10 Gallon Tank Filter flow issue

attheworld

In my planted 10 gallon I'm keeping a betta and a nerite snail. In the future I may add shrimp, micro rasboras or ember tetras (at least try to). I have a flow/circulation problem with my filter.

It is a hang on back, and a TopFin model at that, with an intake sponge, DIY media, and output sponge. I have an ouput sponge to reduce the flow, because I have to increase it since the intake sponge won't collect anything otherwise. I know this is a bad filter but I wanted to ask FishLore before I upgraded.

Bettas enjoy a slower flow, but when I reduce the flow, the tank is an entire dead spot, as if there's no filter at all. I have many live plants, and a dense bush of limnophila in the corner, which is a debris collector. Hence why cyanobacteria began spreading from that corner. If I increase the flow, my betta and plants are whipped around, but I have adequate circulation in the tank. Essentially, reduce the flow = happy fish, dirty tank and cyanobacteria. Increase the flow = good circulation, cleaner tank and unhappy fish. I've tried a plastic bottle baffle, but it only helps with surface agitation, not circulation. I have an output sponge, but it blocks the flow too much. Before when I had no baffle on the filter, my betta would be slammed into objects in the tank. When he's happy, he makes bubble nests, and the only times he's done that is if there's no surface agitation or circulation.

Should I keep trying to balance the flow against fish happiness? Or bite the bullet, and buy a better filter? If so, what type of filter? I think an internal filter pump would work well, but those small enough to look decent/fit in my tank probably wouldn't do much filtering. If I can fully stock out my tank with plants, it might be okay, but I'm not there yet. I would adore a sponge filter, but I've never seen any in local stores, only online, where I have to pay $20+ for shipping. And I'd have to buy an air pump + accessories as well. I think another HOB would be the best option - I've heard good things about the aquaclear filters. Would another HOB change anything, besides my filtering capabilities? What are your thoughts?

TIA,
- Att.
 

ChrissFishes01

I've used a lot of Top Fin HOBs (I got them dirt cheap when I worked at Petsmart) and not even 4 months after I quit that job I don't have any Top Fin HOBs left. They're just not good - they break easy, they put out a narrow, stiff current, and they don't have much room for media. I'd keep it around just in case you ever needed a filter, but I don't like to deal with them on a day-to-day basis.

I'd either look into a sponge filter paired with the Ziss air stone and a USB air pump or into a Top Fin internal filter. Top Fin is a "meh" brand in general, but the internal filters are super reliable IME, and have quite a bit of room for media. Plus, they just use sponges in place of cartridges. You can get the smallest model for like $12.99. If you used the internal filter, you could just move your media over to the new filter and not have to cycle a sponge.
 
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BigManAquatics

I pretty much use sponge filters on all tanks, in conjuction with an HOB on my bigger tanks. I like the aqua-tech HOBs from walmart as they have been reliable for me with good flow and room to use your own media, plus fairly budget friendly. But with bettasx i use nothing but sponge filters, as i had similar problems as yours with HOBs in betta tanks, either too much flow or just dead in the tank.
 
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attheworld

I've used a lot of Top Fin HOBs (I got them dirt cheap when I worked at Petsmart) and not even 4 months after I quit that job I don't have any Top Fin HOBs left. They're just not good - they break easy, they put out a narrow, stiff current, and they don't have much room for media. I'd keep it around just in case you ever needed a filter, but I don't like to deal with them on a day-to-day basis.

I'd either look into a sponge filter paired with the Ziss air stone and a USB air pump or into a Top Fin internal filter. Top Fin is a "meh" brand in general, but the internal filters are super reliable IME, and have quite a bit of room for media. Plus, they just use sponges in place of cartridges. You can get the smallest model for like $12.99. If you used the internal filter, you could just move your media over to the new filter and not have to cycle a sponge.
I appreciate your detailed response. I'd definitely keep my TopFin around, perhaps use it to cycle a tank in the future or use it with chemical media in an emergency. I only have the one tank so I've never compared a TopFin HOB to any other filter, didn't realize it was that bad. Aquarium Co-Op doesn't ship to Canada, so I can't snatch their unbelievably cheap sponge filter. Although I've never seen internal TopFin filters at PetSmart, I'll see if I can find any.

