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Old 08-17-2010, 03:08 AM   #11 
kuklachica
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Java moss is definitely the way to go, great stuff and nearly impossible to kill and very low-light. Also consider Java Fern and/or Hornwort. Apparently hornwort really helps clean the water very well, and it's also a floating plants which provides lots of shelter and gives the betta a place to anchor its bubblenest.

I buy mine on aquabid.com .
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:35 PM   #12 
TharBePirates
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Originally Posted by kuklachica View Post
Java moss is definitely the way to go, great stuff and nearly impossible to kill and very low-light. Also consider Java Fern and/or Hornwort. Apparently hornwort really helps clean the water very well, and it's also a floating plants which provides lots of shelter and gives the betta a place to anchor its bubblenest.

I buy mine on aquabid.com .
Awesome. I was figuring on investing in the Java Fern with the Java Moss and a Moss Ball, but I'll definitely now look into Hornwort. I do want some floating plants, but I was kinda leaning towards Duckweed, though I don't know much about it's hardiness and light needs. I'm lucky to live in a big city with a lot of pet love, so there are quite a few places I can look at for plants, though I'm not above hitting aquabid and ebay if it's cheaper.

Painted the back of my tank today. I just cleaned the surface with a little rubbing alcohol, covered what didn't need to be painted with some painter's tape and a trash bag, and used some spray paint that was around the house (parents are home project fiends, so I'm lucky to have a lot of supplies on hand while I'm here).











Excuse the water spots, I filled my tank a few days ago to make sure there weren't any leaks, and neglected to wipe down the insides when I watered the plants the next morning. However I think it does look pretty sweet.

Tomorrow I'm taking a trip to an aquatic pets store. Yay!

Last edited by TharBePirates; 08-17-2010 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 09-06-2010, 03:46 AM   #13 
TharBePirates
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So it's been awhile...

Quite a bit has happened. I finally moved into my apartment about 3 weeks ago! During this time I have found an AMAZING freshwater store about 15 mins from my place. The man who runs the store knows and LOVES his fish, and will only sell you fish if you bring in a sample of your water. He's also a big believer in planted tanks, and probably has about 100+ tanks of various sizes all planted in his store with very happy, healthy fish.

I talked to him and he walked me through cycling my tank properly. I bought some sand (prewashed and quite cheap), conditioner/ammonia remover/declorinator and live bacteria from him. At 2 wks into cycling (next week!) I add plants, and then 2 weeks after that I come in with my little cup of water and get my big healthy dragon betta.

I also must confess that as of today we DO have a betta. The amount of care and money I've put into preparing a tank for a fish everyone seems to just drop in a small bowl has sparked some chatter amongst our friends. It's also made my roommate, who's less of a believer in giving a betta a full filter setup, desiring a betta and talking about setting up a bowl. She's gone for the weekend and her birthday is coming up, so after a talk with some of my friends I set up a bowl for her. Roommate gets her Betta she's been wanting, and the curious friends are eager to see who's fish does the best.

Just to be clear before everyone gets disgruntled (bowl, present, sad Petco fish rescue), I set up this bowl so that it's quite a nice setup. It's actually a plastic, large cube shaped tub that originally housed some animal cookies we bought at Costco. The tub is roughly 1 1/2 to 2 gallons in volume, and I drilled a hole in the lid so that there is an airhole/feeding hole. I used spare gravel as well as gravel, rocks and a plastic plant that has been in my cycling tank. I also took a spare coffee cup and put it in as a cave. Last night I de-clorinated as well as fixed the ammonia and ph levels of the water, added my live bacteria and dropped a few aquarium salt crystals in with the gravel. So this little Petco guy is pretty happy right now, and will be with the constant water changes and monitoring I'll make sure happen.

I'd love to post some pics of everything, but I'm still looking for my memory card to my camera. I will find it soon though! I do have some pics of how I made cookie jar fish's plant....

So, I still had the GE Silicon I sealant from my faux rock wall project that went bad, as well as one of those little plastic plants with the wimpy plastic tray bottom. I took them with my gravel and a sheet of wax paper,



I took a small amount of gravel and rinsed it.



Then (no pics, sorry) I caulked a mound of silicon onto the wax paper and packed the gravel into it. Then, I took the plant out of the tray and stuck it in the middle.



Then propped the plant up on a bowl so it cured upright.


It should be noted that I let it dry for a few days, then soaked it in a jar to be extra careful about chemicals leeching (don't worry, I'm just paranoid). It looks really nice, and cookie jar fish really likes his plant (it was going to be in my tank, but since I'm doing all live plants, CJF gets the plant and some extra sections of the plant that float on top).

So yeah, actually fishy pics soon!
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:37 PM   #14 
TharBePirates
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Found my memory card, so it's time for a picture dump/ project update.

So I had someone do me a favor and cut the glass top of my tank slightly giving it a small space for the heater cords and the top of the filter (although a week later I bought a new, smaller filter to accomodate the amount of sand I was told to put in the tank to aid in bacteria growth *sighs*)


The gap is a little wider than an inch, and with some plants that are going in to mask the filter and heater, there won't be any danger of a betta leaping out.

