I love the shape of that tank it's awesome. And it's funny I've actually done that with loose java fern in my grow out, it attaches to the small black aquarium rocks then I can set them anywhere I want. I don't know if your already planning on this but I would narrow it down from south east asia to thailand or something. Biotopes are more about specific habitats in specific watersheds or countries, where as when it's a region like Amazon or south east Asia it's more a theme aquarium.
Yeah, Originally I was going to try that, But I started looking at some other tanks that were Betta habitats, and I didn't want to do the leaf bottom, no movement, dark water thing. I might try a Indian almond leaf in the filter but I don't want the water too dark. You mentioned earlier the Wendtii not being native to Thailand, but confirmed Dwarf Hair grass as found in Thailand. The only other plant I'm not sure is native to Thailand is the Cryptocoryne Costata (also found it labeled as Cryptocoryne albida). I coundn't find a specific origin, just Southeast Asia.
I'd take out that sponge and just leave the top open. The sponge will drive off any co2 in there. Then you will be able to add other plants to the jar. Like some of the crypt later on. You might run into an algae problem in that thing. That's a lot of light for no ferts/injected co2.
Algae problem in which one? The Cookie jar has been set up for almost a year without any algae. Honestly I'm not sure why. Both of these tanks are on the same timer and are on for about 8.5 hours a day(4 hours on, 3 hours off, 4.5 hours on) I did get a little algae in the 3 gallon Picotope I had set up before I swapped it out for the 5 gallon. But it wasn't bad. Just a little bit of green on a few rocks I had in there.
I like the idea of removing the sponge filter to fit more plants. I actually considered that, but I'm worried about the lack of water movement. Another factor is I would have to do more water changes and I have to buy spring water for these 2 tanks. I'm on well water and bettas don't do well in hard water. Plus without the top, you don't really get the cookie jar effect.
I am worried about algae in the 5 gallon. Hopefully the other plants get here and planted before it gets too bad.
Thanks for all the comments everyone. I'm still so excited about this tank. and I really like the input and encouragement!