First Tank Journal: Donivan & Others - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 12:35 AM Thread Starter
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First Tank Journal: Donivan & Others

Hey, as the title says, i'm new to the hobby. This is my first aquarium and looking for some advice on if i'm doing things well. My first idea was to make a sorority of bettas however a lot of research it's probably not a good idea for a beginner, and even if i did succeed they wouldn't last for very long due to stress.

For starters, I have a Hagen HG Fluval Flex Aquarium (15gal) It's more like a 10 gallon tall, 1 bag of ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia II Normal Type (3L) for substrate. I'm thinking about adding more as it's kind of thin in some areas as i've needed to move more to support the rock and plants as i've read most plants do good in about an inch or 2 of substrate (it's about a half a centimeter in the very lowest spot and an inch and around 2 for the highest. For the light i just use what came with the tank (is it fine or should i get a better one?)

Within the first week (i didn't think to wait for it to cycle longer, and ordered them with the water testing kit and fertilzer)
2 java ferns split into 5, 1 red flame sword, 1 amazon sword, 1 anubias nana petite, 1 anubias barteri, 1 anubias coffeefiola, 1 Cryptocoryne Wendtii - However this guy isn't doing too well, it fell into two parts as i was cleaning it and most of the leaves and stems melted away. I have a few of the (rhizomes/roots?) planted with 1 or 2 leaves or none, hoping they'll grow back like others have said they would. And a couple days later when i checked the water parameters (ph 7, ammonia 0-0.25 (i can't really tell the difference between the two colors), nirites 0 and nitrate was 10 after first water change i added 3 nerite snails - 1 zebra 1 tiger and 1 random one and they seem to be doing fine. Water levels have been consistent,
After a 3 weeks i wasn't feeling like it was planted enough as i read that bettas like heavily planted tanks, So i added 1 Bacopa Caroliniana, 1 red melon sword, and Cryptocoryne Lutea and added 2 catappa leaves.

So from here i'm just kind of wondering if i should/could add more plants. Or even start looking to buy fish. As i said before my focus is to buy a betta and build a good home for it with some friends. I'd like something to help with the poop on the bottom and on my pieces of wood, it's already a lot from the snails and if i'm adding fish it'll become even more. I thought about 6 panda cory's or pygmy cory's if i could find some but i think i've over planted the tank//not enough bottom space for them. Or shrimp to take their place (not sure how many or if the betta will attack/kill them). And a school of tetras (6-10, ideally 10) or something else.

TL:DR First aquarium, lots of plants, curious about what kind of fish i should get to go alongside a betta or if i should do a sorority. Sorry if it's a lot of info/poorly format. Any help/info is greatly appreciated.
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Last edited by RussellTheShihTzu; 08-03-2019 at 05:40 PM. Reason: First nine posts from "New to Hobby and First Post" copied into Journal at Theod123's request.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 02:20 AM
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Hello and welcome to the forum. I hope you find it pleasant and informative.
As for some of your questions, You will want more substrate that is certain. Usually in a planted tank you would want at least 2* of substrate. It is more advantageous to rooted plants. Your tank looks very nice and well planted. Lots of hides and cover. You might want to consider some taller plants if you add a male betta. They love to hang out and rest in the plants. Also less stressful for them.

A sorority for the first tank would be a bit much. If this is your first tank and being new to Keeping There is a lot to learn about your charges. Female betta need more cover and hides, they can be very territorial with each other. and I've known even the experienced keeper to loose a few while trying to raise them. A male on the other hand although you could only have one in a tank Is easier to care for. (I think anyway) They still require work on your part but seem to be a little more resilient to changes.

From what you say in your post you have added snails? Until the tank is established and an algae growth you would need to supplement their diet . (Algae wafers, blanched green vegetables) and also a small bit of calcium for their shells. If you add shrimp to the tank a shoal of at least 6 would be recommended and only after the tank has matured at least a month after the cycle ends. The reason for this is enough food to sustain them. Almost any bottom feeders would need the tank to be established in order to survive. Another nice bottom feeder would be a shoal (at least 6) Cory cats. They make a nice touch to a tank.

Just don't over do the stocking of the tank. You have to think of the bio load and how it will affect the tank cycle and filtration.
You have a good start with your tank. The only thing I would say you need to do is regular water changes 2 times a week at 25% until the tank cycles, and then once a week there after of 25-50% depending on the parameters. Keeping the water in the tank pristine is a must to the tank health, not only to the fish but also to the plants. Your plants will require a food supplement also I recommend SeaChem Flourish once a week and done by direction on the bottle.

If there are any more questions we are here to help and advise. Please feel free to ask some one will always be willing to give you advice.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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Usually in a planted tank you would want at least 2* of substrate. You might want to consider some taller plants if you add a male betta. How would i add more substrate? Just take all the the plants and hardscape/gravel out and then just put it back in after adding more? And yeah, i'm hoping once the plants start growing they'll be taller, main reason i got swords and bacopas.

