Question About Filters, Active Sponges...

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lilin

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Hi everyone! I'm planning to get a betta fish soon and I've been reading up on how to set up a tank for one. I think I *mostly* have it figured out, but there's a couple things I'm still wondering about...

I was thinking I would get an Angel Plus Active Filter, as I saw some people here had good luck with it, and honestly the precision required for fishless cycling seems really daunting to me, as does the possible complication of fish-in cycling.

If I'm understanding it correctly, I would fill the tank, use a water conditioner to dechlorinate, add the filter and let it run for a few days or a week, then add fish, right?

Also, I can't seem to find a 5 gallon tank that doesn't already come with a HOB filter (does anyone know where I can find one? It'd be nice to save a few bucks on a filter I won't even use). Is there any complication or gaps created by removing that and replacing it with the active filter + airpump?

Sorry if these are silly questions, it's just a lot to take in! Up until now I've only dealt with land critters.
 

musserump09

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lilin said:
Hi everyone! I'm planning to get a betta fish soon and I've been reading up on how to set up a tank for one. I think I *mostly* have it figured out, but there's a couple things I'm still wondering about...

I was thinking I would get an Angel Plus Active Filter, as I saw some people here had good luck with it, and honestly the precision required for fishless cycling seems really daunting to me, as does the possible complication of fish-in cycling.

If I'm understanding it correctly, I would fill the tank, use a water conditioner to dechlorinate, add the filter and let it run for a few days or a week, then add fish, right?

Also, I can't seem to find a 5 gallon tank that doesn't already come with a HOB filter (does anyone know where I can find one? It'd be nice to save a few bucks on a filter I won't even use). Is there any complication or gaps created by removing that and replacing it with the active filter + airpump?

Sorry if these are silly questions, it's just a lot to take in! Up until now I've only dealt with land critters.
5 gallon tanks can be found at Petco or Saltwater fish stores or online is a option.

Seachem has two products made for cycling with fish.
Prime- Prime converts ammonia into a non-toxic form while detoxing nitrite and nitrate. Provides slime coat aid, removal of chlorine, chloramines. Can dose up to 5x the recommended dose for emergency.
Stability-
When cycling an aquarium you are ultimately wanting to see a rise and fall in ammonia and nitrites, and finally a rise in nitrates. During the first 7 days you should be dosing Stability daily, without any water changes, as you want the bacteria to establish itself in the biological media without disturbing it too much. You will want to add Prime every other day until the cycle is complete, as this will keep your fish safe and will allow the bacteria to consume the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates more easily. If you are noticing that the ammonia or nitrite is rising in a 24 hours period, Prime is safe to use every 24 hours. Also, you can dose it up to 5 times the recommended amount in emergency situations. Once you have zero ammonia and nitrites, and you have a nitrate reading, you can safely assume you have cycled your tank. Keep in mind that sometimes, you may not even see the nitrite portion of the cycle and it goes straight from ammonia to having nitrates. This is perfectly fine.

By far the biggest benefit that live plants provide for your aquarium is that they produce oxygen (O2) and absorb the carbon dioxide (CO2) and ammonia (NH3) that your fish generate. ... By improving water quality and reducing stress, live plants are a great.

Hope this helps
 

Hunter1

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A few days, or a week won’t do it.

Unless you are getting cycled media from a cycled tank, you are looking at 4-8 weeks.
 
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lilin

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Hunter1 said:
A few days, or a week won’t do it.

Unless you are getting cycled media from a cycled tank, you are looking at 4-8 weeks.
Yes, that's what the active filter is supposed to be -- cycled media to use in tanks.
 

mattgirl

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Setting up and cycling a tank can be complicated or simple. Each of us have to make the decision as to how we want to do it. You will get several different answers of ways to do it.

This is how I would do and have done it.

It can be as simple as getting a tank, filling it with dechlorinated water, (most of us use and recommend SeaChem Prime because it will also help when ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels start rising) adding decorations and a heater, attaching ones filter of choice and adding the Betta.

The tank will cycle with the Betta in it and if you keep an eye on what is happening in the tank the Betta will never be in any danger as long as you keep up with water changes. For this you will need a way to test the water and most of us use the API Master Freshwater Test Kit.

To start the cycle (growing the necessary bacteria) you need an ammonia source. The Betta will provide the ammonia with his poop. To grow and complete the cycle (cycle just means growing the necessary bacteria), simply put, ammonia will feed and grow nitrites, nitrites will feed and grow nitrates and nitrates will be removed with lots of plants (plants eat nitrates) or water changes.

If you start this tank with enough seeded media your tank could possibly be cycled in just a few days if not instantly.
 

Hunter1

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lilin said:
Yes, that's what the active filter is supposed to be -- cycled media to use in tanks.
I am unfamiliar with the “active filter” but I love the idea.

Just paronoid.

I just started a tank at my office, 20 minutes from my house. I bagged 2 seasoned filter cartridges and 2 sponges, from 3 different tanks. Took me about an hour to get the substrate in, tank filled and filters going. Sponge/cartridges were in a zip lock with tank water. Wasn’t sure if that was too long out of a tank. Worked great! 5 days later and I tested 0, 0, 10.

Maybe i’m paranoid (admit it, I am) but if this is mail order, I would be skeptical.
 
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lilin

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Hunter1 said:
I am unfamiliar with the “active filter” but I love the idea.

Just paronoid.

