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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I hope it's okay to include my other pets in a journal here, it just seemed wrong to go on and on about just one pet and leave the others out (plants count as pets too!)

I figured I'd do a better intro and go into some detail here about the fam rather than on my introductory post that I just kinda churned out when I joined earlier today. My husband and I have been married for 5.5 years now I've been keeping betta for the past 5-7 years or so, but I took a break the last couple due to stressful living situations and having to move frequently. In the past I owned 5 NPTs each housing it's own betta, the largest being a 10 gal for a very spoiled fish.

The Betta
First up is Neo, short for Neocount of Marentha, the betta of the house and star of the show here. He's named after one of the main characters in C.S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy (I love reading so new suggestions are always welcome).

Neo is a dragonscale HMPK and yes, he actually does have a true halfmoon flare. As he is a dragonscale he's subject to the diamond eye effect which has inhibited his vision somewhat, his eyes are not completely covered (yet) and I hope never fully will be, so he can still see and find his food. He's also a weird combination of an absolute chicken and a fearless fighter. When something approaches his tank (a hand... a cat's paw...) he INSTANTLY swims away like a little coward, but give him a second and he's right back up to the object to investigate. I think he likes to mess with the cats that way, they enjoy watching him and on occasion will paw at the tank which makes him flee, then he's right back at the cat(s) staring at them and wiggling, daring them to do it again.

He lives in a 5 gallon filtered, planted, and heated tank we have named The Forest which is planted with an assortment of plants, so far we have: Anachris, Villaseria Spiralis, Anubia Nana Compacta, Temple Compacta, Bronze Wendtii, and a Java Fern the substrate is Seachem Flourite. I do plan on adding some moss, hopefully a mat, to the rock in the center of the tank as well as a Marimo ball in the future. Future plans for this tank also include adding inverts, dwarf shrimp for sure, possibly a Brazos dwarf crayfish or a "large" snail of some sort, most likely a nerite or mystery.

The tank is about 1 more week away from being fully cycled and I can't wait to add inverts as I have always enjoyed watching the antics of my snails and shrimps in the past.

The Cats
Rajah is our first cat, he was feral when we got him, rescued from the kill list of a shelter at 5 months old, we believe he's a bengal mix as he has some rosette markings and orange iridescent coloration to his fur. He's an absolute snugglebutt when he wants to be, can be a complete jerk sometimes and is EXTREMELY intelligent, athletic and active.

Khan, short for Sherekhan, is a completely domesticated little dude who is slightly stunted as he was the runt of his litter, he thinks he's a dog and will do anything for treats and belly rubs. We like to refer to him as "the kitten" because he has retained his kitten fluff and is not too smart.

The Plants
Okay, yeah, I'm weird, I consider my plants as pets and part of my family too. I absolutely love plants and nature and growing things so idc anymore what people think.

I have two phalanopsis orchids, both are of purple coloration the older one (larger and in the purple pot) has blossomed 3 times for me in the past year with the most recent bloom producing 10 flowers, it then proceeded to drop all 10 JUST to add another 3... it's a weird plant...

The second orchid in the blue pot produces very small flowers, about 1/3 the size of the larger one and they are a deep purple, it's in the growing stage of its cycle right now and has no flowers but is producing a brand new baby leaf.

Also in the plant family is a teeny tiny pot of teeny tiny cacti seedlings, I have no idea what kind of cacti they are yet, but they started sprouting in late February of this year and have been growing EXTREMELY slowly (as expected) for the past 6 months. I can't wait until they're old enough to repot... but it'll be a while...

Last is my blooming pink angel fittonia, I read somewhere online when I first got it that it was next to impossible to get them to bloom under indoor conditions. I'm not sure how I accomplished it, but it's been in bloom for the past month! Also, the dang thing has tripled in size and will certainly need a new pot by spring but I'm so in love with it's current pot (it looks like a little drawer) that I just can't bring myself to change it out yet.

