8.75g Planted Betta Build

someperson
  • #1
So this aquarium I’ve had in mind for months now but when my boyfriend and I put it together this weekend it was kind of on impulse. I am happy to get any constructive criticism on it this was our first planted aquarium!

We started off with the Aqueon 8.75 shrimp tank kit and bought some plants at our local LFS for it, we looked at some wood but there wasn’t any that were the perfect size or right type. The plants we purchased were Rose Sword, Mint Charlie, and some Duckweed.

Then we went to petsmart and bought some marimo moss balls, a medium piece of Mopani wood, frozen blood worms, and an Aqueon Pro 50w heater. And this was a mistake on my part but we ended up getting the betta then as well, a black mustard was what he was labeled. Then finally to my place to pick up some black sand, Seachem Prime, a piece of some of the filter from my main aquarium, and a thermometer. We've been keeping a very close eye on the temps and it’s stayed a steady 80 degrees Fahrenheit so far.


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The wood was boiled for about 3 hours and cooled overnight before being added.

The water started getting cloudy of course a few hours after this photo was taken. Sand was then added. After testing the water (it was about halfway thru the cycle so far) on Monday, I added more Seachem Prime. The ammonia was .50ppm and Nitrite .25ppm. We made another trip to pet smart to get a Windelov java fern, 2 nerite snails which may have been a mistake, aand some Omega One Betta Pellets. Was really hoping they would have some java moss but they didn’t. We made a feeding ring and a filter protector for the Duckweed with straws since it kept getting thrown underwater.

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After this photo I made another feeding ring and filter protecter with some airline tubing. When we get home later today I will test the water again and dose Seachem Prime. But this morning the water had gotten much clearer so I’m guessing it’s about done with the ammonia bacteria!

As for the betta, he has gotten very active since we got him, he was decently active when we got him but he’s a lot more now. We have yet to give the little guy a name. We attempted feeding him with both the bloodworms and pellets and left a small amount of food, he didn’t eat while we watched but were hoping he did when we didn’t look as we couldn’t find the food after an hour. Any other food recommendations?

More updates to come as well as photos.
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #2
Almost forgot but we also added Anubias! Not sure on variety as we got it at the LFS.
 
LadfromLondon
  • #3
Sorry I’m not sure if I’m correct so I’ll ask! Is this a fish-in cycle or was a fishless cycle already completed? I only ask because I’m not sure if Betta’s can withstand cycles and cycle tend to take a few weeks usually
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Sorry I’m not sure if I’m correct so I’ll ask! Is this a fish-in cycle or was a fishless cycle already completed? I only ask because I’m not sure if Betta’s can withstand cycles and cycle tend to take a few weeks usually

Fish in cycle unfortunately :/ We were gonna do fish less but that didn’t work out lol I added some seeded media from my main tank that’s cycled to help jumpstart it and am dosing Seachem Prime daily until it is cycled though. Going to test it as soon as I get home to see where it’s at and redose. But it was about halfway done cycling yesterday when we checked. I should’ve stuck my ground when we were buying everything else and not have given in to him getting the betta but I think he’ll be fine since it’s going pretty quick.
 
LadfromLondon
  • #5
Sounds like you’re on top of things! Your little buddy will appreciate floating plants (You could add more duckweed if you can) and a Betta hammock to keep him happy
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Sounds like you’re on top of things! Your little buddy will appreciate floating plants (You could add more duckweed if you can) and a Betta hammock to keep him happy

Yeah I’m trying my best! And it doesn’t seem like it in the picture but almost the whole top (other then inside the rings) have duckweed, I actually removed half of it yesterday because it seemed to be too compacted together lol I’ll take a picture of the top when I get home to see if you think I should add the rest back or not if that’s good with you. We saw the betta hammock at pet smart but ended up passing it up, think we should get it anyways?
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Also we were thinking about adding shrimp later on once the cycle is finished and he starts eating on a regular basis, we were thinking of around 10 cherry shrimp. Before that we’ll also get some Anarchis. But first we’ll try a few ghost shrimp (like 3-4) to see if he’ll be compatible. Thoughts?
 
