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Old 05-17-2013, 06:45 PM   #1 
Paigeyy
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Question Switching to a NPT

I apologise in advance for the essay, but I have a lot of questions...

I have a 20 Gal tank already set up divided between two bettas (one male and one female). I wanted to turn it into a NPT and i was wondering how i could go about that?

Currently the tank has a mixture of live and silk plants. Live: two anubias on driftwood, four floating moss balls (widow moss i think) a tall driftwood with more moss attached and a hairgrass plant. Six or so silk (i don't think that matters too much, but whatever). The bottom has pebbles. The dimensions are 60cm long, 30cm deep and 40cm tall (or 24 x 12 x 16 inches) roughly.

I was wondering,
What substrates would you recommend?
What kind of plants could i put in that would be easy to keep alive and be good in a NPT?
Would banana lilies be possible and any advice if they are? I love the way they look
And amazon sword advice? good, bad, difficulty, needs?
What other fish/snail/shrimp would i need? To churn the soil?

How should i go about switching the bettas from the old tank setup to the new? how long do I have to/should I wait? etc...

And ANY advice on any part, no matter how little, is appreciated! I want to make sure I do it right because I love my fishes <3
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:35 PM   #2 
10asartin
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For substrate I would suggest an organic potting mix. I used Miracle gro organic potting mix in my 20 gallon. Then, I would recommend a sand cap. I used standard aquarium sand, but you can also use pool filter sand.

The plants that you currently have will work well for an NPT and should be easily kept alive. Amazon swords should do well in there as well, they are easy to care for and look nice. However, banana lilies will need a good amount of lighting so if you want to add those you will need an aquarium light strong enough for it.
I would just add some cherry shrimp to eat detritus and Trumpet Snails to keep the soil aerated.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:40 PM   #3 
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For introducing the bettas into the new setup I would just place their cups/bags into the new tank and allow them to float and at 15 minute intervals introduce small amounts of the new tank water into their cup/bag. After about an hour it should be fine to let them into the new tank.
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Old 05-17-2013, 11:07 PM   #4 
Bombalurina
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I recently set up my first NPT after many years with a normal, heavily planted tank, so this is just based off my experience. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paigeyy View Post
I apologise in advance for the essay, but I have a lot of questions...

I was wondering,
What substrates would you recommend?
I used MiracleGro organic potting mix, after sifting it through a colander to remove all the chunks of bark and twig. You want something with no added chemicals or ferts. On top of that I have a cap of inert aquarium sand that is super soft for my cories and kuhlis. :)

What kind of plants could i put in that would be easy to keep alive and be good in a NPT?
I have:
- anacharis
- ludwigia repens
- lacefern
- bolbitus
- hygrophilia
- ambulia
- wisteria
- pennywort
- rush
- vallisneria
Those are all of my stem plants (I've probably forgotten a few, I have a lot in there. Mine's a 23 gallon). I also have java moss, java fern, pygmy chain sword, anubias and susswassertang.

Would banana lilies be possible and any advice if they are? I love the way they look
Banana lillies are indeed possible, just make sure you don't bury the rhizome. I would also suggest snipping the lily pads off once they reach the surface, or I find that they start to drag the mother plant up with them.

And amazon sword advice? good, bad, difficulty, needs?
There's a fair few plants falling under that heading - most need moderate or high light.

What other fish/snail/shrimp would i need? To churn the soil?
I have adorable kuhli loaches to churn my soil, but they are apparently having way too much fun scattering my susswassertang all over the place and digging up my hygro to do their job, so I'm looking into Malaysian Trumpet Snails. You only need to buy one, because they multiply magically.

How should i go about switching the bettas from the old tank setup to the new? how long do I have to/should I wait? etc...
I put all of my fish in the same day that I set the tank up. I was in a bit of a rush and didn't take massive precautions in adjusting them to new water chemistry - only floated 15 minutes and did one cup of water into their bags at the 10 minute mark. They all survived and are perfectly healthy, but do be a better fishkeeper than me and take as long as you can to adjust them. I trust you are keeping the male and female separate, of course. :)

And ANY advice on any part, no matter how little, is appreciated! I want to make sure I do it right because I love my fishes <3
Mine has been set up for 5 days now, and I'm seeing rapid plant growth with the stem plants. :) I expect my first trim to be done on Monday. Good luck!
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Old 05-18-2013, 12:30 PM   #5 
redchigh
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I prefer real dirt if you can find a source. (Like from your yard).

As for plants, if you have enough light, any rooted plant should do well.
You can try banana plant, but dwarf lily is easier to keep.

Crypt wendtii will add some reds.

There's no need to churn the soil if there are enough large-rooted plants like swords.

I'm also partial to black Estes "ultra reef" sand.
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:19 AM   #6 
Paigeyy
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Thankyou

Thanks everyone for the advice, i'm still unsure how long my bettas would need to be in a different tank while the NPT is being set up? can they be added immediately after i've put it all together? or do i have to wait some time?
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Old 05-25-2013, 01:33 AM   #7 
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Just to add on what's already been said:

Banana lilies are coldwater and usually require a period of dormancy in the winter in order to stay at full health/ In some cases they can stay alive for a couple years without a dormancy period, but they will eventually die off.

As far as I'm aware cherry shrimp do not eat detritus, they eat biofilm which grows on plants and driftwood. I don't know of any snails that eat detritus either, however, copepods do break it down faster and are usually a benefit to NPT's if you get them from a sterile colony.

Pretty much everything said is perfect. I like to use worm castings instead of rich soil (Worm casting nutrients are water-soulable, which may not be the case with miracle gro depending on the compost used) and mix it in 50/50 with a poor soil, and mineralize it before use. This shuts down on algae outbreak greatly and also reduces ammonia and nitrate spikes. Another alternative are snail castings (from our aquatic snails) but it takes a long time. Generally it takes me about 3 months and over 1500 ramshorn snails to collect enough snail castings to mineralize, worm castings are cheaper and more readily available.

Edit;

I would wait at least 2-3 weeks before adding the fish. The initial ammonia spike can be pretty bad, plants absorb out the nitrate and not the ammonia, so the first few weeks are suggested to be run without fish. Test the water after two weeks and if it's all clean you can add the fish, if not, wait until it reads as 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 0-15 ppm nitrate.

Last edited by Gallium; 05-25-2013 at 01:35 AM.
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