3 gallon/12 liter betta cube - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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3 gallon/12 liter betta cube

I've decided my life is missing the charismatic charm and mischief of a betta fish.

So to fill the void I have excavated from my basement, an old tank that I bought 2nd hand years ago and never used. I can't track down the manufacturer but I'll give you the basic specs:
3 gallons or 12 liters
Arcylic (cheap, not the good stuff!)
It has a built in halogen light fixture
a nice tight fitting lid (no jumpers will make to the terrestrial world! hooray)

I have a Stealth 25w heater I'm planning to use, although it hasn't been in use for a year or 2 so I'm giving it a test period to be sure it still works and that it won't be too much for this itty bitty tank.

I plugged in the light and got nothin' so I've ordered a replacement bulb: A 10watt, 12volt, MR16 Bi-pin

Hopefully that does the trick, I have found a little bit of corrosion where the AC adaptor connects to the base of the tank though. I cleaned it up the best I could, but I have concerns that I might have to replace that assembly which might be hard as the cheap plastic base doesn't have any access to the wiring. I'll have to use my best non-destructive skills!


So for filtration -- I have a small HOB that I could use but I the other human that lives with me has super bat hearing when bedtime rolls around, so I decided to get an external canister filter. And to make it fun for me I ordered lily pipes too muahahaha!!
the filter is a Zoo Med Nano 10 and the lily pipes are the cheapest 10mm glass pipes available on Amazon Prime --- cause free shipping and I'm too impatient to wait for shipping from Asia this time. . . can you tell I'm excited?

Here's the tank now, just Pool Filter Sand (PFS), a little piece of decor (that I'll use to anchor a bushel of anubias), and the heater:


Thanks for reading!
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-25-2017, 02:47 AM Thread Starter
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I tinkered a little more and the light is working!! The old bulb wasn't burned out after all - it was the corrosion issue- HOOOOOORAAAY!!

Now I need to do some research on this light because I have never used halogen lights before. Do plants like this stuff? I'll find out


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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 03:24 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I've done a tiny bit of reading up on halogen lights and they have a pretty bad wrap. However because they aren't popular there doesn't seem to be a ton written about them in recent times AND I came across a few reports of people growing plants perfectly successfully with them . . . so we'll see how it goes I suppose. (Oops I rhymed!) The main draw backs seem to be that they pull a lot of power and they run hot, but on this tiny scale I think it won't be a huge issue and using it will be way less work than trying to replace the light or ripping off the built-in fixture.

Speaking of heat - my stealth might be a little too much for this tiny tank. 85 deg. F today when I got home from work - so that's a bit too toasty.

I am going to try one last attempt to avoid replacing it, I've raised the light as high as I can to reduce any heat from it and I've set the lid just a tiny bit askew to allow for a little bit of venting. Maaaaaybe it will be enough to lower the temp??? Another wait and see hiccup.

In more exciting news: Now that the light is on I've added some plant life. The anubias in my other tank are out of control so I trimmed out a bit of it and wove them into my little terra-cotta decor thingy.



This is the angle the tank is visible from for the dining area and living room (gotta love an open floor plan)


And from the front:


I've got this tank in the kitchen between the main kitchen space and our dining area so my little betta-man will be in the center of the action

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Last edited by kyle3; 05-15-2017 at 04:15 AM. Reason: fix photo links
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-26-2017, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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MAN! this morning the temp in the tank is 67 deg. F

I guess I'm buying a new heater

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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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It has been a busy day for this tank, tell ya what!

The heater has been declared dead and a new and much smaller heater has been ordered as a replacement: Archaea 25watt

But the news wasn't all bad- the Zoo Med Nano 10 filter arrived!
It was missing a screw nut, but due to winter storm weather my office was closed today so I was able to call Zoo Med during business hours and they are mailing a replacement. They were happy to help, great service

Since the nut isn't imperative for operation I got the filter set-up:



It looks wonky because I didn't want to cut down the intake tube. I've got lily pipes on the way and I may want the longer option someday for some other tank. So for the sort term I have a funny looking filter arrangement - I forgive myself

The really exciting news is that I found the betta for of my dreams on the site who must not be named (why I don't know but aqua6!# seems to be taboo on here) He's stunning and I'll be broken hearted if the transaction falls through. Just waiting for the trans shipper to respond. I'll share his glamor shots once I've finalized the transaction. Until then I'm holding my breath!!!!
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Last edited by kyle3; 05-01-2017 at 02:59 AM. Reason: way and may
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-27-2017, 01:15 AM Thread Starter
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GUYS GUYS GUYS!!!!!

