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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-27-2009, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Clarksville, TN
Posts: 205
"Betta House" 16 Gallon Bow Front- My First Planted tank

Hello all and welcome to my first journal on one of my first planted aquariums. My wife and son have decided to call this tank "Betta House" because, well, it is where the betta fish that they have so creatively named Betta lives. I have tried to grow a few aquatic plants in the past, but they were always in tanks where I focused more on the fish than anything else. I felt it was time for me to stop lurking around this site and finally get my hands wet again. This is one of two planted aquariums, the other one is a Euglaena factory at the moment, that I set up roughly six weeks ago where the main focus is on the plants and successfully combining them in to a natural looking aquascape. Here is a pic as of yesterday evening: (fair warning, my camera sucks and I'm no photographer)

I let my wife and son choose the fish and they selected a nice male Betta and 7 Harlequin Rasboras. Also added were 3 otos, one of which died that night, as per usual with otos, 6 ghost shrimp and a number of snails that hitchhiked in on plants. I tried to choose plants that would complement each other and complement the fish as well. Since this is a low-tech set up I wanted to use aquatic plant species that would be less demanding to grow while trying to loosely maintain the look of a stream in Southeast Asia. Here are my specs and current stock list:

Hardware, Supplements, & Maintenance
Tank-16 Gal. Bow Front
Lights-AH Supply 36 watt 6700K CF 10 hrs/day
Filter-AquaClear 50
Heater-Rena 100 watt (as if you couldn't see that in the pic, , hopefully my Cryptocoryne spiralis will one day hide it)
Substrate- Composed of a 1 1/2" of Miracle-Gro Organic Choice 100% Organic Potting Soil with a small amount of a 50/50 mix of Flourite/Eco-Complete mixed in to form a nutrient-rich base layer that is capped by 1 1/2" of the same 50/50 Flourite/Eco-Complete mix.
CO2- None
Ferts- None
Maintenance- 50% WC/week, wipe/scrape any algae from the glass and equipment, filter maintenance as needed, prune as needed

Water Parameters
pH- 7.2-7.6
KH- 5
GH- 13
NH3- 0
NO2- 0
NO3- 10
Temp- 78 F

Cryptocoryne parva
Cryptocoryne spiralis
Cryptocoryne undulata
Cryptocoryne wendtii
Microsorum Pteropus
Microsorum Pteropus "Narrow Leaf"
Microsorum Pteropus "Trident"
Taxiphyllum barbieri
***Temporarily- Sagittaria subulata (got way more than I needed from an S'N'S buy and had nothing else to do with it)

Betta Splendens
Otocinclus macrospilus x 2
Palaemonetes spp. x 4 (2 have become snacks or vanished into thin air, I mean they are ghost shrimp after all)
Rasbora heteromorpha x 7

The only issues I have had with this tank are the ones typically shared by many planted aquarium hobbyist when a new tank is set up: ALGAE. I did had some BBA on the driftwood, rocks and on my ferns 3 weeks ago but I took care of it with H2O2 and by removing all leaves with BBA. I get GSA on the glass and now there is a bit on one of the leaves of my C. undulata. And just last week I started to get fuzz algae on my driftwood, Trident Java Fern, the uppermost tuft of moss and C. spiralis. I am going to follow some advice given by Tom Barr this past week while in a discussion on the use of H2O2 as a treatment for algae on this thread: He suggested putting H2O2 in a spray bottle and misting the areas with algae when the water level is low during a WC. I think read somewhere that some who sell plants on the S'N'S and may have some algae issues spray a mist of H202 on their plants prior to shipping them. Perhaps this is not such a novel idea to some of you more experienced hobbyist out there, but it sounds like a winner to me. I'll wait and see what the H2O2 does first. If that doesn't work I'll dose Excel and add some Amanos or something. I am also going try decreasing my photoperiod from 10 hours to 8 hours and see if that help as well. If none of that works I think that I may end up having to go pressurized on this tank.

But other than that this tank has been chugging along with decent growth all around. All of the plants in this tank are true to their descriptions as relatively slow to medium growers. All of the crypts completely melted to nothing but sad Adan stunted look rhizomes when I first planted them except for the C. spiralis. All of the crypts are coming back with C. wendtii leading the way with 1 or 2 new leaves a week.

I am going to have to move all of the crypts except for from the C. spiralis because none of them have been properly placed in the tank. The C. undulata needs to be in the rear of the mid-ground, in front of C. spiralis but behind the rest. After that the C. wendtii will be placed in the mid-ground leaving the shorter C. parva in the foreground. I want to get more of all four crypt species I currently have. I also want to look in to getting some C. crispatula var. balansae for the background and some C. willisii 'lucens' for the foreground areas along the sides of the tank. Some C. wendtii 'Green Gecko' and C. wendtii 'Mi Oya' would be nice to have to add some more color. If you have any of the crypt species I am looking for that you would be willing to part with PM me so we can make a deal.

I also think I need to switch the regular Java Fern from up front with the Narrow Leaf that is on the right side of the driftwood. The leaves in the Narrow Leaf are so close in shape to those of the Cryptocoryne spiralis it is often hard to tell the two apart. I don't know, I hope some of you experts out there may have some advice. All comments and constructive criticisms are welcomed and will be greatly appreciated. And with that I'll leave you with a some more pictures.

A real Kodak moment. This was taken two days after set up. Our 9 month old boxer Sassy loves it. She sat like that for 30 minutes just watching the fish swim!

Betta, that tank star. Oh how he loves to pose for pics!

One of the rasboras paused long enough for me to snap this pick.

A shrimp chillin' on my C. wendtii

C. spiralis is showing red on some of the leaves. It has doubled in height and number of leaves since it was planted in this tank. Look at the top left of this pic and you will see the fuzz algae that is growing in my Trident Java fern, and everything else for that matter. Think I'll take care of some of that today... Also this pic makes me want to switch those ferns around because the two are so similar it's hard to tell where the fern ends and the crypt begins...

Overhead shot, my other three crypts clockwise starting just below the fern:
1.C. parva
2.C. undulata
3.C. wendtii

View from the left side. Vertical plant height in the background is severely lacking and the dwarf sags look very out of place in this tank....

Brandon Herren
"Betta House" 16 Gallon Bow Front Journal , Album "30 gallon Rescape, Take 2"Journal , Album

Last edited by bherren1; 12-01-2009 at 04:01 PM.
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