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Old 10-15-2021, 11:56 AM   #1
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Hi, I'm New and I Need Help Converting a Biorb Tank to a Different Filter/Substrate

Hi, I'm new to the forum. I have an 8 gallon Biorb Flow with a betta (Cosmos) and three guppies (Iron Man, Falcon, and Hawkeye). I had a really pretty yellow mystery snail named Big Mama, but she passed away from old age (she was a big girl).

Cosmos is my third betta. He likes to dig at the bottom of the gravel and prefers to rest on the substrate of the aquarium instead of resting on plants or on decorations like my previous bettas (Patronus and Mr. Fabulous) and his fins are getting torn up by the ceramic media. Also, he doesn't seem to like the moving water in the Biorb Flow. So I'm wanting to take out the ceramic media and put in an internal Aqueon AT10 filter and rounded glass pebble media substrate (3-6mm).

Has anyone done a filtration system conversion with their Biorb tank?

What do I do as far as dismantling the current filter system in the Biorb? I know small stones have a danger of getting stuck in the Biorb filter. I do want to use an airstone to oxygenate the tank. Would I keep the central tube and all that are in the Biorb, and just add the Aqueon filter? Or is it better to remove the central tube and filter, and keep the Biorb airstone plugged in? Would I unplug the Biorb airstone too, and just put in a separate airstone in the tank?

If I'm keeping the Biorb airstone and tube set up for oxygen, do I remove the sponge and carbon particles from the center of the Biorb? If I continue to use the Biorb airstone, can I use the glass media stingrays I want to (3-6mm gravel) or would I also need to use larger substrate to keep it from getting stuck?

Thank you!
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Old 10-16-2021, 01:10 PM   #2
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Hi Elf Sprite, welcome. Thanks for the pictures. You have a really pretty setup in there. I can see what you mean about Cosmos' fins being torn up. There's a lot to tear on - almost everything, in fact. Since you have a pretty full house in that 8gal, would you consider moving Cosmos to his own tank (with his own snail, even) and making it wholly betta-ized? Live and silk plants instead of plastic, smooth and rounded decor, stones, seashells, instead of corals and edgy rocks, and a Betta Log for his very own hidey bedroom?

I've never had a Biorb so I can't help with altering the filtration system. But if you gave Cosmos his own apartment, would you still want to change what you have now, keeping the guppies in there?
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Old 10-16-2021, 01:47 PM   #3
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Also--putting him in a different tank would give you the opportunity to choose something with an adjustable flow, so you could turn it down to minimum
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Old 10-16-2021, 03:06 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ADsnail View Post
Hi Elf Sprite, welcome. Thanks for the pictures. You have a really pretty setup in there. I can see what you mean about Cosmos' fins being torn up. There's a lot to tear on - almost everything, in fact. Since you have a pretty full house in that 8gal, would you consider moving Cosmos to his own tank (with his own snail, even) and making it wholly betta-ized? Live and silk plants instead of plastic, smooth and rounded decor, stones, seashells, instead of corals and edgy rocks, and a Betta Log for his very own hidey bedroom?

I've never had a Biorb so I can't help with altering the filtration system. But if you gave Cosmos his own apartment, would you still want to change what you have now, keeping the guppies in there?
Hi! Right now I don't have any snails left. I've been trading out the biorb coral and plants for silk plants, but they don't seat well in the ceramic media and I haven't had any success with live plants in the ceramic media (another reason I'm changing media). Once I get rid of the UGF system, that should remove most of the current from the tank, and I bought an air flow control gauge thing to put on the air stone for oxygenation. He gets excited about bubbles, but that way I can control how much airflow goes into the tank, to keep down any water current.

When I started out two years ago buying my first betta, the pet store told me I only needed a gallon for him. So I've been learning as I go. Another betta keeper recommended the biorb tank for extra room, and said some bettas, when you get them young and add them to an already stocked tank, do ok with tank mates (thus the 3 guppies, Cosmos was small when I got him). Cosmos does have a couple betta leaf hammocks (he doesn't use them) and a betta log (he rarely uses it, the guppies use it more lol). I also learned about Indian almond leaves this spring, so now he gets one (or part of one) in his tank each water change.

I learned about silk plants vs plastic plants in August and just got my order in last week (haven't taken pictures with them), but have a nice variety of those now, from Imagitarium. I am working on going over them with nail snippers to cut the small jagged bits off the stems.

I learned over the past month that bettas don't like currents, and that the substrate is causing issues with his fins, when he started showing symptoms of fin rot and I had to research treatment. I learned since he likes to sit on the bottom, he could have picked the fin rot up from the UGF filtration system (in addition to the other issues I've learned a standard biorb has for a betta).

He's been in his hospital tank for treatment for two weeks. I'm keeping him in his hospital tank now until I get his biorb tank changed over this weekend, so it's properly suited for him. Other biorb owners have mentioned doing these mods to their tanks, but I haven't found any step-by-steps on how to, so I've been figuring it out as I go.

Rather than buy a whole new tank, I'd rather just see this one (it's rectangular, not a bowl biorb) as a container, and add everything needed for an aquarium setup separately like you'd do for a standard glass tank, changing the filter and substrate to work for my betta. I know about putting a handful of the old UGF substrate in a bag in the tank to keep the bacteria in there after I change the filtration system. I'm wanting to add a couple plants too (Java Fern for one).

Do you have suggestions on where to find smooth, rounded decorations? Some of the coral in my photo is actually silicone, not hard material. But I've had the HARDEST time finding smooth decor. Often when I pick up something that looks rounded and smooth, it's actually very rough and snaggy. I'd love advice on that!
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Old 10-16-2021, 06:36 PM   #5
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Mine doesn't use the betta hammock either. He lays around on everything else, I've even seen him hook a fin on a plant and drag it to just the right spot so he can lay on something while staying wedged in place so he doesn't drift.

I use basic fish store gravel for Plankton. In one of the pictures below he's showing off his non-shredded fins (what a ham: I cannot take a picture of anything in there without him rushing to get in frame). The standard rock formation arch is in that pic, sold at fish stores and online.

In the other picture is a smooth white stone (found at plant nurseries, aquarium stores) and seashells (bags of them at aquarium stores, craft stores); a little 1950s fishbowl pagoda found on Etsy, and that brown thing is an Indian almond leaf that needs changing out.

I tend towards small local shops first, then big box stores if necessary. At least you can feel for smoothness when you shop in person. If I strike out with those, I go the delayed gratification route and look online. Etsy (often small vendors) and ebay (ditto) are my first choice there.

If you can't find the live plants you're looking for locally, the classifieds on this site are a good resource. Also, a fellow in Texas who sells plants on ebay is marcusfishtanks. I've had good luck with his plants too.

My pics turn out sideways on this site so apologies in advance.
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