One of the most important (if not the most important) factors to consider when setting up a fish aquarium for guppies is whether or not to include a filter.
Yes guppies can survive with out a filter, but it is highly recommended you use a filter as this will help your guppies flourish.
Filters, no doubt, are essential for most fish ponds, even the ones that will house guppies. Their usefulness precedes ensuring cleanliness and maintaining the clarity of the water.
If you wondering if guppies can survive without a filter in their aquariums, the answer is yes and no. Under the supervision of an inexperienced aquarist, guppies will die off in no time in ponds without filters. But under the watchful eyes of a professional aquarist, these fishes will survive and live out their days healthy and peacefully.
How do you ensure that your guppies survive in their ponds without including a filter?
There are a few things that need to be in place for you to be able to grow your guppies in aquariums without filters. We will be looking into them below:
Cycle Your Empty Aquarium with Nitrogen
Guppies thrive in a balanced ecosystem, thus the importance of carrying out a nitrogen cycle for your pond cannot be overemphasized.
Nitrogen cycles are a necessity in propagating the aquarium with good bacteria that feast on and coverts the toxins inside to harmless substances. In the absence of nitrogen cycles, your precious guppies will die off due to suffocating on their own waste.
It should be noted that nitrogen cycles are not sufficient in sustaining a balanced ecosystem. Rather, they ensure good chemistry between water and fish.
Carrying out nitrogen cycles requires time and patience, and should be done only when the aquarium is empty of fish. Here are a few simple steps to get started:
Pour chlorinated freshwater into the aquarium
Sprinkle small pieces of flake foods every day in the aquarium until you can discover an increase in ammonia.
Keep sprinkling flake foods daily and check for a spike in nitrites. The ammonia presence will decrease as the nitrite content in the aquarium increases. This is because the bacteria that feeds on ammonia transforms it into nitrite.
As soon as ammonia and nitrites levels reduce eventually, nitrates will start appearing in the pond. This is as a result of the bacteria that will feed on nitrites, plummeting its levels.
When the nitrites and ammonia levels are at 0 ppm, the nitrogen cycle has been completed.
Nitrates aren’t exactly harmless for your guppies; hence, it is recommended to perform regular aquarium maintenance by changing at least 50% of the water and removing the decaying plants and uneaten food.
Make use of live plants.
Another way your guppies can survive on your pond without using a filter is to infuse live plants in your pond. They come with so many benefits:
Live plants do not only make your pond look beautiful to you and your friends, they provide shade, food, and also act a natural filter. They also combat the toxins released as waste products and release more oxygen into the water.
Live plants also speed up the nitrogen cycle in the aquarium if you include them. They are also known to reduce algae growth by fighting for the resources in the water.
Some of the live plants to consider include java moss, Amazon sword, micro sword, crypt wendtii, hornwort, and anubias nana.
The number of live plants to place in your aquarium depends on the aquarium size and number of guppies you plan to put in. However, you should note that some of these plants are dosed with fertilizers that destabilize the water chemistry.
It is important to make use of plants that do not require dosing and are low-maintenance.
Make use of the right substrate
When you’re setting up your guppy fish aquarium without filter, ensure that the right substrate is used. If you’re going to be making use of live plants, you’ll need a substrate that contains enough nutrients for the plants to flourish.
Also, it should be easy to clean up during maintenance. If you’re thinking about making use of sand, kill that thought. Sand and gravel do not contain enough nutrients for live plants and are difficult to clean during maintenance.
A recommended substrate is the ADA Aqua Soil which comes with enough nutrients for the plants.
Get an Air Pump
An air pump is another way of making sure your guppies survive in the aquarium without a filter. It is necessary to remove stale water in the aquarium so that oxygen can freely flow in.
When there’s no water movement, scum—a white blob—settles at the surface of the water which is counterproductive for the survival of the guppies.
It is highly recommended to have an air pump when setting up your aquarium without a filter.
Get a good aquarium size
Your guppy can survive without filters if the aquarium size is sufficient enough. It is recommended to get a large aquarium size for obvious reasons:
Ammonia content due to waste is usually increased in a small tank with the water chemistry constantly disturbed. While the aquarium size is largely dependent on the number of guppies you’re planning to buy, you should always make the aquarium slightly bigger.
If, for instance, you plan on keeping 8 guppies, the recommended gallons of water should be 13-15. This is because overcrowding in the aquarium may lower the oxygen levels in the water, causing illness or worse, death.
Creating a filterless guppy tank is not only herculean when you factor in the things involved but can only be carried out by a professional.
If you, however, decide to make use of an unfiltered tank, follow the aforementioned steps and you’re good to go.