From what you say in your post you have added snails? Until the tank is established and an algae growth you would need to supplement their diet. By the 2nd week there was a big outbreak of white fuzzy bacteria and that's mainly why i did get the snails, a lot of it's gone and not spreading anymore but there's still some remains on the wood. I haven't seen any other kind of algae or bacteria build up since then, Will look into the calcium and algae wafers, thanks for that.

If you add shrimp to the tank a shoal of at least 6 would be recommended. What are some cool shrimp species? I've only really heard of people doing ghost/amano shrimp w/ bettas.

Just don't over do the stocking of the tank. You have to think of the bio load and how it will affect the tank cycle and filtration. I haven't really seen anyone explaining how to know if i have too high//too low of a bio-load. I would assume a high bio-load would be causing a lot of algae, foggy water and the fish would get sick (do snails show that they're sick? They seem to be cruising along pretty well, a few naps here and there but they seem happy). And if it was too low i would assume my plants wouldn't grow as there's no ammonia/nitrites to absorb.

You have a good start with your tank. The only thing I would say you need to do is regular water changes 2 times a week at 25% until the tank cycles. The ammonia is close to 0 if it isn't, nitrites 0 and nitrates around 10, would this be considered cycled or close to the end?

Your plants will require a food supplement also I recommend SeaChem Flourish once a week and done by direction on the bottle. I've been doing 40/50% water changes weekly after the 2nd week and adding the seachem flourish after the water changes/anytime i get new plants. Is 50% too much every week?
Thanks for the info, i'm leaning towards 1 betta most likely a male as i like the longer fins but any that catches my eye will do, 6 shrimp/corys (more torwards shrimp) and the 3 snails.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 08:32 AM
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Welcome to the Forum!

From reports on this Forum, sororities are seldom successful, long-term. Meaning years instead of months. They are extremely stressful and often entire sororities are wiped out by disease. The only "successful" sororities I can name belong to people who have them in 40-gallon breeder tanks (36" x 18" x 16"). These tanks are so heavily planted it is difficult to spot the females at first glance.

To add tank mates or not depends on tank size. The reason species profiles go by habitat footprint instead of gallons is shoaling varieties need a longer footprint than tall. Most Nano varieties require a footprint of 60 x 30 cm or 24 x 12 inches because that is how they swim.

Shrimp, on the other hand, do not need such. However, as Old Dog 59 said, they need a tank at least four weeks past cycling (I prefer eight weeks). This is not only for a good biofilm build but also for the parameters to completely stabilize. Shrimp are especially sensitive to parameter shifts. While short-term .25ppm Ammonia will not harm a Betta it can kill inverts like shrimp.

Once it is mature enough and your add more plants, your tank will be perfect for shrimp. They need heavy cover so I would get something like Hornwort or Anacharis; weight them down in the corners and let flow over the top. This gives your Betta the shade it loves (they are not bright-light fish) and the perfect cover for shrimp. Make sure nothing you add (ferts, meds) has more than a bare trace of copper as that is a surefire way to kill shrimp. I've used and like the SeaChem line of ferts with my shrimp but have switched to one by NiLoc specifically formulated for shrimp. Although, I am thinking of going to their regular liquid fert which has trace copper.

Snails: The number one cause of death in Nerite snails is starvation. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for them to starve to death so people don't connect the two. I suggest people with new tanks cultivate algae by placing rocks in a bowl of water and placing in a sunny window. Add to tank and replace when clean.

My Betta are quite curious when I move things around. At least once a month I see something I need to change around, trim, etc. They follow my hand as I mess with their habitat and then might spend hours investigating their "new" home.

Whatever you decide, it bodes well for your success that you asked such good questions beforehand.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 03:51 PM
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Hi and welcome!

It is looking good. :)

I donít want to repeat everything the others have said, but yes to all of their comments.
I have that exact same tank. It is the Ď57litreí one in my sig. You may be interested to read my journal on setting it up. Just click the sig link.

Iím finding the light is fine for growth on anubias (which are doing fabulously), a couple of crypts, and some windelov. Also some Hornwort and riccia fluitans.

On the other hand, my dwarf water lily was NOT happy (now moved to barrel pond in garden), and the echinodorus and ordinary java ferns have slowly died back and no new growth. Am planning to switch to more crypts. I think the light is ĎOKí for undemanding plants, but not up to anything that wants to grow fast.

In your tank, donít worry about the crypts dying back. They sometimes do that, and then a couple of weeks of sulking, and they get used to the tank, and start sprouting again. Try waiting it out. And donít stress about the wilty stump. Just wait and see.

I am finding that thick planting, like yours, gives shrimp plenty of cover. But my bettas have never gone shrimp hunting. They are all different. So yours might like some shrimp nibbles.