LadfromLondon
  • #8
Yeah I’m trying my best! And it doesn’t seem like it in the picture but almost the whole top (other then inside the rings) have duckweed, I actually removed half of it yesterday because it seemed to be too compacted together lol I’ll take a picture of the top when I get home to see if you think I should add the rest back or not if that’s good with you. We saw the betta hammock at pet smart but ended up passing it up, think we should get it anyways?
To be honest, I’ve not seen my Betta use it! Worst case, your Betta will not use it but have a dedicated place to rest on if he ever wants to!

In terms of Shrimp, this will depend on a couple things-

Assess how aggressive your Betta is
Does the tank have enough hiding places for your Shrimp?
A spare cycled tank is always recommended to move your Betta in case things aren’t going right
Shrimp thrive in an established aquarium and this can take some time. A matured aquarium is essential as it builds up sufficient biofilm for them to eat on and the parameters remain stable
Naturally, the longer you leave your Betta in the tank on his own, the more territorial he will get.

Having said that, I am currently keeping RCS with my Wild Betta but it wasn’t pretty at first. I stocked 10 RCS with my Betta who had been in the tank for 3 weeks prior to the RCS. I had a ton of hiding spaces and my Betta seemed pretty peaceful but he attacked and killed 3 of them, and I unfortunately saw him rip 2 of those apart The 7 that remain all get along with my Betta now, and my Betta leaves them to do their own thing

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend Red Cherry Shrimp and Betta’s from my own personal experience, especially as I was **** sure it’d work out. I might still have 7, but I had to lose 3 in the process and like all of us, we hate to see our little dudes die

Amano Shrimp in an established aquarium with a Betta can do great, as they are bigger and more difficult for Betta’s to fit in their mouths
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
To be honest, I’ve not seen my Betta use it! Worst case, your Betta will not use it but have a dedicated place to rest on if he ever wants to!

In terms of Shrimp, this will depend on a couple things-

Assess how aggressive your Betta is
Does the tank have enough hiding places for your Shrimp?
A spare cycled tank is always recommended to move your Betta in case things aren’t going right
Shrimp thrive in an established aquarium and this can take some time. A matured aquarium is essential as it builds up sufficient biofilm for them to eat on and the parameters remain stable
Naturally, the longer you leave your Betta in the tank on his own, the more territorial he will get.

Having said that, I am currently keeping RCS with my Wild Betta but it wasn’t pretty at first. I stocked 10 RCS with my Betta who had been in the tank for 3 weeks prior to the RCS. I had a ton of hiding spaces and my Betta seemed pretty peaceful but he attacked and killed 3 of them, and I unfortunately saw him rip 2 of those apart The 7 that remain all get along with my Betta now, and my Betta leaves them to do their own thing

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend Red Cherry Shrimp and Betta’s from my own personal experience, especially as I was **** sure it’d work out. I might still have 7, but I had to lose 3 in the process and like all of us, we hate to see our little dudes die

Amano Shrimp in an established aquarium with a Betta can do great, as they are bigger and more difficult for Betta’s to fit in their mouths

Well then I guess we’ll get one next time we go! And aw man I’m sorry to hear that about those 3 shrimp that must’ve been sad. We may try Amano in that case, once it’s stable of course. I do have a 5.5g cycled aquarium right now luckily for back up, I’m waiting to plant that one for pea puffers maybe, or possibly another betta, haven’t decided on stock yet lol but in the meantime it’s their just in case for him. Thanks for your replies by the way!
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Good news is he started eating his pellets yesterday! He ate 3, although I should’ve soaked them first as I’ve heard it’s easier on them. Or should I? Bad news is the cycle hasn’t changed since the day before. Here’s a few pictures I took just now. As you can see the thermometer refuses to stay lol

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Picture of the top with the airline tubing. The one in the middle is where he eats and where we’ve noticed he comes up to take breaths every once in awhile. The anubias grew a new leaf.

