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AquaStudent 03-01-2011 06:09 PM

Update 3/16! **DIY LED Volcano!** Isla Nublar - Jurassic Park 5 Gallon Betta Paradise
Most Recent Video Update: Here

I recently entered this fantastic hobby with a 10 gallon, that, over the past few months, has improved greatly. However, I'm running out of possibilities with my 10 gallon and I think I'm coming down with some MULTITANKSYNDROME! (I heard it's very contagious on this site).

I don't have much room in my dorm so I opted to go with a 5 gallon tank that will be designed for a Betta! Gotta love them bettas :)

The tank is the 5 gallon Tetra brand from Wallyworld. I just got it in yesterday and have it sitting on my shelf until Thursday when I'll be able to start adding "things" before my spring break.

My 10 gallon did not have a plan to it other than I wanted some live plants and some fish. It shows in the aquascaping :) For this tank I wanted to plan out my design and experiment more in the realm of true aquascaping. Instead of studying for my massive exam on Wednesday I have been sketching out a few plans and visualizing the final tank.

The Plan

The substrate will consist of 1 inch of Organic Potting Soil (slopes up to around 1.5" in the back for a bit of a hill effect) and a capped layer of fine gravel (CaribSea Super Naturals).


I have not decided on specific lights but I'll most likely go with a CFL between 10 and 18 watts. The tank hood only allows for a single screw in type bulb. Depending on how that looks I may go with a clamp on desk lamp with a CFL.

Now for the fun stuff...

The aquascape will center around a Red Tiger Lotus (I know they get big I'll be doing regular trimming/pruning...the whole point of this is to give me something to maintain). I'm also going to experiment with a carpet plant of Marselia Quadrifolia. Scattered on the side opposite to the RTL will be a few random rocks (hopefully granite and quartz crystal that I can find in the woods back home). The granite will be covered in Peacock Moss to give that deep green contrast to the Red Tiger Lotus and to break up the carpet a little. The Quartz will give more contrast and breaks. I'll play around with their placement once I get the tiger lotus and MQ in the tank.

Here's an example of my horrifyingly bad artistic skills

In the designs I also have a spot for an anubais nana. I want to see how the different greens will contrast with each other. And the nana should help disguise some of the filter intake.

I may have to replace my filter because it is significantly larger than I was expecting. An 8 inch deep tank sitting on top of a nearly 12 inch shelf should fit perfectly. Well apparently not with a 4 inch filter on the back. The tank hangs off the front edge of my shelf by about half of an inch. So close! Will this be a problem? I know with larger tanks this could be a huge problem but the forces on a 5 gallon are insignificant to that of a 55 gallon right?

If you have any suggestions please let me know.

Also, has anybody noticed that the photos on the boxes for aquariums of the "showcase" aquariums are HEAVILY overstocked? Just an observation.

Let me know what you think!

orchidman 03-01-2011 11:37 PM

looks like a good plan!!!! i personaly think it will look better with a clip-on desk lamp, than the chunky stock hood.

how high of light are you shooting for? any co2? diy, am i right?

AquaStudent 03-02-2011 12:02 AM

Thanks. I agree that it would look better with a clamp on desk lamp but the only question is if I have one that'll work (the next on the one that I have here at school doesn't seem to like going into an aquarium friendly position). I would then be able to move the filter over to the side and then be able to push the aquarium the extra .5" so it's fully on the shelf. I don't know how good that would look though :/. Why does Tetra have to make such a huge filter for a 5g?!?!? I can do DIY co2 and was planning on doing that if I needed the extra growth/algae prevention. I have all the materials for it anyway. Thanks again for the reply :)

orchidman 03-02-2011 12:32 AM


id say do whatever is easiest. besides, if a betta is going in it, then you will need a lid. so stick with the hood

AquaStudent 03-02-2011 12:52 AM

oh yes I completely forgot about that. I don't want to do saran wrap...that's a bit to...ghetto...for this tank right now. especially if i have a hood.

Ugh so frustraiting. I may be able to get an art friend of mine to make me a glass sheet and cut out areas for the filter and heater (or I can do that myself hopefully with a dremel). Something to consider.

orchidman 03-02-2011 12:57 AM

get it?? ghetto..hood bahah !

thats a good idea. i am thinking about making a hole in my 20 long to make WC easier

Karackle 03-02-2011 06:25 PM

If you'd really prefer a clip light, you could also get a piece of plexiglass at HD and cut it yourself (if you score it you can snap it in a straight line for the overall size and then dremel out the openings for everything) Might be safer than glass if you're cutting it yourself. (I'm assuming you are trying to save $ otherwise i'd just suggest just buying a glass canopy)

I think the layout looks good, but of course it's hard to tell without seeing it in action ;) Also, you could return the filter and pick up an azoo palm or red sea nano filter (as far as I can tell they are exactly the same thing with different brand names stamped on them). I've found that filter to be perfect for a 5g planted Betta tank, and it's only 2-3 inches deep, so you should certainly get your 1/2 inch back! ;) You clearly know a lot more about physics than I do, but it would make me nervous having any tank hanging off an edge even a little bit.

OR you COULD keep the filter you have and hang it off the side, but then you'd definitely need to do some finagling and make yourself a glass (or plexi) canopy. I did that on my old 20g tank, it was in a hallway so I wanted it right up against the wall, that made the only option hanging the filter off the side and it worked just fine. :proud:

AquaStudent 03-02-2011 08:45 PM

Thanks for reading Kara!

I may know more about physics but you know MUCH more about fish tanks.

I definitely would prefer to have that 1/2 of an inch back. I'm going to check my local PetCo when I'm home. Hopefully they will have the Red Sea Nano. I was looking for that filter before (I heard about them but couldn't remember the name).

Only a few more hours until the exam...uh oh!

Karackle 03-03-2011 04:23 AM

Good luck on the exam! (or if it was tonight, I hope it went well!)

I hope you find the filter you want too, I love the red sea nano, for a super heavily planted and stocked tank, it might not be QUITE enough filtration / circulation, but for a Betta tank, I really think it's perfect.

But there is always the side hang option if you can't find the red sea or azoo palm...... it just requires retro fitting a lid.......

.Mko. 03-03-2011 04:28 AM

Oh man, your going to get the peacock moss going... =D
It is my favourite moss that i can't get in my area.. =(
I will be watching this very carefully lol and as for your plan i like it! i love the thought you put in to create the contrast in the tank.. this is going to be a good one.

elliebellie 03-03-2011 06:09 AM

Looks like a sweet idea! Betta love all the way! <3

AquaStudent 03-03-2011 02:27 PM

Thanks guys! I had my exam last night (literally the hardest test I have taken in my life) and am VERY glad it's over.

Now I can take a trip over to walmart and start getting supplies. I'll see if they have either the Azoo or Red Sea but I'm quite doubtful. Also, for a cap on the dirt I'm going to try to find some black sand or fine black gravel. I think the dark color would look great if I can find it. If not I'm not too concerned about it (although I hope I have enough gravel left over from my 10g).

I'll post pictures of the setup and perhaps make a video. It will probably be quite comedic because I have never set up a dirted tank before and will probably cover my entire dorm room with dirt. My roommate will love this...

JamesHockey 03-03-2011 05:52 PM

so your using mineralized top soil

AquaStudent 03-03-2011 07:25 PM

I don't know if it counts as MTS. I've got Miracle Grow Potting Mix.

Today is setup day! woot woot!

JamesHockey 03-03-2011 07:38 PM


Originally Posted by aquastudent (Post 1313318)
i don't know if it counts as mts. I've got miracle grow potting mix.

Today is setup day! Woot woot!


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