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Old 06-13-2014, 06:58 PM   #1 
cmwong27
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Post Meet Ares

I'd like everyone to meet Ares.

Ares is a typical-looking red male veil tail betta fish, but what he lacks in genetic flair he makes up in personality. I personally have a soft spot for rare genetic morphs, and when it comes to bettas there's definitely not an exception. But it was definitely the personality of this little guy that made him stand out among the double-halfmoons and grizzle-crowns and dragon scales at my local pet store.

I'm lucky enough to have a couple locals to pick from when it comes to supplies, but the locals obviously still need to keep the males separated. The store I bought Ares from keeps its "fancies" up in front in plastic cups and its semi-ragged, "regulars" in containers racked on a mass filtration system in the "back" with dim-ish lighting. A very elaborate way of saying Ares stood out somehow.

So back to that personality. Ares is a bubble-nesting fiend; something I didn't know when I bought him. I do water changes to his half-gallon tank (more on that later) twice a week. EVERY time he builds a new nest in the same corner the next morning. I felt bad for destroying them at first, but seems very okay with having to rebuild.

I have never once witnessed Ares building a nest. I've had him since I bought him as a post-tax return impulse mid-May. That's five weeks, 10 water changes, or 10 bubble nests. I've not seen him actively doing it once yet, and trust me I've tried. I'm tempted to set up a not-so-hidden camera. Thoughts?

I'm certain the reason I don't get to witness this act of betta behavior is because my little Ares is also a glutton. I can't enter the room his tank is in without him stopping everything he WAS doing and swimming around in search of food.

Ares also has a semi-varied diet of betta flakes and freeze-dried bloodworms. Occasionally he gets juicy frozen bloodworms, but they aren't part of his regular diet. The flakes come in a plastic jar with a green lid; the worms come in a jar with a red lid. I like to tilt the jar
and wave the lid of the food I'm about to feed him so he can see the color. Ares favorite color is red. (In his honor, I've colored my journal text.)

ANYWAY, now that you've met him. Yesterday I planted my new Fluval Spec V (5 gallon) with micro sword, java moss, moneywort, ludwigia, a water hyacinth and a moss ball. It's an upgrade from the Fluval Spec III (2 gallon) I originally bought and sold. It's also the reason Ares has been living in a half-gallon tank. I'm going to give it another couple of days to a week so the roots of the new plants can get settled in before I let Ares explore.

This photo journal is to track my little Ares as he adjusts and the plants grow.
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:06 PM   #2 
DaytonBetta
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What a pretty fish! I'm sure he'll love his new home.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:05 PM   #3 
TheAnimaLover
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I have a similar one

what is the floating plant
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Old 06-14-2014, 01:07 AM   #4 
cmwong27
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Originally Posted by TheAnimaLover View Post
what is the floating plant
That's a water hyacinth.



I don't know if they're available everywhere. Like most aquarium plants, they're highly invasive and pretty aggressive. I'm not 100% sure about everywhere it may be banned for sale, but this is what Google tells me: "This plant is not native to North America and it is illegal to possess or transport this species in Texas. Please report any sightings of this plant to Texas Park and Wildlife Department."

BUT it's pretty, and this one is contained to my aquarium so...

As far as I can tell, Ares loves the water hyacinth. It was the first plant I bought for him back when he was in his 2-gallon tank. Because it floats on the surface and has the big floaty bits, it breaks up the surface current created by the filter pump, which means Ares can build his nests in peace. He's attached his nest to the plant multiple times. (Prefers it to the wall of the tank for pretty obvious reasons.

Ares has also been witnessed using the roots as a "betta hammock," as well as swimming up to the apex/middle part that dips into the water and swim-leaping over it to the other side. I almost replaced the hyacinth completely with a tiger lotus when I started tinkering with the idea of the 5-gallon, but Ares loves his hyacinth way too much.

