So I am planning on taking advantage of a sale at Petsmart on a 10 gallon setup and I would like any advice and suggestions you all may have. I am not planning on getting fish for another week or so. I recently had a betta who I was treating for fin rot, but he kicked the bucket before I could surprise him with a new aquarium for getting better for me... :/
I have a medium sized resin rock structure for hiding, and also a small Balinese lantern and a few plastic plants. I am curious what plants I should consider. I would like real plants that are easy to care for and won't rot on me because they weren't aquatic plants(I have had that happen with something I bought from Petco).
I would also like advice on what sorts of other aquatic life works well with bettas, both male and female. I have not decided if I want to create a sorority or just find a pleasant male betta.
Basically, guys... I'm starting from scratch. My previous betta was very happy and friendly and I had him in a 1 gal with a plant, no filter and no heater. His tank stayed about 72 degrees because of the weather and being in a room that easily stayed hot. He got regular water changes, and wasn't happy being in anything much larger than his 1 gal even when I tried a 5 gal. So I am hoping to create a better atmosphere for whatever I get next, but I would like to have more advice than just whatever the pet store employees decide to say. And, honestly, I do read this forum a lot. However I never post because of some of the harsh criticism I see directed towards some people. But I am going to hope I won't recieve any really rude comments, because all I really want is some good advice. I'm not going to breed or be a cruel owner, and all I want is happy healthy fish. I really hope you guys can help me with that!
WOW! The starter aquarium set up looks really good. One thing it doesn't mention is a heater, which you will need especially in the winter time. Make sure any plants are meant to grow in the water, and also that they get enough light to thrive. The decorations you have sound really pretty. I hope you post a picture when you have it all set up. Good luck.
here's a nice plant guide to get you started. if you stick with the incandescent it comes with you're limited to the low light, if you switch to fluorescent I believe you can get at least moderate, maybe some higher light plants depending on the bulbs.
on a 10 gallon I would personally cycle it before stocking just because doing frequent water changes on something that size could be a pain. you can do a fish in cycle if you don't mind doing extra water changes, or you can cram it full of fast growing stem plants and floaters. thread on cycling if you need it. if you do decide to go with tank mates and doing a fish in cycle without a ton of plants, depending on the type of tank mate you may want to wait for a while until the tank is done cycling since a lot of compatible fish can be pretty sensitive to water conditions. if you add tank mates later it's usually advised to remove the betta, rearrange the tank, add other fish, and then add the betta back so they don't think of it as the other fish invading their territory. only tank mate any of mine have had are snails and they generally don't seem to mind them. corydoras catfish usually seem to work as well, if you can find a pygmy species even better since you can get a larger group of them. all kind of depends on the betta though as far as what they'll get along with.
if you're new to bettas I would avoid a sorority for now. they can be pretty volatile. if you decide you're set on one though getting sibling females from a breeder are your best chance at success since they'll be used to living together. you'll want lots of cover for them near the top and middle. you'll need at least 4 girls (5 is better) and you'll be pretty much stocked at that point in a 10 unless you wanted a snail or maybe some shrimp (pretty high chance of becoming a snack).
another option is to divide the tank into 2-4. you can buy dividers in store for usually around $10 or make them yourself
#1. Baffle the filter. Seriously, it is SO strong. My tetras loved it, the betta? Not so much. I suggest putting nylon or wrapping a sponge around the intake, then baffling the out take. The water bottle baffle works on this filter, or you can put sponges into the filter. Keeping the water level extremely high will help lower the current because it is just going right into the water, not crashing and causing waves/currents.
#2. If you want live plants, those lights have GOT to go. They're horrible incandescent and don't produce much light anyways. It gives off a yellow dingy kind of light... I prefer a light that actually brightens up my fish/tank! I use this bulb;
Two of those (one for each side) doesn't max out the wattage limit for the hood. The limit is 30 watts (15 for each side) and these are at 10. They give off a gorgeous white/blue light that realllllllyyy lights up the tank and brings out fish colors, plant colors, and makes everything look vibrant. It's also a 6,500k spectrum bulb so it's perfect for growing plants. (Fluorescent, full spectrum, and 2 watts per gallon!)
#3. The height of the tank throws the bettas off. When my female first got into mine, she was freaked out by it. She'd snooze at the bottom and then panic and try to swim her fastest to the top in a terrified way. I highly suggest buying tall plants/decor/etc that reach the full top of the tank so if they want to take a snooze, they can rest themselves there and easily get air. Decor of all heights is wonderful for a betta. Also, you'll need the lighting on for about 10-12 hours per day for most plants, so offering a very dark space/cave/whatever for your betta would be ideal if they want to hide away for awhile.
