Fluval Spec 2g Betta Paradise - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 02:20 AM Thread Starter
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Fluval Spec 2g Betta Paradise

I think it's about time I started a tank journal here.

I'll try to keep a current pic here, and update throughout the thread.




Older pics from February:

This is my tank at the office (just a little while back; I've made a few changes since this was taken):

It's gone through a number of contortions to get where it is today, but I'll try to recap.

Here's the current lineup:

Fluval Spec Aquarium (2 gal) Fluval Spec Aquarium (2 gal)

Stock LED

Stock filter (output throttled down via small sponge piece in outflow sprayer)

Cobalt NeoTherm 25w adjustable heater (78 degrees... just barely fits in the back compartment!)
Thermometer (liquid strip) Thermometer (liquid strip)

CaribSea Eco-Complete CaribSea Eco-Complete

Slate "terrace" divider
Small red rock, stratified
Manzanita branch

Dwarf Hair Grass (Eleocharis acicularis) (front right)
Anubias Nana (Anubias barteri v. 'Nana') (back right)
Crypt Parva (Cryptocoryne parva) (front left)
Java Fern "Narrow Leaf" (Microsorium pteropus) (back left)
Duckweed (Lemna minor) (floating)

Dragonscale Crowntail Betta fish (Betta splendens)
Zebra Nerite Snail (Neritina natalensis)
Red-spotted Nerite Snail (Neritina natalensis)

Seachem Flourish Excel
Seachem Flourish
Seachem Potassium
Osmocote+ capsule


I started out with the Eco Complete from the beginning. If I re-do the tank at some point, I want to switch to Activ-Flora, which is darker (and ALL black), smaller and denser, so it seems like it holds roots a little better.

The Manzanita is new, as I started off with a small piece of Mopani (from PetCo), which moved to my other tank when I got the Manzanita branch from a local guy here on TPT, which I prefer.

I started off with the Java fern, funny enough, but got rid of it because at the time it was just barely visible behind the relatively large Mopani wood I had in the tank, so I moved it to my other tank (the same one the wood later went to). Once I got the more slender Manzanita, the back corner seemed empty again, so I picked up another Java Fern fro the same spot, along with a little piece of volcanic rock to tie it to.

The other three plants (DHG, Anubias and Crypt) have been here since I started the tank.

I only recently started added Excel, I hope that helps my Crypt a bit, which seems to be struggling a bit for some reason.

Originally, I had different fauna while I was starting the tank off, and before I got my Betta, Smaug. I started off with just a Golden Mystery snail along with one Zebra Nerite snail, but the GMS just seemed a little too big for the tank, so I swapped him into my bigger tank, and took another Nerite (the red spotted nerite) in exchange. I also had a couple of Neon Tetras to help with cycling the tank, but they all lived, and later I got tired of my pig of a betta eating all their food before it could float down to them. (resulting him being overfed, and them being underfed!) Back to the bigger tank they went! Finally, I had a few Ghost Shrimp in there just for fun. I'm not sure exactly what happened, either the Betta got annoyed and decided to eat one of them, or it died another way. We had a major heat wave at the time, coinciding with a holiday plus me being sick, so I was out of the office for a few days. I know it was REALLY hot in our suite over the weekend, with the AC off for the holidays and no one working after hours (which usually is the case). The betta was fine with the higher temps, but the shrimp didn't fare as well, and they all died. C'est la vie. I MAY try out a couple of ghost shrimp again at some point, or I may leave well enough alone. Haven't decided yet.

Here's a photo from the earlier days of the tank, with the original driftwood and inhabitants. (funny how little duckweed there is!)

I think that brings us current. The tank seems to be doing nicely, overall, although again the Crypt could look a little healthier. I've had to remove duckweed twice, which was getting so thick it was blocking the light. Fortunately I have a secretary with large hungry goldfish at home, and they love the duckweed as a tasty healthy treat, so win-win! I trimmed the DHG once, and it's looking a little wild so I might trim it again soon. Here's hoping things stay nice and stable!

Last edited by kman; 01-16-2015 at 01:14 AM. Reason: add older photo
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, forgot this from 2 days ago!

I found a neat app that does time lapse videos with my iPhone, and set things up for a "quick" 30 minute video.

Normally I hate vertical videos, but it was appropriate to the form factor of my little Spec tank.

So without further ado, here is 30 minutes in the daily life of Smaug the Betta in his mini-paradise! (in 30 seconds)

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 02:46 AM
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It looks great! I can't wait to see how this evolves

"Believe you can, and you're half way there."
~Theodore Roosevelt
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 02:54 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AquaKai View Post
It looks great! I can't wait to see how this evolves

Just added a shot of the earlier tank config to the OP. I'm quite happy with the progression so far.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 03:03 AM
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That video was so cool. The tank looked great.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quick update:

Brought back some Ghost Shrimp, who seem to be doing fine for the past couple weeks. Duckweed continues to try to take over the top every week, but I just scoop out the excess weekly during water changes and send it home with my secretary, who feeds it to her goldfish as a tasty treat. Win-win!

Otherwise, no news to report. Tank is doing great!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 08:38 PM
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How did you introduce your shrimp to the betta tank?
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-19-2014, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AGUILAR3 View Post
How did you introduce your shrimp to the betta tank?
Same as any fish: Float to match the water temp, then slowly drip-add tank water to the bag to acclimate the water type.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-17-2014, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, long time no updates! Sorry, folks. This tank is really stable, though, so no drastic changes. The slow changes may be a little more shocking, however, given how long its been since I updated.

