Betta Tank Filter Current – Checking Out the MiniBow 5 and the Eclipse 6

1-A, originally uploaded by movingsale168.

Q: LB wrote,

Hi! I am an old hand at tropical fish keeping and used to run both a 50 gallon and a 90 gallon tank. However, I’ve been out of it for 10 years or so. My daughter is in college and bought herself a Betta for a pet, however, she doesn’t have the time to care for it properly and is soon moving out of the college residence. So good old Mom is going to take the Betta off her hands. Tonight, I went shopping for something to keep the dude in. I refuse to keep him in a bowl! What I purchased was a Mini Bow 5, plus a mini heater. Upon unpacking the tank, I discovered that the included filter is NOT adjustable, although I understood it should be. Assuming this problem cannot be resolved and I’m stuck with a Mini Bow 5 with a non-adjustable filter… will the Betta be able to handle the current? Alternatively, I can return this tank for an Eclipse 6. The 6′s filter is also not adjustable and I’ve read contradictory reviews where people say the filter is fine for Betta’s and other people say it’s too strong. I’ve also noticed that the Eclipse 6 has a fluorescent light whereas the Mini Bow 5 has an incandescent light — the Betta would look much nicer under the fluorescent! But it’s the current that I’m really most concerned about.

A: Both the MiniBow 5 and the Eclipse 6 are great options for betta fish aquariums. Over the years, I have kept several bettas in my Eclipse 6 aquarium. Bettas, especially long finned males, aren’t the strongest swimmers and may need a little time to adjust to the moderate current in either aquarium. Neither aquarium has an especially strong current and with a few modifications can be easily made to suit most bettas. Some of the smaller models, like the Eclipse 3 make it hard to keep the current down due to their smaller size.

With either tank I would suggest adding a fair amount of plant material, either real or silk (plastic is okay if you don’t select anything too sharp). Dense vegetation not only looks nice and helps your betta feel comfortable but it also disperses much of the filter current so your betta can swim comfortably and rest when necessary. It is my personal opinion that bushy plant material is enough to make both the MiniBow 5 and the Eclipse 6 well suited for most betta fish. Some bettas seem more agitated by the current than others. Some even appear to play in it. You’ll have to see how your daughter’s betta fares after you set up the tank.

Another option is to create a surface barrier at the filter outlet. To create a barrier purchase one plastic mesh tank divider kit, available at just about any fish store, PetCo or PetSmart, and cut a long 1 to 2 inch strip from the mesh. Dwarf Gourami
Attach it to the brackets as you would if you were setting up the divider, and attach the brackets to the sides of the aquarium, just around the flow output. Make sure the mesh is at the top of the water and sticking out the surface just a bit. This won’t cut the current throughout the entire aquarium but will create calm areas where your fish can rest.

Another popular option is to cut the toes out of a pair of pantyhose. Tie the pantyhose around the filter intake with a rubber band. This will help to slow the intake and thus the current.

I think either option is a good choice and with little modification can be perfect for your betta. If you want to read my review of the Eclipse 6 I have it posted here. Review of Eclipse 6 by Marineland

Eclipse 6 Aquarium
Eclipse 6 Betta Tank with Live Plants

Here’s an photo update from LB of her Eclipse 6 Betta Tank. Nice Looking Aquarium!

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Christie F is a Betta splendens hobbyist that enjoys spending time caring for her fish and helping new betta keepers learn the ropes. More posts by:

3 Comments for this entry

  1. AJ says:

    I have an Eclipse 6 that is planted, and my betta loves it. In fact, he plays in the current all the time. It’s a great choice.

  2. LB says:

    Further to my question above (I’m “LB”), I have learned that the Mini Bow 5 is indeed supposed to have a variable flow filter. The kit I had purchased was old stock with the old filter. New stock has the variable flow filter. It still didn’t tell me what the g.p.h. was when set on low, though. So I returned the Mini Bow 5 and bought an Eclipse 6. It’s now all set up and waiting for “Bacardi” to arrive on Friday. I have a very sturdy, bushy silk plant right at the water outlet and it is breaking up the current magnificently. I have also learned that the Eclipse 6 is 75 g.p.h. and the Mini Bow 5 is 95 g.p.h. I can tell the difference in the output, that’s for sure.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I seized a sick betta from my friend recently. All top fins and top of the tail were rotten to base. I was a bit puzzled by the little guy's condition, as otherwise he seemed quite hapy. SO the verdict: it's the round tank. Betta sees well and is inquisitive, so looking through the rounded glass didn't make much sense to it. The bottom decoration was poor as well . As a result the poor fish had to swim at the surface and look up 100% of the time. Fins rot at the water surface. Bettas living in deep square planted tanks spend a lot of time looking around and investigating the botom.
    As for the current – I shorten props inside the filters, so the current is quite weak. After a week bettas learn to swim around and use currents to their advantage, like any normal fish.
    Just my 5c :)


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