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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,
I have started the set up of a 5.5 gallon planted tank for a betta for my 4 year old. Here's a picture:


Plants are Rotala indica, Cryptocoryne retrospiralis, Ludwegia repens var Red, Dwarf Hairgrass (a little), and Java Moss.

Substrate is mixed black gravel and Fluorite, taken directly from two established planted tanks. Filter is a Duetto 50 with the carbon cartridge removed and with the outlet pointed at the glass; it has been running in a cycled tank for 2 months. Heater is a 50 watt set to 77ºF; ambient in my house is 64ºF in the winter, 80ºF in the summer. The light is a single All Glass 16" strip with a 14W Hg T12 (the one that came with - pink light). The light sits atop a well fitting versa top, bent up ever so lightly at the back corners for the cords.

Dosing 1/2 ml Flourish and 1 ml Flourish Excel weekly with a 50% water change, and 1/2 ml Flourish Excel daily. My tap water is 2 KH, 14 GH, ~7.2 pH and chock full of Chlorine, Fluoride, and Cholramines. I hit it with a double dose of each of NovAqua+ and AmQuel+ (that last to remove the heavy metals more than the ammonia - I realize that leaving the ammonia in would be optimum, but getting the metal ions out is the priority).

It's sited right in front of a window, so I will be putting a black background on it.

Planning on clearing the front left corner and putting in a spot of eco-complete (from an established tank) to replant the hairgrass, then stitching the java moss to a needlepoint grid weighted down with the 3 stones for a lawn in the middle and front left. I'm also going to get some planting tweezers and thicken up the Rotala from the trimmings from my other tanks.

Current occupants are 2 male guppies, there to make sure the cycle is complete (I'll test this weekend). They will be relocated when I add the betta. Also several tiny MTS, and some small pond snails. I'll hand pluck them for loaches and when they get out of hand.

Planned occupants: 1 male betta, 3 ottos (in August/September); 5 Corydoras pygmaeus, C. hasbrosus, or C. hastatus (or one of the rarer dwarfs if I can find them for a reasonable price) (in April/May). (Note that I have bail out solutions for the cories and ottos if the betta decides to be obstreperous.)

Could someone please point me at a good article on lighting a nano? I realize that 2.5 WPG is low light in a nano. (I've also got a 10 gallon setting up for dwarf puffers that needs better lighting for the plants I am planning.) I'd like the option of putting in HC or Glosso, and I would love to see pearling in a tank of my own.

What say you?
 

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Pretty! At first glance those white rocks reminded me of salt chunks! About your planned occupants though... there may be too many algae eaters in there. You would have to supplement their diet a lot if you want them to stay health. I had the unfortunate experience of putting too many ottos in and not realizing they weren't getting enough food.
 

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I have yet to house a male betta that wasn't a complete A-h..ahhh... not-nice-fish to anyone else in the tank - the only fish I would say that wasn't compatible with ottos. They even beat up on the pond snails I drop in there - though the population of pond snails exploded in my betta's split 10 gallon. juuuust a thought. maybe if the ottos are in before the betta gets there, he'll consider them part of the scenery, and not go about trying to attack it. Boy Bettas think they are at least 10 times bigger than they are.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for your advice.

Pretty! At first glance those white rocks reminded me of salt chunks! About your planned occupants though... there may be too many algae eaters in there. You would have to supplement their diet a lot if you want them to stay health. I had the unfortunate experience of putting too many ottos in and not realizing they weren't getting enough food.
Thanks! The rocks are Rose Quartz that my amateur geologist (professional barber) grandfather had in the collection he left me.

I too have lost ottos to underfeeding. I have learned the lesson, though, and have found that they do well with algae tablets and the occasional slice of zucchini. (And I am preparing to experiment with thawed frozen peas.) In any case, I know what to look for in a well fed otto (a belly like a tiny basketball), and have a bail out solution for them (a 20 gallon that I deliberately over fertilize - currently keeping 4 ottos, 3 amanos, and a bulldog pleco fat and happy in there.).

