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Old 10-11-2014, 11:25 PM   #1 
SunnyCydUp
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The Hen House, Roosters not allowed

A trip to a big-box pet store ended up with the unplanned purchase of a new tank, and couple of juvenile betta girls. Then another 5 juvenile girls were acquired.

This will chronicle the highs and lows of a house full of girls - the Hen House. Interjected will be the adventures of their brothers who live in other tanks - Chief, and Dante (who keeps me company at my office).

The Hen House is a natural planted 10-gallon tank (complemented with a sprinkling of silk here and there to help fill in some of the bare spots) set up a little over a week ago, and home to 4 CTs, 3 blue, 1 red/white, and 3 VTs, red, white, and blue. Not all are related, although I suspect some may be actual sisters. Being fully planted, the tank cycled immediately, and the girls were added simultaneously on day 2 - after floating in their cups over night next to each other.

This is the tank on day 2 (a little cloudy still, cleared by day 3).


10 days later, here's what it looks like. A couple of the plants tried to melt because there wasn't enough light. Added another CFL 6,500K and they're coming back.


Plants are filling in nicely, providing plenty of hiding spots. (In a future post, will list all the details of the plants.) I did add a couple more pots in separate areas of the tank, but the girls seem to prefer hiding in the foliage instead.

The girls are still working out a pecking order. For the most part, they've been pretty well behaved. One refused to play nice, so she was removed and put in the 20-gallon community tank for a couple of days with the neons, harlequins, mollies, guppies and angels. Upon reintroducing her to the Hen House, she's been on her best behavior.

Another started acting up - the wannabe alpha. She was put in "time out" - floated in her cup for the day. Interestingly, the other girls united in solidarity hanging out by her cup until she was reintroduced to the pack.

They have formed little cliques, the VTs seem to hang together. The CTs, well - they're a little feistier. (Not sure if that's a character trait, or just coincidence.) They all greet me in the morning and night at feeding time. They're eating a mixed diet of crushed Omega pellets, frozen brine shrimp and blood worms (fed on different days). Haven't practiced fasting with them yet, believe they're too young and need the nutrition to grow.

Knock on wood, so far, that's been the extent of drama within the Hen House. Of course, that's open to change at any given moment. For now, I'll enjoy the peacefulness of the sorority.

Next entry will include pictures of the girls, who still remain unnamed. Thinking their names will come to me as their personalities become more obvious.
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Old 10-12-2014, 01:07 AM   #2 
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Your set-up is gorgeous! :] Definitely subscribing.
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Old 10-12-2014, 01:38 PM   #3 
SunnyCydUp
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Thank you Schmoo!

Tank cleaning/refresh for 3 of my 4 NPTs was today. (4th will be tomorrow, at my office.) The Hen House is in good shape, not much to be done other than filter rinse (in old tank water, of course) and 10% water change.

The community tank had slightly elevated nitrates. It's got a very heavy bioload right now - including 3 pregnant guppies. So, more frequent maintenance requirements - good substrate vacuum and 25% water change.

Still trying to get decent shots of the girls, but they're so blasted fast, and there are 7 of them.

In the meantime, I've spoken much about this guy in forum posts - this is the girls' neighbor, Chief. He lives in a tank in the same room as the Hen House. After cleaning his tank, I was able to capture a rare Peeping Tom shot of Chief chilling in his tube.



Chief started out in a 3 gallon Marineland Contour...



...and was upgraded to a 6.25 gallon Arc. Here's his tank 2 weeks ago...



...and today. The rate of growth just amazes me.



I'd like to say he's happier there, but apparently he liked the close proximity of the 3 gallon. However, it's now at my office, occupied by Dante. Meanwhile, Chief's bout of "I'm pissed off because you gave me tank mates I never asked for (harlequin rasboras), so I'll eat my tailfins" has passed, and he's healing. The harlequins were moved to the community tank, so it's a win-win for all.

Next time, more on the Hen House. Or perhaps Dante.
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Old 10-12-2014, 01:53 PM   #4 
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I'm speechless! Your aquariums are beautiful.
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Old 10-12-2014, 04:53 PM   #5 
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Lovely planted tanks, I generally hate fake decor (foe rock and wood) prefering the real stuff, but you seem to have found some decent ones, any issue with fin shredding on that decor (large decor rock?maybe wood in hen house and large wood in Cheif's most recent tank). I'm curious if you know the sp. of the ludwigia and crypt in Cheif's tank.. also curious about those.. what look like floating balls of true moss (not marimo) in the gals tank, is that one a fake plant or real?
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Old 10-12-2014, 05:10 PM   #6 
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Those are real moss balls. I have seen them at Petco before. I was considering getting some but they seem to only come in one size.

