Ruben Is Looking Poorly

Grammywms

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My male betta Ruben's fins seem to be deteriorating as well. Last winter I got a pre filter sponge. To me it feels coarse, but the description says it is fine. He likes to hang out around the sponge from time to time. I am wondering if that could be the cause. It breaks my heart because his fins were beautiful, as you can see.
I too use the apI freshwater test kit and his parameters are good. I ordered indian almond leaves on line last year, but the water color never changed. I wonder where is a good place to buy them where they are fresh.
I've got 2 marimo moss balls (not the minis) in his aquarium, as well as a little cave that he goes into, a rock arch that has several openings that he likes to swim through. (No rough edges) Silk plants. I do have 2 soft plastic plants, but I think to be on the safe side I'll remove them. He also has a nerite snail buddy Pee Wee. Any other ideas? I do weekly water changes and use spring water, as our tap water has nitrates. I use Prime as conditioner. It's a 5 gal. tank. Open for suggestions.
 

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A picture might help us identify what is troubling your little guy. If it is not finrot, then some good 20-30% water changes will do the trick. I myself also add StressGuard from Seachem when my bettas fins get ragged and it always does the trick.
 
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I've had Ruben since last August. In October was my first post regarding his problems. See "Concerned About My Betta" for details. After following everyone's advice, he bounced back to his old active, happy self. Now, in the past month, his fins have looked progressively ,worse and worse. I'm posting before (back in August) and now pictures so you can see what I am talking about. In the past few days, his activity has decreased, and today, he just hangs out. He's in a 5 gal. cycled tank with a heater which keeps temp. consistently at 80 degrees. He has a filter with a pre filter sponge and Matrix High Capacity Biofiltration media. I do 30-50% weekly water changes with Crystal Geyser spring water (my tap water has nitrates in it) treated with Prime and gravel vac each time. He has a nerite snail buddy and no other inhabitants in the aquarium. He eats North Fin Beta Bits. I feed him 3 twice a day with an occasional blood worm. I fast him once a week. There are 2 marimo moss balls and 3 silk plants. I do have 2 soft plastic plants, which I think I'll remove today. There's a little cave rock and rock arch with several opening for him to swim through. No rough edges. See photo. His parameters today (2 days before water change) are: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, ph 8.2. It's always been alkaline. I have been concerned that the pre filter sponge is too rough,even though it's advertised to be fine not coarse. So, I need help determining what his problem is. What am I doing wrong?

Here are some pics now and 1 when I first got him. I got an alert to post my own thread since this is old one, so I did entitled"Ruben is looking poorly". Thx for advice Meliodas
 

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Grammywms said:
Here are some pics now and 1 when I first got him. I got an alert to post my own thread since this is old one, so I did entitled"Ruben is looking poorly". Thx for advice Meliodas
That does look like Finrot to me. I would definitely begin a treatment for him. Personally, I would order a product called Kanaplex by Seachem and Focus by Seachem. You can mix these two products in about a tablespoon of food (1 scoop Kanaplex and 3-5 scoops of Focus) and then feed him it once a day for 10-14 days. The focus will help bind the medication to the food. I use bloodworms, but anything your fish will quickly devour will work. The quicker you order and begin the treatment the better his chances of a full recovery. I would say to go look at your LFS for these products, but I have never found them in all my years. Amazon will get you them quickly. Keep me updated on what you decide to do! Also, a couple of real plants would do a lot of good for your tank! Not only will Ruban thank you, but real plants add tons of benefits to a tank. Just a thought
 
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Grammywms

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Are you saying mash up a tablespoon of bloodworms and mix everything together? That seems like a lot of food. How much would you feed daily and how. It is not clear to me exactly what you mean.
 

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Grammywms said:
Are you saying mash up a tablespoon of bloodworms and mix everything together? That seems like a lot of food. How much would you feed daily and how. It is not clear to me exactly what you mean.
Sorry, ill be as concise as possible. No need to mash the bloodworms up. Just take about a tablespoon of bloodworms and put them into a cup, I then add a scoop of Kanaplex, and 3 scoops of Focus, along with one capful of GarlicGuard. I use Garlicguard because sometimes fish will not take well to the taste of the medicine. With Garlicguard, they devour it regardless. The leftovers are refrigerated until it is gone, and then you can make a new batch and repeat. Feed him once a day for 10-14 days. I aired on the side of over feeding so my betta would get plenty of medication. I would get a chopstick and get a couple bloodworms on the end and then I would try to target feed him. My betta takes them right off the chopstick at the top of the water. If you have anymore questions or if you think of something ask away!
 