I just started a tank at my office, 20 minutes from my house. I bagged 2 seasoned filter cartridges and 2 sponges, from 3 different tanks. Took me about an hour to get the substrate in, tank filled and filters going. Sponge/cartridges were in a zip lock with tank water. Wasn’t sure if that was too long out of a tank. Worked great! 5 days later and I tested 0, 0, 10.

Maybe i’m paranoid (admit it, I am) but if this is mail order, I would be skeptical.
Me too, but I actually got the idea from reading around on this forum! It's this one: . Here's stuff I found from FishLore about it:

What I kinda gathered is that as long as my water pH is above 6.8 and I don't over-fuss it too much with extra ammonia or whathaveyou, it should be able to seed the tank?
 

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They make sense.

Their warning was one thing I almost posted, freezing temps would kill the bacteria.

Let us know how it works.
 

AquaticJ

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I’ve used them before, it worked! My tank was instantly cycled. You’re gunna need to buy a bubbler and tubing for the sponge filter though. So here’s what I would do. Order the sponge online. Go to any store that sells fish before the sponge gets delivered, buy a tank, conditioner, a heater (50 watt), a small bubbler, tubing, gravel/decorations of your choice. Go ahead and set it all up, turn your heater on so it’s at the temperature it’s going to be at, and dechlorinate your water. The same day the filter arrives, hook it up immediately and go purchase your Betta. Don’t let the sponge go more than 24 hours without getting a fish, or the bacteria will die. Just make sure you plan ahead as I described. Do you know how sponge filters work? It’s kind of weird if you haven’t seen them before.
 
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lilin

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AquaticJ said:
I’ve used them before, it worked! My tank was instantly cycled. You’re gunna need to buy a bubbler and tubing for the sponge filter though. So here’s what I would do. Order the sponge online. Go to any store that sells fish before the sponge gets delivered, buy a tank, conditioner, a heater (50 watt), a small bubbler, tubing, gravel/decorations of your choice. Go ahead and set it all up, turn your heater on so it’s at the temperature it’s going to be at, and dechlorinate your water. The same day the filter arrives, hook it up immediately and go purchase your Betta. Don’t let the sponge go more than 24 hours without getting a fish, or the bacteria will die. Just make sure you plan ahead as I described. Do you know how sponge filters work? It’s kind of weird if you haven’t seen them before.
Thank you! I think so? They suck water through the filter, up the tubing, then it comes back out the top, yeah? So I'd get the sponge with lift tube, then run the air tube through it, which connects to the pump outside the tank? Not sure where the bubbler goes though.
 

AquaticJ

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The bubbler is plugged into an outlet, you hook one end of the tubing to the bubbler, the other end to blue tube that's attached to the sponge. Air is pushed into the tube and once it hits the bottom of the tube, it has nowhere to go but up, which creates a suction of water through the sponge. Bacteria then live on the sponge and feed as it pulls in the ammonia and nitrites. I think you might've explained the same thing, but I just wanted to make sure. (bubbler means air pump by the way)
 
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lilin

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I think you did it in a much more technically correct way, heh. Thank you again!

So if I have to get a tank that already includes a HOB, can I just take it off, run the tube out of the hole in the lid, and that's it?
 

Hunter1

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I have a couple of tanks with just sponges because I raise fry in them. I have 3 with both and the water is clearer.

Just FYI
 

AquaticJ

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You can, however, Bettas aren't very messy and they don't like current because of being poor swimmers. They can also get their fins torn by swimming too close to the intake and getting them sucked in. I just have a sponge filter in my Betta tank. A lot of fish stores run off of just sponge filters, like mine. As for clarity, they aren't gunna be like a mechanical filter, but for one Betta I don't think it'd make a difference.
 
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lilin

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Cool, thanks. I just can't find any 5 gallon tanks that don't come with a HOB! Or even just come with a sponge filter instead. So I guess I'll just to remove it and replace with the sponge.
 

SFGiantsGuy

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AquaTop makes a really good nano tank HOB, although IMO along with the other posters as well, sponges are really really good, and in a mild comparison to some HOB filters, you don't have to worry about more frequent replacement, maintenance, malfuction, breaking or other assorted issues. You can also DIY and "hot rod" a HOB (even a small nano tank sized one) to be much much more efficient as well. (adding more sponges, bio media for BB, And the sponges as well for more assimilation of BB) So if you're interested and wish to explore more diverse options, check out YouTube for better filtration etc. etc.
 

AquaticJ

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lilin said:
Cool, thanks. I just can't find any 5 gallon tanks that don't come with a HOB! Or even just come with a sponge filter instead. So I guess I'll just to remove it and replace with the sponge.
Do you want to order it online or in store? Most pet stores that sell fish are going to have stand alone fish tanks without everything else.
 

SFGiantsGuy

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Dunno AquaticJ. I've heard about some very frequent horror stories when it comes to ordering GLASS, and NOT acrylic tanks from online! Something to be very very wary of lilin...if i were you, I'd shop around a bit more at various LOCAL stores until you find what you need...
 

AquaticJ

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Yeah I was seeing if they've been looking online or in store, because not only is it risky to order online, but it's expensive. At the store I work at, I can get a 10 gallon tank for 12.49 with my discount. (only 14.99 anyway)
 
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lilin

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I want to buy all the stuff in person, but I was just looking around online and wasn't seeing it. Hopefully my pet shop has a regular tank in-store!
 
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