Betta Fish Forum banner
1 - 20 of 171 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, the paludarium project is done. I've found I like keeping a journal on here, but the title no longer fits and the original topic is now kind of off-topic. (If that makes sense? It doesn't, but whatever.) So I'm switching to a general blog.

Paludarium adventure is here if you missed it:
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=412786

A quick catch-up:
The paludarium is finished and gorgeous and Felix, my MG(ish) HM, is loving it (although still won't stop fin biting...) Felix shares the 2ish gallons of swimming space and 4ish gallons of water with his nerite snail, Adagio. (Who's slacking off on cleaning up the algae on the window side of the tank. Grumble.)

Paludarium plants include:
Semiaquatic: Spearmint cuttings, peacock ferns, lucky bamboo cutting.
Aquatic: Plenty of water wisteria, and some java fern babies and a little java moss.

Felix's old 1.5g tank is now an NPT. It's been two weeks since I set it up, and two days since I brought home a lovely little rescue fish. He's coloring up really well and likes sleeping in the generous roots of the lucky bamboo I've managed to wedge in through one of the feeding holes (yes, the top is in the air) and in the java moss. He also actually uses the little terracotta pot to hide in, which Felix never did. There's only maybe 1g of water in this tank, but it should be cycling (as much as such a little tank can do) and it has plants.

This tank's plants include:
Semiaquatic: the big lucky bamboo. But no more s/a plants because this one isn't designed that way.
Aquatic: Some of the larger baby java ferns (there are a lot of them) and the mother plant, and the lion's share of the java moss. It'll get more plants eventually.

There was a gorgeous solid deep indigo VT I passed up for him, and part of my brain is still grumbling about that, but New Boy is growing on me. Besides, he wouldn't have gotten a home being all gray and stress-striped like he was, and I wouldn't have wanted him to stagnate in PetSmart forever.

Potential names for New Boy:
Orion (I almost named Felix this)
Octothorpe (that's a name for the # symbol)
Bromeliad (a plant which can have bright red or otherwise colorful leaves at the top)
Simon (because I like the name Simon)

I think I am leaning towards Simon. XD

Also, can I get a shout-out to the nerve-wracking process of putting these (1) up with these (2)?
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,932 Posts
I agree with Simon for your new VT. Plus I think it sounds nice with Felix
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, I like Simon the best too. It's the only one that really seems to stick with him.

I'm still wondering if that cobalt blue VT I really liked is still at PetSmart. I will have to negotiate my way into going back there... I just got more grad money, and I don't think my mom can protest too well against more fish since I'm paying for and maintaining them. :p Besides, all I need is the fish and a Kritter Keeper, and maybe some more plants. (Though if I leave room for air at the top, my mint cuttings are doing a very good job of keeping Felix's water clean.) I have the substrate and an extra heater and I can make cover and stuff for him super easily.

If my mom thinks she can deter me from buying more fish with the "you have no room for this" excuse, she doesn't know me very well... I can shuffle stuff around like nobody's business. Well, I guess PetSmart's business, but that's all. Nobody else's business.

Good thing I've decided that when I go to college, I'm living in a studio apartment instead of the dorms... that way, I don't have to worry about space for my fishies, or drunken roommates doing weird stuff to my tanks. (Among other things, obviously.) I did the math earlier today and the studio apartment's actually cheaper in most places than most dorms.

Think I can get my mom to take me to PetSmart? :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,932 Posts
I think you should, plus you can always use the excuse of "I need to get something for my fish/tanks" :p
Plus I bet that VT would be happy to move to large warm clean home instead of a tiny cold cup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I went back "for water conditioner," telling myself that I'd only buy a fish if it was the boy I'd had my eye on. If I found my boy, he and a Kritter Keeper were coming home with me, stat.

So I directed my dad off to get cat treats so he couldn't pull me away from the fish (I knew he wouldn't find them immediately, he's not a PetSmart regular), and hurried back to look for the fish I haven't been able to get off my mind.

They had about six cobalt blue VTs.

I didn't recognize my boy, and I definitely couldn't choose between them. I left without a fish but with a small bottle of Prime (because I actually did need water conditioner) and a package of bacopa.