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Grammywms

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Thx for quick response and detailed info. I've checked Petsmart and Walmart and both have to be shipped. Other sellers take 2-7 days. Will he live til then? He's just hung out on his betta hammock all day. Yesterday he was swimming around and going into and out of his cave and arch. Big decline in activity in one day.
 

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Grammywms said:
Thx for quick response and detailed info. I've checked Petsmart and Walmart and both have to be shipped. Other sellers take 2-7 days. Will he live til then? He's just hung out on his betta hammock all day. Yesterday he was swimming around and going into and out of his cave and arch. Big decline in activity in one day.
Usually Amazon is pretty quick. The sooner you can start the treatment the better his chances are. I know how disappointing it is to watch your little guy not being himself. I learned the hard way and now I always make sure to have some Kanaplex on hand. I recall Amazon got me the Kanaplex, focus, and garlicguard within 2 days. You could get next day shipping, but I know that may run a bit pricey. Your local store should have a product called StressGuard by Seachem and I have had good experiences with it. It helps rebuild fins and also reduce stress, among other things. If you could get your hands on this, maybe a little water change and adding Stressguard will help him perk up a bit!
 
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Grammywms

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But StressGuard doesn't cure the infection, right? Do you think if I do StressGuard and water change today in the meantime while waiting for delivery of kanaplex, he'd have a better chance of survival? I wonder how he got fin rot. I've tried so hard to do everything right and I've had so many problems. Does he feel pain?
 

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Grammywms said:
But StressGuard doesn't cure the infection, right? Do you think if I do StressGuard and water change today in the meantime while waiting for delivery of kanaplex, he'd have a better chance of survival? I wonder how he got fin rot. I've tried so hard to do everything right and I've had so many problems. Does he feel pain?
No StressGuard will probably not cure the infection, but it could help quite a bit to make him feel better. I do think doing a 20% water change and adding stressguard would help, I would even double dose it because it says on the back you can safely do so. You are not alone in your problems, I too have had my fair share of struggles. In my mind, I do everything I can to keep my bettas healthy, so it really gets to me when they get sick. All you can do is do what is in your power. Keep the water clean with weekly water changes (as you do) and check him out for ailments (as you do). I would not put any blame on yourself. As for if he feels pain, I often asked this question myself and looked into it. From what I gather, yes, fish can feel pain, but it is not the type of pain that we associate with. He is not scared or anxious or sad, but he does feel pain. I would go ahead and try a little water change with some stressguard and see if he perks up a bit after a couple hours. Keep me posted! I am pulling for the little guy!

Also, about your moss balls. They are great at cleaning tanks of things you don't want. When you do your water change, put the moss balls in the bucket of tank water you take out. Give them a couple squeezes to clean them out a bit, just make sure you use tank water to clean them. You should see quite a bit of gunk come out of them if you have never cleaned them before. Try to do this once every couple months or so, if you aren't already!
 
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Grammywms

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Thanks, Meliodas. I will get the StressGuard tomorrow and do water change and add it. I ordered the Kanaplex. The soonest it'll come is by July 5th. Too much to have it delivered in 2 days. Fixed income and all.
I've checked and there is nowhere in town that carries it. I do squeeze out and rinse moss balls in old water siphoned off into bucket every month. But thanks for mentioning it. Appreciate your help and encouraging words. After last winter's problems, I thought I was home free with Ruben. I lost many a night's sleep researching and posting on Fishlore. He's turned out to be an expensive little fishy. lol Funny how attached you can get to them. Never dreamed so much is involved with keep a fish. I was a newby and mistakenly took some bad advice from Petsmart fish "experts". If I'd known what I know now, things would have been different.
If you get a chance, read my original thread "Concerned About My Betta" to see the journey I've traveled.
I'll keep you posted.
 