I hope to have some close-ups to share of the plants when they grow in a bit, or of Ares with his nest. I will definitely get a shot or two uploaded of the new growth on the hyacinth. It's grown two new leaves since I bought it in May.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:46 PM   #5 
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So down below I have some photographs of the water hyacinth's new growth (sorta), the progress of my micro sword, and (of course) some more photographs of Ares.

Also, I changed my avatar to what I think is a much more appropriate photograph of him. That "cave" he's got with him is a pie bird. That's right. A bird that goes in pies. If you've never used one before while baking a fruit pie, do it. Do it now.



They're hollow and open on the bottom. Ares got a pie bird for a cave because...I had nothing else around at the time. The IDEA was that the bird lies on its belly, Ares enters through its...rear end...and then he could hang out in the awesome bird belly cave. It didn't get added to the plant scape, because Ares never uses it.



Here you can see what keeps the water hyacinth
afloat. The more bulbous leaves were there when I bought the plant, but the narrow one that is currently sticking out of the tank is the second and newest to sprout out of the center. The leaves really do just show up out of no where.



The white roots are the new ones and they just started getting hairy two or three days ago.

I had a small dilemma when it came to the water level in my tank. As you can see, I have my hyacinth under the plastic tank lid that comes with the Fluval Spec V, but it wants out. 1) I could raise the water level of the tank, so the roots are in the water but the leaves are out of the lid. But then it's not as effective at breaking up the water current.

2) Or I could just not use the lid, however I do have a betta. Although, Ares has been living in a half-gallon holding tank for a few weeks now without a lid and around an inch of clearance, and he's not jumped out yet. Thoughts? How can you tell if your fish may be suicidal?

3) Leave it as is. The plant naturally rotates so the leaves eventually grow out instead of up, but I can't tell if I'm smothering the plant.



My micro sword is all standing straight up now. A huge difference from when I first planted it, and it was all sideways. Some of the leaves have yellowed, but I kind of expected that. (The whole ripping apart a plant's root structure and all.)
StrangeDejavu gave me a solid "don't panic" and assured me it would all be green and spritely soon. Although I don't think I'll be able to really celebrate until I see it start to spread.

And lastly, for once Ares was hanging around his bubble nest instead of gawking at the tank wall flipping out for food.



And, c'mon, look at that mug.


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Old 06-16-2014, 03:31 AM   #6 
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Post Ares has entered the tank


He doesn't look happy at all, does he?

Ares has officially entered the tank!

All the plants look to be thriving so I decided to fast forward the timeline I made up for myself and just add him to the tank. The first thing he did was check out his hyacinth. You guys can look at more photographs in my album here. I feel a little crazy posting so many every day.

Ares acted like he was both excited and confused for the first few hours. Going from a half-gallon to a 5-gallon is like going from a studio apartment to small mansion. He swam around for hours like he was just trying to figure out what to do with himself.

Also, I've decided to go topless.

One of the biggest, most obvious, and most complained about drawback to the Fluval tanks is that their filter pumps are way too strong for a betta fish. My Spec V is no different than my former Spec III. Sure, Ares has plenty of space now that his tank has been upsized by 10x. He could easily avoid any major water disturbance. But, even with all that space I couldn't find a way to balance the amount of surface disturbance with underwater current. That's with the tube already sliced up with holes.

So, I just caved and cut a plastic bottle dampener out of a Sobe bottle. Which means now the plastic top to my tank won't sit right on the tank's edges now anyway. I have at least an inch between the surface of the water and the upper edge of the tank. Is that enough???


Ares and a moss ball, the newest additions to my 5-gallon tank.

What do you guys think? The top of the tank is the top of the photograph. Ares has never been much of a jumper. The only time I've witnessed it is to jump over a branch on his favorite plant. (The hyacinth, of course.)

Also in that photograph you can see the progress of the plants in the tank. You may have noticed the marimo moss ball has also been plopped in between some bunches of micro sword. The ludwigia (red plant) in the corner is looking fantastic. The leaves at the the ends are bright green in the center and every stalk is turned upward toward the light.

