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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all and welcome to my betta journal where I'll keep track of the several different fish and planted tanks I have active. I've found betta are like potato chips, you can't have just one! Starting this journal off with 3 betta boys and their tanks, may add more later, certainly hope not to be removing any though. There are a few other non betta tanks I may toss up photos and updates for occasionally. At the time of opening this I have *has to visualizes each to to count* 6 active tanks (3 are betta inhabited), 1 quarantine tank, 1 'plant dumping' tank, 1 0.5 planted vase, and some unused small containers (most likely for plants and snails then fish).

XERXES
So first lets have some introductions, this is Xerxes, he's a mustard gas plakat male bought from aquabid from a Taiwanese breeder (he's changed a lot from the auction photo). He's a very active boy that likes to swim around the tank all day, he's very food greedy and has no problem jumping up to nab food off my finger if I take too long getting it unstuck from said finger. He gets incredibly grumpy when I'm late to feed him lunch and dinner, especially when its feeding time and I have a camera/phone camera in my hands. He does not like to be photogenic or be in photos... unless she's photo-bombing. He likes to burrow down under my thick plant carpet and rest on the substrate (like a dog who dis a ditch under a porch to sleep in).
(seller photo)



(more recent photos)




His tank mates currently include: 2 otos (unnamed) and unknown #s of Malaysian trumpets, ramshorns, and pond snails (he eats the little ones usually only see medium to big mts)



Ok so you've met the gang, lets go over some details about their lil' home
Tank: 7.1g AquaTop low iron cube 11.8 x 11.8 x 11.8
Start-up Date: fishless cycling started mid March, fish/plants added May 15th
Filter: Eheim classic 2211 canister filter WITH spray bar aimed at wall its suction cupped to
Heater: Eheim Jagar 50watt heater in a DIY pvc inline heater connected to canister filter outflow
Light: 13 watt 6500kelvin cfl bulb in clamp on work lamp hung from chain about 20" above substrate
Substrate: Black Diamond blasting 'sand' it's cheap and awesome stuff GET IT!
Hardscape/Decor: Currently none but will be adding a nice rock... eventually

Water Parameters:
pH: 7.5
GH & KH: 70s & 160s ppm (hard water)
Temp: 78F
Ammonia/Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate:10-20 ppm

Plant list: (at time of this journal start up)
Salvia minimia
Hygro sp tiger
Hydro sp japan
Rotala Rotundifolia

Tank Placement: On my desk to right of the computer monitor near the door
Plant Supplements: Seachem liquid: Excel, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron, and Flourish
Other Things: 1 Thermometer, 1 Indian Almond Leaf, cut foam cover over filter intake, DIY Lexan lid

And we'll end the first post with a recent frontal tank shot as I view it from my seat at the desk.. I really need to re-scape and trim plants soon!

 

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Discussion Starter #2
ALASTOR
Alastor is a Petco rescue delta male, I named him after the Greek spirit of blood feuds and revenge (mostly because of the blood red markings in his fins) but he's actually the most timid/non aggressive of my currently 3 bettas. I have a hard time capturing it with the camera, but his actually a white dragon scale with a bit of peach on his face (a blaze going up his forehead), his fins are very iridescent/prism like, with a bit of cellophane action at the tips, he's also got a little splash of red in his fins nearer to the body. Unfortunately most photos make him look too glow-y/light glare heavy or pink ._. he's not pink!
Anyways I rescued him along with another male betta, Magnus, and had them setup in a 10g quarantine tank with dividers used to make a “T”.. until the mustard decided to get wrecked getting over the barrier and trying to pick a fight with Alastor (and loosing from the look of it when I found them). Once the mustard was moved to a separate tank Alastor had the look of “Wasn't my fault, he came over and started it.” He had the feel of a fish that could kick serious ass but wasn't interested in fighting.. he was forced into that one since there was no escape. Alastor had the 10g to him self until his final tank was ready after re-scaping it. He moved in over a week ago and seems fairly content. He's still a bit finger shy, or shy of any object that gets put right against the glass really, but on a curved jar I guess it would look all big and distorted from his perspective.. hopefully he gets use to it ^^




He currently has a zebra nephrite snail living with him, but I hardly ever see the darn thing (It loves to hang out on the 'dark side' of the wood). There is probably some other tiny snails in there somehow too.. There are also tiny white micro crustaceans in there -I think they're called Copepods- and just look like little specks moving on the glass or in the water. A good flow/current gets rid of them but bettas don’t like that so they stay.. actually some fish will eat them including bettas, though I've not seen him suck any of them down yet.
Magnus' nerite on the left, Alastor's is on the right (they look better under the tank light, no so dark)