I find this article very interesting for us nano tank people.
Minimum Light Threshold...or am I nuts?
Gotta love Rex. Now all I have to do is figure out how to beam 3K Lux at the tank. What do you figure the average lux rating for a 5500K 14Watt lamp is? Just a wild guess? (I realize that I am probably going to have to go with suspended power compacts, but I'd like to at least try to keep the light I have where it is.)

I have yet to house a male betta that wasn't a complete A-h..ahhh... not-nice-fish to anyone else in the tank - the only fish I would say that wasn't compatible with ottos. They even beat up on the pond snails I drop in there - though the population of pond snails exploded in my betta's split 10 gallon. juuuust a thought. maybe if the ottos are in before the betta gets there, he'll consider them part of the scenery, and not go about trying to attack it. Boy Bettas think they are at least 10 times bigger than they are.
Hmm. Now I have hear that bettas will eat snails and snail eggs (kind of counting on it), so I am not too worried over that. Your point is taken though. After all, their middle name is "Fighting". That said, while I do plan on giving this a try, I will pay extra close attention to the betta's interaction with the cories, and remove them and any hope of ottos if there is any significant display of aggression. Now, I hope that doesn't amount to "idiot asks for advice and won't take it." I am keenly aware that it is close unto it. I will definitely keep it in mind and have a bailout option on hand.
 

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Well, it's mostly just my crowntails are big jerkheads and need to be separated from anything and anyone. Even the oldest one is a big jerkhead - you'd think he'd mellow with age or something, but NOOOOoooo... *sigh*

OH, and they don't EAT the snails. they just like to knock them off the glass or the top of the water or something. no no... eating the snails would be far to simple for my big jerks...
 

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I like the rocks!

Now I think you should reconsider what you're doing...

Your child is 4. He will probably be living you for at least 14 more years minimum. IF he gets hooked into this hobby as soon as possible and starts doing reading and stuff himself online, say at even age 7-8 He will want a bigger fish tank, then when that isn't enough he will want another one. Then will want a rack. Then he will want to convert part of the house for his collection! Then you will probably regret ever starting this tank somewhat...

Above is pretty much the course of action I took when I got into the hobby... I started at 13 in 2005, now and 15. I'm in the midst of convincing the parents how I could use the basement much better than storing boxes;) 20m gallon moss rack on the way hopefully! (well not 20m gallons... but a decent sized one)

So if he ends up getting into the hobby, watch out:proud: and make sure you get him into breeding something or other to help support your future electric bills and tank costs!

-Andrew

Ohh, and don't take the post too negative. It's more of a joke but really true, at least in my case... But when I was that age I got bored with the 10g tank and got a Big pond in the backyard to play with and got out of the hobby when we moved... Then got back into it... So just remember, when it starts that young your done for:proud:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I like the rocks!

Now I think you should reconsider what you're doing...

Your child is 4. He will probably be living you for at least 14 more years minimum. IF he gets hooked into this hobby as soon as possible and starts doing reading and stuff himself online, say at even age 7-8 He will want a bigger fish tank, then when that isn't enough he will want another one. Then will want a rack. Then he will want to convert part of the house for his collection! Then you will probably regret ever starting this tank somewhat...
Already have 10 Tanks running in the house and 3 more on deck. After that, need more house before more fish. :D Just for the record, She (the 4 year old) started it, by bringing home a little painted turtle in a cool whip container and naming it Swirly. I determined it had to live, so I have all the tanks from the 10 it started in to the 75 it's in now, plus everything I picked up as good deals along the way.
 

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I have yet to house a male betta that wasn't a complete A-h..ahhh... not-nice-fish to anyone else in the tank - the only fish I would say that wasn't compatible with ottos. They even beat up on the pond snails I drop in there - though the population of pond snails exploded in my betta's split 10 gallon. juuuust a thought. maybe if the ottos are in before the betta gets there, he'll consider them part of the scenery, and not go about trying to attack it. Boy Bettas think they are at least 10 times bigger than they are.
at my LFS (owner is a friend from the fish boards and member of the local fish club, so its a VERY good store) she had some ottos with some fish (for the life of me, i can't remember which one, but it wasn't a betta) that ate all her ottos eyes out.
 
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