55 Gallon Beta Sorority Project

  1. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    Okay guys, I am 99.9% sure what I want to do with the 55 gallon now. After much soul searching, I have decided that cichlids are not for me. After briefly considering selling the 55 gallon, I realized that I am super inspired by @Auquaphobia's beta sorority. I know they can be risky, but my hope is that in a 55 well planted tank things will work out.

    Here is the learning curve: I know nothing about planted tanks. Can anyone point me to a good resource on that? Also, the first issue is finding a spot for the tank. Could I place it by a window? Is that good/bad/indifferent for plants? I know algae will grow, so what is the possibility of having some type of algae eater (BN Pleco perhaps?) with the girls? Too risky?

    Sooo many questions...but really excited.
  2. cjbart1009 Member Member

    Placing it next to the window will definitely promote algae and it might not be the kind of algae that a BN pleco will eat.

    Are you looking to do a low, mid or high tech tank? For a Betta sorority I think a low tech tank will be fine. You should look up some low tech plants and go from there. There are lots of low tech plants that are easily obtainable.
  3. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Woohoo! How exciting;D

    My tank is pretty low tech. Ok, very low tech:rolleyes: but I've got some nice plant growth in there! Java Ferns, Swords, Aponogeton natans, Subwassertang/Susswassertang, Nuphar japonica, Hygrophila polysperma, all do well with almost no special care, though I do throw the occasional dose of micronutrients in the tank.
  4. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    Perfect thanks! I will look it up. There was some concern on another thread I started...long story....that the 55 might be too tall for the betas to surface regularly. In your experience do you think I need to downsize?
  5. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Not as long as you have lots of tall plants they can rest on. Then it should be fine. Height I think us more of a concern with heavy-finned males anyway. Females are not so burdened.
  6. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    Okay awesome. I am sure I will be picking your brain a lot on this project. Hopefully I can nail down a location in my house for the tank today.
  7. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Can't wait!
  8. cjbart1009 Member Member

    Just make sure it's away from a window or if you're into algae and like how it looks then you can put it next to one.
  9. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    I am not huge into algae, especially since I seem to grow diatoms in my aquariums in abundance. I think I have found a spot that is away from the windows!
  10. cjbart1009 Member Member

    Nice. I think oto cats or a pair of Bristlenose plecos will work with your sorority. Just make sure you supplement the plecos or otos diet if they run out of algae to eat in the tank.
  11. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    Alright so I am doing plant research. So far here are my questions:

    1) It seems like I can put in plants during my fishless cycle. Is that right?
    2) Can I use LED lighting for low-light plants? The tank I bought does not have a hood or top included. Would you guys suggest a glass top with a hanging light fixture?
    3) With low-light plants, no CO2 injection needed, correct? But I should use a layer of ferts under the substrate? Do I need an airstone? I remember something saying that plants consume more O2 at night or something....? I have forgotten most of 8th grade biology....
  12. cjbart1009 Member Member

    1) yes. Plenty of people do that for their planted tanks.

    2) yes again however I wouldn't buy a light that is too strong for your tank. If you have the budget I'll suggest the finnex planted 24/7 only because it's dimmable and you can adjust your light to the liking of your plants.

    3) co2 is not needed for a low tech tank but flourish and excel will be preferred by the plants. But only dose according to tank size and stocking of the plants. You can also do root tabs underneath the substrate for extra nutrients specially for the root feeders.
  13. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    Low tech = low light?
    What is the difference between the flourish and excel? These are for the plants that get nutrients from the water and are not rooted i the substrate correct?
  14. littleredridingmech Member Member

    Flourish is a fertilizer and excel is a liquid carbon product. A word of warning, excel killed a good amount of my plants. Research excel and plants together to make sure it won't harm anything. From experience, I know it kills mosses and anachris.

    EDIT: A good thing about that though is it makes for an excellent algaecide.
  15. Grimund Well Known Member Member

    Low tech refers to a low to medium light without a CO2 injection system.

    Since the substrate is generally devoid of nutrients or is quickly depleted of them, the plants need nutrients elsewhere and have adapted to pulling nutrients in by the leaves as the major uptake process instead of roots, even though they still use them
  16. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    I am not married to LEDs either. I just really have no clue where to even start. For instance do I get a light fixture that hangs above my tank or do I get a hood? The three tanks I have setup (a 29 gallon community, a 10 gallon betta, and a 10 gallon QT) are all box starter kits that had junky hood with leds and heater/filter etc. all in the package.

    I need advice regarding the best lighting setup.My budget is somewhat flexible but nothing too crazy.
  17. Grimund Well Known Member Member

    There's a few things about lighting and they apply to all lighting types. It comes down to research in the end. LED are fine to use.

    Color temperature- measured in Kelvin as K. It's the band of light spectrum in its output. Plants require around 6500K to grow. Higher temps have more blue and less red, like most marine and office lights, generally 10,000K. It's quite easy to find online or on the box somewhere.

    Lumens- the intensity of the light, how bright it actually is. Higher lumen leads to more light on the bottom of the tank.

    Watts- how much energy the light uses from the outlet. More watts generally leads to more lumens, which lead to the watts per gallon guideline.

    PAR- Photo Activating Radiation, current measurement for lighting. PAR values indicate the lighting for the plants. These can be obtained by googling the light fixture and PAR ratin. It's a much better guideline than the Watts per Gallon. Ideally, the 30-40 PAR range at the substrate is the best for low light to medium light plants, and those are the numbers to shoot for a non CO2 injected tank.

    I would recommend a glass lid you can find online, or possibly having a hardware store cut a piece or two of acrylic/glass.

    There's a 48" beamswork LED that is around $60 online I've seen with enough PAR for a low tech tank. I like the idea of LED because you don't have to keep replacing bulbs at $15-20 a pop
  18. jhigg008 Well Known Member Member

    Wow! So much to learn! Thanks for the breakdown.
  19. Grimund Well Known Member Member

    I've posted it like 3 times to help others too. I might have to make a primer at this rate.

    Edited the post while you replied
  20. cjbart1009 Member Member

    Grimund is on point. Beams work is the cheaper led option I believe it's on eBay and it's about 0.5w which I think would work well for a low tech tank.

    Unless you're gonna do some sort of aquasoil then I would definitely suggest root tabs specially for heavy root feeders. A quick Google search will show you low tech plants that will benefit from root tabs or just ferts in the water.