I pretty much use sponge filters on all tanks, in conjuction with an HOB on my bigger tanks. I like the aqua-tech HOBs from walmart as they have been reliable for me with good flow and room to use your own media, plus fairly budget friendly. But with bettasx i use nothing but sponge filters, as i had similar problems as yours with HOBs in betta tanks, either too much flow or just dead in the tank.
I truly want a sponge filter. But I can't find them anywhere locally, and AngelFins (Canadian fish store) sells coarse sponge filters online but they're situated in Ontario (I'm in BC) so I'd have to pay $20+ for shipping. I may be able to snag one from a fellow aquarist via aquarium forum, but I believe they're only selling large sponge filters. There is the possibility of finding one on facebook marketplace or craigslist, but it'd take a lot of searching.
 
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ChrissFishes01

You can get sponge filters on ebay, too - I don't know how shipping internationally works through ebay, but it may be worth checking out.



This is the filter I was talking about. It only has one review online but I can say from experience it isn't loud - they may have just gotten a faulty unit. It comes with a spray bar, too, so that may be a good way to disperse the flow.
 
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BigManAquatics

I appreciate your detailed response. I'd definitely keep my TopFin around, perhaps use it to cycle a tank in the future or use it with chemical media in an emergency. I only have the one tank so I've never compared a TopFin HOB to any other filter, didn't realize it was that bad. Aquarium Co-Op doesn't ship to Canada, so I can't snatch their unbelievably cheap sponge filter. Although I've never seen internal TopFin filters at PetSmart, I'll see if I can find any.


I truly want a sponge filter. But I can't find them anywhere locally, and AngelFins (Canadian fish store) sells coarse sponge filters online but they're situated in Ontario (I'm in BC) so I'd have to pay $20+ for shipping. I may be able to snag one from a fellow aquarist via aquarium forum, but I believe they're only selling large sponge filters. There is the possibility of finding one on facebook marketplace or craigslist, but it'd take a lot of searching.
I do know a lot of chains don't necessarily carry them. Usually our local fish stores have them, otherwise i have gone the amazon route at least for the bigger ones.
 
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awilkinson871

I bought a double sponge filter as an addition for my 40 gallon tank on amazon for $12.99. I have Prime so it was free shipping. I needed more circulation to help with diatoms that were going crazy. The outflow is adjustable so you can move it anywhere in the tank and adjust the height.
 
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attheworld

You can get sponge filters on ebay, too - I don't know how shipping internationally works through ebay, but it may be worth checking out.

This is the filter I was talking about. It only has one review online but I can say from experience it isn't loud - they may have just gotten a faulty unit. It comes with a spray bar, too, so that may be a good way to disperse the flow.
I'll check ebay for sponge filters.
I found the internal filter on the Canadian website. Unfortunately it isn't in any stores near me, but there is a shipping option. I'm not sure of the costs. I'll look into it.

I do know a lot of chains don't necessarily carry them. Usually our local fish stores have them, otherwise i have gone the amazon route at least for the bigger ones.
I'll check Amazon as well. Have prime so shipping wouldn't be an issue.

I bought a double sponge filter as an addition for my 40 gallon tank on amazon for $12.99. I have Prime so it was free shipping. I needed more circulation to help with diatoms that were going crazy. The outflow is adjustable so you can move it anywhere in the tank and adjust the height.
If it's for a 40 gallon tank, it probably won't fit in my 10 gallon. I don't have much room to spare. Even the little internal filter would fight for space.
 
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BigManAquatics

I'll check ebay for sponge filters.
I found the internal filter on the Canadian website. Unfortunately it isn't in any stores near me, but there is a shipping option. I'm not sure of the costs. I'll look into it.


I'll check Amazon as well. Have prime so shipping wouldn't be an issue.


If it's for a 40 gallon tank, it probably won't fit in my 10 gallon. I don't have much room to spare. Even the little internal filter would fight for space.
If you got amazon prime, shouldn't be an issue to find one of the smaller sizes :)
 
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StarGirl

The 20g size is what I have in my 5g. Yeah they will hog some space but it works so well you just have to deal with it or try to hide it...lol
 
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