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This is my custom 20g Asian focused aquarium. The first picture was my first attempt with great stuff, black 100% silicone and 100% latex based acrylic paint. I jumped into this project with minimal research and learned my lesson the hard way. ALWAYS BE THOROUGH!!! The paint I used which i Iover looked took an insanely long time to dry and on top of that I used too much silicone so the under layer wasn't completely dry when I filled it with water to test it. The next day my tank had so much white and gray floating in it you couldn't see the back of the tank. I ripped that out cleaned the tank like new and started over.
The next attempt I used great stuff pond and stone (carved into caves pots for plants), a thin layer of clear100% silicone, thoroughly rinsed white untreated play sand, seachem clay chips and aragonite. (To maintin healthy levels of gh and kh for my plants). I also used aged sycamore from the woods down the road. Needles to say I took my time with this attempt and clearly it shows. I let the great stuff sit for 3 days before carving, the silicone along with the sand etc., applied conservatively, sat for 4 weeks before I was satisfied. I advise everyone to try this as I'm very pleased with the result.
The substrate consists of 1"-1.5" home Depot topsoil as Lowe's is full of debris. I still had to sift to remove organic matter but not as much as with Lowe's product. In the soil I put seachem root tabs and plan on using seachem advance to continue healthy root growth and inhibit algea. On top of the soil I put 1"-1.5-well cleaned river sand that I got from a river north of here and have had it cycling with snails for some time with no issues.
I'm using an old penguin 150 HOB modified with my own pre cycled biosponge and enough zeolite to combat any ammonia spikes should any arise. With that I have a small airpump and stone that doesn't push much water but truly I only wanted it for aeration and surface agitation.
For heat I'm using a heater from an old friend that's preset to 78°f although my thermometer says 78.7°f.
Lighting consists of two 10" LED strips I fastened to the lid with silicone. 3 blue lights run along with 12 white ×2. The hood is an old marineland hood that had a light fixture inside but broke with old age. Recently I found the replacement light and plan on getting it tomorrow to give my plants the light they deserve.
My plants consist of:
I will be fertilizing them with seachem flourish, advance, and I still have 2 bottles of co2 booster from API but once those are gone I'll be switching to seachem Excel.
For chemical treatment I used seachem prime daily the first week to combat any nitrite or ammonia blooms. To promote bacterial growth early I used api quick start along with 17 gallons of cycled aquarium water from one of my well established tanks along with sponges with living active bacteria already present from another tank. I've used imaginarium zeolite on multiple tanks to clear up issues in the past and it has worked wonderfully. I have measured out enough to treat 20 gallons and placed it in the filter where it will stay for the next two or three weeks until I can be sure things are where I'd like them to be. I used seachem clarity to clear the all cloudiness but have not used it since as id like for some color in my water. I've read with this method and the proper lighting i dont even need a filter or even water changes but I definitely want to keep the filter on for my own peace ofi mind. Does anyone have any idea about the water changes? Or is it just a rumor spread online?
After 3 weeks of running and testing getting stuck on this tank when I'd walk by I decided it was time for my Bettas to move in. The parameters came out on week 4 as follows:
KH- 120ppm 7dKH
GH- 120ppm 7 dHK
After a week of being in this tank I've seen my Betta act drastically different compared to their old 20 long that had plants but also lots of room for my corys.
They swim much more gracefully and appear to almost "walk" along the background I made. Their colors have also become much more vibrant.
My fish and invertebrates include:
2 female Plakat Betta
1 female assorted Betta
1 female Koi Betta
6 Ramshorn Snails (I'm sure soon to be more)
4 Assassin Snails
I'd like to add some freshwater clams. And now for my questions. I looked up several Asian species of fish that stay small in the past few weeks. I found a Scarlet Gem Badis. I like this fish the colors and from what I've read I'd like it's behavior. The only downfall for me is you could only keep one male and the famales aren't as striking. If they did breed it would be a nightmare to remove them amongst all the plants and decor. The males are highly territorial when in tight spaces. So that would leave me with one male. They're colors also don't become as vibrant unless a female is present. I also found the dwarf pea puffer. I've seen these randomly in aquascape videos and have skimmed some Info on them. I understand they can be in brackish or freshwater with many do just as well in both. I have an endless amount of snails for them to eat and thought they looked really cool the way they seem to float about the tank. The one downfall I've been able to find on this fish is they tend to nip. Imo Betta are tough fish. When I didn't know much better I had a male with 2 of our females. Once I read and observed
I noticed he would chase every so often. But even when he made contact I never noticed or saw any wounds. I've read online the pea puffer is nippy but generally doesn't hurt the other fish it nips at?? Is this true?? If so should I go with Badis or puffers???? Will the Badis even breed? Let me know what you guys think and any suggestions!!!!! My lfs has pea puffers on sale buy 2 get one free. He says they don't sell fast enough to keep so I'd like to get them if it's a good idea