Tank details:
Tank: 2g Anchor Glass Cookie Jar
Start-up Date: Mid April, converted to betta tank mid September
Heater: Cobolt Mini 10 watt w/ Azoo micro temp controller
Filter: Jardin mini cylinder sponge filter w/ tetra whisper 10 air pump
Substrate: Black Diamond 'sand'
Hardscape: Driftwood 2 pieces (dunno type) + 3 small smooth black stones
Plant Supplements: Seachem Excel


Plats List: (at time of journal write up)
Christmas moss
Singapore moss
Salvia minima


Water Parameters:
pH: 7.5
GH & KH: 70s & 160s ppm (hard water)
Temp: roughly 77-78F
Ammonia/Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate:10-20 ppm


Tank Placement: Circular bookshelf below a windowsill by the front door in living room with a view to the kitchen table
Other Things:
1 Indian Almond Leaf, 1 Thermometer, DIY Lexan lid


Tank photos:

 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
MAGNUS
Magnus Is a mustard gas delta (mis-sold as a double tail) rescue from Petco, bought with Alastor. Magnus is an interesting fello.. he seems to have a slight quirk where his pelvic fins are always to his left of the anal fin, he can move them, but they just seem to slant to that side most of the time. Magnus shared the quarantine tank with Alastor, with dividers used o keep them separate, and unseen.. but he spotted his white nemesis through the screen one day and decided to raid the other side of the tank! After shredding his fins getting to the opposite side of the divide, he proceeded to have a (short) intense battle with Alastor until I busted the two and removed him. Magnus was clearly loosing from the greater fin damage and was kept in a small 3g quarantine tank (serape and at the other end of the room) to heal. He was clearly pouty from the failed fight and seemed like a viking who would have rather died in battle then be rescued/retreated. Once Alastor moved to his final tank, Magnus got an upgrade to the 10g quarantine. He's been doing well and though I can't give him much to entertain him IN the tank (not a lot of betta fin and aquarium safe things around) I try to hang around him when I can and put things outside his tank and move those around to stimulate him so he's not too bored. The quarantine tank is next to my plant dumping tank so he can see the plans over there, he can also see my active 20g long community tank and the 55g that the community tank plants and fish will be moved into over the next week hopefully.
I'll post more photos of Magnus once he's all healed up.



Soon he will share his (permanent) tank with a nerite snail I rescued from Pestmart.. which apparently has very soft water which caused it shell damage (its healing slowly in my calcium rich water) I thought it would be fitting to have the 2 damaged fellos housed together.
The damaged nerites 'good side' (cant see the chip and cracks) really love how this photo turned out!



Tank details:
Tank: 2-3g glass bubble bowl
Start-up Date: Mid April, converted to betta tank mid September
Filter: Jardin mini cylinder sponge filter w/ tetra whisper 10 air pump
Heater: Cobolt Mini 10 watt w/ Azoo micro temp controller
Substrate: MGOPM capped w/ Black Diamond 'sand'
Plant Supplements: Seachem Excel


Plant list:
(at start of this thread)
Dwarf baby tears aka HC
Pygmy chain sword
Micro sword narrow leaf
Blyxa japonica
Salvia minima

Water Parameters:
pH: 7.5
GH & KH: 70s & 160s ppm (hard water)
Temp: 78F
Ammonia/Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate:___

Tank Placement:Circular bookshelf below a windowsill by the front door in living room with a view to the kitchen table
Other Things:
1 Indian Almond Leaf, 1 Thermometer, DIY Lexan lid

Hoping blyxa grows back in quickly to hide equipment again like it did before the rescape.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Xerxes tank: Old photos of initial start up of the tank and older scapes (photo spam alert)






Here he is drip acclimating in the dark on day 1







[6/16/14]

[6/26/14]

[7/28/14]




Xerxes actually arrived a day early in the mail so instead of taking that day to slowly plant the tank and play with scaping ideas then except him the following morning, I had to rush planting do a quick water change for loose sediment then drip him in. I ultimately re-scaped the tank a few times after that first day.. and am due for another (still not quite happy with it). When he arrived he had no damage but was beautifully pale he looked almost silver, with a faint blue tinting to his body, and very mild yellow/white tail. Was happy to see him eat that evening and be pretty much completely colored back up the following day.. I loved having the dwarf lily in his tank (so did he) but it became not-so-dwarf and hogged most of the light so it was moved to another tank. A while after that I moved a lot of the other stem plants out to simplify the scape.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So it turns out the nertie snail that lives with Alastor currently.. is a girl! Nerite snail females lay small white eggs frequently (more like 'constantly' according to some owners), even without a male to fertilize them, however they will not hatch in fresh water (even if the boy is around). I believe they need strong brackish or even sea water quality salinity to be born.. I'm not aware of anyone (regular hobbiest) successfully hatching nerite snails in a home aquarium. Wonder if Alastor will eat the free snail-caviar as a snack.. many of them are hidden in odd spots I didn't think the big snail could wedge itself in between the driftwood and glass, and a few are under the moss on the wood. I'll try to get some photos of them tomorrow but they're rather small and hard to get a good focus on.



