My first ever NPT - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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My first ever NPT

This is my first attempt at a NPT. The tank, filter and hood are from a Petsmart 5.5 gallon starter kit. The light is a GE Energy Smart 13W daylight CFL with a color rating of 6500K.The heater is a Hagen Elite" mini submersible 10" 50 Watt. The slate cave I built out of some chunks I found laying around outside, sanitized and siliconed together. The driftwood is part of a tree a storm ripped out a few years ago in some woods not far from my home and like the slate sanitized. One and a quarter inches of sifted Scott's Premium Topsoil for the substrate that I let dry out for about two weeks. The cap is a half inch of KolorScape Leveling Sand, Step 2 that I again let air out for two weeks

Now for the plants. Java moss on the cave and driftwood. Anacharis in the back left corner. Cabomba in the center back. Bacopa in the back right corner. Cryptocoryne wendtii "Red" in the front right corner as well as between the driftwood and cave. Finally, Dwarf Hairgrass scattered across the foreground.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 06:32 PM
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Very nice and love the cave you made, great work !

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 02:35 PM
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Nice job, however, I would add some more stem plants and some floating plants.

Naja grass, cabomba, rotalia, water wisteria and other hygrophilas all work well in the soil based tanks-I would add at least 10-12 stems of 3 more species of stem plants and a floating plant like water lettuce. At least 75% of the floor planted with stems and 10-25% with floating plants.

What are you using to aerate the soil...poking or trumpet snails

How long is the photoperiod....did you remove the partition between the light and water.....

I would water only change to help keep the water as clear as possible for best light penetration to plants.

Have you added any livestock or at least shrimp and snails to help complete the closed ecosystem......

Look forward to seeing your tank grow....

You did a great job on the scape.....love what you did with the slate and placement of the hard scape....
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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I just set this up yesterday Sept. 14th, 2012 ... I didn't think I could add anything yet.
I am planning on using trumpet snails for soil aeration.
I removed the clear plastic cover from the light fixture. I am figuring at least a 12 hrs photoperiod if not longer. I will turn the light on around 6 am when I get ready for work and leave it on until at least 6 pm if not longer.
I was thinking of letting it settle for a week then adding some ghost shrimp. Should I add the snails and shrimp sooner?
How long would you recommend waiting before adding a male Betta?
Wouldn't all those plants over crowd the tank? This is just a 5.5 gallon aquarium. I only ask because this is a new aspect of fish keeping for me. I know very little about planted tanks and I greatly appreciate your sharing your knowledge and experience.
Will the driftwood ever stop leeching tannins or will the water always have that tea color?

Thanks again for all the help and advice.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 07:00 PM
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Looks beautiful! Love the cave!

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 10:47 PM
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Great job! I added my fish the same day, but it's different for everyone as to what they are comfortable!

*Buddy Blue CT *Beau Bryce VT
*Brady Bliss VT *Bayou Beck OHM
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 12:21 AM
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Really pretty! I can't wait to see what this will look like when it grows in a bit. It'll be amazing.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 11:33 AM
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It is important to add lots and lots of fast growing stem plants in a soil based tank-this is to help keep the water safe in a closed system. The roots of the stem plants also help to aerate the soil since their roots will bring oxygen into the soil.

Natural planted tanks should look like a jungle-once mature and the soil has started its life under water and alive-You can remove some of the stem plants can create more structure or design scape-but until then you need lots of fast growing stem and floating plants.

I add all my intended livestock on the same day I set a soil based up.

You don't cycle per se like you do in a regular tank...Its a silent cycle of sorts
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2012, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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This is one week later. Since I set up the tank I have added King Puff he is a spunky crowntail, a dozen ghost shrimp, ten MTS, and five nano Marimo moss balls. I currently have three anubias nana in quarantine. I am considering adding some wisteria, water sprite, and alternanthera reineckii. Please offer any advice or suggestions. I greatly appreciate all the help the members here have given me.
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