Tank without filter? Possible?

Discussion in 'Filters and Filtration' started by Crankkt, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. CrankktNew MemberMember

    Keeping fish is a new hobby for me so excuse me if this is a stupid question. I searched the forums and couldn't find anything similar so here it goes. Can you have a cycled tank without a filter? I see many tiny bowls (1ish gallons or less) sold for beta fish. How would you use a filter on such a tiny tank? If you don't, is it possible for the tank to become cycled or is this poor fish going to be in a constant fish in cycle?
    I do not own a beta, I am just curious. Thank you

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  2. tabshire95Valued MemberMember

    I personally have 2 gallon biotope type tank, heavily planted with shrimp that produce a small biolode. The plants filter the waste before any ammonia is released into the tank so the cycle never begins. Its possible to have a tank that doesn't need a filter but plants are a MUST.

  3. hopeful fishWell Known MemberMember

    I personally believe that those "betta bowls" and fish bowls in general just lure the public into thinking all fish need is water. The short answer for the "can a tank not have a filter" for the everyday fish keeper is NO.

    The long answer is sometimes. Look into the Walstad method of planted tanks, with natural light, light stocking, heavy planted, and a soil substrate. Look at the above poster's shrimp tank. It's possible, but it takes a delicate balance of nutrients, light, and plants. Remember that without surface agitation, you need the plants to provide the oxygen as well. Totally doable, totally cool, totally difficult.
  4. RivieraneoModeratorModerator Member

    Crankkt, it is possible, but awful stressful on fish. Fish have different environmental factors that need to be mimicked in the aquarium for them to thrive and live to their full life expectancy. This includes water chemistry, temperature, depth, plants, substrate to name a few. Having a betta in a small glass unheated and unfiltered bowl is far too common, but you will find that this is not acceptable living conditions for any fish.

    In order to remove organics and tank contaminates like ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, daily water changes would need to be conducted, these water changes can result in un needed stress due to small changes in PH and temperature as water is replaced as well as minor rearrangements of tank decor. Personally, I spoil my pets as I spoil my children and only want the best for them and i'm sure you'd want the same. Setting up a small 5 - 10 gallon tank that is filtered and heated isn't to expensive and is a great small investment to get into the hobby. Best of luck, Welcome to the forum.
  5. tabshire95Valued MemberMember

    Yeah the balance required in a tank with no filter is pretty tedious, but extremely rewarding once achieved. It just takes understanding what the fish or inverts you want need, an airstone is probably gonna be a must because you need the surface agitation for water. i use a very small airstone with a very very small pump.
  6. Alex126Valued MemberMember

    At my local pet store they sell very small filters made for fish bowls or small tanks. Could be a possibility

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  7. CrankktNew MemberMember

    I am not asking because I plan on doing this. This is a new interest for me and knew nothing of the nitrogen cycle prior.(no science buff here). But I do work with clients where I go into their homes, and I noticed today that one of them has a tiny bowl, one gallon or less, with a fake plant, no substrate, no heater no filter and a beta in it. I asked about water changed and I was told the water is changed once a week and conditioned. Thinking about this I am just baffled the beta is still alive. Then this got me thinking. I don't plan on doing this, so no fear. I was just curious as to if it was possible. Thanks for all the speedy replies

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  8. fishguy1955New MemberMember

    In the case of bettas specifically, large scale commercial Asian breeders raise males in jars. Bettas are less susceptible to ammonia toxicity because they have a labyrinth organ to breathe atmospheric oxygen as well as gills, and the primary route into a fish bloodstream for ammonia is the gills.
  9. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    An airstone up against the substrate would create sufficient oxygenation to cycle the tank, assuming the bioload was appropriate to the tank size. Live plants will remove ammonia as well, but you'd need some water movement. I have several small tanks and yes, it's totally possible to cycle them, if you know how ;)

    However there is no reason not to have a filter in a 1 gallon tank. Tiny HOBs or small air powered filters like the Tetra Whisper 3i are sufficient, or you could always go the sponge filter route.
  10. tmillsNew MemberMember

    Bettas are the exception to the rule of good aquaculture, along the lines of fishguy1955 wild bettas live in swamp like conditions low o2 content and on a side note wild males are much less aggressive to one another, one of the side affects of breeding in those beautiful fins.
  11. CrankktNew MemberMember

    On a side note, the client said I seemed really interested in the fish so I could have the betta if I wanted so he'll be coming home with me today. Thanks for the replies

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
  12. tmillsNew MemberMember

    It's in good hands, good luck!!!

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