5 gal betta tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-16-2018, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
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5 gal betta tank

Well this tank is actually 6 months old now, but thought I'd start a journal for it since I'm about to change it up. It's my first ever planted tank so it was a little rocky at first. Ray the betta has been patient with my constant experimentation and mistakes.

My bf brought the betta home from work where it had been a gift from a client in one of those plant vase things, and got passed around for a few days before ending up with us. That's what launched me into this project. So a major goal for the tank is to provide the best environment for him. There's a lot I would've done differently from the beginning but I'm glad to know better now.

Equipment:
Marineland 5 gal portait with built in filter
Hygger 30W led, from Amazon
Fluval stratum
Seiryu stone

Plants, initially:
Crypt parva
Crypt wendtii bronze
Buce catherinae
Buce red?
Anubias nana petite
Hydrocotyle tripartita

At the time, I thought the Hydrocotyle would grow up to the surface and not particularly require CO2.

Definitely learned quickly you have to restrict day length starting out to prevent algae.

I think I tried cycling the tank with plants, which I'm not sure I'd do again. I used ammonia drops for the cycling.

Also have decided it's better to plant heavily to start if you can.


Seiryu stone was just a grab bag purchase from Ebay. Looking back, I should have gone with driftwood. Something with height.


Freshly planted. Looks a little sad at this point haha.


Things quickly went downhill. Just about everything melted. The Crypts hung on but the Anubias and Buce rotted at the rhizome. Hydrocotyle slowly died. Took forever to cycle until I broke down and bought bacterial starter and ammonia.


Meanwhile Ray waited in his plant vase. I tested the water when I first got him and ammonia was insanely high. Not sure how he was able to survive.


After getting the cycle going, decided to replant with Staurogyne repens, A. nana petite, A. nana, narrow leaf Java fern, and Java moss. Crypt wendtii bronze hung on. Ray was introduced to the tank and immediately explored every nook and cranny. Had a little bit of trouble adjusting to having to swim so far to reach the surface. So I added a betta leaf hammock.


I got smart this time and kept some plant clippings in a terrarium. It ended up looking better than the tank...
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-16-2018, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Over the months, I slowly worked up the light to a full day-ish. Tried red root floaters to cut down on the intensity, but they didn't ship well and never tried again. Algae continued to be a minor problem, so I added a nerite snail. The snail did such a good job it ran out of algae. Couldn't get it to accept zucchini or cucumber, so it ended up eating the plants out of starvation.

Update to today:

As the Java fern shrunk after losing it's older (emersed?) leaves, Ray seems to want heavier cover again. So I plan to replant heavily with stem plants similar to this tank: https://youtu.be/ftcTO_Wzujg They mostly use pearl weed, hornwort, Bacopa caroliniana and guppy grass.

I bought some Bacopa and guppy grass already, but will hold off planting them until I order pearl weed and hornwort after the holidays.

Decided I'll remove the built in filter and replace with an Azoo mignon hob. That'll give me probably a whole 'nother gallon of space in the tank.

I think I'll replace the seiryu stone with driftwood as well. I plan to check out a few real LFS's in Houston to see what's available.

The tank currently: Ray is loving the guppy grass as a floating plant, but I'm planning to tuck it into the substrate as a rooted plant. Already caught him sleeping in it. You can see how the nerite chewed up the Anubias on the left.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 12-22-2018, 11:57 AM
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Nice photos and setup! Personally I wouldn't take the seiryu stone away.. I would add some driftwood to the far left corner. Keep us posted with pics!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 12:48 AM Thread Starter
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@starlord Thanks for the words of encouragement! I definitely took your advice to heart.

I played around with some old mopani driftwood (the only kind available where I live), but made a trip to some nice LFS's in Houston, where I bought a tall piece of spider wood.



I removed the built-in filter chamber in the back using a razor blade (the silicone cleaned up surprisingly well) and added an AZOO Mignon hob in its place. That gave me over 1 additional gallon of space in the tank! It looks so much better to me too.

I settled on placing the spiderwood in the back left corner over a piece of original seiryu and and added a few cut pieces for fake roots.



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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-03-2019, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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So here's the re-vamped tank after planting. I guess I'm going for a jungle style at this point. I recycled the Anubias and Java fern from the previous scape. Kinda mixed things up and hoping some plants will survive where they like being planted. It very well may be nothing but guppy grass and hornwort in the end.



