The absolute minimum size for a betta fish is 2.5 gallons, with the recommended size being 5 gallons or more. stress indicators, cleaning substrate, tank, ornaments, plants, algae-build up, or any water parameter or ammonia spikes). I do not recommend housing 2 females together as they will likely fight and stress each other out until one eventually dies. Hi Bryan. Any suggestions? I also bought some product to give to try to reduce the ammonia and some bacteries to help start the tank faster. Also wondering what type of thermometer I could position on the glass maybe to make sure indeed the water is at 78 average? Undergravel systems are cheap to purchase and run. Warmly, Nathalie. If your betta is struggling to get to the surface for air, hiding and scared, and frantically swimming in the current, your filter is probably too strong. You don’t need to make sure that all debris is constantly removed, it just helps to keep you water cleaner for longer if you remove excess food and poop. You can use the Imagitarium UGF in both marine and freshwater tanks. He is in a one gallon tank, I thought that was a big size tank since the one the store recommended to me was a third of that size. pH should be 6.5-7.5, ammonia should always ideally be 0ppm, nitrates should be around 10-20, and nitrites should be 0. Just use a small aquarium brush to brush it off so it doesn’t continue to grow and do more frequent water changes. The problem with that arrangement is that the cartridges typically don’t remain effective for more than a few days before they require replacement. There are a couple of concerns with that filter – 1. It’s impossible to keep debris from them. Also, we buy spring water instead of tap. In the other, she has a happy community of tiger barbs, green tiger barbs, corydoras catfish, platys, and mollies. If you don’t want to see the uplift tubes, simply place tall plants in a position to obscure them. Keep some test strips in your supplies so you can test the water periodically to ensure the parameters are within the safe range. And for your last question, the filter and water changes should help with that, I wouldn’t use a product to remove ammonia. We have a heater in the tank. Next, make sure the temperature of the water is 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit, and if it’s not you need a heater. Yikes, I have heard of situations (rare) where two bettas do get along but I don’t recommend it for your exact outcome. You should also use test strips to analyze your water parameters in real-time. A UGF is basically a rectangular plastic grate or plate that you place on the bottom of your aquarium, underneath the substrate. I wouldn’t introduce a filter until they were around 6-months old. He keeps fins clamped and stays at top. Your site has been a wealth of information. She has Led lights and I have her on a 8am wake up, 7Pm moonlight setting after dinner and 11pm night time. Yes, it’s necessary to monitor pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. We did two treatments, and have done two 25% water changes. The intake area could present a problem if it’s very strong and the betta could accidentally get sucked up against it and not be able to swim away. So far he is doing well and almost eats his 3 pellets twice a day almost out of my finger. It took awe two trials to figure out courant seems lower than usual and so suddenly I looked on the side where the pump is which I admit I never looked at. A sponge filter is very easy to set up and allows for both mechanical and biological filtration. The Penn Plax UGF is one of the most popular undergravel systems that you can buy. Black racer snails or mystery snails are good options. Lola seems pretty happy about the set up. If you have a smaller tank, you should choose Lee’s Original Undergravel Filter that comes in a wide range of sizes, is very well-made, and is suitable for use in both freshwater and marine tanks. I was gifted a Tetra Whisper in-tank filter (up to 10 gallons, though my betta is in a 5 gallon). Most UGFs do not contain a chemical filtration element. Lee’s Original UGF is available in a range of handy sizes, so you’re sure to find one to fit your tank. It appears to be a very mild current. I ran to the computer and read, and read, and tried to identify his illness. Okay, that makes sense. I’m very sorry for all these questions but I’m trying to learn as much as I can before to get any other fish. Smaller amounts will degrade and become non-infectious more quickly. I just bought a Betta and put him in the Tetra Half Moon Starter Kit tank (3 gal). You can use this undergravel unit in freshwater, marine, and brackish tanks, and the filter plate can be cut to fit as required. Please get a larger habitat as soon as you can. Hello, I have a 1.5 gallon tank. I was wondering if you could recommend the best filter for this size tank due to my 3 year old saying she wants her betta again. Conditioned water is water that has been treated with a water conditioner to remove harmful things like Chlorine. Please help. 2 carbon filter cartridges remove odors, and water discoloration by trapping the pollutants in the pores of the carbon. Really appreciate you teaching all of us. One of the best and most inexpensive options for smaller tanks are sponge filters (on the left). When I first got into keeping fish some 30 years ago, undergravel