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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, my name is Tarynn! Sentoki was the name of my first fish ever, a blue and red veiltail betta. He was one of many centerpieces at my aunt’s sweet 16 and I wanted to take him home. He lived a long life in my 3g and I cried and cried when he passed.

If you wanna know how much I loved him, here’s a cringe-inducing animated short I made in high school featuring him as the protagonist.

I got a few more bettas after him, but they lived progressively shorter lives so I gave up on aquariums because the guilt and shame was consuming me :( I didn’t know anything about cycling, checking ammonia/Nitrate/Nitrite/PH, CO2, good bacteria, and how to properly clean (I.e. DON’T do 100% water changes/hardscape rinsing with tap every month) so I definitely weakened my betta via stress and improper care. Aww man.

Anyway catching up to now, I caught fish fever quite randomly recently and wanted to be a fishmom again. This time I’m an adult with a little money so hopefully I can give my fish the life it deserves. I feel like my life lately has been google searches and fish forums and I still feel super lost and ended up doing everything out of order in my excitement. I bought a betta from Aquabid and I’m attempting to cycle the tank before he gets here. I ordered as many plants as I could afford (not many, lol) and they’re all arriving on different days. So my tank is gonna be kinda jumbled for a while. Now I’m worried about melt and starting the cycle with plants. Ahhh.

Here’s my little 10g, semi-planted and with no hardscaping yet. Wish me luck because I still don’t know what I’m doing! It’s nice to be here!
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Great story! One thing you could do to add more plants is to use emergent house plants riparium style. Many plants work great for this (pothos, peace lily, anthurium). Try searching for "riparium plants" and you'll find lists like this one. Emergent plants can access carbon dioxide more easily than fully immersed plants so they pull more nutrients (wastes) out of the water lessening the chances of algae and improving water quality. You can attach them to the back of your tank with shower caddies like this one.

You might also consider adding some blackwater botanicals to the tank (indian almond leaves, oak leaves, seed pods, driftwood). Bettas often live in blackwater and blackwater is often credited with keep ing them healthier. Indian almond leaves are pretty cheap and for a 10gal you'd probably only need one or two. Here's a good resource for info. The first half is about keeping bettas in small spaces (which I know you aren't doing) but the rest you may find interesting. You can also use oak leaves but betta breeders swear by Indian almond. I'm adding some to a tank I'm working on right now. The tannin stained water is really atmospheric and feels more natural. It also calms the fish.

Also I'd highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium by Diana Walstad. So much good info in there. It's dense but it dispels so many myths.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for the helpful recommendations and resources! I hadn’t even come across the concept of black water yet so I’ll definitely be ordering some botanicals. The riparium plants are brilliant as well. I think the best part about all the research is learning that things I thought were purely cosmetic or aesthetic choices were mostly there to improve the fish’s life. Thanks again!
 

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Betta were my introduction into fish breeding. I love them to this day, and blackwater tanks. Yes, definitely on the indian almond leaves. For blackwater tanks, though, you are really building an ecosystem. It's always fun getting restarted in the hobby as an adult. I have a very similar history. I kept tanks when I was a kid and into my teens. Went to college and fell out of the hobby but picked it back as an adult and made it into a business after the breeding bug bit me and a local breeder took me under his wing... I just passed the business down to a friend of mine and am retired and returning to become a hobbyist again. I'm still relatively new here. Nice to meet you :)
 
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