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Discussion Starter #1
I decided it was time I start a journal talking about my first (sort of, I’ll get to that in another post) aquarium! My sister got a betta fish for her classroom (also will talk about that later) and I got bit by the betta bug and decided I needed an aquarium of my own.

I went to petco during the end of October of last year (2018) to get a deal on a tank during the dollar per gallon sale. I went to the checkout with a 5.5 gallon tank and found out it wasn’t part of the deal and it would be cheaper to get a 10-gallon so I grabbed a 10-gallon tank and checked out. I sort of regretted it at first because it was a much bigger tank but I’m so happy I ended up getting the bigger one!

Over the next two weeks I took my time getting things for my tank. In addition to the basics like water conditioner and a test kit etc. I got a bag of sand, a hide, a light, and an anubias plant from petsmart. I got grey slate rock, moss balls, and temple compacta plants from petco and finally I got driftwood, and some rocks from my newly found LFS.

Fun fact, when I started reading this forum whenever people said “LFS” I kept reading LFL which is little free library because we have a little free library and my sister is obsessed with them and I always got confused and was like what? Little free library? Oh no local fish store, got it got it.

Anyway I set up my tank with a DIY sponge filter with an air stone and air pump I already had and started to cycle the tank. I have changed up the way it looks a TON over time but I started out with this little pathway with sand leading to the driftwood. I really thought this would be the focal point of my tank because when I found the driftwood I thought it looked like some sort of fish castle when sitting up on one of the sides vs laying down like most driftwood. I later changed this.

One of my first mistakes was putting the anubias completely in the substrate and I killed almost all of the plant. I also was struggling to cycle the tank with just fish food and thought I would have to do a fish in cycle but I didn’t end up having to do that.

Here are some pictures of the tank after the first round of setting it up. At the time I still needed a thermometer, a heater, more plants, and of course my betta! There is also a bonus pic of one of my five (yes five, I am 22 and still live with my parents but again, that’s for another day) cats enjoying “his” new tank.
 

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Haha! Love the pics! We had a black cat who would climb into anything. He just got in and sat there blinking at the world for hours.

Love the tank too. Anubias grow slowly, and do well with low light. Did you say how much light the tank gets? Your Betta may like a bit more greenery to shelter in, and something that grows a bit faster would make that happen more quickly. I put a Hottonia in Tagawa’s tank a month ago, and it has already grown 2 inches!

And good call on buying the bigger tank. Not only will it make your betta’s life more interesting, it will also make it easier to keep the water healthy.
 
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Nice tank, and nice size, good choice. But I can only say (live) Plants, plants,plants. In a 10 gallon wow could I have fun. Just remember these words, If you can see your betta at a glance you don't have enough plants. Your fish like plenty of hides, and betta are no exception. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Haha! Love the pics! We had a black cat who would climb into anything. He just got in and sat there blinking at the world for hours.

Love the tank too. Anubias grow slowly, and do well with low light. Did you say how much light the tank gets? Your Betta may like a bit more greenery to shelter in, and something that grows a bit faster would make that happen more quickly. I put a Hottonia in Tagawa’s tank a month ago, and it has already grown 2 inches!

And good call on buying the bigger tank. Not only will it make your betta’s life more interesting, it will also make it easier to keep the water healthy.
All of our cats will climb into anything! LOL :laugh: I still did several more things to the tank before I got my little guy. I guess I should have said that I am just taking pics that I already had in my phone and writing out what I remember doing at that time until I catch up to the present day. I ended up switching the light source so I will mention that in one of my next posts. All of my current plants are actually growing too slow for my liking so I will look into getting some hottonia! :grin2:
 

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Okay, part two! I should mention that these first posts are me recounting what I did back when I was first setting up my tank, I’ll mention once I am posting for present day! So after I set up my tank I ordered a betta leaf and a sponge filter off of Amazon since I wanted a real filter and not a DIY one. I also got an Aqueon preset 50W heater at Petco.

Did you know Petco price matches? They will match Amazon, chewy, jet, PetSmart, Walmart, wag, and target! They will also match sale items from other Petco stores and Petco online. What I found interesting is that in the store this heater is $20.99 but on Petco's website it is $11.29. So make sure to price match if you buy from them!

Once that all came in I did a little water change and decided I wanted to change up the substrate a bit as you can see in the picture below. It was around this time that I actually started looking for a betta. Even though my tank wasn’t cycled I knew I could always do a fish in cycle and I also knew I was going to be very picky about this betta, so I should start looking right away.

I really really really wanted a dumbo ear. It’s not that I don’t like other kinds of bettas because I do! It’s just that I love their huge pectoral fins and even though I knew this would mean there would be fewer options for me to choose from I really wanted to wait until I found the perfect guy. Trust me I almost caved SEVERAL times. I’ll include some pictures of the bettas I was considering at the time below. Also included is a picture of another one of my cats, Tanzy, who apparently was trying very hard to find the fish that was not in the tank. LOL.
 