And my tank will only support 1 nerite (with algae) and that is with the tank being sideways onto, and 6 feet from a S facing window. So you may want to supplement the snailsí food a lot. I should probably be supplementing for just 1. He isnít growing v fast.

Looking forward to seeing how yours develops.

If your tank is anything like mine, it is bound to go through a really manky stage, a few months in. Different algaes, browning plants, etc. etc.
But donít worry. Let it settle, let the plants recover, and the snails do their job, and you will get your lovely tank back, just as you imagined it at the beginning.

70litre tank: (Kham) mature setup; betta, purple rasboras, amano and wood shrimp. Heavily planted.
22litre cube tank: (Tagawa); betta, 1 amano, yellow dwarf shrimp. Pond snails and 1 assassin. Heavily planted.
57litre cube tank: ember tetras, 2 amano, 1 nerite, pond snails, 1 assassin, doing his thing. Heavily planted.
200litre tank; honey gourami, cherry barbs, green neons, otocinclus, nerites, pond snails, amano. Heavily planted.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-21-2019, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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@bluesamphire i didn't even realize you could add a timer to it lol. I never saw any ports or anything like that (i didn't look super hard as i don't have one yet). But that's nice knowing now.

As a slight update, this morning i noticed these white dots. I assume they're snail eggs? But i'm not sure... from most people that i've seen the eggs were always in tighter clumps surrounded by a jelly type "bubble". If they are snail eggs is it fine to leave in there? or should i siphon them out.. I know they won't fertlize as it's just a freshwater tank.
My plants are growing pretty well, no new leaves this week. But they're getting taller and thicker. My bacopas leaves have started to melt and one of the roots started melting about halfway. I just ripped them off, hopefully it does well.

I'm also looking to add more substrate. Is it fine to just add new substrate on top of the older substate/gravel. Or do i need to remove it all and then add it back in. I'm using ada ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia II Normal Type, and spectrastone gravel currently.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-25-2019, 02:35 PM
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no difference in the care they need. You care for each with the best you can give them and all the love you have for them and they will reward you with all their love and beauty.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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@bluesamphire see i totally didn't even think wireless ones were an option lol. I might buy one for my next tank that's gonna be for the living room since i rarely go down there.

Was wondering how i could make this into a journal or something? I figure this is a pretty good place to keep a sort of diary.

Update: (Will post pictures when i get back home) On Wednesday or Thursday (can't remember the day) i ended up getting a male twin tail halfmoon betta, and 4 neon tetras. I would've gone for 6 but the worker at the store didn't seem like they were going to sell me all of the fish at once so i just went with 4. Sadly i work overnights and went to sleep. Woke up to one of them having a hard time staying upright and was just all over the place and couldn't balance well. I needed to got to work and didn't have the time to figure out what was happening. Came back and after 2 hours of looking and trying to feed them only 3 were to be found and no 4th body... I have a cover and even the feeding hole covered w/ plastic so he didn't jump out. Checked the filters and everything. Tried doing a water change and clean the soil but still no luck... Hopefully it isn't too bad if it's left in there? I'm worried that it'd mess w/ the ammonia levels and everything else though... And all morning the 1 bigger tetra just keeps bullying the other two constantly and not sure if i should remove him or let them be?

For good news, Donavin (not sure how i want to spell it yet) is doing really well. I build a little hiding spot with the bacopas and a cattapa leaf on top, started building a bubble nest but i accidentally messed it up. I've been feeding them all small pieces of blood shrimp. I've tried soaked pellets but they seem too big for the tetras and donavin isn't interested.

So far my water parameters are the same, thinking about getting more tetras soon, hoping the so few numbers is what's causing the aggression. Also is it normal for the tetras to peck at the glass? I figure it's their reflection, but even if i put a black shirt over they still do it.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-27-2019, 03:50 PM
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The more Neons you have the more they will keep the nipping behavior within the shoal. Make sure to give you Betta a place he can retreat if the activity of the Neons gets to be too much.

There is a "Journal" section where you can start one. If you start one I am more than happy to copy whichever of the posts here you want included. Just give me the numbers or "entire thread."

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
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First Tank Journal: Donivan & Others

Update, Donivan has been chillin in the tank for a few days now. He's got a pretty big bubble nest going and loves the bacopa. I added leaves infront of the water intake part at the top as he kept swimming too close and got stuck. I can't tell if he actually liked it or not, he went over by it a lot and built his bubble nest next to it. It wasn't strong enough to pull his fins in but i'm worried that it would and rip them. Still can't find the 4th tetras body... I don't want to move the hardscape/plants and cause the fish to get stressed out.

As a question, is there any way to preserve his bubble nest during water changes? He's worked so hard to make it and i feel bad for destroying it.
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