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orion2001 07-28-2008 05:19 PM

10 Gallon Journal - "Betta Haven", my first planted tank
Hey Everyone,

I've been stalking these and other forums for many months trying to gather as much information as I could before I took a plunge into the planted tank world. So here are some pics from my first attempt at a planted tank, along with a little bit of a step by step time line.

This tank is a 10 gallon Betta sorority tank which houses 6 betta girls and 3 otos. It is a little over stocked but the fish are doing great and the biological filtration is working well in keeping water parameters in check. Here are the basic stats on my tank.

10 gallon tank
Substrate: Flourite Black Sand substrate with 3/4" base of Diamond Black Leonardite
Lighting: 2x15 Watt CFL Spiral 6500K Bulbs (8 hours a day)
Filtration: Aquaclear 50 HOB with Purigen, Seachem Matrix and Filter floss
CO2: None, only Excel as a Carbon supplement
Ferts: Modified EI
1/16 teaspoon of KNO3, 2x a week
1/32 teaspoon of KH2PO4, 2x a week
2mls of CSM+B trace solution, 1x a week (1 tbsp or 3 tsp in 250ml)
SeaChem Equilibrium 1/16th once a week (Immediately after weekly water change)
50% weekly water change
Dose 1-1.5x the recommended dose for Excel
Anubias Nana
Anubias Coffeefolia
Philippine Java Fern
Dwarf Hairgrass
Bacopa Caroliniana
Rotala Rotundifolia
Ludwigia Arcuata

I started off by growing the hairgrass using the emersed growth technique as suggested by Tom Barr ( ) a while ago. I documented my progress over 1 month and a half in this thread:

After I was happy with the emersed growth I went ahead and ordered the plants for my tank. I had a lot of manzanita branches from a package I bought from Badcopnofish. Hardscaping was challenging but tonnes of fun. This is a pic of the tank after initial planting:

I was still awaiting my shipment of Philippine Java fern from AquaticMagic to help fill up the midground area. All the rotalas died on me due to the bleach dip that I used to clean/disinfect them. I ended up ordering some Bacopa Caroliniana, Ludwigia Arcuata and Rotala Rotundifolia. The shipment arrived in pretty bad shape so I had to salvage what I could (a few stems here and there) so the stems aren't doing too well and my background hasn't come out very nicely.

Here are a couple of recent pics of my tank after the Philippine Java fern came in (kudos to AquaticMagic for an awesome shipment).

The Java fern and Anubias are doing very well and sending out a lot of new leaves. The hairgrass responded extremely well to being submersed and sent out runners all over the place. It has grown very thick now, especially in areas receiving more light. The stems are growing pretty slowly. I'd put that down to less light in my tank (I plan on converting this to a non Excel-low tech tank once the plants grow out a little more).

Below are some pics of the betta girls in the tank. Some of their fins are a little frayed from the initial in-fighting when they are introduced into the tank. Now that a hierarchy has formed things are very peaceful and everyone seems to get along fine.

Here's the tank after trimming the hairgrass:

I hope you'll like the tank. Any suggestions/constructive criticism is more than welcome. Do keep in mind that I plan to make this a completely low-tech setup, so DIY/pressurized CO2 along with more tricky plants are out of the equation as far as this tank is concerned.

i love planted tanks 07-28-2008 05:38 PM

one word beautiful great job....lush and green

Bugman 07-28-2008 06:24 PM

1st planted tank? Wow! Great job. What a pleasure it must be to sit and look at.

mizu-chan 07-28-2008 07:20 PM

This is an amazing tank, especially since it's your first.
Very impressive, and I'm so jealous of your hair grass. lol.

wayneside 07-28-2008 08:38 PM

very impressed...looks beautiful!

youareafever 07-28-2008 09:41 PM

nice tank, the bettas dont kill each other? every female i ever had ripped each other apart to peices.

orion2001 07-30-2008 10:37 PM

Thanks a lot for the compliments guys. I'm glad you'll liked it. If you have any suggestions for the background/stems for my low-tech setup do let me know. I just finished moving my tank to my new place. It was quite a bit of work but was made easier by this contraption I made a few weeks ago:

I drained out 80% of the water in the tank and got all the betta girls out. The 3 otos were left in there. It worked quite well for the purposes of moving and made life a lot easier for me. I'll keep this thread updated.

Female bettas can be kept together (called a sorority tank) although it requires some care and effort to ensure a working sorority. The girls can be aggressive towards each other but having plenty of cover in the tank for them to hide in along with enough numbers (atleast 6-8) helps things remain peaceful. I would refer you to this informative thread on keeping sorority tanks:

Male bettas on the other hand are extremely aggressive and should never be kept together. Males are aggreassive to both other males and females.

Walking_Target 07-30-2008 11:33 PM

Orion is right on the money.

Properly managed, you can keep females together

chase127 07-31-2008 12:28 AM

wow that contraption is smart :thumbsup:

and wow thats your first tank? amazing job! wished mine worked out half as well.

Karackle 08-01-2008 04:20 PM

Wow, well done! Beautiful tank! And i too am jealous of the hairgrass!

I have 2 female bettas in my community tank (it used to be 3 but one passed when I had some kind internal parasite problem in the tank). The only aggression issues I had with them was towards male fancy guppies, so I stopped keeping guppies in that tank. So yes, it can be done. And perhaps i'm just lucky, but in smaller numbers even than 6-8, it's my second time keeping female Bettas in a community tank, last time it was 3 also. :)

wyfdfd 08-03-2008 05:20 AM

amazing too. learning...

Sticky230 08-04-2008 03:43 AM

nice job man. those cheap hoods with crew in bulbs rock. for a ten gallon, you convinced me to stop looking at coralife and go with one of those.

NeonFlux 08-05-2008 07:05 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Very nice job on your first tank. I'm impressed

fish_fasinated 08-06-2008 07:39 PM

heaven that is! beautiful tank, makes me wish i was a betta.

will5 08-07-2008 03:10 AM

I love the look of your tank great job. :red_mouth I do think the the betta's throw of the scale of your tank though. Not that I would remove them now.

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