filters (UGFs) were the go-to filtration system for most aquarists, and they are still pretty much the most basic form of filter you can find. Betta fish are able to survive in these conditions through evolution, with the unique ability to gulp oxygen from the air (at the water’s surface) instead of relying solely on their gills. I love Bettas but have never had them in a tank that large, nor with a filter. If by air-pump filter you mean a sponge filter setup then you should be fine. All comments are moderated before going live. Please avoid fish bowls and any tank under 2.5 gallons. Tankarium is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to There’s so many different kinds, some have tubes and pumps and some don’t, that I’m not sure which one I can get? Can we take him to any vet? I have a 1.5 gal wall mounted tank for my betta. Regardless of the size of your tank and whether you have a freshwater or marine setup, an efficient biological filter system is essential to provide a healthy environment for your fishes and other livestock. I forgot I have one more question: Would a sponge filter still be effective if I just turn the filter on overnight and turn it off during the day.? Winter I will be investing in a few more heaters to go around. For a complete water change it will depend on the condition of your individual tank. This reduces the current while keeping the tank filtered. Remember, the change in habitat can cause some initial stress too. What if you have a baby betta? Sponge filters use bubbles of air from an air pump to draw water through a sponge. Plants do certainly help, but I wouldn’t say they completely replace what a filter can do. I am wondering if this is too small, and what would be the best way to clean the tank. I am thinking of getting small HOB filters with adjustable power for each tank, switching on the filters for only a couple of hours at night just to filter of dirty stuff accumulated in them. You also get two extra-large uplift columns, generous lengths of the airline, and air stones. Solid waste particles floating in the water are dragged down into the gravel, eventually impeding the water flow rate and depriving the bacteria on the filter plate of oxygen. Thermometers help to read the temperature of tank’s water, if it’s below 78 degrees Fahrenheit, then you should get a heater as well to maintain proper tropical temperatures. Claims how they prefer small habitats and can live off the roots of a plant in a vase. Don’t forget to include hiding spots that inside break up the current and allow it to be relatively still to allow them to have areas they can rest. You’ll need to clean the tubes as and when required, using a soft-bristled bottle brush. With that said, you could certainly introduce him to a larger tank with plenty of fake or live plants and hiding places to allow him to hid in and feel safe. Thank you! You response would be greatly appreciated. I hope you enjoyed this guide to choosing the best undergravel filter system for your aquarium. This is why some caretakers swear by unfiltered tanks for their betta, replicating their natural ecosystem. They’re those small rocks you buy in a bag. They make it sound like the plants clean the water and all of your problems are over. I would really like to keep it on because I want her tank to not get grimy as fast… thanks for your input! Uneaten food and feces lead to ammonia, nitrate, and nitrites building up. But without changing the tank, should I get a filter? I did put a fern but want my betta to have enough space to swim. During droughts, a wild betta may even end up in a murky puddle for a period of time with very little oxygen. You could also add a tall decoration or plants up close to the output to slow the flow as well. There are DIY options specifically for your filter, and for HOB filters in general. Undergravel filter systems are typically the cheapest option when compared with the likes of canister filters, box filters, and most HOB systems. Make sure to acclimate them into the new tank (float them in a bag or cup) for 20-30 minutes to get them used to the new tank’s temperature. So, a 2.5 gallon should not have a filter? The fish seem fine and there is not much movement of the water on top. My question is, what may I use as an alternative to the slim filters because they can be quite costly? And just for you, we’ve also tracked down and reviewed five of the very best undergravel filter systems on the market. A 12 gallon isn’t too big for a betta, you’ll just need to make sure the tank has a lot of plants/decor and places to rest/hide to replicate a betta’s habitat and for them to feel safe and not stressed. The filter UGF system’s filter plates are hidden beneath the substrate, and all you can see in your tank are two transparent plastic columns full of bubbles. We are really worried for our fish and would love to hear from you if you can suggest us and provide any help. I have one idea (Some type of clamp on the tubing) but was wondering if you knew of any better ideas or if there was something specific to use. It only measures 3.9 x 2.8 x 5.5 inches and weighs a paltry 12 ounces. While you don’t “need” a filter, they do help keep a healthy nitrogen cycle and good bacteria. Some snails may be smaller, or some a bit larger, but two inches around is probably most common. I added Prime to the new water. If