How to Slow Aquarium Water Flow for Betta Fish to Baby Fry

People underestimate when getting their Betta fish and how it slows the flow. Many of those all-in-one beginner aquarium kits come with a default filter that is often way too fast for Bettas. You turn this thing on, and your poor Betta will spin around in the aquarium and struggle to swim against the current. 

Unfortunately, that stresses the fish out, and they eventually get sick. This doesn't apply to just Betta fish. But also to things like Baby fish that are way weak, maybe fancy goldfish that have very long flowy fins, really any slow-moving species.

However, this doesn't mean you should get rid of our filters because they have a lot of good benefits. For example, they help you filter your water and remove the particles that are floating in it. This way, your water looks a lot clearer.

They are perfect for you, especially for the surface of the aquarium, because more surface agitation helps with the gas exchange so that more carbon dioxide leaves the water and oxygen enters it for your fish to breathe. They are an excellent source for growing beneficial bacteria, part of the ecosystem that helps purify the water from waste your fish makes and makes them safer to live in.

Given the benefits, people think that more is better. That's how you hear about hobbyists getting a 70-gallon filter for a 20-gallon tank. They may even buy multiple filters in one aquarium.

Sponge filter

Don't get rid of your filter. But, if you see your fish struggling to stay in one place, maybe think about changing your filtration options to get something more accommodating to their needs.

One of our favorite things to get would be a Sponge filter. The foam on the outside of it not only serves to filter out particles from the water but also, it's perfect for preventing the baby fish shrimps and your Betta's fins from getting sucked up in the filter.

Plus, the bubbles from the sponge filter up the top and create surface agitation, increasing the amount of oxygen in the water.

You can even use an air pump to drive air into the air filter because it has a button to adjust the amount of water flow. This helps you crank it down, lessening the air going into the sponge filter and reducing the amount of current in the aquarium. 

Optimizing your filter

Suppose you use internal filters, hand-on back, or a canister filter. In that case, some of these models often have an adjustable knob or switch, which will also help control the flow into the aquarium. So, try to crank it down as much as possible, give it a shot, and hopefully, the current will be less in the aquarium.

Let's say you already have a filter; in that case, you don't want to block the water from getting to them because you may run into a problem of burning out the motor's ability to intake the amount of water it's expecting. However, we can instead baffle, block, or redirect the water that flows out of the filter to reduce the water pressure dramatically.

For example, if you have a canister filter with an output tube, you can aim that tube either at the surface of the water or toward a back wall. That way, when the water comes out of the output tube, it'll bounce off the surface or back wall. This way, it'll lose some kinetic energy and decrease the water pressure. 

Pre-filter sponge

Another idea is to put a pre-filter sponge so that it covers the output tube. In this case, you want something slightly coarse so water can easily flow into the aquarium. However, it loses some kinetic energy since it is going through that pre-filter sponger.

Suppose you find the flow coming out of the filter so strong that it keeps knocking off the pre-filter sponge. In that case, you can aim it to the output tube so that the pre-filter sponge is propped up against one of the tank's walls or a sturdy aquarium decoration, thus fixing it to a place.

For hang-on filters, you can cut out a block of sponge the width of the waterfall opening and stuff it into the space so that the water has to pass through this foamy material before it enters the water. You want to make sure that the foam material is coarse enough so that you don't block the water from coming out. 

In conclusion

The more decoration items you have in your tank, like live plants, the lesser will be the flow in your tank. Every time the water current hits an obstacle, it slows down more flow around it.

Depending on your setup, you can combine several methods to create a slow-flow aquarium that'll give your Betta fish the stress-free environment they need.

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