New NPT 5.5 journal - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 01:09 AM Thread Starter
Aurie's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 316
New NPT 5.5 journal

Ok so I did this today, for the past couple hours. Let me know what you think. I'm not sure if this belongs in Planted or "betta home" section. Since this is NPT I put it in planted. Feel free to move it if you need to Mods..

First of all, I know I don't have enough plants. It was slim pickins today at my LFS but we will try again next week or I might run out there during the week and see what they have.

Tank Specs:
TopFin (Marineland) 5.5 with glass top
Perfect a Lite 13 watt CFL 6500k bulb moved to center of fixture with aluminum foil reflector (there isn't on otherwise)
Tetra submersible preset heater

Miracle Grow Organix Mix
Pool Filter Sand

Plants from another tank
crypt wentii green
Water lettuce

Stuff bought today:
Dwarf Sag
"small sword" (not a rosette)
glosso (which I'm sure will die)

1 halfmoon that I've owned for years named Ted.. he's mostly white
6 trumpet snails which were stow aways, but are welcomed in my new sand
1 nerite

Here's the start of a photo journal.. bare with me k?

Here's the tank before hand.. pretty pathetic

I got my materials

Ted in his holding 1 gallon bowl with the nerite and other plants and filter pad

I put some sand around the edges to hide the soil. I saw this while researching. Not completely necessary but it works none the less

Sifting the soil. I got this strainer at goodwill a long time ago. The holes on the sides are larger than the bottom and if it fit through the sides it went into my tank. This stuff didn't make it

This stuff made it. It's dry.. light and airy

I added some water to it and smooshed it to try and get the air out. I then plopped it into my tank. Next time I'll do this part nicely as I ended up with some bits on the sides of the glass

At this point I'm craving a Reese's PB cup.. not sure why though. A doughnut from Sesame Doughnuts will have to do.. With the upsurge of sugar I continue.

This is the driftwood I got today. I am pretty sure it's mopani. The store just calls it "Amano Wood" ..


Final product:

I know it's still lightly planted. There are some plants under the sand as I accidently unearthed some soil and recapped it with more sand. I'll be going this weekend for more plants. I also have an ad up in the classified section for more. As of right now if more plants are needed I can put more crypt wendtii green in and more anarachis. I also have java ferns and anubias in other tanks but they're pretty slow growing and I'm not a fan. I also have a val in there somewhere but I lost track of it. I looked everywhere and can't find it. Here's hoping it made it in cause it'd be dried out by now :O

I'm open to suggestions. I would love to know if another kind of plant would be good in this tank.

Also the driftwood floats GRRRRR I have it in boiling water but it doesn't seem to be sinking. Any suggestions on this is welcomed as well.

Last edited by Aurie; 01-27-2013 at 01:15 AM.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 11:59 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Fremont, CA
Posts: 2,255
When I setup my 5.5 I completely overlooked the driftwood. I just got a rock and put it on top. It will keep it in place as long as the Rock is big enough and can be taken out when the wood water logs.

Tank looks great though. I think that having a crypt in the back left corner and going a bit behind would look good if you can. It will also grow super fast being a root feeder and will get more plants in there.

Test the water too. Sometimes some soil will leach ammonia, the one that you had I used it and it leached, so if you put a fish in there, have a test kit. Store bought soil and soil from the ground that is rich in nutrients is different so you can't always stock right away.

15 Gallon NPT
1g no tech bowl in the making
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 02:47 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: NYC
Posts: 6,445
Nice driftwood!!!
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 11:01 PM
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Location: Chicago, IL.
Posts: 155
Wow, lovely piece of driftwood! :D Beautiful tank too.

♥ RIP Sprinkles ♥
Current owner of Rocket :)
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 316
Thanks for the comments on the driftwood. I have been to this store 3 times now, each time I saw this wood and most of the time it looked like mananita wood sticks.. nothing with character. Very thin twigs entangled every which direction or regular driftwood "chunks" with also no character. I immediatley picked this one up and it was $22 (the cheapest they sell it for). A smaller piece they had was $40 so I got a lucky mislabel.

I added some water sprite (rooted) to the back, moved some of the dwarf sag to the left, added another small sword to the right and flipped the wood around. I like it in the above picture, but we wanted it in a different direction for more depth.

I also did a water change today for the hell of it. I know there was cloudyness and that's never good. I also put a 10gallon filter to pick up the little bits. Nothing special. Nothing permanent.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 12:39 AM
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Location: Fresno, California
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thats a good job. i recently just soiled my 10g tank (lo,i had to laugh at my own remark) maybe a week ago. it was not fun i rushed it and bunch of stuff floated to the top immediately did it again squeezing out the air. i didnt to it put sand around the edges to hide the soil :( my tank bottom looks like some wierd vanilla and chocolate ice cream with the white sand and dark brown soil :P as it sits my tank too is lightly planted. i hope add some big background plants and still want a carpet or either dwarf hairgrass or babytears, havent decided yet. what is that floating plant u have??

btw i was reading diana walstad's book ecology of the planted aquarium while waiting for a haircut today and it says that optium growth of plants (the plant they used in the experiment was vallisneria spirallis) grew 40% faster if the soil was left submerged for 6 wks before planting!! if u want to check it out its in chapter 8: substrates the section entitled chaos in freshly submerged terrestrial soils. i read that this morning and i was like "damn it!! i was supposed to wait 6 wks!?!?"

arrgghhhh :/
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 12:43 AM
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Location: Fresno, California
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cloudyness probably came from the driftwood as it releases a chemical when first put into the water. i dont know how its spelled but its something like tannans. i done alittle research on it, they say it wont negatively affect the tank besides abit of cloudyness in the water for the first few days. they say it can be avoided if the driftwood is waterlogged before adding to the tank.

arrgghhhh :/
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 316
I boiled the driftwood to get it to soak. I'm ok with Tannin and have it from my driftwood in my 29 gallon (it's a South American tank) and in a small tank you'd almost never notice it but yeah I got the tannin out when I boiled it. It was actually cloudy from the sand. I've rinsed playsand before but this was pool filter sand and when my syphon went PLUH and dumped water back into the tank it went black on 1 side with about 2 inches of water in it so I quickly recapped and didn't rinse the new sand. Water changes take it out and it doesn't hurt anyone. It's just dust.

If this was a new tank and I could set it up and leave it be I would have put in the soil, then the sand, added like 2 inches of water and planted and put suran wrap over it and let it grow that way. I know it's preferred. I might do it with my 46 gallon. The problem is, I only had that 1 gallon bowl to keep Ted in.. I had to do this quick. I'm ok with extra maintence at first. I'm impatient. He's used to me fiddling with his tank and has been through a lot. He's an older fish and deserves a great new home. I've neglected him so much in the past It's time for him to have a natural home.

The floating plant on the top is Dwarf Water Lettuce and the long one that's kind of "in" the driftwood is Anarachis .. I can never spell that one. Elodia is similiar to it. I've noticed a difference between the 2 and I like the stiffer one without the bushyness more. So I'm waiting for this one to grow so I can chop it up some more :)

Last edited by Aurie; 01-28-2013 at 01:14 AM.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 10:13 AM
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Woah, sweet Amano wood! ;) - and props for removing the wood bits from the soil.

Can't wait to see this jungle out.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-28-2013, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 316
Today there is a white slime on the mopani wood which is normal. Its like I picked a giant's nose with the wood.. did a small water change.
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