The new plant list is:

Bacopa caroliniana
Rotala indica
Pearl weed
Ludwigia Mini Super Red
Hornwort (still in transit, not sure where it'll fit in)
Guppy grass
Java fern
Anubias nana and A. nana petite
Java fern

I wanted to be sure to have some plants are that more or less guaranteed to survive. I haven't grown Bacopa, Rotala, Ludwigia, or pearl weed before, so that'll be a new experience. I've seen it do well in other people's non-CO2 tanks, but we'll see how it goes.

The betta is happy, so I'm happy. He has already found new places to lodge himself. About half the substrate was taken from the old tank and I tried to culture to new filter media in the old tank for a few weeks, so the initial ammonia spike in the new set up went away within hours.



A part of the driftwood sticks out of the water, so I threw some Hydrocotyle tripartita clippings on top to see if they would establish as an emergent plant. I also added some floaters I had collected from a pond a few weeks ago (mosquito fern and Salvinia minima).

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Well about 1 month check up:

Plants are growing in. Added a few sprigs of hornwort. I'm seeing growth on pretty much everything except the usual slow-growers.





The Rotala rotundifolia is really taking off. I had no experience with the plant before so I'm pretty happy about out it. It's putting out branches all along the original stems. The new growth has a nice blush bu sadly, the cold white light of my cheap led washes it out.



Still dealing with quite a bit of fungus on the driftwood.



I may replace the Azoo Mignon hob with a something larger because it gets choked with debris on the inlet sponge really quickly. I'm afraid of too much flow for the betta, but I tend to get a lot of debris settling on the plants.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 03:37 PM
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Your tank is gorgeous!! It's like a submerged jungle, for sure. I have a Marineland portrait as well, but I am still using the stock light. My plants aren't doing...much of anything, honestly. I'm wondering if the quality of the light is a good part of the problem. Any insight?

For your filter issues, would it work to add a sponge to the intake, and then just squeeze & rinse it weekly? I found that taking the hornwort out of the tank took care of most of my plant debris problem...I'll be grabbing some elodea next time I buy plants!

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you @Cinnamonamon The filter did come with an intake sponge, but somehow it gets clogged almost every other day, so I've been thinking a bigger one might handle the load better. Good to know about the hornwort! I didn't realize they shed so many leaves.

About the stock light, what plants do you have now? It's pretty weak, but I actually reverted back to using the stock light before replanting everything because algae was becoming a problem and my Anubias and Java fern seemed to be able to grow with it going at least 8 hours/day. There are some pretty affordable nano led's that would be much better. I don't necessarily recommend the one I have though, it's a little too strong and very cold white in color.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by blackpearl View Post
Thank you @Cinnamonamon The filter did come with an intake sponge, but somehow it gets clogged almost every other day, so I've been thinking a bigger one might handle the load better. Good to know about the hornwort! I didn't realize they shed so many leaves.

About the stock light, what plants do you have now? It's pretty weak, but I actually reverted back to using the stock light before replanting everything because algae was becoming a problem and my Anubias and Java fern seemed to be able to grow with it going at least 8 hours/day. There are some pretty affordable nano led's that would be much better. I don't necessarily recommend the one I have though, it's a little too strong and very cold white in color.
Yea, the hornwort made me crazy -- it stopped shedding horribly after a month, but then started up again later (though I don't do any ferts & have a pretty low-tech set-up, so ymmv).

My plants are Anubias nana petit, java fern windelov, java moss, and a huge (2-3 inch) moss ball. I added a small val and a tiny crypt last month (the others were added in November when I set the tank up, initially). The anubias has put out 1 new leaf, but it is light colored with dark veins, which apparently indicates a lack of...some nutrient. It's other leaves are slowly getting holes/looking a little unhealthy, but I understood that that would happen because it was likely started as an emergent plant (bought from Petsmart in one of those little tubes). Ditto on the Java fern windelov and it's partially brownish leaves. Maybe I'm just impatient though! The lights are usually on 12 hours, and I'm getting some noticeable algae on the glass regularly (between water changes/cleanings), so I'm going to get a timer to bring my photo period down. It doesn't help when I forget to turn it off all together some nights!

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