BTW, lovely tanks! I love your sorority tank. Helpful hint to getting the girls pictures. Try putting pellets in and then taking the photos. My girls are always too busy eating to notice me trying to take photos of them.
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Old 10-12-2014, 07:15 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starlight910 View Post
I'm speechless! Your aquariums are beautiful.
Thank you very much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Aurora View Post
Lovely planted tanks, I generally hate fake decor (foe rock and wood) prefering the real stuff, but you seem to have found some decent ones, any issue with fin shredding on that decor (large decor rock?maybe wood in hen house and large wood in Cheif's most recent tank). I'm curious if you know the sp. of the ludwigia and crypt in Cheif's tank.. also curious about those.. what look like floating balls of true moss (not marimo) in the gals tank, is that one a fake plant or real?
Thanks Aqua. I'm agree with you on fake plants/decor, and much prefer live over fake. Regarding the plants for the Hen House, the need to have heavily obstructed views/overabundance of hiding spots prompted me to include foreground (lower) faux plants complementary to the live ones. At first, I wasn't sure about that bright pink plant. But it is a girls' sorority, and contrast of color stands out amongst the green.

The core piece in each tank is faux rock/wood. I spent a lot of time (too much time according to my friend) selecting each piece, and all passed my fin test. If/where sharp edges existed, they were sanded smooth. All of them were purchased from PetSmart, who has a really decent assortment/selection.

The plants you asked about in Chief's tank are ludwigia reopens, and crypt lutea - both acquired from Petco. In the Hen House, those are two large floating java moss balls anchored to rocks (live), also picked up at Petco. The girls love them!!! (Chief's tube is semi-covered with java moss, still filling in.)

I have marimos in the other 3 tanks. Locally, can only find them at PetSmart for $10 each. So, just waiting on the next one to get large enough to dive and share in the Hen House.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BambooTikiBettaGirl84 View Post
Those are real moss balls. I have seen them at Petco before. I was considering getting some but they seem to only come in one size.

BTW, lovely tanks! I love your sorority tank. Helpful hint to getting the girls pictures. Try putting pellets in and then taking the photos. My girls are always too busy eating to notice me trying to take photos of them.
Thanks so much. The moss balls do come in one size core, difference is how much moss is growing on each one. They do love to play among them.

Re pics, I'll give that a try!! When eating, 6 of the 7 eat from the surface. The 7th one, which is also the runt and the one who spent a couple of days in the community tank, thinks it's a bottom feeder now. Guess it hung around the cories a lot.
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Old 10-14-2014, 07:57 PM   #8 
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Have been remiss in posting. Work is keeping me busy, killing too many brain cells this early in the week.

On the plus side, every one in the Hen House is doing well. At feeding time, 5 of the 7 girls all line up along the side of the tank. The 6th, the "wannabe alpha" is usually lounging in the back, and the 7th waits at the bottom. This is the same one who spent 2 days in the community tank. I suppose hanging with the cories was advantageous after all. She gets everything that falls, and no shoving matches! Suppose she's the smartest of the group; also the runt. I suppose I should try to name them. Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy, Dopey, Doc, Bashful, and Grumpy? Nahhhh... that's not girly!!

In other tanks, walked in to my office yesterday to find a very pissed off Dante, who was on his own for the first time over a weekend. He didn't like that at all! In retaliation, 1) he destroyed his bubble nest, and 2) took a couple of chomps out of his tail fin. Brat!

Here he is BEFORE the chomping:



Suppose I'll have to come up with some form of entertainment for him on weekends when I know I won't be around. When I arrived this morning, there was a new bubble nest in the works, and a dancing Dante to greet me.

Was a good way to start my day.

Last edited by SunnyCydUp; 10-14-2014 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 10-14-2014, 10:02 PM   #9 
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My community sorority has the same kinda ranking. The older girls will line up by the feeding rings (I have floating rings for them to eat out of cuz I have water lettuce and duckweed floating). The younger girls will come up after the older girls and they will shove eachother around a bit. I do have a few that will bottom feed though, those girls are the runts of my group too. They try to get the pellets that drop before my two plecos, 2 shrimp or bunches of snails get to them.
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Old 10-15-2014, 10:41 PM   #10 
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Another long day at work. What to do to relax? Spend time at the Hen House, of course.

Did some pruning of Chief's tank, adding a couple more cuttings of ludwigia reopens to the girls house. The girls are so very curious of everything! They have to be in the middle of it all, following my hand around the tank, checking out the new plants. I suppose the new additions met their approval.



Also working on a mini-condo type hideout for them, using a PVC pipe, cut in 3 pieces - sanded and filed smooth. When mature, it will be covered in foliage. In the meantime, three had climbed into one pod and had no idea how to get out. Finally, after climbing all over each other, one managed to find her way out. Soon thereafter, the other two followed. Silly girls!!!

Quote:
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My community sorority has the same kinda ranking. The older girls will line up by the feeding rings (I have floating rings for them to eat out of cuz I have water lettuce and duckweed floating). The younger girls will come up after the older girls and they will shove eachother around a bit. I do have a few that will bottom feed though, those girls are the runts of my group too. They try to get the pellets that drop before my two plecos, 2 shrimp or bunches of snails get to them.
Since they're still quite young (and small), I crush their pellets and sprinkle around the top of the tank, trying to put out separate "pockets" and discourage the shoving. The typical feeding finds them all at pocket #1, devour it, then they shift to #2, devour it, and so on. Except for my bottom feeder of course. She's in her glory. Oh, and I found a tiny stowaway snail in one of the original plants acquired for the Hen House. The girls haven't spotted it yet; but it should provide some intrigue, for at least 5 minutes.
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