I think I wouldn't easily get away with another fish anyway, although if that one boy had still been there and I recognized him, I would have fought for him. But I'm still working on nursing Simon back to full color and health, and I can't quite justify dumping another fish into an uncycled tank even if it's better than an equally uncycled cup. I'll wait a few months before I get another fish, and spare my mother's sanity. :p

Well, put it this way... in a few months, my tanks will have overgrown rather nicely, and I can use the excuse of "I've got to have somewhere to put these plants, my fish can hardly swim in this mess..." to get another. Especially with the extra plant I bought. Buying plants looks so innocent. :p
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wowwwwww!

Wowwwwwwwww!

The bacopa looked like a small amount in the package in the store, but when I separated out the individual plants--it's actually a big package! Worth the $9. I had to move rocks out of Felix's tank in order to fit in his share, and there was plenty for Simon too!

Felix's tank gets direct sunlight and a CFL aimed at the tank, and Simon's tank gets indirect sunlight, so the stuff should grow pretty well in both.

I know it's supposed to be a "background plant," but I want my fishies to be able to hide amongst it. So the bacopa, like the other plants in my tanks, is spread around kind of randomly. It's not like there are designer fairies out in the wild, organizing the rice paddies' plants into different height categories, anyway.

It does, however, make checking on my fish kind of resemble a game of Where's Waldo. I think that's a good thing though.

Even in Simon's 1.5g, which probably only has 1g of swimming space, I can have a hard time finding him. Which makes me feel not so bad about the fact that there's so little space. I mean, the top is clear--the tallest plant is the mother java fern and its tallest leaves still leave an inch or two. But the bottom has tons of places to explore and hide. I know it's not ideal, but it's MUCH better than the betta vase Simon would probably have otherwise ended up in.

Felix has a pretty sweet pad now, I have to say. Shallow and wide/long, tons of plants, great temperature, a snail to keep him company, and great food and bloodworms on the regular. He's spoiled. And yet he still bites his fins. DX

I'll have to post pics of these guys and their homes soon. They look pretty awesome and Simon is super red.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Augggghhh... GED testing tomorrow. Why does my school district hate partial homeschoolers so much? I don't know. But it does, and this is the easiest way out.

Simon is being freaking adorable and his faint traces of stress stripes are disappearing by the day. I love how he actually explores his tank regularly... Felix mostly stayed at the front all the time in that tank, wanting food or attention.

Felix is tail nibbling again, but not too badly. I've come to terms with the fact that it's just something he's gonna do, and as long as he doesn't tear out HUGE chunks of fin and doesn't get fin rot, I'm not going to worry about him.

Jake wants me to tell you he says meow. Loudly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Cleaned out my two bookshelves today. I weeded out old books, adjusted the height of several shelves, organized everything, and now I have...

One shelf's worth of space.

You could say I have a lot of books.

At least there are no more books stacked horizontally on top of other books, supporting another book leaning diagonally onto that stack of books from another stack of books.

I promised a picture update in the near future a few days ago, and here it is!

Remember this guy?



Now he looks like this.



This is where he lives.



Here's Felix's tank when I was trying to find a spot for the bacopa. I ended up moving about six of his black rocks out in order to have more ground space.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,932 Posts
Im glad Simon is doing so much better. He looks awesome :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks! I'll pass on your compliment to him. :p

Now off to look up cake recipes so I can Frankenstein my own. I'm good at patching together bits of different recipes, throwing in my own assortment of flavors, and coming out with what I want. The only tendency I have is to make them a little dry. Although the last cake I baked, I added an extra half teaspoon of baking powder and it lifted really well. I think I will add extra again, although not quite as much.

I want two different cake flavors. My older brother just had a birthday AND is moving into a new house. And he just had an anniversary, too. We're helping him move in a few weeks (it's only a block or two though). So I'm baking two single-layer cakes for his birthday/housewarming, less because there are two occasions and more because by the time we're all there, we're a party of 6, including an 11-year-old boy, and I want to leave my brother and his wife some cake.

Clarification: I'm 17. My brother is 32. Our parents just really spaced us out.

Anyway, I'm off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,932 Posts
Good luck with that, cake baking sounds fun :)

lol I know how you feel with the age difference both my brother and sister are in there 30's too and im 17
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
My fish are super weird.

I just found out that Simon, like Felix, is an Erock fan. Whenever I'm playing metal music, they come up close to the speakers to check it out and I've caught them doing a little dance and wiggling their fins. They must like the vibrations in their water or something. :p

Felix also totally doesn't care about thunder. It's so loud, you'd think they'd be a little disturbed by it, but Felix doesn't care. I haven't seen Simon react to a thunderstorm yet though.