you keep fish that are poor swimmers, a standard filter system that cannot be adjusted may put out a flow that’s too strong. We have a dumbo half moon in a 3.5 gallon tank. You could also look into a tank divider and have 2-bettas one on each side so they would each have 4.5-gallons of space. However, as with most UGFs, you need to buy a pump or powerhead separately. In this guide, we explain what’s so good about UGFs, how they work, and how to maintain one. Is this usual? Mark, I wonder if it might work better to make it more like a confit; cook the meat in the fat in the oven at about 150-180 degrees for several hours. Effortless setup and easy maintenance make this premium undergravel filter a must have for all home aquariums. I bought them over the summer. I have a fishless 12 gallon tank with an internal filter (it takes in water from the bottom and sort of pours in back in from the top). I bought ‘Moonlight’ last july as a baby. My problem is the filter even when set at its lowest setting, and making sure I keep it below the water level is still quite strong! Filters in small tanks cause strong currents, which can toss a betta fish around and stress them out. We are in New Jersey and if we can visit a vet what type of vet should I be looking for on the internet. Betta’s prefer slow moving or still water. Thank you. As for the substrate, you may have to switch to pebbles if it’s easier for you to clean. do you mean by making sure Moonlight gets acclimated to new water? My biggest question is this: people have mentioned “cycling” the water before adding fish. Aquarium Equip ISTA Undergravel Filter. I was told that they would be fine with a hiding spot, plants, substrate. That’s what makes the UGF the best choice if you’re looking for a highly efficient biological filter for your tank. Do you have a divider? I did not know that I have to rinse it in the tank so I did it under the running water. Spikes can happen from not having beneficial bacteria in a freshly setup tank. You cannot adjust the flow, 2. They are not big. I recently put my Betta in a 5 gallon aquarium. Introduction. After 2 days the water seems to be almost clear again. He’s in a 10 gal filtered tank, and was treated with API’s FungusCure. Any thoughts on some snails or some type of shrimp that will be fine in a filterless tank? A sponge filter? Hello. UGFs are perhaps not the best choice for you if you keep very dirty fish species, such as goldfish. Gravel or coarse sand is the best substrate to use, as media that is too fine tends to block the holes and impede the water circulation across the plate and through the substrate. Also I bought a water test kit and find ti so confusing. According to test strips the water was good though perhaps a a bit soft and alkalinity slightly lower than ideal. I want to get a hang on the back filter but I am confused on what exactly I should get and what products I should use and how to set it up. The larger the volume, the slower the water quality will decline and the easier it is to maintain. Pre-filter sponges will easily fit over certain filters’ output tubes into the aquarium like the Fluval Spec V too. If you used bleach, you can still use the tank, just make sure to rinse it very, very thoroughly and then let it sit out and dry completely for 2-3 days before refilling it. Instead, you want your betta to live a long and healthy life without any suffering right? The viewer is half a gallon….see I got so happy that I paid this no mind for my son, but there is a big difference between viewers and a tank am I right. He was a very active fish a few months ago but suddenly stopped swimming and prefers to lie at the bottom of the tank. Before you choose a UGF, measure the bottom of your aquarium, and check the dimensions on the product packaging to make sure that one you choose fits your tank or can be trimmed to size if necessary. Thank you 🙂 oh and I have moss balls in his bowl and can get more when o switch him to his tank. So when we do a partial cleaning of the tank we take out our fish ? This Tetra Whisper lives up to its billing, and that’s partly because it’s so small. That would really help Thanks. After he passed I got another Betta but for some reason he seems to be putting out more waste than the other did so I was looking to get him tank mates of some kind to help keep it clean. I do not actually have the Betta yet, because of afore-mentioned problems I have had in the past. Need your advice. I’m now taking care of 2 2.5 gallon tanks because I don’t have the heart to get rid of one of them. Thank you. I think you’d be better off going without the filter in a small tank, and doing as you said above. Suitable for use in freshwater and saltwater tanks, Best Fish For A 20-Gallon Tank And How Many Can You Fit, Best Fish For A 10-Gallon Tank And How Many Can You Fit, Best Place To Buy Healthy Betta Fish Online, Compatible And Safe Tank Mates for Your GoldFish, How To Tell If Your Aquarium Snail Is Dead, SunSun HW-304B Pro Canister Filter Review, Best Low And Medium Light Aquarium Plants, Quick Comparisons of the 5 Best Undergravel Filters, Benefits Of Undergravel Fish Tank Filters, 4. I also made sure to clean her filter by placing it in her tank water I had taken aside of (the portion I was going to replace). His tank is unfiltered and has no plants in it. I have my Betta in a 3g unfiltered