Glory's 5.5 Gallon

PoorBigBlue
  • #1
Hello! I've recently had a thread on here about stocking my 10 gallon, and I finally decided on a trio of male guppies and some ghost shrimp. Simple enough, right? Walk into the store, pick out some guppies, and walk out right? Wrong, I guess. I ended up with a female betta.

I always check out the bettas when I walk into a store, just to see if they have anything particularly special in stock. There wasn't a ton today, but this red, white and blue female caught my eye. She was attacking her neighbor through her cup, and was flaring very nicely. She's maybe 1 1/2", about the size of a male guppy. I had to have her, especially for around $4. I picked her up, went and bought some sad-looking anacharis to start my tank off with, and left.

So, with that little backstory out of the way, here's what I'm going for with this tank:

Simplicity.

I don't want to have to worry about water parameters, outside of basic maintenance. I don't want to dose ferts, or infuse CO2. I don't want to worry about paying for expensive salt. I already have a pico reef that I'm going to have to fund, so I want this to be cheap and easily satisfied. What better way to do that than a low-light betta tank?

Equipment List:
10 Aqueon Glass Aquarium
AquaClear 20 HOB (a bit strong; I may have to baffle i)
Aqueon 50W Adjustable Heater
50W Desk Lamp
5W LED Bulb

Stocking list:

Fish:
Female Betta

Plants:
Anacharis
Hornwort (future)
Java Moss (future)
Banana Plant (maybe, future)

Inverts:
2-3 Nerites (maybe, future)

That's really that, as for the purpose of this tank. I'm going off to college next year, so I'm going to need something small and easy to care for. This should satisfy that need.

I'll probably upgrade the bulb in my lamp at some point. The tank is very dimly lit with the current bulb. I'll see what I can cook up in the 5000-7000K range before I get any more plants. What I have should be enough for anacharis.

As for the betta herself? She's feisty. As soon as she hit the water, she was chasing particles around in the tank, and began exploring. She's spent the last hour going in circles, inspecting the tank, I assume laying claim to her territory. She doesn't seem to mind the flow too much so far, but I'm still tempted to baffle the filter. She's also been very interactive with me. She'll always come up to the glass to flare at me when I stop to take a peek... it's so cute!

Front Tank Shot:


Betta being friendly:


Curious?:


Thanks for the read!
 
maggie thecat
  • #2
Pretty tank! Nice fish. You might want to get her a moss ball or floating log to hangout on while you're working on planting out.
 
CoryGuy1234
  • #3
Nice looking tank. l have 2 10's right now. Small tanks will fit just about anywhere and water changes are easy.
 
BlackOsprey
  • #4
Cool! I understand you wanting to avoid ferts and other complicated stuff, but I will say that a single female betta, as spunky as she is, probably won't produce enough waste to keep your plants fertilized in a 10 gallon tank.

I personally avoid dosing by putting dirt under the gravel. I'm growing banana plants right now, and they've gone completely nuts in the last 2 weeks since I added the dirt. Hornwort and anacharis are both fast growers and thus need a somewhat generous amount of nutrients and light.

Java moss would probably do the best out of all your options as it doesn't require much light or nutrients to just stay alive.
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Pretty tank! Nice fish. You might want to get her a moss ball or floating log to hangout on while you're working on planting out.
Thanks! She's actually been hanging out in some of the floating anacharis. I grab her a floating log the next time I'm out.

Cool! I understand you wanting to avoid ferts and other complicated stuff, but I will say that a single female betta, as spunky as she is, probably won't produce enough waste to keep your plants fertilized in a 10 gallon tank.

I personally avoid dosing by putting dirt under the gravel. I'm growing banana plants right now, and they've gone completely nuts in the last 2 weeks since I added the dirt. Hornwort and anacharis are both fast growers and thus need a somewhat generous amount of nutrients and light.

Java moss would probably do the best out of all your options as it doesn't require much light or nutrients to just stay alive.
I'm not necessarily against an AIO fert, such as flourish. I simply don't want to get back into dosing each macro/micro-nutrient like I did the last time I was in the hobby.
 