But if one of the legs of my desk chair rolls into the desk and it bumps a little bit?
Felix: THEWORLDISENDINGHIDE.
Simon: Totally doesn't notice.

Simon is so normal. I rarely get normal pets--that's weird in and of itself. Felix is a clown. A weird clown who's aggressive to peacock feathers and apparently hates his own tail. Jake is downright bizarre... he's a rescue cat, the alpha male cat in our house, and a total mama's boy, all wrapped into one. If I've shut him out of my room, he scratches at the door and wails and yells at me, and even if you ignore him for an hour, he doesn't give up. As for our other three cats? I like to say they're a gift from Heaven... except Heaven was on some heavy-duty cold medicine at the time.

I think I'm going to do a blueberry pie and a carrot cake for my brother. I know where to find some cheap blueberries.

Although if the cherry tree in the back yard still has a bunch of ripe cherries on it, it might be a mixed berry pie... we need to use up those cherries. I don't want to think about all the things we'll have to do in order to offload the apricots this year. Last year it was pies, jams, preserves, giving a bunch to the neighbors, using them in recipes... they were delicious, but there is such a thing as too many apricots.

There's also such a thing as WAAAAAAY too many apples. I think I have it posted that I live in Iowa? We're Apple Central. Specifically, my back yard is Apple Central. My house is built on two lots, so there's a huge backyard, and we have three big apple trees (and a cherry tree, and several apricot trees, and a veggie garden, and there used to be a big wild raspberry bush but it's gone now). The apple harvest last year was insane. I'm normally the one who picks the fruit and veggies, but when I went out last year to pick things and check on the different things that were growing, I found our main apple tree.

To say it was loaded would be an understatement.

"Guys..." I said to my family, "if you want to save this tree, you've got to pick these apples."

It was mainly the biggest apple tree that had the problem. Golden delicious apples in uncountable numbers. We were filling storage tubs and taking them to Salvation Army, King's Harvest, and the food bank. We were giving away still more tubs to members of our church. My mom bought a tool just to peel and core those that we could manage to eat, and there was pie and pie and more pie, and pie for anyone who walked in our door.

Three big branches, maybe 4in in diameter, broke that year. The tree's okay, though.

The Winesap apple tree also boomed, but not quite as violently. Our other apple tree, which... I don't really know what kind it is, but it busted with tons of tiny apples that were nevertheless ripe. It wasn't dangerous, so I was the only one picking that tree, but I still had to be careful not to trip on all the fallen apples I hadn't managed to collect.

The apple trees didn't bloom this year. I think they're kind of exhausted, and frankly it'll be a while before I want to work with apples again.

It would be nice to have another raspberry bush, though. I have a lot of fond childhood memories of climbing around on my dad's ever-stationary extra stump grinder, which had been sitting there so long that the bush had started to grow around it, in order to get to the higher berries. I became very talented at climbing around on the thing, and also talented at kind of freaking out my parents until they got used to it.

I have the best backyard ever. XD

Once again, I must ask the question... how in the world did I get here from fish? XD

PS: Tips from an Iowa girl...

If you're looking for apples in a grocery store, weigh them in your hand. The heaviest ones are the juiciest and taste the best, although they're usually priced by weight and are more expensive. This is why pre-bagged apples aren't as good; the heavier apples are put on the stand because they'll sell for more. You pay per bag, and you buy the bags because you can see a lot of apples in there. They're usually tasteless and often underripe--which won't hurt you, they're just not very good.

Tomatoes that are slightly squishy are nicely ripe.

If you can smell the produce and it smells good, it's gonna taste good.

Celery leaves are edible.

Pineapples which are heavy for their size, are yellower than average, and have small crowns are tastier. It's easy to prep a pineapple with a sharp, heavy knife, but there's a tool that will cut it into a long spiral and save the juice. I don't know what it's called but it works.

Always look at the bottom of the berry carton before you buy.

A bag of lettuce that's wet on the bottom: not a good buy. Personally, I like heads of lettuce better than bags. They're not hard to prep, and wedge salads ftw (am I right, add the bacon and blue cheese plz)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,979 Posts
Agreed on heads of lettuce. Nice tip on the apples - I had no idea, and I sometimes buy the bags for pies. Scratch that, buying them individually from now on. Our grocery store has very good produce, but even the nicest place is going to do what they have to so they can sell stuff that doesn't make the grade.

