How to keep an aquarium clean without a filter

March 21, 2020 5:54 PM |

keep an aquarium clean

If you’re someone who has just acquired a knack for fishkeeping and don’t want to indulge in the whole fiasco of a technical fish tank, then acquiring tons of knowledge about filters is something you’d rather not do. And we get that! We’ll be discussing how you can manage to get by with a fish tank that has no filters in it!

What Factors Play the Largest Role?

When a filter is placed in a fish tank, what do you think it really does? Of course it cleans, but what exactly does it clean? Once you realize the aspects of a fish tank a filter regulates, you’ll soon be able to manipulate those factors yourself and keep your fish tank in check. So, what are those factors?

1. Number/Type of Fish
2. Other Biological Inhabitants
3. Water Changes
4. Feeding Routines
5. Tank Size

Now, these are the factors that will be key in determining the ecosystem of your aquarium, and how healthy it remains.

Deciphering The Factors:

We’ve mentioned the factors, but what and how do they affect your fish tank? Let’s dive right into it!

1. Number/Type of Fish: Now, this also ties in with the size of your tank, however, we will delve into that factor a little bit down the line. For now, you need to first visualize the number of fish you’ll want in your fish tank. For example, some people start out with a couple of goldfish.

How the nitrate cycle in your fish tank proceeds, depends on the number of fish you place in it. The smaller the number of fish, the longer you can relax and leave your fish tank be. Your fish will defecate and run through its natural life courses. So, the fewer there are, the more the ecosystem can manage with it.

2. Other Biological Inhabitants: Acquiring a few plants to place inside your tank is very normal, and more often than not, what everyone does. So, if you’re planning on not having an artificial filter, you can help yourself with some biological ones!

You can conduct some research or gather help from some insightful sites (such as The Quintessential Buyers Guide), and find out which plants these exactly are. Once you’ve done that, you can place them within your tank, and allow for them to help clean up some of the harmful substances within your tank.

3. Water Changes: One of the first things you’ll hear when looking up how to maintain an aquarium is, changing the water. And no matter how overplayed these words are, you’ll do well to remember its importance.

A key thing to remember is that the water in a tank is the whole world for your fish. So, once it starts to become toxic in the slightest bit, your fish will slowly lose their lives. Always create a schedule for a regular cleaning, and every time you do it, replace around 20-30% of the water inside the tank.

Why just 20-30%? Well because, once the fish start residing in the tank, the life cycle in the ecosystem produces certain necessary toxins and bacteria, that are essential towards their existence. That’s why you’ll always need to maintain that ecosystem, and only replace a little bit of the water at a time. It might become a bit taxing to do these just from reading, so you could do with some help from a visual aid!

4. Feeding Routines: Not only does maintaining a feeding routine help your fish lead stable lives, but it also contributes to the atmosphere inside the tank. Why? If there is extra food laying inside your tank, it will start to deteriorate and increase the level of ammonia within your tank, and that’s what you definitely want to avoid. Otherwise, you’ll start requiring a filter. Thus, it’s best to always maintain a rigid schedule to feed your fish, and know how much your fish eat, to avoid pouring extra food inside the water.

5. Tank Size: Now, we did mention how this follows a little in line with the number of fish you have in your tank. We can now delve into why the size is also key.

Even as humans, when we stay cooped up in a small room for too long, it starts to create a horrible atmosphere. The room is messy, starts to smell and you feel claustrophobic being in there. Just like that, you can’t justify keeping a large number of fish in a small tank. So, the size of your tank and the number of fish you have, needs to be in line with the size of your tank.

If you want to have only one fish, then sure an average sized tank will do fine. However, if you have 3-4, then you’ll need a much larger tank to keep them all cozy.


All of these factors will play a major role in determining how well your aquarium fares against the trials and tribulations that follow acquiring one. However, if you manage to do it well, you won’t have to worry about getting filters of any sort! You must ensure you do all of these properly however, or else you run the risk of your fish’s lives.

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