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And a better picture of the betta! The mopani is starting to get that fuzz stuff.

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The rose sword has grown a new leaf as well (the red one) and seems to have perked up.

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He saw my phone in these two pictures lol

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So I was wondering, would this setup be considered a blackwater?
 
LadfromLondon
  • #11
Soaking your pellets depends on their size. I have Hikari Betta pellets which are tiny and I feed 6, and do not soak
 
flyinGourami
  • #12
It depends but bettas can generally go through fish in cycles. I think he'll be fine, just keep up with those water changes so ammonia and nitrites don't get too high.

IMO you usually don't have to soak pellets, I didn't and never had issues but you can I guess. Also, what is the ph?
 
Hugooo
  • #13
Wow, great job! I will definitely be following!
Is this your first tank?
What are your current water parameters?
Also, yes, bettas are usually fine in fish-in cycling. Bettas are very hardy and have adapted to the poor conditions many people keep them in. I have mentioned this in other threads before, but Dewclaw83 is a literal expert on bettas and can help you greatly.
Another thing; ghost shrimp are much less hardy than RCS and are known to die, as they are often kept in poor conditions during shipping to the pet store. So if they do die within the first two weeks or so of you getting them, know that it is likely not your fault.
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Soaking your pellets depends on their size. I have Hikari Betta pellets which are tiny and I feed 6, and do not soak
Ah ok, the ones he’s eating are really tiny like that too. Thanks for your reply!

It depends but bettas can generally go through fish in cycles. I think he'll be fine, just keep up with those water changes so ammonia and nitrites don't get too high.

IMO you usually don't have to soak pellets, I didn't and never had issues but you can I guess. Also, what is the ph?
I’ve heard while using Prime it’s better to not do water changes. Is that false? Since I’m dosing it everyday. Right now it’s at ammonia .50 and nitrite .25ppm. If it is, how often/what percentage would you recommended? PH is at either 7.0 or 7.2, it’s hard to read. Tap PH is between 7.4 and 7.6. The normal test read 7.6 while the high range read 7.4.
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Wow, great job! I will definitely be following!
Is this your first tank?
What are your current water parameters?
Also, yes, bettas are usually fine in fish-in cycling. Bettas are very hardy and have adapted to the poor conditions many people keep them in. I have mentioned this in other threads before, but Dewclaw83 is a literal expert on bettas and can help you greatly.
Another thing; ghost shrimp are much less hardy than RCS and are known to die, as they are often kept in poor conditions during shipping to the pet store. So if they do die within the first two weeks or so of you getting them, know that it is likely not your fault.
Thank you! And no it’s technically my 4th tank but my first planted one. I mentioned the parameters in another reply just now, haven’t bothered testing nitrates since I know it’s still cycling. And really? I would’ve thought the RCS would be less hardy then ghost shrimp lol but thank you for that information!
 
flyinGourami
  • #16
Ah ok, the ones he’s eating are really tiny like that too. Thanks for your reply!


I’ve heard while using Prime it’s better to not do water changes. Is that false? Since I’m dosing it everyday. Right now it’s at ammonia .50 and nitrite .25ppm. If it is, how often/what percentage would you recommended? PH is at either 7.0 or 7.2, it’s hard to read. Tap PH is between 7.4 and 7.6. The normal test read 7.6 while the high range read 7.4.
Water changes+ prime is totally okay. Its a dechlorinator after all I used it during my fish in cycle, and I still use it during my water changes.
 
Fae
  • #17
Definitely do large water changes! There's no harm that can come from clean water. The prime dosing will come with the clean water.