As for plants... Plants are actually kind of expensive, so I would suggest doing a mixture of live/fake. A tall, fake, silk plant should accommodate your height. Java ferns, anubias, hornwort, etc are all great "starter" plants that tend to be hardy. If the plants don't root, a basic liquid fertilizer (look for one with a lot of nutrients, especially iron) will do in the "fert" category, and from there start off with 7-8 hours of light, and over a few weeks add light until about 10 hours or so. If you stay consistent with lighting and temperature, your plants shouldn't have a problem. For example, every day turn on your light (once they're adjusted) at 7am and turn it off at 7pm. If you can't do this, I'd suggest you getting a timer for your cord so it does it automatically. You'll never forget! A heater is a must for plants... They WILL get shocked if temperature changes drastically. Get a reliable heater, preferably adjustable, and set it to the temperature whichever plants you choose like. My tank is nice at 78* for my betta, snails, and all my plants.
I hope you can understand why you need to fit the PLANT to the tank, not the other way around! For example, some plants can't deal with hard water... it's just never happening. So don't buy a soft water plant if you have naturally hard water. If a plant like a pH of 5, and your water pH is 8, just don't even try. There are hundreds of plant types and you can find plants that naturally match your tank and water conditions, you don't need to be adding chemicals and such to do the opposite. Also, make sure all your plants get along well with one another!
Here it is after I added my "cave" that I made; (actually bf made!)
It doesn't have a heater yet, I'm working on ordering one. My local stores have terrible heaters for ridiculous prices.
What am I upgrading? First priority is the heater. Second is I'm adding a black background to contrast everything. Third thing is the 2 fake in the back I'm wanting to add live plants. I'm hoping to use Italian Val to create a "jungle" on one side, and the other side have my Melon Sword and 2 Crypt Wendtii (are they too small to see in the picture) because they look similar, just one is large the others are small with the "house" settled between them. I hope that makes sense? I also want to add more substrate.
Plant wise, the Wendtii should grow out more, the Melon Sword will stay tall like that (so the cave will go right next to it) and I have java (or Christmas, not sure) moss wrapped around the terra cotta so it'll eventually grow ONTO the pot and completely cover it. Then I want the Italian Val on the opposite side fully top the top of the tank to provide frolic and cover.
Tanks are a work in progress, always! So don't be worried if yours is a little "dingy" at first. All of ours were!
Thanks so much for the advice! I don't have my heart set on a sorority.... But I do have my heart set on more than one betta. I just don't think I would enjoy dividing a tank for two males, so I am throwing a sorority out there as an option. I don't think I have ever had a female betta. I've had quite a few male veiltails when I was younger, but very little of their care was in my hands and I really don't remember them much.
I do have a question about how large of a tank would I need if I wanted to divide a tank into two for a sorority and a male. I'm just curious, but that is not in any of my plans.
How about substrate? What kinds work best for fish AND plants and is fairly easy to clean? I'm going to be using a vacuum for the first time and I don't want to get something very intensive. Are there any brands out there that are particularly good for the cost? Money is a factor here, unfortunately, and I would like something cost effective that would pay for itself with it's ease of care. That's asking too much, isn't it? ha.
you'd probably need at least a 15 gallon, but a 20long would probably be better. not sure if maybe having the male hormones in the water could up the aggression in the sorority though.
I personally like sand since waste and such will just sit on top of it instead of sinking to the bottom like it does with gravel. play or pool filter sands are cheaper alternatives. if you get any heavy root feeders like swords you'll have to get root tabs if you go with sand though.
I would either do a sorority with 5 females, or a mini-community with a betta, ember tetras (I'm almost as addicted to these as I am to bettas) and pygmy cories.
Substrate depends on what plants you want. Some plants' roots will rot in sand, others do just fine. I really like the look of sand. I have both sand and gravel in my sorority. Gravel is easier to clean, in my opinion, but doesn't look as amazing (can still look really good, though). Neither are hard to care for, that's for sure.
Some really easy plants:
- java fern (it doesn't need to be rooted - you just tie it to rocks or driftwood.)
- anubias (again, it shouldn't rooted, just tie it to stuff. The broad leaves make great 'hammocks'. You can tie it to a pot to make a cave: http://www.livefish.com.au/plants/te...nalis-urn.html).
- java moss (again, you can tie it to stuff or make a wall out of it for a tank background)
- elodea densa/anacharis (grows like a weed, very hardy)
- ambulia (cambomba works too - both are pretty and feathery, but ambulia is softer)
- lacefern (very pretty, but grows SO DENSE)
- rotala (I really like rotala wallachi, which can be red :) )
If you do want a sorority, all of these plants are good. Java moss provides low-down cover, java fern and anubias are nice mid-height plants, and ambulia, lacefern, rotala and elodea are all nice, dense, tall plants. Good planting is also helpful in a community tank. :) Silk plants are a good interim measure until the plants really take off.
I will be posting a picture shortly with my tank setup, but I DEFINITELY see what you mean about the strength of the filter. It's very strong. How would I baffle it? Just wrap a knee high over it? Or am I misinterpreting you? I wouldn't be surprised. Ha. I'm a little behind in what I need to know.
But I went to Petco and I got 4 platies. 2 red wag and 2 sunburst wag. Horrible choices? I hope not.... I read that a lot of people keep platy and bettas together, but maybe that is my inexperience talking again. I also got a java fern, which looks LOVELY. And something called wisteria. Except the tubes labled that had two different plants in them. One looks like what water wisteria is supposed to look like, the other just has flat rounded leaves. Kind of strange.