Haha, my sympathy on the apple tree - we had a nectarine tree that would over-fruit every year, only instead of doing the smart thing and picking it early, my mom would just have us clean up the rotten fruit. Ugh.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Even at Fareway, where they'll sell good-quality apples in paper bags, you want to buy individually. The gas produce gives off is trapped in those bags and it really ages the apples, as opposed to letting them sit in the open air and circulate.

Apples also have different seasons and harvesting times. You may want to check the Internet on which pie apples are closest to being in season if you're planning on making pies, but it's not necessary because the kinds that are in season are usually the heaviest anyway.

If you get good, heavy apples, you also don't need to add much fluid to your pies--or none, depending on how you like to make them. My mom likes straight-up sugary baked apples in her pies... some people like to have some of that sweet apple syrupy stuff in there as well (I do).

My fishy frustration today: The way Felix's tank does this when I scrub the algae off. Adagio just can't keep up with it, but I don't want to add another nerite for fear of the bioload. Maybe MTS if I can get my hands on them.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,932 Posts
Maybe if you keep a piece of paper over the side next to the window for part of the day it might keep the sunlight down a bit and maybe not create so much algea?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Today was the boys' water change day for the week. Both tanks are moderately planted for their size (by my judgment), so a 50% WC once a week seems to be keeping everyone happy. My fish are active and colorful and eat like pigs, so I think it's working.

I *would* like to know the parameters on these tanks, just to know for sure that it's safe, but I've heard that having plants as a sort of biological filter (if that's the right word) means the cycle is silent and can't be measured--in which case, that would be $25 spent that I don't need to spend right now. Does anyone who's still following this know if there's a way to check, or should I go off of fishy behavior like I have up until now? Is it worth getting a test kit right now?

Felix wasn't thrilled at first that I had to cup him in order to change out half the paludarium's water. But I've found that putting plants in with a cupped fish makes them not freak out. It's magical. You stick in something green and they relax.

I wonder if the breeder who supplies our PetSmart puts a hunk of java moss or something in his/her betta cups? It would make sense--that would keep the ammonia down in those little containers. Would the fish remember, and associate that with being taken care of? I don't know. More likely that they just feel safer with the cover. Either way, it works.

Felix is letting that chunk of his anal fin grow back--it's a third of the way regrown--but he's tail nibbling again. That's what's making me a little bit concerned about his water. But he was tail nibbling even when he was in the pristinely kept 1.5g, which got a 50% wc every three days and had plants and a filter... so his nibbling isn't really a reliable sign of water quality.

I was wondering about getting a filter for the paludarium. It's got sort of an odd, stirred-up-dust sort of cloudiness to it sometimes, and it doesn't correlate with water changes or anything like that.

Somebody's shooting off fireworks and Simon is not thrilled. He darted when they shot the first few off, and now he's hunkering down by his java moss and his clay pot, right in the middle of all his plants. Poor guy. I'll start playing music, maybe then the noise won't startle him so much.

A note to anyone starting an NPT who plan on using sand for a cap: Use black sand. Use dark brown sand. Use mixed-color sand. Don't use white sand. You will get soil above the cap, and it'll settle, and it'll stand out against white. Obvious, I know.

I culled out some of Felix's mint, since certain parts of it refused to stay above water and were deteriorating. It's not a problem, since my on-land mint plant grows like a weed for me.

I left Simon in his tank for his 50% change, but I don't think I will again. He's stress-striping now. He stripes easily, I've noticed. I think it'll be a while before he becomes a little hardier. Poor guy... I've never seen Felix stress-striped, and I've made tons of mistakes with him. Simon must have been in awfully bad condition before. The PetSmart lady said that they'd just gotten in a new shipment of bettas and that that might be why he was so stressed looking. But unless "just gotten in" meant they got him about fifteen minutes ago, I think he was one of the neglected leftovers from the old shipment, because his color came in more in thirty minutes after just a little care.

I'm gonna feed him and see if he perks up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Oh, man, I just figured out why Felix's water is cloudy. It's a bacterial bloom caused either by the ammonia in the soil or the mint leaves that ended up below the water line and died off. Or the dead leaves or "nutrient gel" that came on the bacopa (really hard to get it all, frankly) Or it's the dying algae I've been scraping off the sides of the tank. Or all of those things.

Either way, it's just fine; any other kind of fish, I might be a little worried about oxygen levels, but bettas can breathe air for oxygen and Felix has a nice resting spot near the surface. It should subside on its own, and I'll just pick off dead leaves faster when I see them.

Good to know. :)
 
1 - 20 of 171 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top