have a 3-gallon tank and the filter is to loud for my mom at
night. Is turning it off at night going to hurt my fish?
Chloe, this is a short, but GOOD question. Most people do not know that turning off their filter will hurt their fish. And this is why:
FILTERS 101 :))
How filters clean your water:
That is until you step in. Your mom has been grouchier than ever because she can't get any sleep. ;). She threatens to throw you (and your 4 hamsters, 3 cats and 8 bettas) out. You panic (I don't blame you LOL) and figure: What the heck, I'll just shut down that noisy filter at night and everyone will be happy, right? WRONG! Your hamsters maybe, your cats probably, your mom, most certainly, but your betta? VERY VERY MUCHO NOT HAPPY.
Why oh why??? You cry out...
Because in order for the nitrobacter to remain alive, the colony needs a steady supply of oxygen. When you shut off the filter, the water no longer circulates and oxygen no longer reaches the colony. And the colony proceeds to die (mucho pronto). Results are two fold, and neither one of these folds is good :((.
How long can a filter remain turned off before the colony dies? Some books talk about a few minutes, while some others venture into saying it will take a few hours. I would not risk it if I were you and I personally never shut down a filter during maintenance for longer than 2 to 5 minutes tops.
If I had to chose between making my mom happy and making the nitrobacter colony happy? I'd chose to cater to my colony (sorry Mom!!) :)).
WAIT! You may not have to move out after all :))). The good news is: There is hope! You can simply select another (less darn noisy) filter. For a 3 gal I highly recommend the power corner filters I use. You can regulate the flow from almost inexistent to super jet :)) and they are 100% QUIET. You will need to perform a 50% water change every other week, but that beats the heck out of living under a bridge LOL
So look for internal corner power filters from AQUARIUM SUPPLIES. They attach to the inside of your tank, under the water, and you plug them directly into the power outlet. Hence no noisy air pump and no noisy water falling into the tank like a fountain. Everything is under the water and not a sound is generated :). They come in a couple of sizes, I'd pick the smaller one (rated for 10 gal) if I were you. Regardless, you can turn them down all the way so even the larger one is OK to use in a small tank. They are a bit pricey (not sure how much the retail is cause I get them wholesale for about $16 each - you may have to double that or even a bit more). But as I said a $16 to $30 investment beats the heck out of sleeping under a freeway overpass LOL. Besides, being nice to one's mother is a good thing in deed :).
I hope this helps you both and that mothers, daughters and bettas can live together happily ever after :)).