BlackOsprey
  • #6
I'm not necessarily against an AIO fert, such as flourish. I simply don't want to get back into dosing each macro/micro-nutrient like I did the last time I was in the hobby.
I've heard good things about Easy Green and Thrive. Unlike Flourish they actually got the macros AND micros in there.

Oh yeah, moss balls are a great choice too. They don't need any sort of strong light or ferts.
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
EZ Green is made by Aquarium Co-Op, no? Love those guys!

She slept in the floating anacharis, so I think I'll get her some more floating plants to hide in.

She ate some mysis shrimp this morning, and seemed to be loving life. The temp settled out to about 82F, so I left it there for now. I may turn it down a bit when I get home, to around 80. I had to baffle the filter a bit, but she seems fine now.
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
So, a few days in, ammonia/nitrite/nitrate are all at 0. If I had to guess, this will be a completely silent cycle due to the light bioload and the fast-growing plants. I'll keep an eye on things just in case, and start up my normal water change schedule anyway.

Not much news with this tank. Glory (I don't usually name my fish, but my girlfriend wanted to) has been eating extremely well (2-3 pellets/2-3 hunks of mysis, on alternating days) and is looking a bit more colorful now that's she's relaxed into the tank. The Anacharis is starting to green up as well! There's some fresh growth on most of the strands, so I'm really hoping that it'll do well under current conditions. I've never had Anacharis not do well, but I've also never tried such a low-light tank.
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
So, I've come up with a few new plans for this tank. I'm forming a few ideas to try and keep it simple, but almost more entertaining than just a planted betta tank. If it comes to that, I'm okay with it - but some more variety would be nice.

With that in mind, I'm looking into these plants to add to this tank pretty soon:
Java Fern
Wisteria
Hornwort
Anubias Nana/Frazeri

As for a bit more movement, I've been doing some research into what tank mates might do well with a betta in a 10. The most popular option seems to be Porkchop Rasboras (AKA, Harlequin Rasboras), closely followed by Green/Black Neon Tetras. The current plan is to get a shoal of Harlequins from my LFS (who has a 48-hour live return policy if things go wrong). I'll definitely keep an eye on everything, and I'll make sure it's more heavily planted (and cycled) than it is now before I get them. Just brainstorming right now!
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Just something really cool I've noticed about Glory since she's settled in a bit.

When she's sitting still (which rarely happens), she looks like a regular red and white betta. Still pretty, but nothing special when it comes to color and patterns. But when she starts moving around (especially if she swims forward quickly) she begins to have a blue iridescence to her fins. I noticed it when I first got her, but it's really starting to shine now.

Here's a (blurry) pic of her sitting still after she got some air:


Now, here's another (blurry) pic of her on the move:


The difference is pretty crazy!

One thing I'll also mention is that I've loved bettas because they're so interactive. They learn to recognize their owners, and become "pet fish" more than any other small fish out there, I think. The only exceptions are pea puffers. That's not to say fish don't recognize people, I just don't think they do it with much personality most of the time! I worried that putting her in such a "big" tank, she'd have too much to patrol and do to take notice of me. Yet, she's been incredibly interactive. She's already learned what the food canister looks like. She'll follow my finger around the glass. I even have to watch from a distance to see her do anything other than stare at me. It's surprising!
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Alright, made a few changes to the tank tonight!

I went to Petsmart and picked up one of the Top Fin Java Ferns. I went thinking that I'd get some Wisteria, but it was looking really rough. I also picked up 15 ghost shrimp, to see how Glory interacts with them before I get anything more expensive. I know that it's not going to be the same (that is, going from shrimp to rasboras), but I'll feel better knowing if she gets along with these "prey" objects or not.

So far, so good! Other than some trouble getting the shrimp out of the bag, into the net, and into the tank (they like to jump!), they all made it in. Other than Glory nipping at them a bit on the way down, she's ignored them so far. We'll see how she does overnight, but this might work! A couple of them are almost as big as she is!

