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Discussion Starter #61 (Edited)
Spotted a crystal the other day, tried to get a pic, it shot across the tank so quick I didn't even get a chance to turn the camera on. I found where it went, tried again to get a pic, quick shake of the tail and across the tank it goes. Needless to say it has been escaping the bettas for some time now, must be operating on base prey instincts. Not ideal conditions for sensitive shrimps, I don't necessarily feel great about the housing situation, though the bettas seem happy...
The crystals in the bag have one more molt to go before I let them out..., hope they do it soon.
Saw a crystal two days ago, managed to get a pic (it didn't flip away like the other one did).
The bettas seem to be settling down a little bit, obviously have established their "personal space" areas in the tank. I really need to get on siliconing the caves, other things have been taking my time though.
I am actually surprised at how well the plants have done so far, with only ambient lighting. There has been no new growth, and most of the hornwort has melted away, though there is still the hygro, riccia, salvinia, mosses, and the anubius, which seems to be doing alright, roots are growing very slowly. They seem to be doing better now, since I replaced the old bulbs in my ceiling fixture with 2 26w 6500k cfls ;) I actually have an easier time reading my test results now, no more dim yellow light :)
Ambient room temp has been keeping the tank at 76-78F for the past few days, only way to cool the tank is to relocate it..., not going to happen anytime soon though, too busy with other stuffs.
Noticed there is still some surface pollutants in the main tank area, even though I didn't want any surface disturbance in the main area, that's what I think is causing them to be able to develop. So I went with a method that works for me; added an airstone. On this tank I placed it just below the surface, right at the filter box output, and set low. It is bubbling enough to disturb the surface, and create a little "whirlpool" effect between the stone and the output mesh, though not so strong that it pulls the plants around.

Crystal under a leaf (and one in the bag)
5April2013-433pm.jpg 5April2013-434pm.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #62
No more surface pollutants now :)

Tested Tuesday Morning;
pH 6.5+
NH3 0?0.6?mg/L
No2 0mg/L
No3 0+mg/L
Temp 76F
Still unsure about ammonia, haven't gotten a different test kit yet... Low nitrates (and no light) explains the plants struggling.
Did a 30% wc (1.5G out - 1.6G in[1.1G pH5.0+, 0.5G pH6.5]), added 3mL Flourish.
The filter box is definitely working, the intake grates had some melted plant matter stuck in them, and I could easily see the current going into the box. Blasted the grates with a turkey baster to clear them.

One of the bettas seems to be very stressed, I think it is the one I tried the "spray-bottle" technique on. Her fins are clamped, and she is very skittish. :( aside from that, nothing seems to be wrong with her, no apparent appetite loss, or signs of sickness. I would like to just move her to the community tank, though I don't want her getting aggressive with my other fishes/shrimps. No space or time for another tank to maintain....

Out of the four crystals in the bag, it looks like I have two golden bees, one white crystal, and one not fully white, with possible black stripes showing up. I am unsure about the other three, I have only seen one (three different times) since I put them in the tank. Probably one more week before I release them, I probably could now though...

I have been feeding the bettas some fruit flies when I feed the community tank, they seem to enjoy them quite a bit, and they still go after the pellets :)
 

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Discussion Starter #64
are bettas picky eaters? nice journal. fun read
I thought they would be pickier about dry foods than they are, the fact that they eat guppy pellets is huge bonus. It's actually the one dry food that all my fish will eat. I'd say it all depends on the particular betta though.
and Thanks, I'm mainly just trying to keep track of this tank for myself, and have some fun with literation :)
 

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Discussion Starter #65
I spoke too soon... after feeding the bettas fruit flies, three have stopped going after the pellets, the other two are losing interest. So much for a "treat", I'm gonna have to get more cultures going so I can feed them more regularly.... They also slowed down with eating the frozen bloodworms...

I noticed yesterday that the heater was keeping the temp at 76F (turned on at 74F, off at 76F), turned it down by two degrees today. It was still at 76F last I checked.