And there you have it, a detailed intro to my family ^^ I promise most of this journal will in fact, be about Neo, but I'm probably going to be referring to everyone else at one point or another so I figured providing a point of reference and background would be a good thing.

Photos:
The Forest (Neo's tank)
Neo
Rajah
Khan (apologies for poor photo quality)
Large Orchid
Small Orchid
Cacti
Fittonia
 

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Discussion Starter #2
One week-ish update!

Tank is fully cycled! Yay! which meant I had to celebrate so now we have a small Brazos Dwarf Crayfish and 4 (amano?) shrimps. Crayfish is not pestering or hunting the shrimp and Neo just ignores everyone, though he does look at the crayfish every so often, they get along just fine.

Despite the addition of the shrimp I am seeing a significant algae build up, which honestly I'm okay with, more food for them, and I can't really put the light on a timer, not with the way the tank is currently set up so it'll just have to be that way. Thinking about getting a snail in another week-ish and then possibly doing some more dwarf shrimp. I don't foresee Neo having issues, and yes, I know I'm pushing stock limits a little bit, but I keep a close eye on parameters.

*small edit* Forgot to add that I put in an air stone on a very low setting for oxygenation for the inverts.

OMG MIDDLE OF TYPING UPDATE

My husband literally just shouted from the other room "HEY BABE, DID THE CRAYFISH MOLT? IT LOOKS DARKER" so I ran in there, and panicked for a second because I only saw the exoskeleton and thought it had just died, but NOPE crayfish did indeed molt, quite literally while I was typing the above portion of the post because it was normal when I got on my computer.

Crazy...

I'm so excited about having inverts you guys, I love them so much... probably going to do a shrimp only tank in a few months just because they're so darn cute.

Anyway, I'm having a hard time sexing the crayfish, so I don't know what to name it :(

Oh, and I added a moss ball when I got the shrimps, because reasons.
 

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cute story and family. I'm new and just joined yesterday in a panic but I think my problem has been resolved so I can read and explore. I'm an old granny and not up on the pics and such but loved seeing yours. I converted my son's room into a plant/fish room. I recycled his old aquariums and stuff. I have a paradise betta with black snails in there and he is quite wild but beautiful. My second betta is friendly and a shimmery silver turquoise and loves to swim and play. good luck with yours.
 

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My plants are my children XD
 

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I’m another person who loves to fill the house with life.
For me, that means houseplants, dogs, the fish tank, and lighting.
We used to have cats too (RIP). Which we miss tremendously.
Can’t imagine a home without life.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you everyone <3

Not much to update about the tank today but wanted to share a close up of the freshly molted crayfish from the other day.

In non-fish related news, my parents visited for Thanksgiving and brought their small dog with them, the cats got along surprisingly well with the dog with only one or two hisses throughout the whole visit, which was pretty awesome :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Weekly (?) Update

Water change day!
Params are perfect so just a small 20% w/c today

I've been super excited to update you guys on the tank and stuffs so here we go :) (sorry not sorry for super long post)

Neo
Not much to update about this guy I'm afraid, he just does his own thing. My husband and I are pretty sure he's conscious of his diamond eye issues and hates it. He rubs his eyes on the glass to try to keep the scales from growing over them. Now, before you guys freak out thinking he's sick, I promise you, he's a perfectly healthy fish. He doesn't clamp, his fins are relaxed and spread out all the time, he eats like a little fatty, he just doesn't want to be blind. He leaves the shrimps alone completely and just chills in the front of the tank. He has been curious about them, swims up close to get a good look, but doesn't show any aggression towards them at all (or predatory tendencies).

The Crayfish
I'm 90% sure the crayfish is male from the looks I've got at his underside it seems that he has the little "hooks" on his underbits so we're going with "he" for now, also a bit happy about that as males stay a little smaller than females on average and that will be better overall for the shrimps. Crayfish gets a specialized pellet once a day which he jealously hordes and gobbles up in minutes. It's pretty cute actually, once he finds it he picks up the little pellet stick and looks honestly a bit like gollum with the one ring... He has also discovered the air stone and likes to go on rides up the bubble column. He's shown minimal aggression towards the shrimp (they're always fast enough to get away if he tries to "pounce") and is just a cool little character to watch.

