Filterless Tank?

Discussion in 'Advanced Freshwater Aquarium Topics' started by ilovefishys17, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. ilovefishys17Valued MemberMember

    Hi, I was wandering if anyone can give me some advice on going with no filter. I have a 20 gallon tall I want to setup and, want no filter.
  2. fishes were wishes

    fishes were wishesValued MemberMember

    That doesn't sound like a good idea.
  3. goplecos

    goplecosWell Known MemberMember

    Well I would not recommend it under any circumstances. You would have to stock the tank less than a quarter full, and do daily water changes. Why do you want to do this? You do know this is making so much extra work for you, right?

  4. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    Contrary to popular believe it is actually easy. You just need to plant the heck out of it!
    2 of my tanks run no filters. I had a 36 gal and one day my Whisper filter 40i stopped working. I opened it up and I still dont know what the heck happened. The motor itself doesnt even turn on when connected to the electricity. I got mad and sweared I would never buy a filter for that tank again. It has been 2 weeks and I have just ran a powerhead to oxygenate the water. I figured I could actually get away since I need to dose nitrogen for the plants to grow. So far everything is going great. The tank isnt fully stocked, it just has 6 Tiger Barbs and 3 Mollys which are mantained by a giant clump of hornwort, some Jungle Val, Amazon Swords and Wisteria. Ill stock it fully and probably even "overstock" it once I get what I need to really fill the thing with plants.

    My 10 gal tank got a snail in the propeller yesterday and I decided I was too lazy to clean that thing plus my corydoras had just spawned so I ended up taking the filter out. Again, I have to dose nitrogen in this tank even more frequently than on the other one so I knew the plants would be able to support the stocking. I have been running it with no filter for a whole day and no problems have arised yet. I still do water changes on this two tanks because I believe they are crucial for fish health. I dont do them because of my parameters but because of what I cant see like fish hormones, minerals, etc...

    It is lovely to just turn on the lights and let the plants do the job, couple that with the fact that I dont use heaters for most of my tanks and everything becomes so cheap. I am keeping some fish outside soon and that will be even better since the sun will give me all the free light I need!

    Would I recommend this to a beginner? Absolutely No. If I had attempted to do this since the beginning I would have probably killed all my fish. It took me like 5-6 months to finally be one with the plant and start to get nitrogen deficiencies in my plants. Setting tanks like this takes some time and a bit of experience.
  5. fishes were wishes

    fishes were wishesValued MemberMember

    Yeah, why bother? A power head costs as much as a filter and only does half the job.
  6. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    I had it lying around. I dont run anything in the 10 gal. Just the light. You could replace the powerhead for an airpump which is way cheaper than filters. I dont know, but I just love the idea of my plants doing the filtering.
  7. wyldkingdom

    wyldkingdomNew MemberMember

    I agree. Filters do a lot of work for you, so you're just making a lot of work for yourself. Plus the filter holds the good bacteria so amonnia (from fish waste, etc) doesn' kill your fish.
  8. lmo

    lmoValued MemberMember

    We set up a 45 litre filterless about a year ago - I found this article really useful -   I think you'll need a couple of inches of small natural gravel on the base - with no filter media you need to provide as much surface area for the beneficial bacteria to attach to as possible. I think marimo moss balls are also great for this reason. One of the challenges with a filterless tank is the lack of water movement. Having a densely planted tank is vital and I've found floating plants to be very useful. When the tank's light is on, they release more oxygen than they use up but at night while photosynthesis stops, they will still be using up oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Combined with the lack of water movement this might lead to a lack of oxygen and build up of carbon dioxide (although this doesn't seem to have happened in my tanks). So you could use a bubbler at night to make sure this doesn't happened. For this to work you'll need to make sure the plants get enough light. The article also mentions having fast-reproducing snails in the aquarium. We have ramshorn and tadpole snails and have found these to be great for eating detritus. Malaysian trumpet snails might be good as they burrow and can help to aerate the subrate. The tank needs to be understocked and cycling might take longer. As with filtered tanks, regularly testing the water is really important especially during cycling.
  9. OP

    ilovefishys17Valued MemberMember

    Thanks, I definitely want to do that. My mom won't let me have lots of tanks, so I'm trying to figure out how to have a setup without using alot of electricity. This is something I really want to do.

    I want to do this so I can have more aquariums, and enjoy the hobby. Also, so that my mom won't yell at me for having more tanks since they use up alot of electricity.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2017

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