Ok, update time.
Shortly after the last post, I set up they Biocube. I used Turface MVP as a substrate and used some Osmocote plus for ferts under the MVP, tossed in a small piece of drift wood, and added an anubia (not sure which one, about 6" tall), some dwarf sag, water wisteria, and some crypt wendii. Checked the parameters and acclimated my betta. Based on LFS advice I dosed with Seachem Flourish twice a week and Flourish advanced every day for 2 weeks. Oh, and I changed out the 10K and actinic bulbs for some 6500 K bulbs I found on line (1000Bulbs.com)
During this time my ph would drop to the low 5s and upper 4s. With a 50% water change, the ph would still drop but a little slower. Also during the first 2 weeks I got some melting on the crypts but the wisteria totally melted. After doing some reseaerch I found out that Turface, being clay, will lower the ph so I pulled everything out and replaced it with BDBS. The ph stayed around 7 and upper 6s but still would drop down to the upper 4s. Water changes would bring the ph up but it would still drop just not as fast. I'm thinking it's the driftwood and the tannin.
Towards the end of July I got some nerite snails but lost them the day after a water change. My fault, I didn't have the new water up to tank temp of 78 deg. I also got some ludwigia repens.
In the second week of August we lost our AC and it took over 2 weeks before we could get anyone to come out and look at it (long story). The inside house temp went up to 90-92 degrees 4-5 of those days and hovered around 82-88 degrees the other days. The tank temp got up into the mid upper 80s so I turned the lights off during that time. By the time we got the AC to work again the ludwigia repens all melted away. I'm surprised the anubia, dwarf sag, and the crypts didn't melt away. They have some brown algai on them but that's it.
Yesterday I went to the LFS and got some more water wisteria, some Hygrophila Angustifolia, 3 otocinclus, and 2 Amano shrimp. The shrimp were fun to watch and now has me thinking of a shrimp only tank. Unfortunately, this morning I can't find them. They may be hiding but after some web surfing, I'm thinking the betta may have had some fun with them. Also lost one of the oto's. Right now he'll come out and swim around one of the other oto's but I haven't seen him attack the oto yet.
While I was at the LFS I saw a betta I took a liking to. He's cream color with some light orange half moon. I didn't get him but after I go home I called the store and told them to hold him for me. I took out an old 2.5 gallon glass jar (biggest think on hand) and got it set up. I picked him up today and he seems to be happy with his new home. I pulled the anubia out of the Biocube and super glued it to a rock and put it in the jar too. Seems to like resting on the leaves. I tried to use 2 50 watt heaters that I have on hand but the first one is stuck in the on position (lost a tank to that several years ago) and the second one won't turn on. I'll run to Petco tomorrow and see what they might have on hand for heaters. The LFS I go to is closed on Mondays.
Bump: Some pics.
Well, maybe not now. Have to find their URL.