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Old 11-17-2013, 06:55 PM   #431 
LittleBettaFish
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I've seen rooibos used before, but since in my previous set-ups I had a lot more IAL and peat moss to keep the water dark I never bothered. Now I use aqua soil as my substrate, don't have wood and don't use as much IAL, I wanted something to keep the water in my tanks really dark.

I went out and got some tea bags from the supermarket last night so going to boil some up today and make some more extract.

I love the look of lots of tannins. I hate crystal clear water as I just think it looks rather unnatural.

Thanks Crowntails. Hendra are simply stunning. They are one of the few wild bettas species where the female is as visually impressive as the male. They are also just so different from any of the other species in this complex.
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Old 11-18-2013, 01:49 AM   #432 
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A couple of years ago, I tried Rooibos tea just to see the effect on my two store-bought splendens. It seemed to make them a little lazy or mellow. I didn't see any affect on pH, but my water is quite hard and maybe I didn't know what I was looking for. I would try it again but I'm not all that fond of the appearance.

I use IAL with my wild smarigdina. It seems to keep the pH down several points (nearer to 7.2 rather than my usual 8.0). I don't care how it looks in there; I never see him anyway.

I've read Rooibos doesn't have as much antibiotic characteristic as IAL, but I don't believe everything I read online. And I can't find corroboration. As soon as it stops raining here, I'm going to collect some Oak leaves.

Rooibos goes great with a few drops of maple syrup. A nice, dry, refreshing tea. Soothing and stomach-settling, at least for me.

Last edited by Hallyx; 11-18-2013 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 11-18-2013, 02:19 AM   #433 
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I'm using rooibos basically for the intense colour it can provide with only a couple tea bags in a pot of boiling water.

Our tapwater here is very soft with a basically non-existent KH value, so I don't have to worry too much about trying to lower hardness or bring the pH down.

I'm still using peat moss and IALs in my tanks. I just want something that is quick and easy to whip up so I can add in some extract whenever I notice the water looking clearer than I personally like to see.

I had a taste of some of the rooibos when I made my first batch up. Unusual taste, it was quite bitter. I only really drink English breakfast and jasmine tea.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:34 PM   #434 
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Basically nothing exciting has been happening here. I made some more rooibos, hacked back more of my melting java fern, did some water changes and hatched some BBS.

My brownorum pair tore each other up with the male looking rather poorly. However, it's been a couple of days now and I caught him picking a fight with the female again over breakfast. You think he would have learned his lesson but I guess not.





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Old 11-21-2013, 12:44 PM   #435 
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Your photos are amazing! And your wild bettas are so gorgeous! :) I have discovered a new love of them. If you don't mind, can you answer a few questions? How much different is it taking care of them compared to splendens? I know they prefer lower pH and more tannins, yes? How do you deal with the pH difference when you do water changes?
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Old 11-21-2013, 02:35 PM   #436 
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Their care all depends on the species in question. Personally I think wild bettas look and behave at their best in a natural set-up. This means live plants (in a low pH tank you can't cycle so you want live plants to help keep ammonia down), dim lighting, dark coloured substrate, tannins and either natural or artificial hides.

On this forum, the 'average' betta tank seems to include very sparse cover, garish coloured gravel and bright light. So depending on how you normally keep your bettas, it could be quite a change.

I also think wilds do better in species only set-ups, especially if you are serious about breeding.

Wilds will jump. It's not a question of if but of when. People who have only kept splendens don't understand just how small of a gap wilds can and will get through. I use cling film over the tops of all my tanks and very carefully cut around the various cords so that there is not a single gap for my fish to push through. I have lost probably over a dozen fish to jumping, but none since I started doing this.

Some wilds can be incredibly finicky about food. Hardly any of my fish take pellets and so their diet is predominately live/frozen foods. I've found the mouthbrooders seem to be less fussy than the smaller bubblenesters but I did have an albimarginata I bred myself who never touched pellets. Therefore, you may need to have easy access to live foods. I personally feed all my wilds a mix of live blackworms, live white worms, grindals, frozen brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms and live mosquito larvae and live bloodworms in the warmer months. My fish thrive on this diet and regularly spawn.