The Shrimp
Okay so I got some dwarf shrimps because I thought it would help the amanos be a little more bold... did not work... at all.. lol the amanos are still next to impossible to find during the day, but they do come out at night, I've seen them a few times so they're still around, just super shy. The new dwarfs though... OH MY GOODNESS they have NO FEAR. They're always out feeding on something scuttling along the bottom, nibbling on plants and algae, swimming in the upper areas of the tank... Seriously, these guys figured out that Neo just stays in the one area and they have free range everywhere else. One in particular, a large bright yellow fellow, will even try to steal the pellet from the crayfish. This particular shrimp will hang out in Neo's area and only back off if the crayfish or Neo get a liiiitle too close. Also, one of the shrimps is BERRIED! Yes, I have a preggo shrimpy! :D I've been watching her eggs develop over the past week and they're starting to mature. Yeah, I know the crayfish will probably get a few... or all of them, but I want to root for the little critters. The female is an orange rili I think and I know that having multiple colors of shrimp in the tank will muddy their colors in just a couple generations but I don't really care because I plan on starting a dedicated shrimp tank in a few months and I'll just transfer members from that tank into Neo's. It was super hard to get good pictures of the shrimp.

The Snail
The algae was starting to get a little bit out of hand so I also got a Mystery Snail which we have named Zamboni. This guy/girl is such an excellent little gardener! It has neatly trimmed all the melt from the Vallisneria and has made good headway on the algae. Also.. it's a little bit destructive... this snail has moved the mushroom stump decor on the right hand side and completely changed the topography of the gravel... it likes to dig. I have never had a mystery dig, but dig it does...

The Tank
Okay so in general there has been a lot of good growth, the temple (actually hygrophilia) has taken off and I've had to trim and replant it (did that today actually). The java fern is producing baby plantlets, and the vallisneria is growing some absolutely beautiful bright green spiraling shoots. Only other addition is a banana plant, I've always loved them and though this one is a little worse for wear, it has a promising baby leaf. When that leaf reaches maturity I plan on using it to propagate a new, less... ugly... plant. Lol.

Bonus kitty! (Rajah is so photogenic, he's great at elegant poses... khan... not so much...)

Also, I need to water my orchids a bit more often... I've been neglecting them a little and one got slightly dehydrated this week... shame on me :(
 

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Gorgeous plants and pets, you've done a great job photographing them
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks :) I use my husband's Samsung Galaxy for photos, it gets some really good ones sometimes.

Also, I think I just saw a tiny baby hitchhiker assassin snail which is pretty cool because I do have a few pond snails... I'll just have to keep an eye on it so it doesn't try to go after Zamboni. (and by tiny I MEAN tiny, the thing is like a millimeter long)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Shrimplets confirmed!

I watched the mama shrimp hatch her eggs a few days ago and today I spotted the first confirmed shrimplet! It's so tiny I'm amazed I saw it.

In other news, Zamboni has taken to eating healthy bits of plants which is NOT okay, so I'm supplementing with algae wafers. Zamboni is such a naughty snail...
 

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Loving it.

Am very amused by the antics of Cracker (as in prawn cracker). I have 4 shrimp in my 80 litre tank, and 4 snails, but only one of the shrimp is an adrenalin junky. He (she?) has the brightest colour, so I know it is the same shrimp for every adventure.

One day he was hanging out inside the floating betta log.
Yeah, I know. How silly is that?
(I've got some pics, so will post them in my pic thread)

Next day he was upside down hanging off the underside of the floating lettuce

Day 3 we had an Algae Scraper Drama

None of the others do anything other than hang out and comb for snacks. But Cracker... well, what next?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh yeah, shrimps are funny little critters! I love keeping them so much I've decided to start a dedicated shrimp tank in my study in the spring :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I'm bad about regular updates

See, the tiny little things that I find exciting and cool feel waayyyy too small and inconsequential to post on here :( I literally spend at least an hour a day just straight up staring into the tank watching the shrimps and snails and crayfish and Neo... I think I've actually seen the plants growing while I watched.... really.