We have a large mound of river rock outside our backyard, as the previous owners were a little river rock crazy. So I picked some out and checked the ammonia levels by drizzling them with vinegar. None of them fizzled, so they were safe to stick in the pot....


And boil! I boiled them several times to make sure any impurities were removed.


Annnd, here is the tank right now. Notice the added sand, and the new, Penn Plax Small World filter. The filter produces some small bubbles that don't disturb the water too much, and uses a combination of sponge and carbon.


I just tested the water for the tank too...

So low ammonia (and I have been feeding my bacteria fish food), a little confused on the nitrates, but between a 25 and 75 on the total hardness, between a 120 and 180 on alkalinity and between a 7.0 and 7.5 in pH.

Plants tomorrow!

Now for my roommate's new betta that I was talking about. He now has a name! Jeffery! This is what his bowl was before...


And after...


The cookie jar/bowl is a little over 2 gal, and he seems to enjoy his space. It was entirely furnished from leftovers from my tank project! Spare gravel, two of the rocks boiled, the plastic plant I anchored with sealant and gravel and a section of the same plant left floating in the water he likes to rest on (also his coffee cup ). Right now he's getting 50% water changes every day, with a 100% change every three days or so. Also, he's getting melafix because I suspect some fin damage from living in his Petco cup. Are there any other meds that are better? The selection was kinda sad at the time, but he seems to feel better after getting his few drops in the morning after his water change.

Last edited by TharBePirates; 09-07-2010 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:08 AM   #15 
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I absolutely applaud you for doing this/ keeping everyone up to date with all the photos and descriptions!! :D :D :D You are one responsible fish keeper!
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Old 09-08-2010, 01:38 AM   #16 
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Jeffery's tank looks awesome for what it was in its previous life! I thought for sure you guys were going to name him cookie monster since he's blue and lives in a cookie jar! I look forward to seeing pics of your tank once its all planted.!
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Old 09-08-2010, 09:34 PM   #17 
TharBePirates
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I absolutely applaud you for doing this/ keeping everyone up to date with all the photos and descriptions!! :D :D :D You are one responsible fish keeper!
Thank you! I'd like to think that if someone thinking about getting a betta they can read my journey and see how much work and $$$ it actually is.

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Jeffery's tank looks awesome for what it was in its previous life! I thought for sure you guys were going to name him cookie monster since he's blue and lives in a cookie jar! I look forward to seeing pics of your tank once its all planted.!
Thanks! After your comment Jeffery's name has officially changed to 'Jeffery the Cookie Monster'. It suits him though, he's kind of a cantankerous fish lol.

So I ended up taking two trips to the aquarium today. The first one I got overwhelmed at the selection and forgot half of the plants I wanted, so when I got home I realized how few plants I have lol. Thankfully, my aquarium guy I go to is about 10 mins away walking distance.

So this was the first trip, amongst the plants I picked up some plant food and a very awesomely shaped piece of driftwood. There are no sharp points, but it's twisted and has some nice arches for hiding spots and it was $6! So that came home too.


First trip plants were duckweed, java moss annnd... it escapes me. Something with mermaid in the name?

Boiling the wood to remove the tannins...


I also had to move my aquarium due to lighting. I don't have a light hood, and for whatever reason even the smallest light bars/hoods are $40+. So, my own hardware store lamp is fitted with a 60-70ish watt incandescent
bulb right now (please tell me if I need something specific). So instead of on the bookshelf, it's on a small table.

With the first plants, though the light does produce a more uniform ray across the whole tank than what's shown.

Sooo... I planted my stuff and thought "@#%$ I totally forgot half od the stuff I wanted!" and proceded to run back to the store. At the second trip I picked up a anubias nana, a few java ferns and they gave me a ridiculous amount of anacharis.


top view... Mmmm duckweed....


I'll need to take some water out, but I'm EXCITED for my driftwood. The tank will look much more out together when I have it in and plant some of the plants around and on it.


Jeffery benefited from plant day too. I had an excess of java moss, anacharis and duckweed, so I removed his plastic plant and he's gone organic. Plus, he got the hydori heater today since the lamp keeps the tank at a balmly 78. So in all he's very happy, and has finally become playful. He's taken to 'hunting' in the anacharis, as well as using the stems up at the top to doze near the surface. He also plays with his duckweed lol.



He tends to lounge by his heater lol.


The cookie monster himself in his cup while I did a quick water change early this morning.
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Old 09-09-2010, 09:46 AM   #18 
UrsMyrick
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You've totally inspired me to make my own tank TharBePirates! Now I just need to go hunt down a big cookie jar!
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:29 AM   #19 
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If you can fit the light with a daylight compact florescent bulb the plants will do much better and you'll save on your energy bill. :D 6500k will be good if you can find it.
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:12 PM   #20 
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Thank you! I'd like to think that if someone thinking about getting a betta they can read my journey and see how much work and $$$ it actually is.

First trip plants were duckweed, java moss annnd... it escapes me. Something with mermaid in the name?

Boiling the wood to remove the tannins...

How many times have you boiled your wood. I've boiled mine twice for ( about 1 hour first time and about 3 hours the second time) and still it's leaching like mad.
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