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Filter flow too strong for my Betta

Discussion in 'Betta Splendens' started by Phil Fish, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. Phil Fish

    Phil Fish Fish Fanatic

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    So I have been using the Top Fin Power 10 filter on their 5.5 gallon tank but even with the flow control set at it's lowest setting the current it produces is still way to strong for my Betta (Phil). Can anyone recommend a very low flow gentle filter that doesn't produce such a strong current? I turned off the Top Fin filter and removed it and Phil is much happier swimming effortlessly around and enjoying the calm, displaying his beautiful fins and occasionally flaring at stuff in the tank. Before he would just swim back and forth across the front glass constantly stressed out. He wasn't even able to make it easily to the surface for air or just relax.

    Obviously I need a filter but until then I will just keep doing daily water changes. Any help is appreciated!

    Thanks!
     
    #1 Phil Fish, Oct 12, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  2. NickAu

    NickAu Member
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  3. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Aquaclear HOB filters are also adjustable.

    Did you try putting a round sponge over the intake strainer of the TopFin? That helps reduce the flow. You can also try moving the filter to different sides of the tank (along the back or on the sides). Maybe put a rock or piece of driftwood in front of the filter outlet so the water hits that and is the flow is broken up a bit.

    As a last resort you can put some tape around part of the intake strainer so there is a smaller area for water to be drawn into the filter. Just make sure the tape is well attached and doesn't get sucked in. You don't have to reduce it by much (maybe 1/4 taped off) to see a big reduction in water flow coming out.
     
  4. Phil Fish

    Phil Fish Fish Fanatic

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    Thanks for the replies!

    The Aqua Clear HOB filter looks good but similar to the Top Fin other than the better flow adjustment. Sadly there are none in stock in the pet shops here. Also it's a little expensive.

    Now I haven't tried to modify the Top Fin filter since I was afraid of damaging it. I will try this first. If that doesn't remedy the problem I will try maybe a simple sponge filter and an air pump. I also need some live plants to help with the filtration.

    All I know is right now Phil is so much happier not having to deal with fighting a strong current. He is swimming around leisurely actually exploring his tank, enjoying his ornaments and hiding places. I even caught him relaxing on his Betta hammock I positioned close to the water surface. He never did any of those things when the filter was running. He just kept swimming frantically back and forth at the front glass of his tank all day...poor little guy.
     
  5. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Aquaclears are good filters and worth the extra money but if you can't get one then it doesn't help you :)

    Try a round sponge on the intake strainer first. If that doesn't work, take the intake strainer to a hardware store and see if you can find a short piece of pvc pipe that can slide over the intake strainer. You don't want to cover the entire strainer but if you can cover 1/3 to 1/2 of the strainer it will reduce the flow by half and that should make it better for the Betta. If you can't find a bit of pvc pipe then gaffa tape around 1/3 of the strainer.
     
  6. Phil Fish

    Phil Fish Fish Fanatic

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    Ok so I taped around two thirds of the intake tube which did reduce the flow some but still not enough to stop the surface flow to not cause Phil problems. Also because of my tanks lid I can only place the filter either in the center or slightly to the right side of the tank. I also have the water level as high as possible. My next course of action will be to try baffling the output stream to see if that helps any.
     
  7. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    A small plastic kitchen strainer put under the outlet (in the aquarium) will help to baffle the flow.
     
  8. Phil Fish

    Phil Fish Fish Fanatic

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    I didn't have a small strainer but what I did do is cut a piece of a black nylon t-shirt, folded it up and wedged it in front of the output spout as a baffle and it's working! The output flow is now a gentle trickle and Phil doesn't seem bothered by it. I also stuck Once a floating plastic plant under the flow to try and dissipate it more. When I get a chance I am going to pick up a sponge, cut it to size and use it instead of the piece of nylon t-shirt..

    Edit: I guess I spoke too soon...a few minutes after baffling the filter Phil went back to pacing back and forth the front of his tank. :( He just cannot handle it. As soon as I shut it off he goes back to normal. Which is right now attacking his moss ball...lol
    I am going to get a sponge filter and pump.
     
    #8 Phil Fish, Oct 13, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  9. Phil Fish

    Phil Fish Fish Fanatic

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    Ok I did as Colin T suggested and wrapped a piece of nylon around the intake tube screen of the filter and then I used a cut in half water bottle (trimmed to size) and put it over the output flow to dissipate the water to the sides and not straight down. I am hoping this will work. However for whatever reason as soon as start using it my Betta still swims back and forth across the front glass (close to the bottom) of his tank in an agitated state like he was before so I am not convinced this is the solution.

    Without the filter running he swims all over his tank happily flaring at random objects in his tank. When it's on all he does is swim back and forth pausing only to grab some air from the surface. I know he is not happy. Right now his tank light is off and he still swimming back and forth. Last night with no filter on he went to his resting spot to chill soon after lights out.

    Why is my Betta so sensitive to current flow??? Maybe something else is bothering him? It's really starting to frustrate me!!!
     
    #9 Phil Fish, Oct 13, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018
  10. Phil Fish

    Phil Fish Fish Fanatic

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    Well I think this final modification is working. We have water filtration and minimum surface agitation and less undertow. I shut off Phil's light and quietly observed him. He swam all around his tank easily even right under the filter output flow without effort. He now seems more relaxed and gently swimming around looking for a place to rest for the night. I am not going to get a pump and sponge filter. I don't think I am going to do any better with it.

    Now I can afford a good water testing kit. :)
     

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