I'm the type of person who gets excited over every little change in growth on my orchids so, so much action and change in the tank, as small as it may seem to an outsider is a HUGE deal to me. Speaking of orchids... my older purple one is dropping its last 3 blossoms :( it's been in bloom for well over 2 maybe 3.5 months now so it's about time, but still... guess I just have to settle for watching the little one sprout a new leaf.

Anyway, I did change the tank a LOT. I decided that the lava rock I had in the tank previously was creating too much open space and though I liked the idea of having an area devoid of plants, I also wanted to give current and future shrimps more areas to hide. Also Zamboni HATED the rock, I don't know why, probably because it was rough and sharp, but he refused to climb on the rock unless I put one of the algae wafers on it and even then he would push the wafer off.

Speaking of Zamboni... the naughty snail strikes again! Little jerk ate all the new growth off the banana lily save ONE tiiiny little leaf :( all because I forgot to give them a wafer piece that day. Turd...

Neo is actually utilizing more of the tank now since the change I'm not sure if he's more confident, or he likes the tannins in the water or is just deciding to surf a different wall, but it's nice to see him in another spot lol.

Also thought I'd take this opportunity to show off my "whole setup" as it were. I refinished, painted, stenciled, replaced the knob and added an adhesive tile to the top of an old hutch we'd had in our family for years to perk it up a bit and make it match my home as well as provide a tank stand. (This was back in October)

Not quite sure why the photos refuse to be the right way up... might be file size, but it's whatever, just tilt your head a bit :)

Oh one last thing, I have seen at least 5 confirmed individual shrimplets from the hatching so huzzah! The things are soooo tiny and cute!
 

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That fish tank storage area (former Hutch) is brilliant, I love seeing people recycling and up-scaling. I'm much the same with tank watching. I have one on my desk at work and one behind me. Since i spend pretty much all my working life on hold to someone or other they keep me entertained where previously I get very very kranky
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Just a quick little entry today, did a small water change, replanted more of Zamboni's casualties andd...

FOUND A PREGGO SHRIMP! Yep, another shrimp is berried! Since this shrimp wasn't preggo when I bought her like the first one, I'm pretty sure the hanky panky happened in my tank :D which is really exciting and encouraging that they're happy enough to procreate. The expectant mom is a solid orange color and I'm 90% sure she mated with the fearless yellow male so hopefully the little ones will be of an orange hue.

The current baby shrimplets are doing great, I can see them better every day :) And the crayfish has molted again, I'm a little concerned that he's molting a little too often, but then again, the water is a little warmer than ideal for both the shrimps and the crayfish so their life cycles are sped up a bit. He is still a young cray so a molt every month is to be expected.... He seems pretty happy though, munching on his pellets and cruising the bottom of the tank.

Neo is well... Neo. He's looking a little on the chubby side, so no food for him tomorrow, he won't be pleased. I'm trying to keep him and the crayfish well fed so they don't go looking for any little shrimpy snacks.

I would post pics, but the husband ran off for the weekend to the coast for his best friend's bachelor party and took the good camera phone with him :(
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thought I would share a few things :)

My husband and his friends found some sort of shallow water eel on the beach, it was still very much alive and they pushed it back into the ocean (with a stick) I have no idea what exactly it was, maybe a ridgefin?? Gulf of Mexico area if anyone knows anything about them or wants to look into it *pictures!* (sorry they're so distant the boys were a little nervous of it)

Tried to get some good "glamour" shots of Neo today, also did a little trim of the hygrophila in the front, it had broke the surface ^^
I have this thing about ventrals... I love big fluffy full vents, and Neo has them in abundance, if I could only get him to puff them out long enough to get a good pic of them :serious: He's so dang quick!