tank. Hello, This UGF can be used in marine and freshwater aquariums, the materials used are strong and built for longevity, and the system is easy to set up and maintain. You may need to heavily add plants and decoration in order to allow the betta to feel safer without so much open water. For example, if your tank is 5 gallons, consider a filter rated for 1-3 gallons. Hello! Filtered betta tanks will require less maintenance, which makes your life easier. He is NOT happy in there. Mystery Snail Shell Size: In the display tank, a Mystery Snail shell size can be about two inches in diameter. I have an air pump filter, but have realized that it will likely be far too strong for a Betta. What filter will you recommend? I bought my daughter a 10-gallon tank, which included a filter, fake plants, decoration and gravel for Goldie Bob (the goldfish she won). Thanks, Kim! I have a betta in a 3 gal bowl, no filter with a moss ball and another live plant, so is it ok not to do 100% water changes? They work best in tanks up to 10 gallons and present virtually no risk to your betta from suction or flow. Because of their level of tolerance in low oxygenated water, bettas are frequently sought after and recommended for beginners. Thank you for the post, I look forward to hearing your advice. I don’t want him to be unhappy any more. Currently Alison has two large freshwater tanks. On the other hand, a 5-gallon unfiltered tank will only need 1 water cycle per week at around 25%-35% of total volume and a 100% water change once per month. However, the UGF is currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity. I did notice the fins don’t look as full as before. How old is he? An undergravel filter doesn’t have messy sponge filters or cartridges to wash or replace. So sorry to hear about your experience thus far Julia. What sponge filter and light would work well with a betta fish? That depends on what you’ve decided given the pros and cons for each scenario above and your personal situation and preference. I am considering buying a betta fish and 2.5 gallon tank. The most important consideration for betta fish is their strength, with having an adjustable flow being crucial. If I am doing a 10 gallon tank with one Betta do I need a filter? Every week I would test her PH, Amonia, Nitrite,Nitrate…all was well I would do a 25% water change. Two vertical “uplift” tubes are fitted into circular slots in both back corners of the filter plate with the top of the tubes underneath the water surface. That is a big upgrade in size from what he is used to. How often should you cycle and do a complete water change for a 2.5gallon filtered (sponge) tank? Also, placing a cartridge over the top of the uplift tubes tends to restrict the flow of water through the filter system. every thing I learned I learned from your forum (thank you!) Unlike other filtration systems that have an integrated power source and pump, UGFs do not usually come with one included in the kit. A pump or powerhead at the top of each tube draws water up through the tube along with bubbles that are generated by the air stones. If your water parameters are fine and they don’t spike rapidly then it’s completely up to you. The plants won’t be enough and I would recommend a 25% change weekly and maybe full water changes monthly. Appreciate the help. I would prefer to do so less often of course. However, some come with an activated carbon cartridge or pouch that sits at the top of each of the uplift tubes. I’m at a loss haha. We used the special cleaner to suck up the debris from the gravel and changed half the water, and filter and wiped down the tank. The air stones provided are of pretty decent quality, so they won’t degrade or collapse. Before deciding on a UGF, there are a few things that you should consider: Some undergravel filter systems are constructed from one single plate, whereas others have two plates or even more. Allowing your tank’s water to get and stay below the recommended depth from the filter’s output will also increase turbulence in the water. Have you heard of them? The bowl is staying clean as of now, just change water 1 x a month. You’ll want to maintain a tropical habitat for your betta to keep his immune system and activity level proper. I chose this tank for its ease of use but I’m concerned the filter is too strong. One of the best and most inexpensive options for smaller tanks are sponge filters (on the left). The only thing that happened now is that one tank started to grow green algae on the walls of the tank. Larger aquariums over 55 gallons generally need a powerhead to generate strong enough suction for the UGF to work efficiently. I’m considering a Betta. You can purchase a thermometer with a suction cup attached to it for a few dollars that would help monitor the temp. Also, you need to make sure to acclimate him to the new water and temp of the new tank, and ensure the new tank is heated as well. I do recommend you get a larger tank when you can though. Hello, I only put in a few drops in new water when I do a 10-15% water change weekly. The lights are attached to the filter/bubbler so I can’t turn them off at night unless I turn everything off. I also was wondering about heaters, because I am rather nervous about using one after my last Betta died when it overheated the water to 90 Fahrenheit. Have a done much damage? Like this one