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!