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Love your aquascaping, great design. Cats are pips aren't they? I'm jealous of all the fish you have. Many of my fish, past and present have very close colors to some of yours, especially the green one.
and you have inspired me to write a journal too!


Like a twinsie!
 

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Well, long time no talk! There have been major changes in my aquarium and I thought I should share them with you all!

After my last post, I took out the larger substrate and went with just white sand and rearranged some things. My anubias died and I got some dwarf sag from another LFS that I discovered!

I then changed the way things were arranged again. I moved the driftwood and got a thermometer as well as took some biological media from my sister's betta tank to help mine cycle quicker!

& then I got Douglas! I think I have another post about just him. I got him on December 1st so I named him Douglas after a Douglas fur tree. I’ll include some pictures of him growing up here!

Also, I have a lot to update you guys on so I will be making a few posts here today. I want to separate it out into different posts so it doesn’t get too confusing!
 

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I ordered some frogbit on eBay and some Vesuvius Sword. I also got what I believe to be Crinum calamistratum from my LFS and I wanted to get hornwort but got something that looks sort of similar to it - not sure the name on that one. I also added root tabs at this time to hopefully help my plants grow!

My tank was looking way too bare for my liking and the plants weren’t growing as quickly as I thought they would. So I ordered some Crypt Wenti from eBay.

Douglas continued to grow and I was 100% sure that my snail was a girl since she was laying eggs all over the tank! My mom is weirdly afraid of snails and was freaked out that she would somehow get out of the tank and crawl her way into my mom's room and “get her” it was so funny! Whenever she was in my room she would have to find CC (Candy Cane is what my sister's classroom decided I should name my snail) to make sure that she was still in the tank. :laugh:

P.S. Sometime during these months I got a new heater from Dr’s Foster and Smith. I am so sad that their website is not up and running anymore! I know they are a part of Petco but it just isn't the same.
 

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At this point I didn’t love the white substrate anymore because it got dirty quickly and just made my tank look like it wasn’t well taken care of. My plants also weren’t doing so hot so I decided that I should get some substrate that is specifically for aquariums.

This was the first true makeover that I had done on my tank. I went out and got fluvial stratum for the substrate, an internal filter (I didn’t feel like my one small sponge filter was doing enough), a coconut hide, Anubias congensis, and narrow leaf java fern.

I took everything out of the tank and decided to paint the back of it black. Once that was done I put everything back into the tank and I finally felt like i was on my way to having the aquarium I wanted!:grin2:
 

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The tank is coming along nicely. I love the elephant ear and the color. With the 4 boys I have my oldest is an elephant ear named Gunny.
Thank you! I love watching elephant ear bettas pectoral fins when they swim. They're so beautiful! :grin2:
 

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After this post, you will all be caught up! The anubias died off pretty quickly. I have no idea why mine always seem to die? I know not to put the rhizome in the substrate. Most of my crypt wenti melted away too! I ordered aquarium co-op easy green all in one fertilizer and that seems to have helped a little. I switched things up a bit but not too much around this time. I am wondering if my light could be the cause of my problems? It’s a national geographic deluxe programmable LED aquarium light.

My sister has a 5-gallon tank in her classroom and another teacher has a back to the roots aqua garden in her room that I help take care of during the year. Summer was coming up and I decided to set up a split 10-gallon tank for their fish so I would only have to do water changes on 2 tanks instead of 3.

I set the tank up with the hopes of growing sweet potatoes in it for some extra filtration and to have the roots for the fish to swim in. I got the idea from Foo the flower horn on youtube and if you don’t watch his videos you are missing out! His sweet potato betta tank is amazing! I also used some landscaping stones we had in our garage but I quickly realized that not all stones are aquarium safe so I switched it out for the decor that was already in their tanks at school. It’s not my favorite tank but I think it is okay for summer!

The golden fish is named Puffer (well Puffer 2.0) and he has done awesome this summer! Unfortunately, the other fish, Max, damaged his fins during the move to the new tank and even though I tried 6 different treatment options he passed away. I really feel like an awful fish momma but I know I did everything I could for him.

Douglas has become more lethargic and is struggling to swim. Up until a couple of days ago, he was still able to get his food quickly but now I have to place the food right in front of him or he can’t swim to get it. I have moved him to a smaller tank and I think I am going to try to treat him for swim bladder.

I also got a new fish for the other teacher (she is devastated that Max has passed, she really bonded with him over the year) I will post about her soon once she is more settled in!
 

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I love the dumbo-ear bettas; though I read a really interesting article on how the breeding of the special varieties of betta (like 'half-moon' 'full moon' 'dragon scale') has lead to a lot of health problems, including increased risk of cardiac exhaustion (due to flowing fins) and tumours. My beloved Karl was a dumbo ear and just the most beautiful Betta (my mom was sad when he died because he was the 'prettiest' of my four boys at the time) and I want to get a dumbo ear again, but I'm not sure because I'm hoping it wasn't due to his 'type' that caused him to die so young.

