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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


Introducing:
"Beauty" - veiltail female betta


"Sky Blue" - crowntail female betta


"Kiss" - veiltail female betta


"Rainbow" - crowntail female betta


"Love" - halfmoon female betta


And Starring:
Eleocharis parvula
Anubius nana
Valisneria americana 'Natans'
Egeria densa (AKA Elodea, AKA Anacharis)
Cabomba carolinia sp.


Bump: Creating a betta sorority:
two female bettas = one beating the snot out of the other and the loser trying to occupy the smallest (like sideways half out of the tank) space possible. *Dangit. Back to the fish store.*

three female bettas = a mini whirlpool of three fish continuously chasing each other in a circle. *Shoot*

four female bettas = OK… but someone is always getting picked on. *Sigh*

five female bettas = SISTERS ❤ !!!!
 

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five female bettas = SISTERS ❤ !!!!
I've always wanted to do a betta sorority. How long has this one been up and running? Did you buy them all together already or did you get them at separate times and/or places?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Up and running six days now. The betta ladies are surprisingly showy and entertaining! Didn’t set out with the intent to stock 5 fish in a 10 gallon over a 3 day period, but glad I did. Super pleased with the tank progress!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Bought them from different places days (or hours) apart

What Not to Do:
-buy the cheapest kit tank you can find (check)
-buy fish and plants for said tank at the same time (check)
-fully stock your tank with fish and replant your plants TWICE within the first three days of setup (check)

Yeesh! Even though I know better, I did all of that… lets see how long I can keep disaster at bay…

But, here is what I might have done right:
1. Hardy fish.
2. Daily Prime dose to keep ammonia and nitrites at bay.
3. Daily super dosing with nitrosomonas and nitrobacter
4. Close scrutiny of fish and plant health and behavior
5. Chose a relatively inert, but high surface area substrate to promote efficient nitrogen cycling in the tank (Flora Max)
- No ammonia spike, no N-P-K macronutrients.
- Lots of surface area for nitrifying and root-symbiotic bacteria (substrate is crushed lava rock or basalt)
- Probably helps with trace / micro fertilizer elements
6. Supplemental lighting (17” marineland hidden LED ~ 400 lumens)
7. CO2 Bell reactor for daily CO2 dosing (this is a bit fiddly so hopefully won’t be more trouble)
8. Use of ‘auxiliary plants’ (i.e., fast-growing weeds) to stabilize initial set up.
9. Careful dosing of macro and micro fertilizers to moderate target parameters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Auxiliary Plants to the Rescue!

In the above you will note mention of auxiliary plants... These were not so much a carefully planned addition to the aquascape (a lot of things are not carefully planned about this tank), but a response to an, 'Oh @#$%' moment... Brand new, sterile, 10 gallon tank. Five inches of fish pumping ammonia and phosphate into the tank. Slow growing Eleocharis and Anubius. *gulp* Visions of rotting plant leaves, cloudy water and bleached betta corpses...

This tank was going to hit a whole lot of bad if I did't get some biological systems working STAT!!! I'm using heavy doses of a nitrifying bacteria mix to help seed the tank. But is it enough? Probably not. I need some plant help!

A trip to FIVE fish stores (mostly big chains near me) did not yield any good auxiliary plant candidates. (If you don't know what auxiliary plants are, Tropica has a good descriptor and species list on their website, but they are basically any fast growing, immersed plant that you can get your hands on that are suitable for your tank lighting.) I was very lucky to find a guy who lives near me who advertises on a local club site to share/sell trimmings from his low tech tank. When I arrived at his house, his angels were spawning on the silicone corner of his 60 gallon tank - 'oh yeah, they always do that', he tells me as he fills my bucket with flowering strands of Cabomba, Elodea (Egeria) and Valisneria. I'm thinking these 'auxiliary plants' might need to have a more permanent home in my tank!

OK - but how do they help? These are easy growing plants that are less exacting than many others. They generally have efficient Carbon metabolism (requirement for low dissolved CO2 levels), have high reserves of Potassium and trace elements (so healthy plants can grow quite a bit in absence of minerals that are essential for other plants to flourish), and will grow well with a 'good' availability of light, phosphorus and nitrogen.

Spoiler alert... added the auxiliary plants four days ago. I can't wait to show you what benefits they and a fiddly CO2 system have brought to the tank!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Fluval mini-pressurized 20 g CO2

I am seriously loving this little CO2 set up. It is a bit fiddly and has to be turned on and off every day but it works like a charm!

My Cabomba was streaming pearls of O2 for hours yesterday...


How it works:
- Hang cartridge / valve on back of tank
- Put reaction chamber into fishtank
- Open valve to fill reaction chamber with CO2 every morning
- Either leave a slow trickle of CO2 to keep chamber full or refill a couple of times per day
- Shut valve a couple of hours before 'lights out' in the evening


Pros:
- inexpensive
- disposable cartridge refills can be purchased from Fluval or you can buy third-party threaded CO2 cartridges for inflating bike tires for under $5 ea (if you buy a larger size cartridge than 20g, valve will still fit but will be too big to fit in the tank mount provided with the kit). Expectation is that each cartridge will last 3 weeks or so.
- complete set. Comes with cartridge, valve, tubing, a hanger and a bell-type reaction chamber to put inside your tank.
- small cartridge hangs on the back of tank with low/no footprint outside of the tank (critical for my set-up)
- see picture of pearling Cabomba :grin2:

Cons:
- You need to manually turn the CO2 on and off
- The CO2 reactor has two chambers with the bottom chamber filling first, and overflow from the bottom filling the second chamber. It fills fairly violently with lots of 'blooping', water displacement and splashing. One of my curious bettas damaged her dorsal fin by getting sucked up into/against the reactor when I was filling it.
- The bell reactor takes up a lot of room in the tank. It is about the size of a can of red bull. If you have a smaller tank and don't need the two chambers you can just use one, although from reviews it seems that it is easy to break so the reactor won't stack anymore if you try to separate, so beware!
- The CO2 holder is meant for rimless tanks and does not fit on my 10 gallon tank rim. It doesn't come with a check valve, so you do need to ensure that it is mounted above water level. In my case, it sits fairly securely on the rim of my HOB filter.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Day 8 photos and Egeria Root sheath

It’s day 8 and I’m super pleased with the plant growth and general health in the Betta sorority tank.


I found something exciting when I did a 50% water change and moved a couple of stems of Egeria densa. A root sheath!!! I’m thrilled to see these only 6 days after putting this auxiliary plant in the tank!


Happy plants in Flora Max substrate and from this level of root adhesion, looks to be the start of a good root-substrate-microbial interaction going on here. (Plant roots secrete mucous that supplies sugars and complex organic compounds to bacteria which in turn supply nitrogen and make minerals available to the plant.)

Also went to a local fish swap meet today and one of the vendors had the most incredible bettas I have ever seen! Prismbettas.com Wowza, they have some beauts! (I am in no way associated with Prism Bettas nor have I purchased any fish there). If you are looking for fancy bettas, check them out!
 
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