I did a fish-in cycle with my betta and had no problems! I also had no test kit, and all I did was 50% water changes every day.
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Water changes+ prime is totally okay. Its a dechlorinator after all I used it during my fish in cycle, and I still use it during my water changes.
Ah that’s true lol will definitely do then! Thank you.
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Definitely do large water changes! There's no harm that can come from clean water. The prime dosing will come with the clean water. I did a fish-in cycle with my betta and had no problems! I also had no test kit, and all I did was 50% water changes every day.
Definitely do large water changes! There's no harm that can come from clean water. The prime dosing will come with the clean water. I did a fish-in cycle with my betta and had no problems! I also had no test kit, and all I did was 50% water changes every day.

Will definitely do! Thanks for your information
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Here’s another update! There’s been some growth on the Anubias and sword. The duckweed roots are getting long. Our betta is still eating like a champ, but no name yet. The mint Charlie seems like it’s not going to make it, I believe it’s what you call melting? The leaves are brown and I’d guess they are mushy. The white fuzz on the wood went away. I just saw one snail in there but idk where the other one went, maybe under the wood I hope. I tested the water just now and it worries me a little, everything came out at 0ppm. Even the ammonia which was coming in at .25-.50ppm so maybe it did cycle finally? I’m guessing the plants are soaking up all the nitrates I hope. Maybe that’s why the duckweed roots are reaching to the floor? I just removed some for the second time so they’ll let in a bit more light to the other plants. We went out of town for 4 days and my boyfriends aunt came over to feed him, we specifically told her only 5 pellets for a feeding but when we came back there was like 10 pellets on the bottom of the aquarium lol could’ve been worse though. I haven’t even removed the food yet, but the readings are still at 0ppm so that’s confusing.
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #21

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Fae
  • #22
Sounds like your tank is cycled! Congrats, it's always quicker with seeded media
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Sounds like your tank is cycled! Congrats, it's always quicker with seeded media
Awesome! I saw this awhile back but forgot to reply lol
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Another long update: so a few weeks ago after a WC we saw the lost snail finally. We had also bought a few ghost shrimp 4-5 I think to test out how he is with them. When I was acclimating then and pouring out some water one decided to kill itself and jumped down the sink and of course it went down the drain, RIP little guy. A few days later all the shrimp were gone, presumably eaten. They could’ve gone under the wood but we haven’t seen them at all. The mint Charlie plant (Micromeria brownei) didn’t make it unfortunately, it melted. We got some Seachem Flourish just to help the remaining plants out, it’s helped the duckweed roots stay not as long. A few days ago we got 4 neon tetras and then the next day bought 5. The 5 were from petsmart and I saw one of their tanks with ich so we’re keeping a close eye on them, should’ve probably put them in a quarantine tank before adding them. Did not add the water they came with as a precaution.

Our guy has been eating like a champ and we’ve been offering his bloodworms about twice a week. The tetras have started to eat, the pellets are 1mm but they still seem a bit big, they love the bloodworms though. It’s pretty funny seeing them carry around a pellet lol I’ve been grinding them between my fingers to make them a bit smaller, it’s kinda hard to feed them since our betta is a bit of a pig and takes all of them lol

What’s a good medicine for ich for a planted tank with snails? Just in case. I have some Mardel Coppersafe on hand but I know that’s not appropriate for plants. Would the best plan be to remove all the fish, treat them with that in a separate tank and wait until the main tank is free from the ich? I’ve heard raising the temp to around 92 F would kill the ich in main tank with no fish but that would probably hurt the plants too I’m guessing. Let me know!

About a week ago we noticed a little tiny snail, assuming it’s a Malaysian trumpet snail?
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What else...oh yeah of the 9 neon tetras,2 of them got sucked onto the filter one night and died. I’m guessing they were asleep and didn’t notice the water pushing them to it and by the time it did it was too late, RIP The betta nipped at the first 4 when we first added them but he quickly got along with them so I’m happy about that. what are the general signs of stress when keeping them together? They both seem good but I definitely want to keep an eye just in case they do get stressed out so I can remove the tetras to a separate tank. Water parameters were good last I checked but will test when I get home today. Will also take some pics. I also ordered some Anarchis on amazon which should be arriving between 17-20, hoping it does good.
 