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Glad to hear it. Did you order Focus as well? The only reason I ask is because without it, you won't be able to feed the medicine effectively. Focus binds the Kanaplex to the food. If money is an issue, you could treat Kanaplex to the water instead of feeding it. But I dislike this method because it can kill your beneficial bacteria. There are various opinions on if it will kill all your beneficial bacteria, and some say that if your tank has been cycled long enough that it will not harm your Beneficial Bacteria. But just to be safe I always feed it to avoid this problem. It is amazing when I talk about my fish and people think I'm a bit loony, but its hard to understand until you care for them yourself. It is a very rewarding hobby and its funny to look back and reflect on how much you've grown since you started keeping fish. I will give that thread a read tomorrow I am interested to see what all this little guy has fought through. I'll be watching for an update!
 
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Grammywms

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What I was planning on doing, since both are cost prohibitive at the moment (My husband has stage 4 lung cancer and medical bills are ever present.), is to put Ruben in hospital tank for treatments and just treating that water rather than feeding. That way everything in his aquarium will stay intact.
 

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Grammywms said:
What I was planning on doing, since both are cost prohibitive at the moment (My husband has stage 4 lung cancer and medical bills are ever present.), is to put Ruben in hospital tank for treatments and just treating that water rather than feeding. That way everything in his aquarium will stay intact.
I am sorry to hear that I completely understand. Kanaplex is one of the few medications that works well without being fed in my opinion because it can penetrate into their body and gills for an effective treatment. Keep me posted!
 
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Guess what arrived today? Kanaplex! Dose one given. Will keep you posted. Thx for your help.

Forgot to ask what plants you recommend for his aquarium? With gravel substrate, do they grow ok?
 

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Grammywms said:
Forgot to ask what plants you recommend for his aquarium? With gravel substrate, do they grow ok?
Glad to hear it came in! Keep me posted on how it goes. But I would recommend a small amazon sword or anubias. They normally take little to no extra maintenance. You have the option to dose fertilizers if you so please, but they normally are not necessary for Anubias or Amazon sword in my experience. They grow just fine in whatever environment they are in.
 
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Grammywms

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Will be sure and keep you posted. I'll check Petsmart to see if they have either of those 2 plants. If not, I guess I can order on Amazon.
 

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Grammywms said:
Will be sure and keep you posted. I'll check Petsmart to see if they have either of those 2 plants. If not, I guess I can order on Amazon.
There are tons of plants that would be suitable for your tank, any in the picture I linked will work. But there are many many more. Hopefully whoever is at petco knows their plants because some are less demanding than others, like the Amazon Sword and Anubias. Ordering from Amazon would work as well, but its always hard to tell the size of the plant you'll be getting. In a 5 gallon you'll want to make sure the plants will fit, while at the same time having it full of plants. It will give it a very natural and appealing look. I would try to get some plants that aren't full grown so they can grow to your tank and you can fit quite a few (Maybe 2-3 for a 5 gallon for now). Just some thoughts
 
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Grammywms

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I was on Amazon and saw anubias attached to driftwood. Only 2-3". I could get a couple and then get an Amazon sword as well. I was concerned though about having "hitchhikers" like snails. I was reading on Fishlore about someone who bought a plant and before you know it, the tank was infested with snails! Any precautions once plants arrive to ensure nothing is growing on them, or any way to treat plants before putting into tank?

Also, what do you think about java moss?

Ruben has had 2 doses of kanaplex, 1 more in 2 days. That's supposed to be the max. What happens if he he still isn't perky? Can it be repeated or do I put him back into his tank and just wait awhile longer? He seems a little more active. He was just staying in his leaves.
 

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Grammywms said:
I was on Amazon and saw anubias attached to driftwood. Only 2-3". I could get a couple and then get an Amazon sword as well. I was concerned though about having "hitchhikers" like snails. I was reading on Fishlore about someone who bought a plant and before you know it, the tank was infested with snails! Any precautions once plants arrive to ensure nothing is growing on them, or any way to treat plants before putting into tank?
Sorry for the late response, been a crazy weekend. That sounds like a perfect setup! I’d love to see a picture once you get it all set to your liking. Snails can hitchhike on plants but not always in my experience. I do keep snails in all my tanks because they offer various benefits and my population is always kept in check, as I do not over feed. But everybody has different experiences with them. There are ways to dip your plants in a bleach mixture that’ll supposedly get rid of them, but I have never done that myself. There are a lot of well written articles you could check out if that is something you’re interested in!

