Starting over and would like advice - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Starting over and would like advice

Hello everyone. It's been a while since I posted because I've had a heck of a time logging in since the security change.

I currently have a 10 gallon divided planted tank that I'm going to break down into two 5 gallon tanks. Trying to create a divide what would adequately keep my two boys from seeing each other is proving to be too difficult and they're biting their tails in stress so I am just going to give each of them their own 5 gallon tank since petco is having their dollar per gallon sale right now. I have one of them in the 1 gallon hospital tank right now to keep them from being further stressed.

I would like help with setting up the new tanks. I have been having a terrible time trying to have a successful planted tank. I have NEVER been able to get any of my plants to grow since I started keeping bettas back in 2015. The best I'm able to do is that they don't do anything (don't grow, don't die though they don't look healthy per se). I would like to give planted tanks one more try since I really do like the look of live plants and I think it makes fish happier.

In the 5 gallon tanks I am going to use the two sponge filters I have for the 10 gallon. I will be getting new heaters since the one I have is almost too strong for the 10 gallon and won't do for a 5.

I want the two tanks to be low tech.
Substrate: Right now I have Tahitian Moon Sand (in black) but I think maybe dirt would be better for the root plants. I first had EcoComplete but that didn't seem to make a positive difference in the root plants I had. I have used root tabs and iron tabs for the sword plants since sand is inert, but that has also not made a positive difference. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Lights: I have the Finnex planted+ 24/7 but I suspect that is too strong and it will be too big for either of the 5 gallon tanks. Any suggestions on cost effective lights for a 5 gallon low tech and low light tank will be appreciated.

Plants: I have several anubias, some java fern, one echinodorus vesuvius that I'll have to toss, two amazon swords, and a few small bacopa. I think I might get rid of the plants I have right now as they are not in good condition and are having algae problems. I am thinking of getting new swords, some java fern, and taking suggestions for other plants that would do well in a low light and tech tank. There are only going to be my beta boys in each tank so I'm not sure how many plants one betta can support (provide enough waste for the plants).

Current parameters
pH = 8.2
Ammonia = 0ppm
Nitrite = 0ppm
Nitrate = 5.0ppm
Phosphate = 0.25 or 0.5 ppm
KH = 5 degrees or 50-100ppm
GH = 12 degrees or 140-200 ppm

I know my water is quite hard and that can make it hard for plants to grow. I'm not quite sure what to do about this. I've tried RO water but the hardness always seems to creep back up. Maybe peat moss?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Starting over, would like suggestions

Hello everyone. It's been a while since I posted because I've had a heck of a time logging in since the security change.

I currently have a 10 gallon divided planted tank that I'm going to break down into two 5 gallon tanks. Trying to create a divide what would adequately keep my two boys from seeing each other is proving to be too difficult and they're biting their tails in stress so I am just going to give each of them their own 5 gallon tank since petco is having their dollar per gallon sale right now. I have one of them in the 1 gallon hospital tank right now to keep them from being further stressed.

I would like help with setting up the new tanks. I have been having a terrible time trying to have a successful planted tank. I have NEVER been able to get any of my plants to grow since I started keeping bettas back in 2015. The best I'm able to do is that they don't do anything (don't grow, don't die though they don't look healthy per se). I would like to give planted tanks one more try since I really do like the look of live plants and I think it makes fish happier.

In the 5 gallon tanks I am going to use the two sponge filters I have for the 10 gallon. I will be getting new heaters since the one I have is almost too strong for the 10 gallon and won't do for a 5.

I want the two tanks to be low tech.
Substrate: Right now I have Tahitian Moon Sand (in black) but I think maybe dirt would be better for the root plants. I first had EcoComplete but that didn't seem to make a positive difference in the root plants I had. I have used root tabs and iron tabs for the sword plants since sand is inert, but that has also not made a positive difference. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Lights: I have the Finnex planted+ 24/7 but I suspect that is too strong and it will be too big for either of the 5 gallon tanks. Any suggestions on cost effective lights for a 5 gallon low tech and low light tank will be appreciated.

Plants: I have several anubias, some java fern, one echinodorus vesuvius that I'll have to toss, two amazon swords, and a few small bacopa. I think I might get rid of the plants I have right now as they are not in good condition and are having algae problems. I am thinking of getting new swords, some java fern, and taking suggestions for other plants that would do well in a low light and tech tank. There are only going to be my beta boys in each tank so I'm not sure how many plants one betta can support (provide enough waste for the plants).

