New Contributor

filter system in new tank

Two days ago I bought the "Top Fin Hex tank. 3.5 gal. kit".  2 filter system. 

The filter system doesn't seem strong enough..? top of water hardly moves. Poor circulation. ?

Also the water streams out the front but How high do I keep the water where it comes out?  Above it?Lower then the stream?At leavel?

I have no idea! I would add a photo but don't know how.....    Can/ should I add like a Bubbling Air Stone for more circulation?  


Esteemed Contributor

Re: filter system in new tank

If the water level is even with or slightly higher than the spillway from the filter, the operation will be silent.  If the water level in the tank drops, the water returning to the tank may be noisy.  Slight differences in water level will not affect the functioning of the filter,

If this tank will house a betta, there's really no need for stronger water flow.  Bettas prefer still water and since they breathe air from the surface, there's no need to add an airstone for additional aeration.

If you keep fish that need higher levels of dissolved oxygen you may want to add an airstone, but there isn't space for more than a couple very small fish, so you should be okay with the set-up as is.


Good Luck!

“The oceans are the planet's last great living wilderness, man's only remaining frontier on Earth, and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species.”
― John L. Culliney

Re: filter system in new tank

[ Edited ]

What stock do you have? typically a 3.5 gallon filter is not needed as you can use a sponge filter. HOB is still optional, to increase flow and beneficial bacteria, don't use carbon and use a bio-sponge with filter floss. Regarding stock again, 3.5 gallon tanks are not suitable for fish other than micro rasboras, or shrimp. Will you tank be scaped or planted, or no plants at all? I wouldnt add an airstone, it makes water acidic and doesnt have precise oxygen levels, again plants create oxygen through photosynthesis, increasing oxygen levels slowly without making the water acidic and affecting ph. I recommend you ask questions on more reliable forums such as ThePlantedTank or Barrreport.


Esteemed Contributor

Re: filter system in new tank

[ Edited ]

It's true that plants provide oxygen during daylight hours.  At night they do the reverse. In both cases, the amount of oxygen released (or used) by a couple plants in a small aquarium would be negligible The most effective way to oxygenate water is by "turning it over" and bringing it into contact with air. The more turns per hour, the more effective the process.

Operation of airstones has virtually no effect on pH. I say this because removal of CO2 from water through aeration will increase the pH, making it more alkaline.  Ammonia is more toxic at higher levels of pH, and this is why airstones should not be used immediately when you receive fish that have been shipped long distances.  Add water conditioner like Prime at the outset to counter the possible effects of accumulated ammonia.  

Most water in the US is alkaline. Great Lakes water is anywhere from about 7.4 to 7.8.  Water from wells can be 8 or higher.  If pH values are high (above neutral) the only ways they can be lowered are by adding tannins (Blackwater Extract, Driftwood, Leaf Litter or Peat Moss), diluting with distilled water or rainwater (which should have neutral pH under normal circumstances). Or you can begin by using Reverse Osmosis water, which should have no dissolved solids or metals that would affect pH.  Most other methods of decreasing pH are short term fixes and it's much easier to increase than decrease pH.
I agree that Activated Carbon provides little benefit, but it won't compromise the effectiveness of a biological filter like a BioWheel. Carbon is most useful to remove color or medication from a tank.  It has a short period of effectiveness and should be removed after a few days.

A sponge filter is one of the best filters for a small tank (or for weak swimming fish or fry) and can be thought of as either a mechanical or a biological filter.  It strains particulate (mechanical filtration) and, if colonized by nitrifying bacteria, will act just like a BioWheel when water is circulated through it.  



“The oceans are the planet's last great living wilderness, man's only remaining frontier on Earth, and perhaps his last chance to prove himself a rational species.”
― John L. Culliney
New Contributor

Re: filter system in new tank

Did you ever figure out the slow water flow situation?
I just set up a 3.5 topfin, and the water flow is WAY too slow. I don't know if the filter is damaged in some way or if it was meant to be too slow?
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