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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It will be 6 weeks before I have an Aquastyle 9 up and running, and in the meantime I decided our betta needed a bigger home. I wasn't comfortable seeing him in 1 gallon for several more weeks, even if it was a big upgrade from the cup he was in at the pet store. So yesterday I found a giant fish bowl, and it's beautiful. It's 15.5" in diameter, and perfectly spherical. I've added 5.5 gallons of water, filling it to within 6" of the top.

It is sparse. Right now there's a tiny amount of gravel and a crappy plastic plant that was in the 1 gallon bowl. I've been inspired by some of the beautiful planted bowls I've seen here, including Hambone's. So I'm planning to pick up a lamp and some substrate and have plants in by the weekend.

I'm leaning toward using Fluval Stratum just because it's easy and clean. Suggestions? Is this the right way to go? I have seen so many dirt tank disasters online that I'm a little leery.

The weather is starting to get cooler so I plan to pick up a heater as well before it's a problem. It's at 74 now and I know that's not ideal. Suggestions for a heater (compact, adjustable, accurate, affordable) would be appreciated.

I don't plan to add any filtration, so with that in mind, once up and running what other fauna could I add?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I know it should be cycled, so in the meantime would you suggest I keep the betta in a very small 1 gallon bowl, or could I just treat the water with Seachem Betta Basics and hope for the best? It's not ideal but again, better than life in a teacup.
 

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Years ago when I kept bettas (read, rescued the poor dying things from chain stores) before would get a new tank up and cycled I'd keep them in a heavily planted small tank and just do good size water changes on a regular basis. They did just fine. It is most definitely better than dying in a tiny cup.
 

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Amazon.com: Hydrokable Under Gravel Aquarium Heater 50 watt: Pet Supplies
Amazon.com: Hydor MINI HEATER Aquarium Heater 7.5 Watts for Tanks 2-5 gal: Pet Supplies

You could use one of these type heaters that goes under the substrate, to have the bowl looking nice and tidy.

For the first few weeks until the bowl is cycled, just change the water on the bowl a few times a week and your betta will be fine. Once you get the bowl up and running, you will absolutely fall in love with it and not want to take it down.

In my shrimp tank, I have the fluval shrimp stratum and my plants seem to really like it. All the plants in there are extremely happy and you could supplement with root tabs if needed for healthy plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks Tandaina, I'm glad you agree. This fish (Buck) looks so happy to have so much room.

Peachii, I WISH I had seen your suggestions before I got a nano heater from the LFS. I will probably try to pick up one of these under gravel heaters but at least I have something for now.

Now, the LFS I went to yesterday actually has a huge planted betta bowl set up that looks to be 10-12 gallons. I was convinced to use Amazonia Aqua Soil. I know - ammonia spikes. They insisted that with daily 50% water changes, the heavily planted bowl could still be safe for Buck. I might put him back into the 1 gallon for the first week or 2 just to be safe. Any thoughts? I've also read that if I saturate the substrate with a spray bottle before planting and filling that I can mitigate some or all of the cloudiness associated with AS.

I'm buying plants from a local hobbyist early next week. Here is what I'll get:

Ludwigia lacustris
Rotala colorata
Hygrophila polysperma 'Sunset'
Persicaria 'Kawagoeanum'
Lindernia rotundafolia 'Varigated'
Hydrocotyle tripartita
Phyllanthus fluitans (red root floater)
Azolla filiculoides
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Doubts

I need to post some pictures, but at the moment I am not loving what I'm looking at. I went with Amazonia Aquasoil, and while I did spray the substrate until saturated, and then plant, and then cover with plastic, and then slowly filled with water - silty muck. I have done 2 50-75% water changes and its still dark and murky. I tried to dust off the dirt film that had settled on the plant leaves without much success.

I planted all of the red leafed plants in the back, and I don't much like them. They are healthy, but in such cloudy water they just look brown and weedy. I like the floating plants, but wonder if I should pull out half to let more light filter through. I also want some sort of low growing ground cover that I can add without kicking up even more aquasoil sludge, and am open to suggestions.

Plus I'm finding the 13w CFL 6500 blah blah blah bulb very cold and glaring and do not like having it in my kitchen at all. Are there other less offensive options?

Lots of complaints and doubts. Sorry. The fish looks happy though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Not having much luck with photos. I guess photobucket doesn't work. Glad I too 20 minutes to find an unused username!
 

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Darn - and I was waiting for pics!

Did you copy the IMG tag and paste it into your post?

That's all I did for this one:

Tara - my Shih Tzu

 

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With photobucket all you need to do is go to the "get links" tab on the picture and copy the "IMG code" exactly how it is...should just be able to click that and it will automatically copy, then you can paste it right here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the photo help. I think many of these plants need to be replaced with ones that are a little more structured and less sloppy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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I decided to attempt a Hydrocotyle tripartita carpet, anchoring the nodes with small stones until they root.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I would love you to get one so that I can copy whatever you do with it!

I got this one from Homesense, the Canadian version of Marshall's or Home Goods.

I really need to find a nice rock or piece of wood. I'm leaning toward a rock...
 
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