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Old 02-01-2012, 12:59 AM   #1 
LunaticFringeInc
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LFI's 2.5 gallons of Goodness...

I am new to the forum but definitely not new to keeping freshwater aquariums or saltwater reef tanks. I have had a little empty 2.5 gallon tank sitting around for quiet sometime and was trying to think of a way to utilize it and thought that perhaps it would make for a nice Beta tank.

The Tank

2.5 gallon AGA glass tank
This is your typical glass, All Glass Aquarium, with black trim that came with a small single pane glass lid cover. Really nothing special about it. It’s been sitting for a couple of years collecting dust. I cleaned it up and disinfected it well and rinsed it again before setting it up.

Substrate
I never really could get down with the “No Substrate” sterile look of a tank, even when I was doing saltwater. I will admit that it is pretty conducive to keeping the tank clean though. I also wanted to have some plants with this tank. The fake ones can at times look okay but they don’t look nearly as nice as live ones and you don’t get the benefits with plastic ones like you do live. So I “robbed” about 5 pounds of SeaChem Fluorite Plant Substrate from my well established 10 gallon planted tank. This gave me an adequate amount of substrate that was already full of beneficial bacteria cultures. Additionally this substrate is great for supporting plants and their root structures. It s typically about $20.00 a 15.4 lbs bag.

Tank Decor
Not really big on decorations and kind of prefer the more natural look. So I passed on the more commonly seen decorations and found a nice piece of Lace Rock that probably weighs about 2 ½ pounds and a nice shape and texture to it. It should add a nice texture to the tank and I hope to eventually have some Dwarf Baby Tears colonize it as an added plus later down the road which would make it a nice center piece for a small tank

Equipment
For the filter I used a Tom Aquarium Products Internal Mini Filter rated at a max of 45 GPH that can have the flow adjusted to a degree. That’s probably a bit much in a tank this small that is housing a Beta but with a little minor tweaking and perhaps some minor modifications, it should work well. I really wanted something for a little water movement and something to help keep the tank a bit tidier and I think this might be just the ticket. I paid $11.99 for it so if it doesn’t work out well not much was lost.

Heater
My little humble abode can be pretty notorious for being drafty and experiencing considerable temp swing from day to night, winter to summer, so a heater was definitely a REQUIREMENT! I thought about using one of the little pad types but wasn’t sure such a heater could keep up with the temp swings and maintain a good consistent temp level. So I sprung for a Tetra Whisper Heater designed to keep 5-15 gallon tanks at a preset 78 degrees. Given my current living accommodations I am thinking it should be sufficient to keep up. I paid $14.99 for it which wasn’t bad at all price wise. I have used these before in saltwater quarantine tanks with good luck in the past.

Lighting
I have gotten a light for it yet but I did have a spare Nova Extreme T-5 light that wasn’t being used at the moment to hold me over till payday at which point I will buy a nice little canopy type light that will later have a 10 to 26 watt power compact bulb in the 6500K temp range. Depends on what the plants tell me they want.

Plants
Although this is a pretty small and shallow tank, I am bound and determined to play around with the plant selection until I find a winning combination that gives me what I am looking for. I really like the look that live plants add to an enclosure. I also like the winning benefits they provide as well, such as higher oxygen content and let’s face it, its Mother Nature best way for cleaning the water and reducing excessive nutrients in the tanks water. It can be a little more work but I think it’s well worth the effort and additional cost. I started out with the following…

Dwarf Baby Tears on rock
This is a nice looking little short plant that will make for great ground cover in the fore ground. I picked up a specimen growing on a small rock for $2.99 which seemed pretty reasonable. The rock is pretty well covered and it’s my hopes that by placing it on top of my Lace Rock for a while will result in it being “colonized” as well over some time. If that does indeed happen I should end up with a very nice and striking center piece for my small tank.

Cryptocoryne Wendtii
Probably not the greatest choice due to its height potential but I wanted something to put in the back ground in a corner section of the tank. Hopefully it won’t grow too tall for a tank this shallow. It was a pretty healthy looking compact and fairly short example so I’m hoping for the best. If not I will move it to my 10 gallon planted tank and try something else.

In the end...
So I am left at this point while the tank cycles, critiquing it and making minor tweaks and changes here and there. In the mean time I have lots of time to shop around and find a Beta that’s worthy of a “raised eyebrow” and one that’s in a color morph that tickles my fancy. Hopefully I can find one by the time the tank cycle is finished and I am finished changing and rearranging things in the tank. Until then I will have to just settle for sticking around here and being jealous of everyone else’s tank and fish. Maybe this old dawg will learn a few “new tricks” in the process of this all.


28 January 2012


Last edited by LunaticFringeInc; 02-01-2012 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:27 AM   #2 
LunaticFringeInc
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31 January 2012

Well on my way to work I picked up a Naturalistic Terrarium Hood from Zoo Med out of the reptile section of the store. It was a perfect fit for the tanks top size wise and the price was right for 29.99. It is rated to hold a single bulb up to 60 watts.

Thanks to my standard wise crack at the check out counter for 50% off to get a smile out of the checker, they did give me 10% off my purchase anyways. Gotta love it when clowning around saves you some fun dollars!

For the bulb, since it doesnt come with one, I chose was a 10 watt 6500k color temp compact fluorescent lamp that has a scew in socket. In a tank this shallow this should provide enough PAR and the right color temp of light to support the plants. If not then I have a 26 watt bulb that will, just at a lot higher cost. The Bulb ran me 9.99 fun dollars.

