I got this tank and its first betta inhabitant a few years back when my dog died, so my initial interest in it was solely to have something to take care of and keep me entertained. After a half-way-across-the-country move and the death of my first betta, I pretty much stuck with my original strategy of "stick whatever plants petco/smart's got that won't die immediately in there and see what happens, oh and a betta." However, lately I've been getting in the mood to do something fancier with it - I'm wanting to redo the current landscaping and planting, and eventually switch from a betta to a school of teeny tiny fish (whenever Velvet, the betta, finally dies of old age). I'm not planning on getting too fancy - I'm sticking with the original light and not planning on adding CO2, but I have been looking into changing to better fertilizers, adjusting how long the lights are on, working on better maintenance, and so forth, because the plants could be happier.
Within the past couple of weeks, I've added a couple of amano shrimp (Velvet is super chill and after determining that they were not food has completely ignored them, even when they swim right by him) and some dwarf water lettuce. Once those have had a month or so to settle in, I'm wanting to pull everything out, build a new hardscape, and replace the plants I'm not happy with.
But for now, the tank! Before cleaning today:
5 gallons, all standard equipment that came with the tank (plus heater in the pump compartment). Planted with anubias nana on some driftwood on the left, mini dwarf hairgrass in the foreground, cryptocoryne undulata "red" in the background, and some dwarf water lettuce corralled on the upper right.
Unfortunately I lost an amano overnight - despite my best efforts at CSI: Aquarium, no cause of death could be found and the remaining shrimp seem perfectly happy. So I'll be monitoring that... Besides that, the tank was overdue for thorough cleaning, and the jungle at the back was getting on my nerves.
After a water change, a thorough glass scrubbing, removing some hairgrass that didn't want to go back into the sand after I'd pulled out the crypt runners, pulling off all the loose leaves on the crypts and pulling out a couple in the thickest sections, and generally sucking up all the cyanobacteria I could, it looks much better, but is still lacking in aquascaping and I keep seeing gunk I want to siphon out and roots I didn't rebury:
On the plus side, Velvet and the shrimp seem quite pleased - they still have plenty of spots to hang out in and under the plants, but don't have to shove through quite as much vegetation to do so.
Like I said earlier, I'm going to let the shrimp and water lettuce get settled in before I do anything significant with the hardscape, but I'll be using that time to sketch out my ideas (more on that in a later post) and research plants and their care (and read tank journals...).