Love what you're doing though! Also glad to hear your sister's class Betta is in a proper environment, I was given a guppie at the beginning of the summer who had been abandoned by a teacher in my mom's school-the guppy was living in one of those tiny critter keepers that are like 500ml, with no heater or filter or any plants...the water was so green/brown that my mom thought he was a betta not a guppy...
 

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Well, I have a lot of updates!

Firsts things first, Douglas, has passed away. I am heartbroken. Although I did have one other betta years ago he was not in a proper set up so Douglas was the first betta that I truly knew what I was doing with. It took me weeks before I could even look at getting a new betta.

I did, however, get a new betta who I named Tortilla. He is a mustard gas or a “paradise male” according to Petco and although at first, I was just missing Douglas I have come to really enjoy Tortilla.:smile2:

He makes massive bubble nests and gets very VERY angry when I disrupt them. He has such a cute personality!

It’s been less than a year since I started this 10-gallon tank and with my growing knowledge and skill for live plants, I now have a different idea of what I would like my tank to look like. A year ago I never thought I would have the knowledge I do now on how to care for plants!

I got some new plants for my tank and decided to just plop them in there and let them grow until I got the hardscape to re-scape my tank. I hate having plants all over with no rhyme or reason for it but Tortilla didn’t seem to mind at all! LOL

So far I have gotten hornwort and what I believe to be some sort of moss from my LFS. I then ordered some Vallisneria and got a free plant with it that I believe is fanwort, and then I ordered some Bacopa and got what I believe to be Ludwigia Repens Red with it!

It was my birthday on September 10th (I’m 23 now!) and with my birthday money, I decided to get one more order of plants before I re-scaped my tank.

This time I got a Melon Sword, Cardinal plant (Lobelia cardinalis “Dwarf”) Bunched Rotala Macrandra (giant red macrandra) Anubias Nana Petite (whyyy are these so pricy!), Ludwigia Ovalis, and Red Rubin.

I’ll include some pics of my tank during the “grow out” process and of it now! I am pretty happy with how it turned out and I even filmed a time-lapse of me scaping the tank that I uploaded to youtube so I will also include a link to that! The comparison picture is one week of growth. You can see how crazy my frogbit is! :grin2:

 

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I'm so sorry to hear about Douglas. I know it wasn't the care he was given or his home. The tank looks great. I have taken on a project in a 10 gallon to see what I can do with it in a community and betta setting. I came across this tank in a going out of business sale, a 10 gallon setup with just a really cheep looking LED hood, for $3.00. I said to myself why not. So it came home and I added the heater and filter I have had from other tanks. I used the rest of my white sand substrate and added 15 lb. of small white pebbles, and started the fishless cycle. The tank has been running now for about a month and the cycle isn't even close to being done. So today I'm going up to Erie PA to get plants ( right now there are silk plants in the tank and I will not stand for fake plants.)I'm also going to look for some small community fish so this cycle will end. I haven't decided on any betta yet but I'll be in contact with a friend of Russell's today and if he still has an HM I saw yesterday I'm going to pull the trigger on him. So when I can I'll post the new tank.

Thanks Molly910 for the push to get this 10 gallon running. I have other tanks in the works that have taken on a life of their own. My basement fish room is getting a bit overstocked and i had better get the racks finished for the breeder tanks. I should have this done by Christmas. It's a great keeping busy project for me. (It's one of those projects that just keeps growing I don't know why. My wife says its an addiction.) LOL
 

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Wow-what an awesome deal! Any ideas on what you're going to stock it with? I actually only got the 10-gallon tank because the dollar per gallon sale was going on when I went in to get a 5.5 gallon and when I realized that it would be cheaper to get a 10 gallon I just went for it. Funny what a good deal will get us to do! :laugh:
 

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This is so very true so here's what $3.00 will get ya. A 10 gallon tank with a really cheep Tetra plastic LED hood. I sad what the heck I could use the tank and I have the filters and heaters That I have saved over the years. and I had about 15 lb. of white sand substrate left from my last 5.5 gal. setup. (it really pays to save filters and heaters that still work. Less expensive to set a tank up.

I still have no idea of what to put in the tank except I did buy a new boy to day and he will be here around Thursday. As far as other fish I'm going to do a wait and see.

I'm posting a new thread in Planted tanks so I hope you take a look.
 

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Are you interested in tankmates? If so, I would recommend kuhli loaches, a school of 6 corydoras, some honey gouramis or oto catfish. But, before you get tankmates, I would put a single finger in the tank. Does your betta seem aggressive? Does it bite at it? Does it hunt it or display to it? If so, I would not recommend tankmates. Although, one of my bettas is MUCH happier with tankmate, although, he is very peaceful.
 
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