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One betta lives in a 10 gallon tank with river rock substrate and a plethora of ramshorn snails, plastic plants and hideys. He has a heater and filter and his water is lovely and clear and I do a gravel vacuum and 50 percent water change weekly.

The other lives in a different 10 gallon tank and at first, I put those glass stones in for substrate, along with plastic plants, hideys, a heater and a filter, identical to the ones in Opie's tank. I used the glass stones for Otis because I already had them, but they were not a good choice for a 10 gallon tank. They were fine for the little 2.5 gallon tanks I used them in before, because I took the fish entirely out and did a 100 percent water change weekly.

I finally decided poor Otis' water was just not clean enough because I couldn't adequately vacuum those stones -- they'd stick in the vacuum and clog it -- so I took Otis and the snails out and emptied the tank and sucked up all the accumulated poop and replaced the glass stones with proper aquarium gravel. By Otis' reaction, you'd have thought I gave him a whole new tank. And his water is now clear. We're all happier now. The tank is prettier to look at, the water is clean, Otis is happy and is tormenting the snails (he likes to swim up to them when they're attached to a plant or hidey and knock them off; he seems to think this great fun).
 

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Interesting observation. I'm trying barebottom tanks myself and will be posting some pics of that soon. I just think they're healthier and easier to clean, and mine look quite natural if I do say so myself. I've made a faux sand bottom with black sand and silicone on one, and the other is silicone and a fine brown gravel interspersed with large stones. Looks just like sand/gravel but easy to clean like BB ;)
 
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