Is this a terrible idea?

  • #1
I'm considering setting up a nano desktop aquarium to have by my bed. Because of that, it would need to be virtually silent, so I'm leaning towards trying to do something filterless. I'd also, ideally, like to have fish rather than inverts in it, and don't really want to do a betta, since I've done that before.

With all that in mind, here is what I was thinking:

5-7 Gallon tank
either 5 gallon fluval spec or custom made 12"x12"x12" or something similar

Heavily planted with nitrate/ammonia removing plants

Run an airstone during the day for water movement

I'm willing to do 2x 50% water change per week

Stock it with 1-2 australian desert gobies. Maybe only 1 to keep stocking low, although I can't find anything online about whether they need to be in groups.

Will this fail, or is it doable?


  • #2
I've heard of such setups. But beware bigger water changes very often could shock the fish and stress them. Also internal filters tend to be very quiet. When I slept with a tank next to me I used a tetra internal power filter. Since the motor is in the water the sound is dampened. Just keep in mind plants only help during the day. If you did a filter less setup with live plants to do the work you will have a small bio load and the tank may get kinda gross since there is no mechanical filtering, it would end up coating the leafs. The best and easiest way to go is just run a internal filter that's not oversized and run the air stone during the day (don't have to with plants and filter moment). That way you have a clean tank that can be properly stocked for your enjoyment. But again it depends how loud you want the tank to be. At worst you'll hear the internal filter moving water and if the water runs low then its louder since the water is falling farther. I've consitered having a small bedside tank, a nice puffer fish and some live plants.

  • #3
I have a fluval spec v beside my bed. I thought for sure the noise would bother me but it really doesn't. Of course it is housing my betta and occasionally a ping pong ball sized apple snail so I don't run an air stone. My output is angled upwards which does create a decent amount of surface disturbance (leads me to think you could get away with no air stone?). I have it slightly planted with some extra crypts I had from my other tank some type of sword and a grassy thing I also I'm drawing a blank on. Plants have done fine with no extra lighting...might have shoved a root tab in there. I do about 20-30% weekly and 50% once a month. Haven't had a water issue yet.I can't think of what else you could put in there "heavily planted" and still have enough swimming room? A friend of mine keeps a few male guppies in what I thiiiiiiink is a 5gal. Although I've heard water quality is hard to maintain on these smaller tanks maintenance is so quick and easy, love it. Everyone will have an opinion on what you can and can't put in a tank that size.....for myself I can't really imagine putting anything other than a betta (fishwise) in there just because I see how much space my fish in my 55make use of and can't imagine cramping any of them into 5. Sure it could look great, I'd probably just feel bad knowing the fish would be better off with more room.

  • Thread Starter
  • #4
would a better idea be to keep the filter on just during the day?

I've heard varying views on the effect on BB of turning the filter off on a regular basis - does anyone have any thoughts?
  • #5
I think that turning off the filter at night can cause problems.
I have a filter from a Marineland Hex5/etc. with a bit of coarse sponge replacing the missing biowheel, with the outflow mounted just under the waterline of the 10 gallon tank and it is more silent than anything I ever hoped to achieve. Had to rig a hanger for it though, since the design is to fit into a frame for support above the water. It makes the filter media accessible, but has the quietness of an internal filter.

The outflow is on the right side. And there are some random plants I was trying to root in the filter media.
  • #6
I'd have some clown killifish in it a small group of 3 maybe and I'd defo scrap the idea of 50% water change would be drastic on the fish and cauSe shock/possible death get a small silent submersible filter go with the killifish great colours and great fish! Can also get annual ones so you could swap them each year

  • #7
The filter on the fluval spec uses a submerged water pump and is virtually silent. The only sound I can hear from mine is the sound of the output agitating the surface, which would put me to sleep.

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