Totally enjoying your journal :)
Glad to hear ^^

subscribing :)
Awesome^^
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Just a quick-y!

Nerite snail eggs are the small white dots, with bonus blurry Alastor!


Magnus' lop sides pelvic fins he still has a lot of fin regrowing to do(have a curtain over his quarantine tank to reduce glare as tank next to it have a bright plant light).



In other news I rescaped Xerxes tank today, will post progress photos tomorrow.

So beautiful....!
Thank you ^^
 

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Discussion Starter #12
More blasts from the past: the small tanks

Alastor's and Magnus' Tank History:

Bubble bowl:So I let this grow wild for a few months as a shrimp tank with no added ferts, it did great until my mother visited and wanted the tank light left on to use as a room light while she socialized.. BAD IDEA I fought hair algae for months and was loosing the war, so I tore the whole tank down, peroxide dipped all the plants (ooo the blyxa did not like that!), and put in a new substrate (old soil and sand cap got mixed together into a big mess when removing plants as roots had gotten veeery long). Filter stayed cycled but the new soil is leeching ammonia (which is immediately consumed so I get no readings for it) so high nitrates for a bit.. but that's fine since Magnus was still healing his fins in the quarantine tank. I ended up replanting with about ½ the original batch of plants, giving the rest to my husbands tank (I’m thinking of grabbing some back >.> shhh don't tell him).

Cookie Jar:This was also set up as a shrimp tank originally but I've had not luck with the cherry shrimp breeding (in either tank) so they were moved to my husband's dwarf puffer tank as food (and still haven't been eaten =,=) and the tank redone. I rinsed out the jar, washed the substrate, removed all the moss from its old wood (manzantia branches) and peroxide dipped it to kill off hair algae, then reattached it to some old thicker pieces of wood my (now re-homed) Leopard sailfin pleco use to hide under waaaay back when he was about as small as a betta (he left me at nearly 14” long though and still had some growing to do!).


Ok enough chatter here are some photos:
First day after setup:



Bubble Bowl Setup:











Cookie Jar Setup:








Both after some water changes to remove cloudyness:








Several weeks later, with the sponge filters in (you ca see there's new growth)




Final photo of tanks before they were taken apart and redone for bettas. the pygmy chain sword grew like crazy in the soil based tank!
The vase in front has 2 Argentinian swords, I'll tell the story of their long journey in anotehr post someday.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Tribute to Arist'oto' (RIP)






Arist'oto' was a blue and white delta male rescue from Petco, named as a combination of Aristotle and oto (took 2 weeks to name him). I got him +6 otos to keep a filter cycled when my powder blue dwarf gourami died of old age, was planning a tank upgrade which happened about a week later. Of the 6 otos.. 3 vanished after the tank switch over the course of 2 weeks (no lid, think they jumped and became cat food..whoops) but the 3 otos left and this betta male got along REALLY well.. They seemed to have personalities rub off on each other. The otos were fearless and would dart around and under the siphon when I did water changes.. almost sucked one up once =.= they did not make cleaning easy, they also had no fear of my hands in the tank around them... Aritst'oto' on the other hand seemed to think he was an oto.. I think they were the first other fish he'd been wish since he was a fry. He hung out with them a lot but also explored the 20g long tank on his own... The oddest quirk was he'd eat veggies with them.. no really! [I have proof (set to fast)]. Besides veggies he'd peck at the algae wafer I'd put in for the otos and snails, he'd also eat all the small ramshorn and pond snails in the tank (mm escargot), but he never seemed incredibly thrilled about feeding time. Probably because he was already full from his foraging. Sure he'd eat his betta pellets and the (thawed) frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp.. but not with much zealous and it was hard to convince him "hey its feeding time get your wiggly blue butt to the surface!". He seemed just find exploring the tank all day and not incredibly interested in what went on outside of it or if someone walked up "huh, oh someones there? Just a sec, I' checking out this anubias.. its moved I'm sure of it.. but how?" (I moved it last water change now get over here and say hello!). Sadly I lost Arist'oto' after introducing un-quarantined fish, I think one brought in columnaris as everyone died within a few days (tank was still perfectly cycled and stable).
The otos he shared the tank with (and shown above) were moved before the outbreak, they are all still alive in my husband's dwarf puffer tank, fat and happy on diatoms and veggie slices.

