2.5 Gallon Mish Mash (picture heavy)
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Old 05-20-2013, 05:36 PM   #1
marley_kitty
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2.5 Gallon Mish Mash (picture heavy)


I've never posted a journal before, but I had some time this long weekend, so I figured no time like the present.

I realized about a week or two ago, that I have most of the things hanging around to set up a small and planted, low-tech tank. So I figured instead of all these things taking up drawer/storage space I might as well turn them into a tank.

The tank was being used to try and raise some ghost shrimplets, but they didn't make it so I'm now setting this up for a Betta.

The tank is just one of the basic 2.5 gallon glass tanks available with glass lid from PetSmart. I actually own 2 of these, and the other one is currently set-up as a Crystal Red Shrimp tank. Here it is all nice and washed, ready to begin set-up.



The light I'm using I also bought from PetSmart, it's a flimsy Marineland LED. These lights aren't recommended for plants, but I've successfully grown some low light plants with it in small tanks like this. I'm really looking for something low-tech, low maintenace, set it and forget it kinda thing. Kinda the opposite of my other tanks. I'm also using one of those non-adjustable betta bowl heaters. This one is a Hydor, 7.5 watts, made for up to 5 gallons. This is the only thing I bought for this tank. I read over the pros and cons of using such a heater and figured I'd give it a try. I'm going keep a close eye on the temp before I put a Betta in the tank. I'll pull the heater and replace it with an adjustable one if it doesn't work out but for now I like the aesthetic of not seeing the heater as well as the $10 price tag. Here's the tank with the light and the heater installed.



Because this tank is located in my bedroom (and I don't like filter noise), as well as the fact that I didn't have an extra nano filter lying around, this tank won't have a filter. I figure the plants will improve the water quality somewhat, and I'll do frequent water changes. I've rationalized this decision with some knowledge that Betta's don't like lots of water flow and it's hard to get low flow in such a small tank.

I had some Fluval Stratum left over from some other tank projects, and threw some of that in there. I was thinking about making this a dirt tank, but ultimately didn't feel like buying a big ass bag of dirt to use 4 cups of soil. So left over substrate it is. Here's the substrate sloped up and to the left.



When I was using this little tank as a ghost shrimplet tank I had a piece of driftwood in it that had algae growing on it. I had taken it out of my larger main tank, so its nice and water logged. I figure it would look nice in here, so in it goes.



Well the wood is water logged, but the Stratum is light. It's not good for keeping driftwood at a funny angle, if it doesn't want to stay that way. As soon as I added water, the darn driftwood wouldn't stay up. Well that's not attractive.



OK, so we'll do some problem solving. The wood it wet, and I've heard silicone and wet wood = not good. So I have some left over marine epoxy from my DIY nano canister filter project. So lets try that and a plastic Tupperware lid.



That looks good, so we'll throw it in the tank. Except as soon as I tried to maneuver it under the substrate, it broke off So substrate not solid enough to hold driftwood, too solid to let me install solution to driftwood problem. So the wood is pretty dry on top now from sitting out waiting for the epoxy to dry, so we'll try some silicone and some random rocks i have hanging around.



There, that worked. Woot problem solving!



So now we plant. I have an Anubias in my main tank that's going insane, so lets use a cutting of that. Also I have some different crypts, that are being ignored in the main tank so we'll thrown those in there too, along with some Lindernia rotundifolia. I may have gone a little overboard on a previous plant shopping trip and this is also an excuse to get some of these extra plants out of my main tank, which looks like a jungle right now. So many plants, none of them are doing well do to the over crowding, except for the Anubias. I also got some free duckweed with a shrimp purchase from my local fish store, and don't want that in my main tank, so we'll throw that in there as well. And fill er' up!



Ok, so it's cloudy. I didn't rinse the substrate because with the Stratum I find it doesn't really matter what you do. Just wait a little while and the stuff will settle.



Some waiting and a water change later and the substrate dust settled. But now it's a different kind of cloudy. Bacterial bloom maybe? I'll wait it out. Give it a couple of days and go from there. It'll give me a chance to monitor the temperature, which right now is hovering around 77. The crypts have already started to melt, so we'll see how they bounce back.

