3 months.

An oversized canister filter is the only thing that would help immensely to significantly cut down on maintenance time but the output would be too strong so this usually applies to larger tanks unless you get some sort of sump water flow system going similar to an outside pond.

Barebottom is less maintenance but again this is a suggestion for a larger tank with a large filter and more surface area. I would not do a bare bottom with a 5 gallon. Establishing a beneficial bacteria colony is much more difficult with a barebottom tank, I’d imagine in a 5 gallon it would counterproductive and be even more maintence due to the lack of surface area, filtration/beneficial bacteria.

Live plants will be more maintenance all around but less maintenance than a substrate IMO.

Please do not put neon tetras in a 5 gallon, you’d need 6 because they are schooling groups first of all and second they’d be miserable because they need 20 gallons to swim. A 5g tank is only suitable for a betta and even that is pushing it/minimum.

My suggestion is to research more and consider not only your schedule but the needs of the living creature, research and educate yourself some more, and come back to the idea when you have the time and your schedule permits taking care of something long term.
 
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Subhojit Paul

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fishnovice33 said:
Nothing you do will allow you to ignore it for 2-3 months.
This was informative. I was somewhat confused and doubtful about Aquaponics system as some advertise it as a complete hassle-free way of keeping aquarium.
Moreover, I currently have a 5 gallon barebottom tank, as I said earlier. And many micro-organisms like copepods have flourished in it. So, i believe there are phytoplanktons too, which I think is a good sign.
And I was maintaining 3 aquariums - One 29 gallon and two 5 gallons for last 3 years. But this COVID-19 situation made it difficult for me to run all of them together.
Hence, I was in search of a setting that will not be heavy on my schedule in such a tough time, yet won't be harmful for my fishes either. And tbh, when I started this hobby, I had ample free time. But such is not the situation now. But I still want to be in this hobby. Hence I am looking for something simple, perhaps keeping only one 5g which will be easy enough to care for, and beneficial for its inhabitants too.
 
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smee82

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Walstadd tanks are probably the closest thing to what you want to do.
 
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