Grammywms said:
Ruben has had 2 doses of kanaplex, 1 more in 2 days. That's supposed to be the max. What happens if he he still isn't perky? Can it be repeated or do I put him back into his tank and just wait awhile longer? He seems a little more active. He was just staying in his leaves.
So what you should do is let him sit through the whole treatment and follow the directions perfectly. After the treatment put him back into his tank and give him a week before deciding if you need to give him another round of treatment. I have had to give two rounds of treatment before on a particularly bad case of finrot. Just give him a week break in nice clean water and he’ll be ready for another round if he needs it! Also, java moss is great if you can find it! I have a tough time finding it in stores.
 
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Thx, I'm dosing today, 3rd dose, then Wed will put him back in his tank after water change and gravel vac. Can't wait to see how he acts. He's a tad more active than when I first put him in his 1 gal hospital tank. I'm ordering Indian Almond Leaves from Bettawan in Thailand. Hopefully that and clean water will help healing and regrowth. I think Amazon sword grows to tall gor my tank. I m thinking about pygmy chain sword. The java moss seems so prolific and invasive.
 

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Grammywms said:
Thx, I'm dosing today, 3rd dose, then Wed will put him back in his tank after water change and gravel vac. Can't wait to see how he acts. He's a tad more active than when I first put him in his 1 gal hospital tank. I'm ordering Indian Almond Leaves from Bettawan in Thailand. Hopefully that and clean water will help healing and regrowth. I think Amazon sword grows to tall gor my tank. I m thinking about pygmy chain sword. The java moss seems so prolific and invasive.
That sounds like a good plan, I have three smaller amazon sword that fit in my 10 gallon but eventually they will outgrow it. The pygmy chain sword will work just as good too! I'm excited to see if you notice any change in his behavior after he has time to settle into his home again. Hopefully just one round of treatment is all the little guy needed! Almond leaves do wonders for fish health from what I have heard. Good idea to grab some of those!
 

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Grammywms said:
Have you had snails on your plants?
Grammywms said:
Have you had snails on your plants?
I have had snails on some of the plants I had purchased from petco, but not amazon. You can see the eggs on the plants pretty easily. I could have removed them before I put them into the tank, but I did not simply because I enjoy some snails in my tanks. However, I get that is not how everybody feels about snails. If you see any eggs on your plants just give them a rinse and rub your finger over the eggs. They will wash away quite easily in my experience.
 
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I don't mind a few snails, but my 5 gal. prob. can't house very many, if any besides my nerite, plus the more snails, the more poop. But I'm afraid of a population explosion. Glad for you advice, though, because I wasn't comfortable with soaking plants in bleach water or salt water.

BTW, Ruben is officially back in his clean, gravel vac tank. He is more active than he has been in past 8 days in hosp. tank. Hated not being able to clean the 1gal tank he was in for all that time. Will let you know how he does. Almond leaves should be on their way soon.
 
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Well, I guess I spoke to soon. Ruben is lying on the bottom of his tank, in the corner, almost white in color, lifeless. I think he's gone. I'm going to get the net and bring him up. Needless to say, I've been crying. Never dreamed I'd get so attached to a fish. I tried everything I could to keep him alive and healthy, and then to restore his health. The only good thing that comes out of this 11 month experience is that I have gained a lot of knowledge about keeping a betta. Also, I've probably got every product on the market on hand to care for and treat another one. So all the money I spent on Ruben will not be for naught. RIP little Ruben. You will be missed.

On another note, since my nerite PeeWee is still living in the tank and I plan to get another betta, should I just leave the filter running and heater on?

Well, he has changed his position slightly 3 times in the past hour, but still on bottom in same corner. It's killing me to watch him die.
 

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Grammywms said:
Well, I guess I spoke to soon. Ruben is lying on the bottom of his tank, in the corner, almost white in color, lifeless. I think he's gone. I'm going to get the net and bring him up. Needless to say, I've been crying. Never dreamed I'd get so attached to a fish. I tried everything I could to keep him alive and healthy, and then to restore his health. The only good thing that comes out of this 11 month experience is that I have gained a lot of knowledge about keeping a betta. Also, I've probably got every product on the market on hand to care for and treat another one. So all the money I spent on Ruben will not be for naught. RIP little Ruben. You will be missed.