I kept the tank cycled using pure ammonia and re-scaped it (I had a decent anubias collection that I lost most of to rhizome rot disease, I gave away the survivors). When I finally added new fish after they went through quarantine, no one had issues. I set it up as a riparium and have had a lot of fun with it, I'll be moving the fish and plants from the 20g to the 55g.. but the story of the riparium and its move is something for another post.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just a little humor

“I HAS A HAT!” a proud shrimp declares from its leafy perch, as a pale confused baby ramshorn snail tries to find its way off its current post. “Shud'up and get back to cleaning.” A grouchy snail a few inches away gripes as he forages for forgotten food crumbs.

Shrimp with a baby ramshorn snail hat. Dunno if shrimp put the snail on its head or just tolerated the baby crawling all over him.
Photo is a few months old but worth sharing I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
7g Re-scape! Xerxes is Oblivious to Change...

Before



Starting:







After





Sadly I had not seen one of my 2 otos in this tank for a few days leading up to the scape. On the day of re-scpaing (before starting) my visible oto seemed to notice the absence of the other and was pale from nervousness of being alone (he was vigorously eating cucumber in the morning).
The oto and Xerxes were moved to a bucket of tank water and put someplace dark while I redid the tank. Went through a lot of water changes to get all the sediment out after removing plants. New rock is a local stream find (sadly could not find any others like it) it passed a pH and hardness test so in it went! Rescaping killed my hand, the tension on the tongs/planting tweezers gave me bad carpel tunnel!
I dripped Xerxes and his oto back into the tank one it was done..But not before a (failed) attempt to introduce him to one of my other bettas.. Xerxes was completely oblivious to the tank and betta inside it I was putting him next to. He just swam against the opposite wall of the small cube (aiming towards the room his tank is in “hurry up and put me back in my tank!”). The other betta, Magnus, saw Xerxes and was curious but no flaring.
After dripping and putting the fish back in I found it amusing that Xerxes didn't even explore the tank, he was just at the front trying to mooch for more food. The oto explored the new rock for a bit then went back to its favorite tank wall to rest.. it was still pale and scared of being alone so I netted him out and dripped him into my 20g community tank which has 4 other otos. Poor little thing got stuck to the net (my bad forgot I should use a cup not net with catfish species) and had to pull him off. He swam away fine once he was loose but I've not tried to take tabs on oto count since putting the new guy in. They're impossible to find in there seeing as how I thought I only had 3 for several months and turns out the 4th was just always hanging out in the plant mass... Might get to see if all 5 are still there when I move the rest of the fish and plants over to the 55g.
Xerxes doesn't seem to mind/notice the otos being gone and just does his thing.. I notice he tends to like to surf the wall I have the spraybar of the filter against , guess he's playing in the current (or reading what I type since that wall views my monitor so he can prove me wrong when I type “he never does __” again probably!).
Turns out one of my Staurogyne Repen stems survived being melted, I found it when replanting and thought it was a hygro tiger baby at first (they look similar though repen grows its leaves closer together). I'm still not terribly happy with the scape but I'm not in the mood to re-do it... if riccia wasn't such a pain in the [censor] to maintain tied down I'd have used it in the foreground and let the hydro be behind the rock... oh well.. always an excuse to re-scape again some day.

As a side note: I dislike that this forum does not let you edit posts after a short time :c
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Xerxes' Quick Photo Shoot
Wanted to show how much his scales vary in color, and how he looks more green from above than through the tank glass. I still haven't gotten him to flare for me to see his beard or get a photo of it.... someday..







Wow, Xeres and his new rescape... It's beautiful!!!!!!

;) I defeniatley agree with you on the limited time we have to edit or post!
Thank you ^^
I'm sure to another forum's way where you can edit any of your posts whenever, just had to add a "reason for edit".. use to be able to delete too but they recently removed that.. Anyways the tank journals (multiple) i maintain over there I keep the first post updated with more recent photos/photo time line, would love to have that option here.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
The Little Argentinian Sword That Could!

This is the tale of the long journey of a very durable plant. Its moral is: don't give up!!!