Cant wait to get off work and get it on the tank and see how it looks in the morning.
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Old 02-01-2012, 05:17 AM   #3 
BellasMomma
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well it sure sounds like you know yer stuff which is awesome! First off, yer tank looks awesome and any betta will be ecstatic to go home wit you. Glad you went for this heater, haven't heard anything good about the pads... Hopefully everything you have purchased will work the way you want it to. Can't wait to see the little guy or gal that steals yer heart. Be sure to post pics! A little charm with cashiers is always great, makes them and you feel good. If you got it rock it!
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:11 AM   #4 
LunaticFringeInc
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01 February 2012

Well just got home and before unloading the truck I tossed the new light on and plugged it in. Unless I relocate my plants in the tank I need to flip it around and put it on with the back side facing the front of the tank due to the orientation of the bulb in the fixture to get the light well distributed in the tank. I am too lazy to rearrange the plants! But it looks like the 10 watt bulb will kick out enough PAR to keep my plants happy. I was hoping for a little more in the way of intensity though. I will just kick back for a while and wait and see what happens. I may have to move up to the 26 watt bulb instead later on down the line. It will cost twice as much but I will get 2.5 times more light than I have right now. That would be pretty close to the wattage I had over it with the Nova Extreme T-5 fixture that was over it and gave me a really good look to the tank. Kinda wished I would have went with a 5 gallon tank so the Nova Extreme would have fit it perfectly but room was sort of a over riding issue that pretty much dictated the 2.5 gallon tank instead.

Modded the filter a little the other day and it looks like I accomplished the goal I set out t reach. I was able to re-orientate the nozzle on the pump to shoot the water flow into the tanks back wall. With the filter dialed down to the lowest setting it seems to be giving me a very light flow of water movement in the tank that shouldnt be objectionable to a Betta while still allowing for filtration of the tanks water. Guess we will find out for sure once I have a fish in the tank!
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Old 02-03-2012, 03:53 AM   #5 
LunaticFringeInc
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02 February 2012

Looking at my little tank, I am already looking at perhaps making some minor changes. Looking at it it is clear that I need to add some more substrate. So I will likely be adding another 2-3 pounds minimum.

I also might remove the Lace Rock and instead add a small Anubias instead. I would really like to get a few different plants in the tank while still leaving a little room for my soon to come Betta can strut his stuff in style. The rock is taking up a lot of space and limiting my options for this. If I were dealing with a 5 gallon tank, it wouldnt be much of an issue.

If they are still there this week end I may also get a couple of more small rocks with the Dwarf Baby Tears. Impatience is getting the better of me and I want to quickly get a quick mat of this growing across the substrate. May get the Anubias while Im at it if they have a nice looking one.

After a couple of days with the new light I am okay with it although I would like a little more intensity. Still going to stay in a holding pattern on this issue and see how the plants seem to like or dislike it.

Thats about all for the moment...
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Old 02-09-2012, 11:55 PM   #6 
LunaticFringeInc
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09 February 2012

Not too much going on with the tank this week. Been busy putting up a Carport, getting my heirloom seedlings going for the garden and several landscaping projects about the homestead. Seems there just aint enough hours in the day.

On the 6th, I did make it to the store and picked out several more plants. Not sure I will use them all. Got a couple of more plants simular to the "Crypto's" I already had. I got another Dwarf Baby Tears on a small rock. I also got a small Anubias on a small rock too. I also got a pot of Micro Sword but that is probably destined for the 10 gallon tank I have.

Hopefully time permiting I can get everything arranged and looking a little more like the final project I am shooting for.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:13 AM   #7 
Aus
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Sigh. This is how I WISH I'd set my tank up - slowly, with patience and BEFORE I got my fish.


Your tank is looking quite good already - I had no idea dwarf baby tears was an aquatic plant. It sure looks nice in there.
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:29 AM   #8 
stevenjohn21
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Your tank looks great and please dont take this as critism as im just offering another view.
How about breaking the rock slightly to where the rock begins to "U" shape in the middle, that way you will create more space for maybe another plant. I think a black background would be excellent to hide your heater / filter and maybe hide them together behind the Crypt. If the baby tears establish on the rock i think it will look very striking against the black. Cant wait to see the final outcome and the lucky fish who's home has obviously had a lot of thought put into it !
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:53 AM   #9 
MinaMinaMina
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I'm glad you removed the lace rock. Some people have had problems with it raising their pH. depending on whether its the volcanic variety or the limestone variety. The increase in pH is one reason some people use it in rift lake tanks and salt water tanks. So I'm glad its out in case it would have caused a problem. Good luck with your tank!
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:28 PM   #10 
LunaticFringeInc
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Yeah I knew it would likely raise the PH a bit especially if I add a CO2 system for the plants if I take this tank that far. All the additional plants I bought should go a long ways in hiding all the accessories especially once they feel out a bit more. It wont completely hide them but at least they will be less of a distracting eye sore. Still hoping the baby tears will grow down the sides of the rocks and across the substrate like it did in a previous planted tank as it makes for a great fore ground cover.

Besides the rock will look a lot better is a SW reef tank, which I am about to fire my 10 gallon Nano back up now that I have some extra fun dollars burning a hole in my pocket. Want to do a Ricordia and SPS reef tank and might even hit Barry up for one of his world famous Tridacna Clams. Talk about some eye candy! Nobody can match Barrys jewels of the ocean when it comes to mind blowing and eye popping Clams!

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