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Hello,

I just joined this board, so I do apologize if this has been discussed before. Back in January I decided to get a 16 gallon tank and turn it into a Low Tech tank. Little lazy me, I simply added plain gravel (no unsterilized garden soil) and plants that don't need much care, such as ludwigia repends, watersprite, etc. I merely use indirect sunlight, no bulbs. I only have 4 tiger barbs plus a snail, and I can say that the only issues I had was some algae during the first month. Plant growth is good, specially with the ludwigia repens and watersprite. The fish are the healthiest fish I ever had, never been ill.

However, I do have a small submersible internal filter (intended for 10 gallons tanks) that comes with a detachable air pump. Water flow is minimal but there are some bubbles coming out. I read that plants don't like bubbles, so would it be wiser to remove the air pump? What are the consequences of having a low tech tank with an air pump?

Thank you.
 

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I can't see how the bubbles from the air pump would bother your plants. In a high-tech tank where C02 injection is being used bubbles are a bad thing because they speed up C02 outgassing, but in a low-tech tank the dissolved C02 level in the water is in equilibrium with the C02 level in the air, so bubbling air through the water doesn't alter C02 levels. So there's no need to fret; just sit back and enjoy your beautiful, healthy tank!
 

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I'm sure Diana will correct me if I'm wrong, but decomposition is producing CO2 and some of that might be removed by the aeration from the filter. More importantly, however, is water circulation and without the filter, water won't be moving in your tank. Without circulation, the CO2 in the water won't flow over the plant leaves which might result in poorer plant growth.

I would keep the filter for now unless you want to replace it with a submersible pump.
 

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Let me say that my plants are not growing extremely fast and I do have some algae issues that requires me to clean a little once a week but both my 10 and 20 gallon aquarium do not have any water movement having no filters. Maybe just the movement of the fishes are enough for small tanks like my. Most plants are growing moderately and my corkscrew val and anacharis are growing pretty good.
 

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Also for my 20 gallon, I used to run an aquaclear 30 without filters but it became a pain to clean it after a month of brownish algae build up in the filter.
 
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