from API. Live plants, like marimo moss balls, can help clean the tank and oxygenate the water. I got few questions if you can answer. So upgrade again to a 9gal fluval flex. You simply need to vacuum the gravel every week as part of a routine partial water change, just as you would with any kind of filter system. In a filtered tank you don’t need to do 100% water changes unless you have an algae or rampant disease problem. I had seeds slip into the main tank and make an absolute mess. We recommend purchasing a tank that’s recommended for betta fish and comes with a filtration unit out of the box. Hello! I have a few questions. The first thing to try is limiting the flow of your filter if it’s adjustable (try the lowest setting). Most vets don’t specialize in fish, so I’m not sure I can help you there, but I think with a little care we can get him back on track. Was going to shop for a small plant that will grow out of tank and help reduce his waste and filter water for him absorbing his waste. I read few things about bettas, unfortunately not enough to let me set a new tank right now. Of course the weekly water changes will continue. Do you have plastic plants? Needless to say the pump was filled with crap and the bottom too so I had to empty it which meant emptying her water again. You don’t have to buy replacement filter media or expensive cartridges, and there’s nothing to go wrong with the unit unless the pump breaks. Also, you can include a chemical filtration element by burying a porous filter bag filled with carbon or Zeolite under the gravel on top of the filter plate. A 25% water change once a week is ideal. We recommend adding an air stone to the inside of the sponge filter to lessen the bubbling noise and make the filtration more efficient. I have a 29-gallon tank with a single betta in it. For example, betta fish and fancy goldfish do not generally enjoy a strong water current, so a gently bubbling UGF is ideal for these guys. I bought two 1 gallon tanks for my kids two betta fish, upon the advice from the big name pet shop. Average Lifespans,, Waste Reduction – removal of excess food, feces, ammonia, and bad bacteria, Oxygenation – filters help to oxygenate the water, Good Bacteria – beneficial microorganisms accumulate in filter media and tanks, Tank Mates – filters are required with tank mates because of increased bio loads, Maintenance – reduced maintenance and water cycling. The more items you place in the tank, the more water is displaced. Yeah, you could do that, or use a quick start product to introduce beneficial bacteria without cycling. An undergravel filter consists of one or several flat or slightly graded, plastic plates that are pierced with small holes or slits. Just make sure the flow isn’t too fast for a betta – an adjustable flow filter is usually best. Is that bad and what do I need to do? Shirley. If it’s not an adjustable flow, then you can have it close to a wall or break onto a structure. Hello, I am new to taking care of Betta fish. Rinsing the filter in the tank’s water does help to retain some beneficial bacteria in the filter media, which is why that’s recommended. You can increase plants and decorations near the filter to break the flow as it enters the tank. The main drawback to using a UGF system is that it causes particles of solid waste to gather between the pieces of gravel that make up the substrate. I am wondering if I should use a filter for it and if so what type of filter. A betta would be great in that size tank, and you could even consider some suitable tankmates too at that capacity habitat. So I’m a beginner wannabe betta owner. I have been using 2 java ferns in the corner of the flow coming from the pump and I have used three small marino balls and one big one. Filters are not ideal for tanks under 3 gallons and you should upgrade the size of your betta’s habitat. I have been reading your website extensively, and scouring the internet for info on our Betta fish. I have read that certain aquatic plants are effective as a “natural filter”. I got a 54L tank around 14 U.S. gallons, do you think a betta will be fine on it? Add more plants or decor near the filter, buy a different filter that’s more adjustable, use a sponge-style filter with the air pump (best option), or go filterless and just do more frequent water changes. Well, you have a few options. Great article on Betta tank filters! This ability comes from their labyrinth organ, classifying them as Anabantoidei or labyrinth fish. Sadly Goldie Bob died. Hi there. The materials that are used to make the filter plates are tough and robust, so you can use the system with marine and brackish tanks, as well as freshwater setups. There is so much information out there on different media, sponges etc. I removed plants I cleaned there didn’t seem to be much debris in there so I was confused on how this could have happened. There are many filters you can buy if your tank did not come with one. Floating the cup or bag in the water to acclimate the betta to the water temperature in the tank slowly, and slowly introducing small amounts of the tank’s water into the bag during the acclimation period. Option when compared with the kit example, if your water parameters are within the start... Box filters, and ammonia and some bacteries to help start the like... 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