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36 Gallon Bowfront - Planted Betta Sorority/Community Tank

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Hi everyone! I am new to this forum, and fairly new to aquariums, fish and aquarium plants. I decided to start this tank journal to document the ups and downs of my tank, and hopefully get some help and advice from all you smart people!

I want to start by saying that I didn't choose my current tank setup, and I likely would have gone a different route (I see multiple tanks in my future...lol). My mother purchased a tank/stand kit from Petsmart (Top Fin Bowfront Aquarium & Stand Ensemble - 36 Gallon | fish Aquariums | PetSmart) in April 2021. She really did try her best, but after having 6 fancy goldfish die (3 attempts of 2 fish at a time) she felt like a fish murderer (her words), and asked me to take her tank. So I did!

Since I've only had my tank for 6 months, I am going to go back through my photos and briefly document the main changes, additions and struggles here.

May 16, 2021 - I picked up the tank and set it up:
Water Plant Pet supply Organism Aquatic plant


May 22, 2021 - I purchased 4 tiger endlers (1 male, 3 females), 2 albino bn plecos, 1 moss ball and some guppy grass:
Water Plant Vertebrate Pet supply Organism


May 27, 2021 - Added a sponge filter and...my first babies! Tiger endler fry:
Water Liquid Fin Fluid Fish
Water Plant Vertebrate Green Pet supply


June 15, 2021 - I added some driftwood I found while on a boating trip.
Water Plant Green Pet supply Organism


June 27, 2021 - Added and changed some things:
Water Vertebrate Plant Green Pet supply


End of June/Beginning of July, 2021 - I cleaned my sponge filter for the first (and last :oops:) time.

It was gross. Really gross. But apparently that was where most of my bacteria was living, which makes sense, and I basically had to re-cycle my tank. I had some ammonia and nitrites for awhile, and dealt with very cloudy water for what felt like a long time.
Water Plant Vertebrate Green Botany
Water Plant Botany Organism Vegetation


All the fish survived, thankfully. But I have been too scared to properly clean the sponge since then...

July 23, 2021 - Tank was properly cycled again, and the water was looking much better:
Water Plant Botany Organism Terrestrial plant


July 24, 2021 - I wanted something larger and more colourful in my tank since it usually looked pretty empty. After some research, I decided on a Betta. I contacted my friend who sells fish and plants (he's the one I purchased my endlers and plecos from), and he ended up convincing me to do a betta sorority. I bought 6 female bettas.
Water Plant Vertebrate Nature Botany
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
August, 2021 - Camallanus worms!!!!
Water Plant Botany Fin Underwater


I am in Canada, so it took some digging on the internet to find some levamisole. I successfully treated my tank, and all fish survived, but my tank was no longer thriving like it was. I am not sure if it was because of the levamisole, or if it was something else, but I had a lot of plants die.

September 17, 2021 - Dead hornwort was not fun to clean up.... Guppy grass was still doing okay though.
Water Plant Green Rectangle Grass


October 1, 2021 - RIP blue betta. One of my blue bettas suddenly passed away overnight. She was fine the day before, then never came to surface to feed on Oct.1. I found her at the bottom, breathing rapidly, with damage to one side of her body. Her side was white-ish instead of blue, with some scales sticking out. It almost looked like a burn or something. I still don't know what happened. Could a pleco have sucked on her side? That was my only other guess since the damage was so localized and seemed to happen overnight. I figure the damage would have looked different if it was from another betta? I went out and bought more plants the same day, just in case it was due to aggression from another fish.

I believe I bought an Amazon sword plant, water sprite, and the planted ones near the front of the tank (red and green varieties) that I don't remember the name of.

Water Plant Plant community Vertebrate Green


October 17, 2021 - Plant issues. The guppy grass was dying, the red-leaved plant in the front died, others weren't looking so hot. I was dealing with a lot of the green thread algae, and I think brown algae on some of the plants (or maybe they were just dying lol).

I added some duckweed and another floating plant, water wisteria, and another sword plant. Sorry the glass is so dirty. 🤦‍♀️
Water Plant Vertebrate Green Botany
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
November, 2021 - Some final updates for now! I would appreciate any advice you have for my current (or past) issues.

I discovered that I have bladder snails! I'm hoping they don't get out of control. I also bought 5 ghost shrimp.

I still have to pull thread algae out of my tank constantly & my plants don't seem to be thriving. I started adding Seachem Flourish about 2 weeks ago. Not sure if I see a difference. I'm starting to question whether my light is bright enough, especially with the height (depth?) of my tank.

Plant Updates

New growth, but small leaves?
Plant Vegetation Terrestrial plant Natural landscape Grass

Dying tips:
Water Plant Yellow Organism Terrestrial plant

Plant Leaf Terrestrial plant Leaf vegetable Flowering plant


Brown algae, holes, thread algae:
Plant Terrestrial plant Flowering plant Grass Annual plant


Browning leaves:
Plant Water Leaf Flowerpot Botany
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
November 9, 2021 - Added some Christmas decorations 🎅🎄, removed a bunch of duckweed to let in more light, cleaned the light, and planted some smaller plant pieces that were floating around.

Water Plant Green Vertebrate Botany


GH: 25ppm
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~20ppm
Chlorine: 0
KH: 80-120ppm
pH: 7.9
Temp: 80F
Seachem Flourish twice a week.
5 bettas, 20-30 endlers, 2 plecos, 5 ghost shrimp, bladder snails.
 
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