I'll keep you updated on the tanks progress as well as when I get a Betta.
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Last edited by marley_kitty; 05-22-2013 at 02:01 AM.. Reason: fixed picture links
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:20 PM   #2
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Nice tank. Just put your links between [img] [/img] and they should pop up
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:35 PM   #3
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Looking good.
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Old 05-22-2013, 02:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mckolit View Post
Nice tank. Just put your links between [img] [/img] and they should pop up
Thanks a bunch for the info. I've fixed it now

The cloudiness gets less and less everyday. I'll post a new picture when it's crystal clear.
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Old 05-22-2013, 02:12 AM   #5
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Lookin good! I think I have an extra 2 1/2 and/or 5 gallon tank here that I plan to do the same with along with a couple boxes of old equipment. I want the same... a simple basic setup, low maintenance type of thing for the kids. Them and the wife are going away on a trip this weekend, maybe I will surprise them when they get back. Thanks for the inspiration!
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Old 05-22-2013, 02:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EngineChauffer View Post
Lookin good! I think I have an extra 2 1/2 and/or 5 gallon tank here that I plan to do the same with along with a couple boxes of old equipment. I want the same... a simple basic setup, low maintenance type of thing for the kids. Them and the wife are going away on a trip this weekend, maybe I will surprise them when they get back. Thanks for the inspiration!
No problem! It was actually pretty easy to set up, I can't believe I didn't do it sooner!
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:02 PM   #7
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So my mish mash tank has cleared up and I'm pretty happy with it.

The non-adjustable betta bowl heater has been keeping the temp pretty stable at 76-77 with very few fluctuations.

I also added a black background, with left over background I had laying around from a different project.



Here's the tank on top of my dresser.



I actually plan on getting a Betta this weekend hopefully! I'll probably post a picture in a couple of days of my new friend
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Old 10-27-2013, 12:45 AM   #8
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Hey Look, an update! I told myself I wasn't going to be one of "those people" who start a journal and never return. But alas, I am...I mean, I was.

Anyway, the point is I've returned with updates! And new pictures!

A lot of changes have occurred to this tank since I started the journal. I mean it'll seem like a lot in this post, but really the changes occurred over the last 6 months, so it didn't seem like a lot to me.

First off I actually did get a Betta. His name is ... um.... Mr.Pickles. Yeah, that's it. Honestly I just made that up. The poor fish is nameless. I'm awful with remembering the names I give my fish. But Mr.Pickles is actually pretty cute, so maybe it'll stick this time.

Meet the formally nameless, Mr.Pickles!






And this picture is my favourite.



He's the king of the aquarium, mostly because he is the only fishy in there, and snails can't really be kings. But he rules with an IRON FIST!

I'm pretty sure he's just a veil tail, but he might be some kind of mutt, because he does have some crowntail characteristics in his dorsal fin. He was in pretty rough shape when I got him from shudderPetsmartshudder. He had tears in his fins, and looked more like a crowntail then he does now. Even then he had the nicest green sheen over his blue. I picked him for his colour and his fightin' spirit. He was one of the most alert and rowdy Bettas they had.

And since this is a planted aquarium I should probably mention the plants. Some have been doing very well, and some not to well. First, here's a front tanks shot.



This tank is seriously low maintenance. We're talking forget about it all the time low maintenance. Literally water changes and fish feeding. I haven't ever fertilized the thing, well maybe once.

The anubias has done very well. A new leaf every 1 or 2 weeks. And it sticks to the driftwood without a rubber band now.

The Lindernia rotundifolia has done much better then I expected. I was under the impression is was a higher light plant, but it's grown amazingly well. It's kind of a mess though, a total rats nest, with roots everywhere.



It's rats nest nature does keep Mr.Pickles out of the filter intake though. It creates a type of natural fence to keep him out of harm's way. I mean he could get to it if he wanted to, and sometimes he tries, but I've always seen him get lazy and give up.

The crypts have actually been disappointing. I thought they would do better then they have. It's not that they've done badly, they just haven't done...anything. They look exactly the same as when I started the tank 6 months ago.



Seriously, compare the crypts in the picture above (which I took today), to this picture from 6 months ago.



Exactly the same.

I also added a filter to the tank. I realized shortly after adding Mr.Pickles that I really didn't have the energy to do the water changes he would require in an unfiltered tank. Literally after the first water change I said "Um...that was a lot of work. How can I do less of this?" The good news was, I already had a mini canister filter that had been on my shrimp tank. I stole it and put on this tank. I put the shrimp in my main tank...which is a whole other story.

Here's my DIY mini canister.



Ignore the book the canister is sitting on, it was a gag gift. The filter has to sit on that book, because otherwise the noise from the filter vibration on the hardwood floor would drive me nuts. I actually found the tutorial to make that little canister filter on this website. It's worked perfectly for over 2 years now, and if you're thinking of a canister filter for a nano I would recommend this set-up. I've included the link if you're interested.

http://http://www.plantedtank.net/fo...ad.php?t=62902

Also, because I added the filter, I had to move the tank. It was originally in my bedroom, on my dresser, but now sits on my desk in the office. It's quite relaxing, to watch the fishy, while doing a hard day of office work. Work like browsing the internet, and Facebook stalking.