Bonus tiny baby shrimp pictures :wink3:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Alrighty, so it's been a couple weeks because holidays and such-like and I didn't want to post a lot about my new 10 gal until I had it set up the way I wanted so here's an update!

5 gal is doing great, just trimming and attempting to replant random hygrophilia stems, the crypts are amazingly happy, and I've started to dose the tank with potassium as I've noticed deficiency damage in some of the older leaves, I'm also experimenting with excel so we'll see what that does.

The 10 I just posted in the planted tank section about but I'll repost it here because it's my journal and I can do what I want :p

Introducing Mielikki's Grove

My husband got me a 10 gal as a gift for Christmas this year, Petco was having a sale on their Aqueon 10 gal led kits so we got one for 30 bucks. The seller for us on this was actually the piece of mopani that I have in the tank and it was the main inspiration for the grove itself. It's such a great chunk of wood! Looks like a dead tree trunk with roots growing out of the ground. I'm in love with it.

Anyway, the heater it came with didn't pan out (really crappy 25 watt preset thing) so I got a 50 watt aquatop instead ^^

Substrate is mixed eco complete and flourite black sand

PLANTS (weeeee!)
Echinodorus Amazonicos (Amazon Sword)
Echinodorus Parviflorus (Rosette Sword)
Anubias Nana
Anubias Lancelota
Bolbitis Heterocilia (El Nino Fern)
Sagittaria Subulata (Dwarf Sag)
Cryptocoryne Parva
Lamandau Mini Purple Buce
Nymphaea Tiger Lotus
Homalomena Insignis

Now all that's left to do is wait for it to fill in :D

I do plan on trimming the sag (the bunches they sent me were SUPER long!) to encourage it to carpet, but seeing as I just planted it I figure I should give it a bit to settle in. I'm a bit worried I'll lose the lotus, but we'll see, I hope it does okay, shipping was not kind to the poor thing. The glass fish is a place holder for a hand blown glass unicorn that is currently in the mail, but I won't have it for another week or so. This is my first experience with buce, so I hope the TINY little plants do okay. *prays like mad that everything doesn't melt too horribly*

Have yet to find a betta for this tank but I'm in no real rush, I want the tank more grown in anyway so I don't really mind waiting.
 

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Saw your diamond eye boy and wanted to share my experience with owing a few that went very near/completely blind that may help you later:
Feed in a consistent spot every time so they know where to go for food even if they can't see- I fed in the front right corner of the tank.
Use a sound to signify feeding time-I tapped the surface a few times with a finger at the feeding spot-some fish learn lid open=feeding too.
Some people will make a ring with small piece of air lien tube to keep a clear area to feed (good idea with surface plants). I use one of the valve adjusters to connect the 2 ends of the hose
or you can buy a pre-made ring online https://www.ebay.ca/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2499334.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.A0.H0.XFloating+Fish+Food+Ring.TRS5&_nkw=Floating+Fish+Food+Ring&_sacat=63034
https://smile.amazon.com/GOOTRADES-Pcs-Set-Plastic-Station-Aquarium/dp/B0711LQPKY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1547405371&sr=8-3&keywords=Floating+Fish+Food+Ring
If feeding larger food like blood worms or black worms use feeding tongs and put over bettas mouth (in feeding area) they should instinctively snap at them and grab before worms can sink (my brand sinks.. some float) Feed 1 worm at a time. Same method can be used for brine shrimp
 

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Discussion Starter #20
He's actually doing quite well now, he is more confident swimming around the tank and doesn't stick to the walls as much any more. I've seen him cruising around elsewhere between everything he can fit through and "hunting" my shrimplets (they're too quick for him and he's not too accurate when he pounces) So far he's been able to find his food quite well, the scales over his eyes don't completely block his vision (yet) and he likes to chase his food around the current in the tank and usually catches it if it falls towards the bottom. I'm keeping an eye on the dude, but so far so good ^^ thanks for the tips!

Oh and I've also trained him to come to a certain area when I tap on the lid of the tank in a specific rhythm, gotta love pavlov!
 
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