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Old 12-20-2011, 12:33 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Setting up a Betta Biotope

So, my first betta just passed. In his memory I decided to set up a biotope in his now vacant 10 gallon tank for my next betta. I already have a heater and a filter in this tank and I am working on replacing the water and cleaning everything up. Currently, the tank is half gravel, half sand, and is decorated with amethyst crystals and geodes. There is also a fake log. There are some java ferns and a lucky bamboo. I want to recreate the betta's natural habitat as closely as I can. Bettas live in rice paddies and blackwater pools in SE Asia. Hopefully this post will not only help me pull together the perfect betta habitat, but can serve as a guide for others looking to do the same.

The lucky bamboo and java fern are native to Asia, but I do not know if they are found in the betta's natural habitat. I am not sure if I should leave them or not. Other plants I am looking into adding are Nomaphila stricta, Blyxa japonica, Cryptocornye, Nymphaea, and Elocharis. What other kinds of plants would you suggest?

Fish naturally found in areas like this include other labyrinth fish, loaches, barbs, glass cats, danios, rasboras, and some catfish sharks.
Which of these fish would make good companions for a betta in a 10 gal tank? What combinations would be possible?

What substrate would work for this setup? I was thinking to mix peat moss with the sand that is already in the tank and use that on the bottom, with almond leaves and stones scattered here and there.

I also plan on replacing the fake log with some nice driftwood.

How farmers build rice paddies:

Last edited by Nixta; 12-20-2011 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 12-20-2011, 12:58 AM   #2 
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As long as there are no bamboo leaves in the tank water that should be fine in there...don't think it's in their natural habitat though? I Don't really know. java fern and javamoss are recomended all the time for betta tanks. water wisteria too i think? Floating plants are nice, watersprit or something

the black water is easy to do, you can ordersome of the IAL leaves and boil/steep them in hot water then just boil down/reduce the now dark water, cool and store in a sealed container like an old soda or water conditioner bottle. Then you can add a little to each water change or whenever you like.

I don't know which plants are legal in your are...or much about plants period. Sorry.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:16 AM   #3 
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are you looking for plants native to asia, or just Thailand? Because i know alot of plants that are native to asia but not thailand
Rasboras are good fish for a 10 gallon so maybe 7 to 8 galaxy or harleyquin rasboras and then your betta
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Old 12-20-2011, 09:39 AM   #4 
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Location: Bay Shore, NY
This may be the worry wort in me, but you may want to check to make sure your geodes and crystals aren't sharp enough to tear fins. When I want something to go with my sand I just use smooth glass beads or smooth rocks. Almost everything in my tanks are plants or decore with completely round edges. If the geodes and crystals are smooth already, then you're set.

You have to layer the sand and soil for a planted tank. The moss would be on the lowest layer and then the sand would be a thin layer above. A mix of sand and soil would be kind of useless as far as I know. You also have to make sure the soil or peat moss doesn't have any chemicals in it. Aquatic fertilizer and outside fertilizer are different. I've just scratched the surface with researching NPT, so that's were my plant substrate knowledge ends for now. ^_^;

As for plants, I suggest easy to care for plants that require the same level of light as your java fern. For example, Nomaphila stricta is a high light plant, Nymphaea is a water lilly, and Cryptocornye is a low light plant. Since you already have a java fern that requires only low levels of light, the high light Nomaphilia wouldn't work out in your tank. Nymphaea and Cryptocornye seem to be low light plants like the java fern, but I don't think they are very hearty. They die over and over until you get experience with them the hard way. :( There is a sticky about plants that explains your best options much better than I ever could. I doubt the suggestions are plants from asia, but they won't die on you easily as the list of plants you posted. :)

I don't do community tanks (yet), so I can't help you there. But there is a compatibility section of the forum where you could get suggestions. However, I doubt all the suggestions you will receive will be fish from Asia.

I would like to see pics when your done. The idea for your tank sounds interesting.
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:27 AM   #5 
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Moncton, NB, Canada
I have Thai moss in some of my bettas tanks.

Also, a note about IAL. If you are going to steep the leaves for darker tannin then remember to add a leaf that is not steeped. When you boil and steep the leaves you lose the anti bacterial and anti fungal properties. So adding a simply rinsed leaf will keep the benefits along with the dark water.

I use lucky bamboo a lot. Especially for the tanks which are lightly planted or not planted at all. It helps keep the nitrites down. As long as the leaves are above water then it will do fine. If they are completely submerged it will slowly rot and cause some algae probs.
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Old 12-20-2011, 01:19 PM   #6 
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Thanks for all the awesome responses, guys. First, I do sand down the edges of my amethyst and geodes. These rocks are 'damaged' ones from my rock collection, so I don't mind wearing them down a little more for my fish. I will be taking them out for the new tank, though. Maybe I'll use them in another tank.

As far as the plants go, I forgot to mention that I have light only over half of the tank. So half the tank is brightly lit, and the other half gets indirect light. I use an LED grow light panel.

Good idea for layering the substrate as opposed to mixing it. Anyone getting peat moss for their tanks beware. Miracle Gro peat moss has fertilizer in it. Any soil you buy that has fertilizer in it will have on the back of the package what kind of fertilizer it is (ratio of nutrient to nutrient.) I use Plantation shredded sphagnum moss which is just straight up peat moss. It cost me about a dollar for 8 quarts at Xpect Discounts.
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biotope, environment, habitat, new tank

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