As for the java fern, I found a spot I like for it. I ended up gluing a couple of the roots down to a piece of putty to use as an anchor. I left a bunch of roots free, so it shouldn't be an issue.

FTS:


You know what ghost shrimp look like, but here you go anyway:


I'm not sure whether these shrimp are stupid, or stupidly brave. None of them have been hiding at all. Not even when the betta swims up to them. I figured they'd be hiding as soon as they hit the water.

Tomorrow, we'll be doing our first water change on this tank!
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Water change is done! All 15 shrimp made it through the night, too.

The betta has been occasionally nipping at the shrimp, or chasing one away if it get's to close to her, but she never seems like she's trying to kill any. It's promising!
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Then again, maybe not...

I witnessed the betta viciously murder a shrimp during feeding time. She grabbed it off the top of the water, and swung it around like a dog my swing a chew toy around. She's ignored the rest of them since feeding time, but that has me a bit worried.
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Everything has been peaceful since Saturday, even during feedings. Not out of the woods yet, but she seems to be calming down a bit.

Quick photo dump!

FTS:


Ghost shrimp cleaning its' tail:


Java Fern:


Glory:


New Anacharis Growth:


Ghost shrimp among the floating plants:


The Java fern is probably going to have to go through quite a bit of die-off in order to become fully aquatic, but it seems to be healthy root and rhizome-wise.
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
I was at the LFS and almost picked up some harlequins, but they were all very tiny (even for harlequins) and there was only 4 of them. Not ideal, so I left it for another time.

The tank is doing great. No more dead shrimp, and a happy betta. The plants are doing pretty well too, I think. The Java Fern is definitely dying back (like it should), and I think I see a bit of new growth coming out of the rhizome. One of the shrimp is even berried, I think!
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
I ended up taking off the AquaClear on this tank to use on my reef. This tank has a Top Fin internal filter running on it now, and it's still almost too much flow on the lowest setting! The media got transferred, of course.

Not much else has changed. No more MIA shrimp, some new growth on the Anacharis and Java Fern, and Glory is slowly changing color. Her red is being replaced with blue pretty quickly!
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
One thing I do want to mention is that I will not be getting any harlequins for this tank, mainly since I'm not sure I could keep them long-term. Once I'm off to college, I'll only be allowed to have a maximum of 10 gallons of water in my room - and I plan to take my 5 gallon saltwater tank, first and foremost. I could leave the 10 gallon here at home, and come home for weekly maintenance, but I'd just assume give the betta away to a good home at that point. So, I may eventually downgrade this betta to a 5.5, so I can bring both tanks into my dorm. That really limits tankmates, so I more than likely won't be getting any for the time being.
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Today, I got impatient and decided to switch Glory into the 5.5 that I had my clownfish in - I feel as if a betta would do better in a 5.5 than a clown would, even in Glory is a bit bigger than the clown right now. So far, I think I was right.

Moving everything over gave me an opportunity to really check out how many shrimp I have, and how much my plants have grown. I counted 11 ghost shrimp, and most of the anacharis has begun to split off and thicken up on the new growth. The Java Fern is still dying back and growing in very slowly. However, I counted 5 new aquatic leaves on the plant today, and it seems to be doing fine. If I had to guess, a better light and more ferts would make this process quicker - but I'm in no rush.

Speaking of lights, I decided to try out an old Finnex LED strip I had in my closet. It's a 12" full-spectrum fixture, that I believe is discontinued. It's 4-5 years old at this point, and only half the LED's work - the other half look like they've been shorted or something. Either way, it lights the 5.5 about as well as the 10 was lit, and is a better color.

The front glass is covered in water spots and such, and the tank is still a bit cloudy, but here's a FTS:

 
CoryGuy1234
  • #19
Looks good.
 
PoorBigBlue
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Looks good.
Thanks! I'm actually enjoying taking my time with this tank. Watching the Anacharis start to green up and grow in is satisfying, and watching the Java Fern convert is the same way.

Glory's been pretty awesome too - there's a level of simplicity with bettas that's just unmatched by most other fish. They reward you so well, even when you put in very little effort.
 

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