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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Apologies to anyone who has read bits of this on other threads and posts.
I just decided it would be better (for my future reference) if i put it all together on a single Kham thread.

I only set the tank up around 3 weeks ago, with a mere 3 day deadline before Kham arrived by courier.
So i did what I could.

Day 1 was just substrate and temporarily dumped in plants.


Then the log arrived and I went for a central island peak shape, with log as a cave.


The plants all came from a single shop. A nice shop.
None of them have started melting, dying back, or suffering, which is a major achievement. Will definitely use them again.

The diatom bloom started within the first week.
Leopard spots on the java ferns that fell off within 3 days, followed by thick brown coating on the upward facing leaves.


Then i added a dwarf lotus ‘aurora’ which came with snails.
They have begun to tackle the algae... :wink3:

Everything was going OK, except for Kham glass surfing more than I liked.
So i moved a couple of plants and his surfing halved.
Which i took to be a huge clue to move plants up against the sides, to break his view and swimming lines.

Also, since i really don’t want a pond snail infestation, I went out today after work and bought a single Assassin Snail (and a few more plants).

Quite a different look (and I don’t like it as much).
Too ‘busy’ and crowded with plants for my human aesthetic, but Kham loves it.


Oh, and the Assassin is on patrol. Can you spot him?

I’m now over three weeks in, the tank has cycled (more of that later), and I’m beginning to consider the other future inhabitants.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Cycling:

It was always going to be a Fish In cycle this time.

So I chose a Fluval Flex 57 litre because it would let me customise the filtration a lot.
The back two inches of the tank are sectioned off by a black glass wall.
Behind the wall are 3 chambers. The first is usually empty. The second contains foam and filter media, the third has the pump and the thermometer. Masses of filtration as standard. I wanted more, to speed up the cycle.

The filter outlet (there are 2 spouts) spits out very forcefully, and (didn’t realise this til I turned it on) is NOT adjustable, and was basically FAR too much. I have seen people cutting holes in the outlet pipe, but that is both drastic and non reversible.

So i had plenty to play with:
- moved most of the filter foam into chamber 1
- replaced it with 3 bags of quality filter media into chamber 2 (this had been dowsed in a bacteria solution called Waterlife Bacterlife, then hung in a mature tank for 3 days). Each bag is 7x5 inches, which is a huge amout of media :laugh:
- wrapped both outlet spouts in coarse filter foam to precisely control flow

There is still plenty of flow, but it isn’t too strong for Kham and plants. Or irritatingly noisy.

The substrate is Tropica ‘soil’. Very pleased with that, too. Although it contrasts with every pale poo, unburied root, fragment of food and 2 lumps of that plant wool stuff that I need to fish out! :wink3:

I think the cycling took less than 2 weeks, but I couldn’t quite believe it, and kept dosing with 2 drops Prime/g for several days longer than I needed to.

Am rather pleased.

The light is clearly bright enough to grow algae, so I hope it is bright enough for the plants!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you All!

I will def link to my sig. that is a great idea.

Kham is a very happy chap. He started off unable to eat from the surface. Which was a bit odd.

I had to give him fine grained food and release it below the surface so he could ‘hunt’ it as it sank. This led to some overfeeding, which has probably encouraged the snails, but also probably helped the filter.

He will now happily snap small stuff from the surface, but anything as big as New Life pellets just gets pecked at and left.

He dances around glass surfing (a lot less than before, now I have rearranged the planting).

The log was scary to start with. Now he loves it.
The cattapa leaf was scary. Now he ignores it.
The Assassin was interesting! But then it disappeared into a hidden stealth hunt.
He loves the floating log, the current, the stick on Betta leaf, and for some reason he has knocked the pH Alert if twice because it offends him. Red colour? He ignores the Ammonia Alert (blue and yellow) completely.

But he loves the plants most. Wriggling and squirming through them. Resting in, on and under. Manoevreing his way through.

I expect I may have to thin them out as they grow, esp the dwarf lotus.
 

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I had a similar flow issue with the Spec III and V. Instead of drilling holes in the pipe I got some air hose put holes in that and connected it to the spray bar. I run it 1/2 to 2/3 the distance of the tank.

It's a temp fix so if you feel like conditioning your fish you can remove/shorten to increase his strength
 

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One axiom I firmly believe: If you can see your Betta at a glance you do not have enough plants. Second take aquascape is more Betta friendly. :)

Would you like me to move this to Journals? If you wish, I can change the title, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
One axiom I firmly believe: If you can see your Betta at a glance you do not have enough plants. Second take aquascape is more Betta friendly. :)

Would you like me to move this to Journals? If you wish, I can change the title, too.
Yes please!
 