Current parameters:
pH = 8.2
Ammonia = 0ppm
Nitrite = 0ppm
Nitrate = 5.0ppm
Phosphate = 0.25 or 0.5 ppm
KH = 5 degrees or 50-100ppm
GH = 12 degrees or 140-200 ppm

I know my water is quite hard and that can make it hard for plants to grow. I'm not quite sure what to do about this. I've tried RO water but the hardness always seems to creep back up. Maybe peat moss?

My other option is to forgo live plants and put in a bunch of fake plants, but I'm having difficulty finding websites or LFS that sell a variety of silk plants or silk plants that look somewhat real.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 06:57 PM
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The seeming best, cheap, light that's made for a tank that I've found is this one. I just got mine so I can't tell you how long it might last but it's doing a decent job lighting up my whole tank, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1 the other thing I was considering was going with a clamp on desk or study lamp but I wasn't sure if I could figure out a place to clamp one onto.

Plants that I've been growing are anubia's anacharis, banana, and crypt. I've had the first 3 for a month or more and my tank was really low light, they didn't really grow but didn't completely die, hopefully they'll do better now. Everything but the crypt I originally had in sand, I just redid the tank with organic soil topped with sand and aquarium gravel. So if you stick with sand I'm betting the plants will grow but you will need to fertilize them.

I've read that Indian almond leaves can lower PH some, you might try them if you don't mind tinted water. Other then that maybe look for plants that can tolerate a high PH.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 07:01 PM
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I've been researching about plants. I'm also trying/testing which could survive in my environment.

Anubias, crypte, and bucephalandra will survive in room light. But they will not or very slowly grow. They need more lighting to grow. They don't need ferts nor CO2 which I won't be using.

The three above are slow growers. You need to combine them with some fast growing stem plants like anacharis, cabomba, bacopa, etc. Anacharis is my favorite as it can be adapted to very low light. . . .gradually reduce light. Reduce more light if they can grow/branch. Ludwigia would be nice to add color variation.

Mosses are also low light. You can increase lighting if you want faster growth. As for carpet plants, I've only tried cuba and monte carlo. Cuba is too dificult for me. I didn't bother grass looking plants as most wil n need high light. I'd love to try baby tear . . . Forgot name. I've vread it doesn't need high light.

With added light, the above plants should thrive - at least mine could survive with only room light. Extra lighting would be opening the curtains to expose them to sunlight.

There are tons of other plants. But I haven't tried them thus can't comment. . . . Almost forgot; ppl are advising to plant 75% or more (viewed from above. This will, to some extent, avoid algae growth

Last edited by indjo; 04-19-2017 at 07:03 PM.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies so far.

Does anyone have an information on dirt tanks? The search function is different from the last time I used it. I know there were threads on different types of dirt tanks or what people were adding (red clay, pete moss, etc).
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:24 AM
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There's a sticky by oldfishlady - I know she only uses what's available around the house. Like potting soil (compos) or top soil if using dirt from the yard. Make sure the soil hasn't been mixed with chemicals.

And there's Diana Walstad, someone who understands dirt based set ups. I haven't contacted her since I'm not sure if I really want to get into dirt tanks. . . . I can't avoid algae - public enemy #1 when it comes to long term set ups.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indjo View Post
There's a sticky by oldfishlady - I know she only uses what's available around the house. Like potting soil (compos) or top soil if using dirt from the yard. Make sure the soil hasn't been mixed with chemicals.

And there's Diana Walstad, someone who understands dirt based set ups. I haven't contacted her since I'm not sure if I really want to get into dirt tanks. . . . I can't avoid algae - public enemy #1 when it comes to long term set ups.
Thank I'll look at the sticky.

Algae has been a problem with my tank too even though my water parameters have been good. I think it might have to do with the strength of the light and maybe the water hardness preventing the plants from taking up nutrients? I like the sand it's just that my root plants don't like it (even with the root and iron tabs); maybe that's because of the water hardness too?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 04:03 PM
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How long is the photoperiod? It should be 8 hours or shorter.


How often do you do water change? WC can help to improve algae problem.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ryry2012 View Post
How long is the photoperiod? It should be 8 hours or shorter.


How often do you do water change? WC can help to improve algae problem.
I have it broken up from 9-12 and 5-9. I'm not home between 12 and 5 so I choose to have it off during those times so it can be on when I'm there to view the tank.

I do a water change once a week. Sometimes I can stretch to two weeks and sometimes I'll have a large algae buildup if I stretch it.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 09:04 PM
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What kind of algae do you have?
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