Betta housing upgrade -- plant/scape recs? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Betta housing upgrade -- plant/scape recs?

I'm abandoning the 2.5 gallon fishbowl for my Betta and upgrading! I've bought an inexpensive 5 gallon (Tetra brand) all-in-one setup for him and am looking forward to moving him over to it. I was going to put 2 big moss balls (that I already have) in his new tank, but I don't have any other concrete plans. I have access to free Vals, crypts (the sort with the wavy edges on the leaves), and a java fern wendelov that isn't doing well in my snail/shrimp 5 gallon (I think it's tucked in too dark of a back corner). I'm a little worried about adding the vals & crypts as they're in my 29 gallon work tank right now and easily grow to 12+ inches high. I can start with babies, but in a low light tank, are they still going to grow ridiculously tall? I am planning to use the hood that came with the tank (we have curious cats), so emergent growth isn't a thing that I'm looking for...although -- if I planted the vals near the HOB filter overflow, they could end up dancing across the surface nicely once they were long, I suppose?

Are any of these plants ones that Herbert would particularly enjoy, for whatever reason? I'm out of "me" money for the month, so I'm unlikely to buy any new plants, but I could plan for the future! I'm also going to be hunting for some good hardscape this weekend -- should I be thinking about making sure he has an area to "hide" in? Also, what do you think the chances of him being happy with a mystery snail roommate are? From what I've read roommate success is completely up to the personality of the betta in question, though adding other creatures before the betta, and making sure their is a decent amount of "cover" for the other creatures appears to help - as well as choosing non-bright animals (I have a TON of wildtype/brown mystery snails in my work tanks).

Thanks!

Oh -- the practical details -- I'll be putting a cylindrical shaped sponge over the intake for the HOB filter that came with the tank, as well as turning down it's intensity. The sponge will be from the 29 gallon tank at work, which should be more than enough good bacteria for little Herbert. Just in case, though, I'll be putting the most porous of the two sponges from my 5 gallon into the HOB filter (as well as a new, less porous one behind it, and some new ceramic rings in the bottom). I'm not planning to use the charcoal filled filter cartridge that it came with.

My substrate is a gravel that I purchased solely for it's color (see it in my other 5 gallon, here: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/2...l#post11136105 ) -- I think it's inert, though I'd have to double check the bag to be sure. I was considering buying potting soil to put under the gravel in Herbert's tank as I'm not happy with the plant growth in my first tank. That and maybe an all-in-one liquid fert is the furthest I'm willing to go at this point. The lights are the crappy stock LEDs that came with the tank, at this point, too.

It's not a mystery...snails are the BEST!
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Last edited by Cinnamonamon; 01-23-2019 at 02:58 PM. Reason: title adjustment
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 12:20 AM
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Vals are like grass or hair-cut the tops and it will grow back so them getting tall is not an issue, they'll rail on the surface until you trim 9then regrow).
"Moss" balls are marimo and not a moss-its an extremely slow growing form of hair algae-a tank packed full of them won't make a dent in nitrates so they should be considered just decorative.
Crypts take a while to grow tall and the leaves will just float on the surface if they get there-you can always trim leaves that get too long.

Anubias is another easy plant option-nana and petite being common small kinds, golden is another variation that won't get too big for your tank.

IMO its better to have plenty of plants than using rocks or resin decorations-anything rough can rip up betta fins.

Due to photobuckets new bs cost for use of images on forums I have deleted all photobucket accounts. I apologize if you enjoyed or found my photos helpful.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AquaAurora View Post
Vals are like grass or hair-cut the tops and it will grow back so them getting tall is not an issue, they'll rail on the surface until you trim 9then regrow).
"Moss" balls are marimo and not a moss-its an extremely slow growing form of hair algae-a tank packed full of them won't make a dent in nitrates so they should be considered just decorative.
Crypts take a while to grow tall and the leaves will just float on the surface if they get there-you can always trim leaves that get too long.

Anubias is another easy plant option-nana and petite being common small kinds, golden is another variation that won't get too big for your tank.

IMO its better to have plenty of plants than using rocks or resin decorations-anything rough can rip up betta fins.
Excellent, thanks. I'm curious about your vals comment -- someone else just suggested that perhaps I *shouldn't* be cutting the tops (they're in my 29 gallon tank at work, along with the crypts), and the prior owner cut them as well, so that is what I've been doing. Unfortunately, they get brown at the tips and more than a few strands start dying back. Other possible causes for their somewhat poor health could be lack of fertilizer, and age of plant -- they're in two huge clumps and I wonder if they shouldn't be separated and replanted. I'm not even 100% sure they *are* vals, given that I don't see them sending out runners or taking over more of the tank, as I've read they do. (to clear up confusion: this tank was donated to me/my workplace when the current owner decided he was done with aquariums -- their are very mature plants in there, a healthy cherry shrimp (?) colony, and a few leftover fish in it...I'm still learning how best to care for it!). This post is supposed to be about poor Herbert, the betta, though! lol

I could just go with my marimo balls (sorry, every time I call them that, someone says, "what? you mean those moss ball things?"), and some juvenile crypts as well as the vals (maybe an anubius petit nana, if I can come up with something to attach it to), I just wasn't sure about actual betta preferences with regard to hiding spots, glass reflection/flaring issues, resting preferences (thought the tank is not a "tall" style, so that probably isn't an issue) and the like. If I'm going to buy and arrange things for him specifically, I wanted to make sure to do it right. I will avoid any sharp/non-smooth ornaments/rocks/wood, for sure. I just don't want to make his tank too boring for him!

If I'm going to do a significant number of plants, I need to think about fertilizer. I was thinking about putting some sort of dirt under the substrate, but that opens up a whole OTHER can of worms, as it is apparently more complicated than buying a bag of potting soil? I am not ready to make my own dirt (nor do I have the space for it), and I am completely happy with low-light/low-tech plants, so I don't even know if I should bother with the dirt thing. Maybe I need to just get a liquid fert like the Thrive everyone talks about, or that green-something that the Aquarium Co-op guy sells in all his youtube videos. I think I read that crypts need root tabs if the tank isn't dirted, though? ...seriously, I'm probably just overthinking this whole thing...

It's not a mystery...snails are the BEST!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-25-2019, 03:02 PM
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Post clear photo(s) of the maybe vals in teh plant section with an "id plant" sort of title. Someone will confirm if its vals or other non val species. If its not vals it may be sag, which should not be cut.

If you want to do a 'walstad method' (goggle that) which is put ORGANIC soil under a gravel substrate, you should research first. I'd personally recommend wait at least 2 months before adding fish if you put in soil-if there's leaching it spikes ammonia and can lead to complications. I've tried 3 walstad betta tanks-only 1 worked well.

I've kept crypts with osmocote + root tabs (ebay) in the substrate, and in otehr tanks dosed ferts... I think root tabs worked butter but it could also have been an imbalance in lighting between the tanks.

Due to photobuckets new bs cost for use of images on forums I have deleted all photobucket accounts. I apologize if you enjoyed or found my photos helpful.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-26-2019, 11:12 AM
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Bettas love top plants, water lettuce, sweet potatoes, anything that give them roots to hang out in. Amazon sword gives em a great bed to sleep on too.i think one of the big things is they are very curious fish, it's crazy how interested they get in any added plants, decorations, or other habitat changes.
One thing I found works very well is to grow moss over some dragon stone, you tend to not want sharp objects in with bettas, as it can damage their fins.
And with a 5 gallon you can add a couple other creatures. Should be able to add some amano shrimp once you have some dense plants with plenty of hiding area, and a smaller suckerfish will be fine with him.
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