A QUICK EMERGENCY FILTER

After reading our section on FILTRATION, you've learned that an ideal filter is cultivated over time, and is not simply a matter of plugging your tank in.

 

However, you may already have a betta at home, whose water contains toxic ammonia, and who needs and immediate solution! Luckily for you and your fish, we have one.

What You Need

  • Power filter (see our section on FILTRATION for a description)
  • Zeolite filter media
  • Filter bag (if the media that you purchase is loose, not pre-bagged/packaged as an insert)

How It Works

  1. If using a filter bag/loose media, thoroughly rinse the filter bag in tap water and fill with approx. 2/3 - 1 cup of loose media - I put in enough to fill the reservoir in the filter where the media sits. The more the merrier, and the faster the ammonia levels will drop!;
  2. Rinse the bag/insert of filter media again - it will contain dust particles of broken media that should be rinsed out as best you can;
  3. When the rinse water is running clear, you can insert your media/bag into your filter
  4. Plug the filter in and watch the ammonia levels drop!

 

WARNING - Do NOT use aquarium salt while using zeolite. Zeolite is "rechargeable" - when soaked in salt water, the zeolite will discharge the ammonia that it has absorbed (it can then be used again in a freshwater tank to remove more ammonia). Use in an aquarium with salt in it will be unsuccessful at best, and may add ammonia to the water at worst

  • If your tank currently has aquarium salt in it, remove using water changes

WHY It Works - For Small Tanks and Small Fish Only!

  • Bettas are small fish and as such, produce a small amount of waste relative to larger fish
  • Bettas are usually housed alone - therefore the bioload of your betta tank is also small (see Terminology in FILTRATION)

Through a chemical reaction, zeolite absorbs ammonia from the water that is passed over it (by the filter). The zeolite traps and binds the ammonia, removing it from the water and keeping it out

 

However, zeolite removes ammonia quite slowly. For example, in a 5 gallon tank, it has taken my zeolite filter a day or two to bring relatively low ammonia levels (0.25PPM) to an absolute 0PPM

  • If you had numerous or large fish in your tank (ie: a MODERATE - HIGH bioload), the zeolite would not be able to keep up with the rate at which ammonia is produced in the tank

 

Zeolite has a finite capacity for ammonia. If large amounts of ammonia were being produced quickly (again MODERATE - HIGH bioload), the zeolite would quickly reach its capacity and stop removing ammonia from the water. It would need constant monitoring and replacement, and is not sufficient or economical.

 

For the above reasons, zeolite is not a solution for multiple fish, medium-large fish, or medium-large tanks. However, in small tanks with low bioloads, and LOTS of zeolite media, you can stay on top of ammonia!