5 gal betta tank redo to planted tank
I’ve had my 5 gal betta tank for well over a year. It contains a blue and red crown tail betta (Raylan) and 6 neons. I know. Many here would object to anything more than the betta in a tank that size but the neons ended up with him by accident ( 30 gal tank emergency and they needed a temp home). However, a year later, they are still there, thriving and by all appearances content. So – that’s my stock.
Nitrates never go higher than 5ppm with weekly water changes and 2 small cascade HOB filters that produce very little flow which makes for a happy betta.
This tank has a betta log (ceramic) which Raylon loves to zip in and out of all the holes and a lava rock with a hole in it where he usually sleeps. The neons also sleep inside the log. Consequently, while not natural, these 2 pieces must remain in the tank to keep Raylan and the Neons happy (sounds like a 50’s Motown group). Also in the tank was gravel substrate and several marbles and some quartz rocks and a snail shell and 2 silk plants. Also an anubis tied to driftwood that never grew but never died either.
The tank, before:
1-5 gal redo 033.JPG
Cute but not natural. Those are the 4 grandkids btw in their snorkels and swim suits watching over the fish.
I decided I wanted to take a stab at a planted tank because I love the natural look and I know it’s better for the fish. Also I have a continuing problem with diatoms in this tank as well as in my 90 gal tank and after much discussion with those here much more experienced than I, have determined the diatom issue is not due to water (since my 30 gal has no diatoms) but due, most likely, to the gravel substrate which must be heavy in silicates. So this is also an experiment to see if the end result will mean 0 diatoms in the 5 gal and if so, I’ll seek a similar solution in the 90.
I purchased the following:
Fluorite – black, 4 plants – micro sword and variegated micro sword, Dwarf baby tears, Banana plant.
more on next post - and bear with me. I'm having difficulty loading photos and now can't seem to delete them. :o(
Last edited by fishmommie; 05-15-2013 at 07:14 PM.
Removed plants from containers and peeled wool floss from roots.
Separated plants. Cut string attaching existing Anubis to a small piece of driftwood so it, too could be planted
Dipped new plants in 10% bleach 90% water 3 times to insure no snails, then soaked in prime treated water until time to plant
here are the plants removed from their pots
1-5 gal redo 042.JPG
Drained water from 5 gal to a clean bucket, netted fish, installed heater in bucket, added a bubbler and removed motors from filters then sank filters with media in the bucket with fish to keep from drying out.
Removed background. Removed 2 silk plants
Cleaned diatoms off betta log and lava rock
Emptied gravel from tank and cleaned tank with several rinses and vinegar wash
Poured one inch of fluorite into tank (did not rinse)
Planted new plants and the old anubus and repositioned betta log.
here's the tank from above with the plants in place
1-5 gal redo 044.JPG
I like the start! You will be fiddling with it for a year or more to get what you want. Got to love the new delve into a new area of the hobby!
FW: 1 45gal, 1 40gal, 3 10gal, 3 30gal all community tanks of different species
Sw: 1 55gal, 1 30gal show, 1 29gal show, 1 20gal and 2 10's
Covered bottom of tank with newspaper then using a pitcher slowly poured water over the newspaper to keep the fourite from drifting into water. Used water from the fish bucket.
1-5 gal redo 051.JPG
Once tank was 1/2 full, carefully removed newspaper, then filled a gallon zip lock bag with treated water (same temp as tank) and holding bag closed, inverted until submerged then slowly released the water to avoid stirring up fluorite. Repeated until tank was full.
Added new background to back of tank
Added filters and heater and added fish, added hood.
Water was a tad cloudy for about 4 – 6 hours then cleared completely.
1-5 gal redo 054.JPG
Redo from start to finish took about 1 ½ hours. Thanks to Sandz for telling me about this method of planting with fluorite which saved tons of time and work had I rinsed the fluorite first.
Here's the tank all cleared up the next day
1-5 gal 041.JPG
And here's Raylan peaking out of his log.
1-5 gal 017.JPG
Yet to do: order replacement bulb for hood as the bulb I have is over a year old and is not geared toward plants. I purchase only low light plants as I want very low maintenance.
Also need to adjust the background as I have some air bubbles between it and the back of the tank.
Comments and suggestions are welcome. Should I add some taller plants in the back? Reposition any of the existing plants? Put my snorkeling grandchildren BACK as part of the background? :o)
Looks to me like Raylan may like bananas? He sure is checking them out in picture 3.
When in doubt, do a water change.
"This ain't rocket science!"
Cool change over; thanks for sharing.
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Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. -Vince Lombardi
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