Tank size can vary quite dramatically from species to species. For example, a pair of coccina complex fish can be kept in 5-10 gallon tanks, while a pair of macrostoma is going to need a tank in 20-30 gallon range.

Some species of wilds, especially if they are captive bred, are not to be as fussy as others when it comes to 'correct' water parameters. The coccina complex is probably the most demanding, although there are perhaps a handful of mouthbrooding species that also have a requirement for soft, acidic water. Therefore, if your source water is more on the harder side of neutral, and you don't have access to RO, it is better to look at species that are going to be able to adjust to these conditions.

For example, you could put a species from the coccina complex into tank where the hardness and pH are higher than they prefer. However, the fish is most likely not going to thrive, have a higher incidence of infection by bacteria/parasites (they are often not accustomed to those parasites/bacteria that exist in higher pH waters), and you would probably not see any attempt at spawning.

I am fortunate in that my tap water is extremely soft with a low KH value and a pH that drops from 7 to around 6 (low as my current pH test kit goes) after 24 hours. However, I now age my water in a tub downstairs where I add rooibos tea extract, IAL and peat moss, to further soften and add colour to the water. I also run a heater in there so I don't have to do anything but add water conditioner when I am doing water changes.

I've found the fish have responded very positively to this method and when I get my downstairs racks set-up, I am going to have a couple of these tubs running.

Last night, I got a few photos of my fish. First is my hendra male guarding his nest of (then) eggs. These have since hatched and he now is busy trying to keep everyone safe.





Then here is one of my bigger sp. apiapi fry. I didn't realise but I have an absolutely enormous fry swimming around in there. I saw it last night when I was trying to take photos of its siblings.



I found a photo I took of the father on yet another forum yesterday. It's funny scrolling through a thread and then there is suddenly one of my fish.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:38 AM   #437 
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Wow! You're quite the expert on wild bettas!

When it comes to natural, I don't have much experience there unfortunately. I've never used substrate and I don't have gravel. I find my tanks much easier to clean when they're bare on the bottom. I don't have any live plant experience, either. I hope to have some live plants someday, but I have no clue what to trim and when so I'm afraid they'd just die. And then there's my high pH. I guess wild bettas are not in my future, they seem far out of my experience range, plus I definitely don't want to breed anything and they do much better in pairs, right? Do pairs need to be a male and a female or do they get along in a same gender pair?

I can still dream I suppose. :) Might be nice to try a tank with substrate and live plants, though. Hopefully I'll do that someday and expand my horizons.

Another question, if you don't mind. Do you just let them freely breed? Or do you have separate male/female tanks and take them to a different tank to breed? Wouldn't others in a community tank eat the fry? Sorry for all the questions but they're just so interesting to me! I'll stop cluttering your journal with my posts, though.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:48 AM   #438 
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Haha well wild bettas are all I have owned for ages now. I've probably kept over a dozen different species and successfully bred most of them.

You can have them in bare-bottom set-ups, but my wilds have never liked them and I definitely noticed a difference in the intensity of colour when they were switched onto substrate.

I use water sprite, java fern and java moss. Because I don't use a lot of light and don't want to do much maintenance/be fussing around, I go with plants that basically grow themselves. All I use on a couple of my tanks are lamps with 6500K CFL globes.

Depending on the species, it is possible to have a pair of the same gender together. However, it all depends on the individual fish. I have some very docile males and some very aggressive females so it can be hard to know which ones will live peacefully together.

A couple of members of the unimaculata complex and I believe it may be Betta simplex or some of the other larger mouthbrooders, actually do inhabit bodies of water with a higher pH. So you may find that there is a species suitable for your water conditions. Seriously Fish has probably the best information base when it comes to wild bettas.

I let my fish freely spawn whenever they want to. I sometimes get up to two spawns in a week from some of my pairs. All of my wilds are kept in species only tanks and nearly all of them are kept in pairs. I have two tanks that are groups of fish and while in one of these tanks I have had pairs spawn, I never get any fry because there are just too many other fish.