Also, the non-adjustable betta heater has worked out pretty well. It was literally unplugged all summer because we don't have air conditioning and the temp started to get to high. In the fall there was a couple of weeks where it got cold, and the landlord hadn't turned the heat on yet. It went down to about 19' in poor Mr.Pickles tank, and he got pretty listless. I shudder to think about what it would have been like for him without the heater. If your house/apartment has wild temperature swings, I wouldn't recommend this type of heater. It's really only for supplementing your room temperature. But, if unlike my apartment, you have control over the heat and it doesn't go down to 14'C/57'F inside, then I would recommend it.

Overall, I love the look of this low maintenance, low tech tank. It's not perfect, and there's definitely algae, but it never gets out of control, and kind of adds to the overall ambiance. I've done the high tech, high maintenance, tank and it was never as relaxing to watch as this little tank. I think it's because there was always something that could be done to improve the high maintenance tank, and with this tank it's content to just be.

Which is why with a heavy heart I must tell you that I'm going to tear this tank down. Why you may ask? Because I think poor Mr.Pickles is out growing his 2.5 gallon. He seems restless, and eager for more space. So I'm giving him his own 10 gallon. I already have pretty much everything I need to set it up, because when you've been keeping fish for 10 years you acquire things. Lots of things. Things that sit in boxes in your storage space that you can't get rid of because "What if I ever need that?!?".

I also think it's a good idea to give Mr.Pickles more room because he got himself stuck on something the other day and did some damage to his caudal fin. You can see the damage here pretty well.



I'm not sure what he got stuck on. he was fine in the morning, and then in the afternoon, a big tear. But it's healing up nicely, it's already about half the size that it was a week ago.

I'll definitely post photos of the 10 gallon set-up process. I had planned to do it this weekend but I have an equipment issue that needs sorting out first.

See I don't have a lid for the 10 gallon, and it's winter... in Canada... in the prairies. Which, if you live somewhere warm so don't know how winter works, means IT'S FREAKIN' DRY. Cold air doesn't hold moisture, which means the water is ripped from your skin (and everything else) leaving you pretty much a frozen, dessicated, meat popsicle. Which means if I leave the tank open topped the water will evaporate like nobody's business. And remember that part up top where I think to myself "how can we do less of this work thing?", that becomes a big factor in requiring a lid.

So by now your thinking, "I get it winter = dry, buy a lid". Which wouldn't you know it, I tried. I've been to EVERY pet store in town (which is actually not an exaggeration). And for some reason no one has those basic glass lids for a 10 gallon. There must have been a huge 10 gallon sale or something because there is not a single glass lid to be found. I don't want to buy a hood either, because I already have a light (see accumulated crap in storage) which is designed to sit over a glass lid. So I'm stuck ordering a glass lid online and waiting for shipping.

Also, I'm as a rule pretty lazy. I have these great plans and ideas, but then discover Star Trek; The Next Generation is on Netflix. And 6 months later, I remember my plans and write a pretty awesome journal update.

So, if I don't discover any amazing tv, or books, or win the lottery, expect a journal update in regards to Mr.Pickles 10 gallon move within the next month.
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Old 10-27-2013, 03:16 PM   #9
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Really nice tank and betta. I searched everywhere for a dragon scale, but none of my fish stores had them. *sigh* Canada.

Couple questions:
I'm thinking of getting stratum for my tank, but I'm going to be driving across Ontario for a move with it... do you think the stratum would be able to endure that? Right now the tank is dirted, and I'm just thinking that I don't want to find a box full of mud in my trunk when I get to my destination. Also, did you find water changes to be difficult with the stratum? I don't want a substrate that I have to babysit.

Thanks! And again, love your betta *-*
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:13 PM   #10
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Thanks for the compliment! I'll be sure to tell Mr.Pickes you think he's pretty!

I find the stratum very low maintenance. Because you can't really vacuum it, it's less work then say regular aquarium gravel. It's pretty light stuff, but not so light that you're picking it every time you suck out some water for a water change. I like it. But if your driving with it, I can almost guarantee all your plants are going to come loose and start floating around. It will take the drive fine, and probably settle pretty fast once you get to where your going, but your going to probably have to replant everything if you have Stratum. I don't have any dirt experience so I can't help you out with whether you'll end up with a box of mud. Sorry.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:47 PM   #11
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Thanks for your thoughts!! And indeed, I am a Mr. Pickles fangirl *swoon*.
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Old 11-23-2013, 03:26 AM   #12
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That's a nice setup for your Betta. I like the DIY canister!
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