The java moss is starting to concern me. It's definitely yellowed, and in some areas there are white spots. But the moss itself seems to be getting longer.

And finally...*drum roll*...



Ares building his first bubble nest after being introduced to the tank the day before.

I have finally witnessed Ares building a bubble nest. I was so excited because I spent all morning building that dampener for the filter pump. It was one of the main reasons for the project. Ares is so consistent about his nests, and I wanted him to be able to continue doing so.

UPDATE: 2 hours later, still building.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:54 AM   #7 
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Ares is such a neat looking little guy! So pretty! Glad to hear that he's enjoying his new tank.
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Old 06-16-2014, 02:23 PM   #8 
cmwong27
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Red face

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Originally Posted by DaytonBetta View Post
What a pretty fish! I'm sure he'll love his new home.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BettaLover1313 View Post
Ares is such a neat looking little guy! So pretty! Glad to hear that he's enjoying his new tank.
Thanks a lot guys! I'm hoping to add some shrimp or otocinclus in a few weeks.

I've also just realized that none of the photographs I thought were in the posts are actually viewable by...anyone. I thought I had figured out how to insert them mid-post but it seem pretty apparent that I did not... Tips and tricks anyone?

So try to bear with me as I attach them all to this post.

1) Water hyacinth's new growth (with tank lid still in place)
2) WH new growth, part 2
3) My micro sword
4) Ares with his bubble nest in his former half-gallon
5) Ares mugshot
6) Ares being introduced to the tank
7) Tank photo (Check out the plants!)
8) Ares building a bubble nest
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Old 06-16-2014, 03:19 PM   #9 
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Originally Posted by cmwong27 View Post
Thanks a lot guys! I'm hoping to add some shrimp or otocinclus in a few weeks.

I've also just realized that none of the photographs I thought were in the posts are actually viewable by...anyone. I thought I had figured out how to insert them mid-post but it seem pretty apparent that I did not... Tips and tricks anyone?

So try to bear with me as I attach them all to this post.

1) Water hyacinth's new growth (with tank lid still in place)
2) WH new growth, part 2
3) My micro sword
4) Ares with his bubble nest in his former half-gallon
5) Ares mugshot
6) Ares being introduced to the tank
7) Tank photo (Check out the plants!)
8) Ares building a bubble nest

What kind of substrant did you use? I bought a bag of I guess regular substrant and mixed it with some gravel but my plants are not doing Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate and mixed it with some colorful gravel, but I find it is not working as well. Your plants are flourishing so beautiful! How are you able to do this?

Also I'm loving the water hyacinth, where were you able to find this?
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Old 06-16-2014, 08:18 PM   #10 
cmwong27
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What kind of substrant did you use? I bought a bag of I guess regular substrant and mixed it with some gravel but my plants are not doing Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate and mixed it with some colorful gravel, but I find it is not working as well. Your plants are flourishing so beautiful! How are you able to do this?
I'm using two types: Fluval Plant Subtrate and Fluval Shrimp Substrate. When I decided I wanted to plant the tank I became OBSESSED with this YouTube channel for a UK aquascaping company. (http://youtu.be/wZDexLMZFrU ) They frequently use a finer dirt over a coarser dirt, and I personally really like the overall look. I also have some plain aquarium sand in the cube with the Buddha.

Not currently using any CO2 or fertilizer; hoping the surface agitation takes care of the CO2 exchange and the super substrate is enough for the plants for now. I may begin to liquid CO2, if it looks like I need it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by myprince View Post
Also I'm loving the water hyacinth, where were you able to find this?
Both of the local aquarium stores I'm lucky to have stock them. Neither has water lettuce that I've seen. Hyacinth is restricted in some states in the U.S. because it likes to invade waterways, so I don't know how much luck you'll have finding it in your area. I'm from California and I still managed to find it in an area where things like that are really sensitive subjects.

Google found me these:
> liveaquaria.com
> lilyblooms.com

Good luck!
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