It's official he's mine!


I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-30-2017, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Muddled aquascaping

I received a package of plants yesterday and some of them made their way into the betta tank.

I hadn't been planning on it but I got more moss than I needed and a couple of freebies so I created a "moss tree" for this tank. I also got some vesuvias, it will get too big for this tank in the end but it is the best place I have to get it started while my other tanks are in limbo (see the other journal in my signature for that back story.) There was also some extra needle leaf java fern so I glued a few those to pebbles and threw them in.

I also swapped out one of the larger anubias for some of the smaller leafed pieces from the big tank. After I got it in there, though, I think I prefer the larger plant so I'l probably switch that back again. I like the idea of more large leaves for my betta to lounge on, you know they are very regal creatures

All of these unplanned additions mean that I have deviated Preeetty far from my original plan for this tank . . . I can't decide yet how it will all settle out but here's the latest FTS:


It looks pretty chaotic to me now, so eventually I'll have to fix that.

For some unknown reason the heater's shipping was delayed, so it won't come until Monday now, naturally I'm pouting even though it probably doesn't matter . . .

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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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Hokay! The heater arrived, its tiny, it heats, and I love external controller.

I put the larger anubias back in, covered over the stone weights on the needle leaf and I'm much happier with "the look" I think it may grow in rather nicely.

My betta departed Thailand today. He's a jet-setter

Also the missing piece for my filter arrived from zoo med today, they rock!

Can anyone tell me how the image for a thread is updated on Tapatalk? I haven't detected the pattern yet …?

Thanks bunches!


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Last edited by kyle3; 05-02-2017 at 04:02 PM. Reason: edit
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-06-2017, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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The Nail Biting Phase

Hello to my fellow Wet-Green-Thumbers,

First I have to share an update on my betta - he is still not here. I'm am quite worried. My transhipper did not send a tracking number (or ship him) until 8pm on Thursday, the 4th. Which means he has to sit in a warehouse somewhere all day tomorrow. I know these are tough little fish but he's already been traveling since Monday and I am pretty anxious. The good news is I have an awesome local delivery driver who is going to text me as soon as she sees the package in the morning so I can leave work on Monday and come get him ASAP. I hope he has a feisty fighting spirit to keep him going until he gets here!

Ok, moving on to the tank itself --

In somewhat boring news I've had some difficulty cycling this tank. Which is annoying because I'm quite good at this process normally, but I tried a new method, or rather a new product. Normally I cycle a tank by adding 50% of the filter media from an established tank and keep the stocking level light. Which is usually the last I have to think about it. But I haven't had fish in my larger tank for a year and the biofilter in it is sufficient for the large population of MTS but nothing more. So I didn't think there was much to be gained from my usual technique and I thought it was about time I tried these new-fangled bacteria in a bottle products in one of my own tanks. I like Seachem products so I bought some Stability and figured I would have a fully cycled tank in no time.

WELL, I got there in the end but there was a little nail biting in the middle.

I added some old shrimp food to get a little bit of ammonia in there to start. Once I had an ammonia reading (0.25ppm) I added the Stability. The instructions say to shake it, but after I took off the seal, with the cap screwed on tight, I got a Stability shower when I shook it, the cap is NOT liquid tight. I added it 2 days in a row and there was no change in the ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate readings. Then it occured to me that my cursory shakes weren't vigorous enough, even though I was splashing Stability everywhere when I shook it. So I put some plastic wrap under the cap to provide a better seal and was able to shake without any leaks. I dosed again last night and this morning my ammonia is 0ppm and I have the s-l-i-g-h-t-e-s-t amount of nitrate. So it seems the first few doses had negligible amounts of bacterial spores. My faith in Seachem is restored, but I'm a little miffed about the leaky bottle.

I've added some mini catappa leaves to the tank. I'm not sure I'll always want to have a strong tannin look to the water but I think it will be a good health/recovery provision for my travel weary betta when he finally arrives 🍂

The most exciting news is that my lily pipes arrived!! I was so excited about them I forgot to take a picture of them in the box and installed them right away, so I only have a photo of them on the tank. Hope you're not mad

(You can also see my fantastically tiny heater in this shot )

I was in a experimental mood early last week and with the idea of giving the new plants a little jump start I topped the tank off 3 days in a row with carbonated water from my sodastream - inspired of course by Takashi Amano's story of doing the same. It seems to have helped, there are fresh buds on the anchor moss, the anubias continues to unfurl new leaves, and there are the very beginnings of new leaves on the vesuvius. So not bad. I have decided to quit "experimenting" with the water now that I am so close to having an occupant. I'll decide what I want to do about CO2 on this tank once I have the new betta settled in and healthy.