Over 2 years ago I bought a plant in a tube from a local Petco to put in my 10g tank with my fish. After some research online I found out it was a Argentinian sword, a close relative of the Amazon sword but generally a bit narrower/smaller. The plant grew surprisingly well for not having roots tabs or soil (its a big root feeder species), and shot out several babies. Unfortunately it shared the tank with a ticking time bomb: a plant eating pleco that learned Sword leaves and roots are tasty!
Within 2 months of buying the plant all that remained was the crowns (small brown/grey part that roots and leaves grow from) everything else was consumed. I removed the plant and put it in a small mason jar with some old tank water and left it under a regular house light (not proper plant lighting by any standards) in the basement where it was cold... The little plant stayed there for many many months and didn't do much of anything.
Nearly a year later I ended up with an Evolve 4 (was on sale to get rid of inventory) and decided to try revitalizing the swords. I put root tabs and gravel in the tank then planted the swords. They grew long roots quickly, but the leaves kept starting then dieing off. I contacted the manufacturers of Evolves and found out their light is only BARELY the lowest of low light and only directly under the center. So the plant was getting its nutrients but not its light. Gave up on the evovle4 as I learned just every aspect of it was a piece of junk (loud filter, too much flow, plastic got stress fractures and bowed from daring to actually fill the tank up all the way, horrible light.. just low quality all over. For a while the swords sat in a jar again in the same place as before, but now they had roots and some leaves.
In February I grabbing a flower vase from upstairs to try one more time... Put Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix (MGOPM) in and capped it with gravel, then planted the 2 sword crowns that were doing the best from the evolve and filled it, then put it in the windowsill upstairs where it got plenty of ambient light. Though they started as pathetically small leaves, they grew and grew and grew! The soil and hitchhiking pond snails gave them plenty of nutrients and the sunlight all they needed to produce their energy. I threw In random scraps of other plants including hornwort, duckweed, salvia minimia, and even some dwarf water lettuce.
For the first few months I did weekly water changes in the vase to get out loose soil and snail poo.. but after a while I got lazy and since I was not keeping any serious fauna in the vase, stopped cleaning it. Unfortunately the combination of months of no water changes (just top offs) and a lot of sunlight from the window led to a large buildup of hair algae. It got to the point that there was no free space in the vase, I was just a solid mass of this thin green thread like algae, tangled into itself and the plants. I finally got sick of the algae vase getting so thick with the stuff I could barely see the sword anymore..I was sure the sword was suffering from the greatly reduced light it was getting in these conditions.. so I hunkered down and prepared to clean it out! Turns out it was much easier than I expected! I put my fingers in and tugged on one thread, then just slowly pulled it out.. the hair algae had grown over itself and tangled so much that the entire mass came out from just staging the one tiny piece! Once it was out it was interesting to look at, had a rather cool texture! But it was still algae so in the sealed trash it went! Along with most of the floaters that had been with it. After that I moved the vase down onto the bookshelf just below the windowsill where it would get much less sun, but was supplemented with plant lights from my bowl and jar tanks. I started doing weekly water cages again and the plant flourished.
I decided I wanted to move the sword to Magnus' bowl after it had been re-done in prep for the betta. When I removed the swords from the vase they made an absolute mess, pulling up a ton of soil with tier long roots. After planting and letting them stay overnight I decided I did not like the look of the sword leaves amongst all the grass like plants so I pulled them back out and redid the vase to put them back in. Now they sit in the vase with no other plants, and as far as I know, no snails (but I’m sure one will turn up in there). The leaves have grown so long they fold over to stay under water now. I'm trying to gently encourage the plant to grow its leaves out of the water -as swords can grow emersed- but I'm not sure how it will do in the low humidity air of the house. For not it its in its usual place in front of the jar and bowl just happily doing its thing after surviving all sorts of hardships. Who knows what the future will hold for this resilient plant, but all I can say is: if you have a sword plant: don't give up on it! Even if all you have is the crown (as long as that is not mush), give it nutrients, and light, and it will grow!!


Sadly I have no photos of it in the 10g or in the jar before replanting, here's what I do have:
Oct 2013 Evolve


Feb 2014 Vase


March


April




Hair Algae adventures in July

1-2-PULL:






TADA:


Aug




Sept
Tried moving it to the bubble bowl... didn't like so put it back in the vase


 

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Discussion Starter #20
So have not posted here as much as I plan Ed, went through a large transfer moving all my plants and fish from my 20g long -to my 55g. Apparently my canister filters nitrite consume bacteria [censor]ed the bed so bad to take all the media from my 20g filter. 20g is currently looking very empty and need rescaped and replanted. Hope to update with the history of the 55g and the 20g long soon ^^
 
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