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I just noticed that in the UK it is easier for you to get Ceratophyllum submersum (Soft Hornwort) as opposed to the more common Ceratophyllum demersum. Very delicate. Why do I bring this up? Because submersum is a great stem plant that does no shed like the demersum. It is the stem plant in this tank. It has no roots so let it float free or anchor with a weight. I love the look and the Betta love resting in and wriggling through it.

It is not as easy to find in the US. I have a 10-gallon tank's worth coming when the weather is better. :laugh:

DSCN0366.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That plant is very pretty.
(And so is the fish!)
I will look this plant up and see if I can get some to try.

I definitely want more plant surface cover for Kham - which is why I got the dwarf lotus (and the snails came too) but the speed it is growing is rather intimidating.

It has 3 leaves grown in 10 days and the 4th grew up from the base by nearly a foot in 24 hrs yesterday. It is going to take constant hacking to keep under control.

Will see how it goes...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Snail news:

No sign of Assassin at all yesterday.
I hope this means s/he is patrolling and munching and getting snail numbers down.

I spotted some snail eggs on the glass yesterday, and came back 2 hrs late to find the had disappeared/hatched before I could remove them myself.

Their lifecycle is astonishing.

No wonder they get into tanks unnoticed. The eggs were smaller than grains of salt!

I have decided to view the babies as Assassin Food rather than me being too late to get them out.

Wonder how many more egg stashes there are, incubating under leaves and in corners...? Will on Assassin be enough? 😎
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Update:

Following a bit of sexual tension and aggression in the 15g I needed a rapid rehome for Big Red the overly frisky cherry barb who was causing all the trouble.

So I moved him into Kham’s tank yesterday.
He is still restlessly glass surfing but he has had something to eat, and is totally ignoring all his new tank mates. Which is good. Hopefully he will calm down a bit without his cherry barb harem to impress.

I have also received and installed 6 ember tetras today.
Bad timing in view of Big Red’s meltdown, but the timing clash was unavoidable.
Anyway, they seem to have settled in very well already. Shoaling, exploring, eating. The second half of the shoal will be along in a week or two.
And Kham and Big Red are ignoring everyone else.

No ammonia or nitrite spikes, so the beneficial bacteria are up to the job.



Can you spot a colour theme? Haha!

There is algae starting on the tank glass, which the pond snails are loving, and the Assassin seems to hug the shadows... :wink3:

Oh, and I have taken 3 lily leaves out so far. Eventually will be happy with surface leaves, but am letting it develop slowly. There are plenty of nutrients in the new substrate, and I am enjoying the mid level leaves at the mo. Not sure the lily agrees with me though. It sent a leaf up the height of the tank in 36 hours, so it will need almost daily pruning.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Right. So. Time for an update.

No ammonia or nitrite spikes from adding Big Red and the half shoal of ember tetras, so i added the other half today.
We are now up to 12, which various sites have said is a comfortable number for them.

I’m now looking at the tank and thinking it is too busy and crowded with plants (seen some impressive plant growth recently). And 12 embers make it look crowded with fish - to me.

But it isn’t my tank, is it? It belongs to Kham and the tetras now. And they all seem to be loving the plant density.
And the embers are definitely enjoying the safety-in-numbers of being in a bigger fleet.

The tank is under stocked according to its huge filter capacity, and stocking calculators.
But it has higher stock levels than I think is visually ideal. Maybe it is Big Red’s presence that does it.

The assassin has been busy. Can you see him in the pic? Climbing the R wall to the indian almond leaf. He has grown. I keep seeing empty pond snail shells on the substrate. So he is eating well. I have frozen bloodworms ready for when he wipes out the pond snail population.

The pic shows quite how much growth has gone on. I’ve been adding a little liquid CO2, and it really gave everything a kick up the backside. No melting on anything, which is stunning.



Sorry about the blurriness on the front wall. That is algae.
It appeared this last week. I’m torn between leaving it for the snails, or wiping it away, for my visual pleasure. Will decide at tomorrow’s WC.

The indian almond leaves are helping soften the water beautifully.
I’ve had hard water in the tanks since moving here 10 years ago. 2 IAL leaves have dropped this 57litre from 7.4 to 6.6 on the pH Alert.
That is a really handy gauge for using them on Valentine’s 22 litre and Tagawa’s 70 litre.

Oh, and Big red is much calmer now he is away from his harem. I doubt if he is happy, all on his shoaless lonesome, but the rest of the shoal (still in Tagawa’s 70litre) are friendlier and flirtier and definitely happier without him. He hasn’t bothered the embers or Kham at all, despite them being orange-red.
 
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