I thought it might be nice to share a shot of the tank from a distance to provide some scale:


And a closer-up FTS:

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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He arrived!!!!! And he survived!!!!!!! I'm so freakin' happy!!!!!!

Not the best picture, but we're still keeping the lights off for the little traveler.


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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Lots to tell, but I have to save it for a later update. But the new guy is healthy and building a bubble nest already!




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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 04:01 PM
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Nice! I can't believe a great journal like this doesn't have any comments! Have fun with your Betta!


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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 04:48 PM
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You might want to pull the Vesuvius Swords up a little so their leaf crowns are a smidge above the gravel level.

You also know that come summertime temperatures that your Halogen light could possibly make the tank quite warm. There are some 12 volt MR16 GU10 LED lamps..https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017WJ6DMA...a-306862042265

Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
250 gallon stock tank, "pond"
20 gallon H CBS Shrimp tank

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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrampsGrunge View Post
There are some 12 volt MR16 GU10 LED lamps..https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017WJ6DMA...a-306862042265
OOH, I had not come across the LED replacement bulbs for halogen fixtures! Very cool, thanks for the tip.

I'm not especially concerned about the heat (I live right by Lake Superior, which keeps temps cool even in the summer and I can raise the light quite high off of the tank if necessary) BUT the LED light looks like it has some color temp options I'd prefer aesthetically. And using less power is always a good thing

I'll pull the vesuvias up higher . . . there wasn't much for roots initially, but hopefully they've grown enough I can pull them out a bit and keep them from floating away

thanks!

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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 04:50 AM Thread Starter
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I'm overdue to update this journal! I got assigned last minute to some wildland firefighting duties so I've been away.

The stressful part of being gone was I wasn't home to receive my fish and I spent no small amount of energy scheming about how I was going to make sure the new betta survived in my absence. After planning a few different ways to skin this cat, it all worked out and my wonderful husband successfully transferred the new guy to his tank, fed him his first few meals and maintained his water quality until I got back. I was pretty impressed because he is usually pretty hands-off with my aquariums, but he rose to the challenge beautifully!!

The other big news of my new betta's arrival is that I have totally turned my previous notions about acclimation on their head. I watched Rachel O'Leary's video about how she acclimates fish (here's the link)
I'm a total believer in her method! It worked fantastically for this fish.

So the new betta is very handsome, though not the same fish as the one in the photo on the aq#@bid posting. He's a feisty little thing. He flares at his reflection in the side of the tank, he flares at my husband, he flares at the stem of the lamp, he flares at the filter tube . . . you get the idea. At first I was a little worried he would over-exert himself, but he's doing less of it and he's overall very healthy and happy so I've decided to quit worrying until I see any sign he's actually doing himself any harm.

I wasn't too surprised that he didn't have any interest in eating pellets, but I have been surprised by his other meal preferences. This betta does not want to eat bloodworms, or mysis. The only thing he's eaten for me is the tiny fragments of mysis that are in the mix when you thaw them out. He inspects all the food he's introduced to carefully before eating and won't eat the mysis with eyes attached, the other bits are ok with him though. I'm going to get a few more frozen options for him and as soon as it's a tad warmer here I'll be able to cultivate some mosquito larvae for him. If anyone has tips on feeding a fussy eater like this I'm open to suggestions!!

I can't decide what to do for a name. The other human in the house wants to call him Rick Flare. Which I can't stand! (although I see the humor in it) I'll let you know what I come up with

So here are a few shots of the new guy in action:



And a FTS:


The Stability I'm using to jump start the cycle seems to be working, water parameters are good although the nitrates are still very low which makes me just a little uneasy. I've been testing the water daily and adding Stability as well as Prime until I'm satisfied I have an established biofilter. Once that is settled I'll start making some decisions about CO2, and ferts for this tank. Although I'm seeing modest plant growth already.
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Last edited by kyle3; 05-15-2017 at 04:55 AM. Reason: fix photo links
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