I used to do grow-outs but had a lot of issues and so now I am just back to my original method, which is to allow my fry to grow out alongside the parents. Some wilds will eat their fry, but usually with the coccina complex they will leave them alone.

Anyway, clutter away! I hardly get any replies compared to other journals here and I always like to share my experiences with others who are interested in learning.

Also, forgot to add these two photos of my persephone.



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Old 11-22-2013, 04:32 AM   #439 
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Oh yes, that was another reason I don't have live plants. Don't they need more light? Or do they do ok with normal room lighting, which is still less because of the tank covers. I don't keep the tank lights on, and actually only two of my four tanks even have a tank light. That's one thing I never really understood about having live plants. Doesn't leaving the light on for awhile bother the fish or raise the water temperature?

Everything I have read about wild bettas (which isn't much yet, admittedly) has tank size recommendations by pair. Why do they live in pairs? Do they get lonely or do most people who have them breed also? Do they ever live by themselves? Since you let yours freely spawn, do you ever run out of space or do you have back up tanks?

Seriously Fish does have a lot of information! I will have to get a better testing kit to really see what my water parameters are. I have strips, but apparently they aren't very reliable. Been meaning to get one for a while and it looks like the price has dropped a little from last time I checked!

Anyway, I've been curious about where you even get wild bettas from. Are there special breeders for them or something?

Oh and your photos are gorgeous! I've said that before and will probably say it many times again, but they really are awesome! Do your fish hold still for you?
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:09 PM   #440 
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Totally didn't realise you had posted a reply in my journal Aquatails. Sorry about the lack of response.

Anyway, I actually have two tanks running on my top shelf with duckweed, water sprite, java fern and java moss and all the plants are thriving even without an artificial light source. I believe this is because I have a clerestory window behind my rack that provides adequate natural light.

However, yes in most set-ups you would probably need to have a light running simply because natural light might not be enough depending on where your tank is positioned and what type of plants you are growing.

My fish don't particularly like really strong light, but now most of my tanks have extensive surface cover and the water is very dark with tannins, the light doesn't concern them as much because there is less light penetration happening. I am really bad with checking the temperature of my tanks, but I've never noticed the water temperature rising dramatically even when my lights are on for 6-8 hours.

I find some species/individuals are more gregarious than others. My coccina complex fish seem to prefer to live in pairs/groups than alone even though they are quite savage at times. My unimaculata pair is actually very bonded, whereas I am sure my stiktos male would be just as content living alone as he is sharing a tank with his female. Most people who keep wilds ultimately want to breed them rather than keep them as pets. This is why it is very hard to sell singleton wilds.

My wilds don't have hundreds of fry per spawn. They tend to only have around 20 fry per spawn and these numbers start to drop once the fry leave the nest and have to compete with their siblings. The weakest either die off or are cannibalised by their siblings, and so while I only end up with a fraction of the original spawn, only the strongest fish survive.

I have a heap of spare tanks I can use, but I also tend to leave my fish living in family groups and separate out pairs if I want additional fry (my wilds tend not to spawn in a group environment).

I get mine from a lady here in Oz who purchases wilds from overseas sellers/breeders and brings them into Australia. I can also buy wilds through my LFS that have come through the main wholesaler here but after getting in several pairs and groups that have been seriously infected with external parasites I don't do that anymore.

You can find breeders in your country, or contact someone like Hermanus (a top breeder of wild bettas) and import wilds in through a transhipper.

And I wished my fish would stay still for me! It takes a lot of shots for me to even get something half-decent to use.

Speaking of photos, I got some of my hendra male enjoying the rooibos tea I added to their tank last night. It really darkened the water up and I am definitely going to continue using this in my wild betta tanks.








He has very young fry about to leave the nest so he has been hanging out under the nest chasing off the female.

Meanwhile my sp. apiapi female refuses to give me any good photos of late. All she does is sit in one corner of the tank staring at me and demanding to be fed. I also added a couple of cups of rooibos tea to this tank as the water wasn't very dark and I wanted to see how they would respond.




This is one of their fry. I have a really big one I was trying to get photos of but it decided to go hide instead.

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