The Flora and Fauna inventory is exactly the same as post one: Betta and two Nerite snails, and then the DHG, Crypt, Java Fern and Anubias are all still present and doing well (the Crypt Parva seems to be struggling slightly, but is doing fine at the moment). The duckweed reproduces like mad. I had just thinned it out considerably before taking that photo, which i do roughly every 3 weeks. (skim it off, nuke for 5-6 minutes to kill it completely, and then it's safe to dump down the drain or toss in the garden to decompose)

The Java fern is also clearly taking over, so I'll have to thin that out one of these days, but since it still is on this side of attractive, I'll leave it for now.

The biggest change of interest is the Manzanita branch. I expected it to darken from the initial white color (that's normal), but the crazy thing is this: I'm pretty sure the Nerite snails have been EATING it, and have slowly been sanding it down smaller and smaller. The branches have been getting skinnier and skinnier, and some even disappeared after getting thinner than toothpick thin. At this rate, I figure I have a few months more, at best, before I'm going to have to find a new one! ARGH! It took forever to find one this small with such nice form. I've never heard of this before... does anyone else have Nerite snails AND Manzanita branches? Any reports of them eating them down like this?

But otherwise, things are going well. My betta is happy, the Nerites are doing their thing. Including laying eggs, those little white specs. Annoying, but a known thing. I scraped them out once, and clearly I need to do so again. At least it's a slow process.

But yes, overall, I couldn't be happier with this tank. Wonderful addition to my office, everyone likes it, even the boss!
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Not too much to report. I think I need to refresh the root tabs, and the tank could probably use a thorough cleaning. I trimmed my Java ferns back a month or so ago, as they were seriously getting out of hand. My Crypt Parva kinda melted away for no apparent reason, and then seemed to come back all on it's own.... but I believe Crypts do that, sometimes, so I haven't worried about it. The Dwarf Hairgrass seems to have gotten shorter... I'll probably give it a little haircut when I add the root tabs, in hopes of stimulating some growth (not that it's a real problem). My betta is doing fine, as are the Nerites.

Some of my Anubias' leaves are looking a little funky on the edges... I may trim them back a little, at some point. But no rush... one nice thing about a low tech tank is things move so slowly, I feel like I can do things pretty much whenever I get around to it, rather than needing to move more quickly like on my larger high tech tank.

I updated my OP, as I don't think I ever noted that I've been dosing with Flourish and Potassium, in addition to Excel (and the Osmocote+ root tabs). I still need to refresh those Osmocote tabs, however... it's been 6 months, after all, and there are only 2 tabs in this tiny tank.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-16-2015, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Some sad news to report: My Betta, Smaug, passed away last weekend. He had been lethargic for a while, and not eating more than 1 pellet per day (instead of his usual 3), but no specific symptoms, and water quality, etc. was fine. Not sure what happened, but he will be missed.

The manzanita "tree" is also completely gone, except for part of the "trunk". Those hungry Nerites really ground that sucker down! I'm on the hunt for a replacement, but I suspect it will take a while... finding something this small that still has good structure is really tough. I may try spider wood next, if I can find something shapely yet small.

I did go and buy a new Betta (and thoroughly cleaned the tank), who seems to be settling in nicely. His name is Wrigley, and is the first non-Crowntail that I've had. His colors were gorgeous, though, so I just couldn't resist.

Otherwise, things seem fine. The DHG is small but hanging in there. The Crypt Parva comes and goes... right now it seems to be doing fairly well. The Java Fern is ridiculous, and needs to be trimmed further, soon. I still have those odd white spots on the Anubias, and some off black spots on the Java fern, but... meh. The tank otherwise seems to be running itself nicely, so I'm not overly concerned.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-13-2015, 06:39 AM Thread Starter
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Finally, a few actual changes to report.

As you can see in the previous pictures, my Java fern was looking a little funky. Apparently those black bumps on the leaves can indicate some sort of plant virus. So I did a big water change, and yanked all of the Java fern, and replaced it with fresh ones from the store. (Didn't want to risk getting any algae or anything from my main tank into this nano tank, so TC plants seemed a safer bet)

Also, my Anubias was outgrowing the tank and the older leaves were looking beat up, so I pulled that out, too, and discarded the older part of the rhizome. Then I added a second, smaller, fresh Anubias.

Both are tied to a new piece of wood I got. I finally found something nice and small that works with the tank! I left the old last remaining bit of the Manzanita since the Nerites seem to enjoy eating it so much, but it's tucked in behind and not readily visible.

The Crypt Parva has been growing a lot recently, oddly. Huh, ok. The DHG is pretty much same as it ever was.

But here's a shot of the new scape (not a huge difference from the old scape, but the "tree" is quite different), plus a better shot of my Betta, Wrigley.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 01:32 AM
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Nice Betta! I love the coloration. Nice that your Fluval Spec II is doing well after so long.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2015, 09:15 PM
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well done! i used to have a spec 2 and they are nice little tanks
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-14-2015, 12:37 AM
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Looks great... I can not wait to show off my desktop aquarium... yours is fantastic!
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