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Hi, I've been lurking around the forums for a bit doing research and finding inspiration. The community looks great so I decided to join in!
I guess you could say I got bit by the aquascaping bug (or is it fish?) this year by watching a lot of youtube videos. Anyone else enamored with Serpa Design?

Anyway, this tank was only recently planted last year, but has been up and running for much longer than that.

October 2019-
Bettas have been my favorite fish and after many years of absence I decide to go live my best life and get a new fishy friend.
I did not initially get off to a great start, as the fish started life in a miserable 2 gallons in a classroom. Circumstances led to sudden relocation of the fish back home.
I picked a tall tank because the footprint of space in my bedroom is especially small, and this turned out to fit very well.
I start off with a handful silk plants and some Marimo moss balls.

Look at my beautiful son. I wouldn't normally pick this color, but the classroom wanted red and he was the only one I could find that was even mostly red at all.
Valentine unfortunately succumbed to unknown illness last October. Didn't really realize how attached to the little guy until he was gone.

October 2020-
The tank is a year old and since it's star inhabitant is gone I decide to do a drastic overhall.
Over time I had gotten tired of the silk plants. They were covered in algae, were fraying, and honestly looks really shabby for how expensive they had been.
I was told I could plant Moneywort and Rotalla right into the gravel substrate, and because I was new and I really like the color yellow I got a Gold Nessea who was fated to fail under my low light environment.
I removed all remaining inhabitants and plants to a bucket while I replaced the gravel with florite dark (they aren't kidding that this stuff is dusty.)
Somewhere in all this I also get a cup of Java Moss.
The tank didn't remain empty for long as I got excited to buy a betta from a breeder (hoping it would have better health and longevity*) and so arrives Bushkin.
Fish through the mail? Who knew!

*I later learn, after ordering, the many many health problems with betta splendans.

January 2021-
Happy new year! We're looking really scraggly in this one. All the old growth on the moneywort and rotalla melted off. I somehow manage to grow the worlds saddest rotalla, hoping it would grow tall and big to cover the gear in the background. I loathe looking at the gear. The gear cares not for my feelings.
By this point the Gold Nessea had wilted and completely died off.
With the goal trying to fill in with some more mid-ground plants I add Micro Sword, Crypt Lutea, and a too short to be seen Crypt Parva.
I can feel in my soul that I still haven't achieved the look I want... so I make more... diabolical plans... rubs hands together

Wow, it's still January 2021-
This is where I perhaps get too zealous and killed most of my Java Moss. It had grown a huge string algae mass, so I took everything out and tried to do a light hydrogen peroxide bath since I heard it was safe for plants.
The Java Moss didn't like that and turned brown.
I also reuse some of my silk plants to hide the suction cups on the rock decoration. For some reason the clear color turned complete white and bothered me almost as much as looking at the gear did.
This is where I give up on my Rotalla dreams and trim them all down and replant them.
Also... a new challenger? Mopani wood! This was honestly an impulse buy while out to get Hygrophila Corybosa (again, to hide that pesky gear). It looks so pretty, I could honestly see having an entire tank of the stuff. (except you know... that would make the water very very dark.)


Late January 2021-
That lastest addition is Guppy Grass! This is freshly added so I don't know how it'll fair, but my hope is that it will suck up more nutrients and help curb some of the string algae and a new algae that appeared that sort of glues itself to the leaves and can't be pulled off. Don't know what's up with that one, but I'm not a fan.
I also added some crushed slate to try and make the surface of the dark florite look more like a natural floor.

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This is the point where I've gotten really pleased with the look of the tank. It's like I cut a slice of underwater wonderland from nature. The side view from my bed is especially wonderful.
I think the only thing left on my mind is to maybe get a hold of some spiderwood twigs and branches and place or hang them around the Mopani bark. Definitely reached the end of my budget for now, so perhaps a late Febuary addition. I could also remove the fake log for more driftwood, but I'm not sure where I could go to find some a small piece and still use it as a hide.



The tank changed drastically and so has Bushkin! I know it's a plant forum, but I must share my son. My photo in January and the breeder's photo is probably September.


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And I'll just end this with sharing all the technical specs.

Tank:
GloFish 10 Gallon tall kit

Light:
The one that came with, a 6 in GloFish LED
About 15 Lumens

Current Plant list:
Java Moss
Marimo Ball
Moneywort
Rotalla (species unknown?)
Micro Sword
Crypt Lutea
Crypt Parva
Anubias (Nana?)
Hygrophila Corybosa
Guppy Grass

Stock:
1 Betta
1 Panda Cory
2 Julii Cory
2 Otocinclus
2 Nerite Snails
??? Shrimp (This is a whole story, but a red cherry has been surviving for months, added 10 yellow, but can only account for 3 deaths and one day poof gone. But I know the red cherry is a class A hider, so their fate is completely unknown.)
A host of uninvited bladder/pond? snails.

Water:
My tap is extremely hard and slightly alkaline by default.
 
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