Fae
  • #25
Oh no that sounds chaotic!

Sucks losing fish to your filter. Did you fix the intake so it can't happen again? Sponge or mesh is literally a life saver.

Your shrimp might just be hiding, if there isn't enough of them they'll be too scared to come out, especially with so few plants.

If you're wanting your betta in with the neons really badly, I highly recommend planting much more densely to create distinct areas and territories.
But honestly, for a tank of that size I wouldn't want to squish everyone in. That's just my preference though.
Except the planting more. That's also going to benefit any inverts and just the stress level overall.

A hospital tank with just the sick fish will always make treatment easier
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Oh no that sounds chaotic!

Sucks losing fish to your filter. Did you fix the intake so it can't happen again? Sponge or mesh is literally a life saver.

Your shrimp might just be hiding, if there isn't enough of them they'll be too scared to come out, especially with so few plants.

If you're wanting your betta in with the neons really badly, I highly recommend planting much more densely to create distinct areas and territories.
But honestly, for a tank of that size I wouldn't want to squish everyone in. That's just my preference though.
Except the planting more. That's also going to benefit any inverts and just the stress level overall.

A hospital tank with just the sick fish will always make treatment easier

Yeah I attached some filter floss to the outside of it, no more fish sucked in so far. And hm that’s probably true :/ poor guys are probably terrified. The tetras have died off one by one, they didn’t look or act sick and no marks on them so probably stress killed them bc the parameters were fine when I checked yesterday. There’s just one guy left.Werenot going to add any fish in any time soon if we do as we’re moving so it’ll suck for them lol but the anarchis came in so we’re gonna plant it today. Maybe after a few months when it’s more dense we’ll reassess.
Thanks for your input!
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Update time!

So the last tetra didn’t make it, couldn’t find it dead anywhere so not sure what happened. Could be our betta ate him. But I saw a dead shrimp towards the outside of the wood with a live one poking at it so you guys were right about them hiding. I did a bit of rescaping while planting the anarchis. Also did another WC so the water wasn’t so tinted to hopefully increase the light for the plants. I cleaned the filter pad as well this time and man it was super dirty! My tank of cichlids doesn’t even get that bad. Could’ve been a lot of tannins doing that maybe? Here is a picture before I did a WC and moved a few things around. I used some forceps that I use for feeding my snakes to plant the anarchis and it worked perfectly!
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Then after. I had moved the sword a little forward and removed some dying leaves. Moved the wood to the left, took off a baby from the java fern and wedged it into the wood and moved the anarchis towards the middle. The fern has made quite a few babies! And added a bit more sand since the substrate got exposed.
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Really hoping the anarchis makes it and greens back up. Now some pics after the WC. I saw the MTS? come out and chill in the anarchis.
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I’ve been noticing these little things on the glass appearing and then disappearing, they look like snail eggs but not like the nerite snails. Guessing they are from the MTS.
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And finally, here is a picture of our guy! As you can see I removed 3/4 of the duckweed to help with light as well.
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someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
So found out that it can’t be from the MTS on the glass but it’s probably freshwater limpets aka Acroloxus lacustris. The picture I took, it already moved from that spot onto the corner of the aquarium. Also learned to not plant the crown of the rose sword plant so moved it up a little.
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
So the anarchis has grown a bit. Two of them have actually branched off!
9BA44DA7-82EC-4303-92B4-ED4496913D6D.jpeg
Also pulled the rose sword up from the ground a bit as I found out it shouldn’t be completely submerged. We also bought a clump of java moss. But we’re not too sure how to scape with it, any suggestions?
 
someperson
  • Thread Starter
  • #30

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