On another note, since my nerite PeeWee is still living in the tank and I plan to get another betta, should I just leave the filter running and heater on?
I am really sorry to hear that and sorry for the late reply!! I know how hard it is so I completely understand. How many days has he been off treatment now? I would go ahead and give him another round of it now in hopes that it will help him. Regardless of what happens, you did everything you could to nurse him back to health and you definitely have learned a lot. Keep doing whatever is in your power until the end and that's all that you can do. Only other impactful thing I could think of is feeding him the treatment, but he may not be interested in eating since he isn't feeling well. If he has passed, and I hope he is still fighting, I would leave everything running as normal until you're ready for your next fish!
 
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Well, he died during that night. I hope he didn't suffer too much. I'm going to do a 20-30% water change and gravel vac, then go get another betta. I've got two plants on driftwood ordered (anubias nana petite and cardinal plant) for starters. I've got Indian almond leaves ordered as well.
It's funny, I keep looking in his tank to see him like I always did. He was so much fun to watch when he was well.
 

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Grammywms said:
Well, he died during that night. I hope he didn't suffer too much. I'm going to do a 20-30% water change and gravel vac, then go get another betta. I've got two plants on driftwood ordered (anubias nana petite and cardinal plant) for starters. I've got Indian almond leaves ordered as well.
It's funny, I keep looking in his tank to see him like I always did. He was so much fun to watch when he was well.
You clearly care for your betta and I know this next one will thank you for it. I'm sorry he didn't make it, its always tough to lose a fish you've bonded with. I've lost a couple betta now and it never gets easier when they go.I would love to see a picture of your new fish when you get him!
 
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I will definitely post a pic of my new one. Hoping to get one this weekend. Maybe blue or white...something that doesn't look like Ruben. Yeah, if I knew back when I bought Ruben what I know now, I might have been able to keep him healthy. I got a lot of bad advice from Petsmart, all the way from the frequency of water changes, bringing aquarium water sample in for test strip testing of parameters and basing my need for water changes on the results, which were always "pristine". I could go on and on. This forum has taught me so much and I've done a lot of online research as well.

Thanks so much for your support and encouragement.
 
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Meet Endeavor...named after Chief Constable Endeavor Morse on PBS tv... because he hasn't stopped investigating since we put him in his aquarium today. Isn't he a beauty?

He was still in his petsmart cup when these pics were taken. Tomorrow I'll post some in his newly decorated aquarium, once the lights are on.
 

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Grammywms said:
He was still in his petsmart cup when these pics were taken. Tomorrow I'll post some in his newly decorated aquarium, once the lights are on.
He is beautiful! Great job picking him out. The name gave me a good laugh, so thanks for that! I would love to see him in his aquarium with all the new additions as well!
 
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So far, cardinal plant start and anubias nano petite, in fore ground, 2 marimo moss balls in back and 3 silk plants. It's a work in progress. Endeavor in front. You'll probably have enlarge to see him better.
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Grammywms said:
So far, cardinal plant start and anubias nano petite, in fore ground, 2 marimo moss balls in back and 3 silk plants. It's a work in progress. Endeavor in front. You'll probably have enlarge to see him better.
20190707_165900.jpg
Wow, looks great! He is such a beautiful fish. I really love the pink he has to his fins, pretty pretty boy. He is a king in there with all that room to investigate. Those plants look in tip top shape too. Good choices. It's always a steady work in progress when you're trying to aquascape a tank, especially if you're as indecisive as I am lol. Anytime you add or change some stuff I'd love to see it. I'm a nerd when it comes to designs in tanks
 
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Well, cardinal plant died. Think I'll try plants that can live on driftwood. Do java moss and java ferns have to have low light? I like to keep the aquarium light on during the daytime.
 

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Lots of times plants will "melt" when put into new water. Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don't. Just a guessing game really. If any of it is salvageable, you can try to cut the dead parts and see if it will grow back on its own. And as much light as you want to give them will be fine. I have both and they do fine in my low light tank. I turn them on at 8:00 a.m and off around 11-12 p.m. They should adapt to your water within a week or so and show some improvement in color. If any leaves are browning or dying, just cut them at the base. They will recover just fine and the plant won't try to heal its decaying parts. Keep me posted
 
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It was totally dead, limp and almost mushy. I pitched it. Think I'll stick with plants that can grow on driftwood for now. I don't want to clear out all gravel, put in substrate and put gravel back in on top. Don't want to disturb anything right now.
 

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