Once I get my diy led finished, I will have a dimmable light for the tank, which should help out the plants a bit :) All I need at this point is wire, and a "control box" to put the switches and circuit board into...
 

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Discussion Starter #66
Just found the smallest female (the one with clamped fins a few days ago) on the bottom, upside down. It looked like she was "breathing" heavily (gills moving more than usual), once I moved her with the net, I noticed a fungal/bacterial growth of some sort on her body. She didn't even try to swim or move at all:(. I suspect she was picked on by the four larger females, and was probably chased away from the food. RIP little one. I am not completely sure on the cause, though I suspect it was a combination of stress and starvation due to too much competition for food. She could have gotten some sort of bacterial infection aswell, I was concerned when I first noticed the clamped fins.
The other four females seem to be ok, they are all about the same size now. Three are showing full red colouration, one (with nipped fins) is showing horizontal stripes.
I tried feeding some fd brine shrimp this morning, they ate it, and played with it. If it's not moving, they will make it move before eating it. I also dropped in some fruitflies, that was when I noticed only four females coming up to eat.
 

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Discussion Starter #68
:( sounds terrible. i didnt know female bettas could be potential bullies.
hows it going now?
It's not too terrible, I am still a little upset from losing that little one though. I did expect some aggression due to the small tank size. Looking through the photos I took, the female that passed had clamped fins most of the time I saw her since I brought her home.
It seems to be going well since, all four are a bit pushy with each other though. I am still seeing some body colour change from deep red to grey w/ black stripe.

Tested wednesday night;
pH 7.0-
NH3 0.6?mg/L
No2 0mg/L
No3 5mg/L
Temp 75F
Did a 30% wc (1.5G out/in pH5.0+), added Flourish and 1 almond leaf.

One crystal is easily big enough to be released, however, I have decided to wait even longer, as they are doing well in the bag (with regular water changes), and there is almost always a betta looking into the bag...

Got some good pics of feeding them fruit flies :bigsmile:

14April2013-851pm.jpg 14April2013-852pm.jpg 14April2013-853pm.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #69
.. A much overdue update ..

Got a Daphnia culture on saturday (Thanks Charles & Pat), added some to the tank. Some interest from the bettas, though mostly just chasing. Hoping the daphnia will draw their attention away from each other, and the crystals. If any survive, it will add to the "natural" feel of the tank. I wasn't able to find any sunday morning, still lots of dark areas to hide though. I put some in the bag with the crystals, they are still alive.

(Finally) Put a light on the tank (Zetlight Nano Touch), Thanks Frank :), set to 60% white, 40% blue. Just sitting directly on the glass, so with the tannic water and dimmed, it only lights up the plants :) (exactly what I wanted). My diy led is now on hold :rolleyes: (again)
The bettas seemed to react very well to the light, must've been too dark in there for them without it. Not really much of a natural tank with no light...

Added some new plant pieces to the tank on sunday, 4 of Echinodorus Aflame. Two are planted in pots, one is in the substrate, one is floating. The new light seems to penetrate through the tannic water quite nicely, hoping to see some new growth. <- was written a couple days ago, new leaves sprouting on 3 of 4 plants :)

Spotted a crystal in the main tank area monday night, still skittish, though seems to be slowly settling in to a life with bettas. Spotted it again tuesday, I'm sure it was the same one, not sure where the other two are hiding...

Tested tuesday;
pH 6.5+
NH3 0.6mg/L
No2 0mg/L
No3 5mg/L
GH 3.36d/60mg/L
KH 1.68d/30mg/L
TDS 106ppm
Temp 77F
Did a 30% wc (1.5G out/in pH 5.5-), added 3mL Flourish.

Lots of pics...

New Light
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......
 

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Discussion Starter #70
......
Bettas checking out the new light :)
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and the new plant
21April2013-610pm.jpg 21April2013-611pm.jpg 21April2013-612pm.jpg
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Discussion Starter #71
......
Crystal Shrimp
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Betta showing some nice colour
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Echinodorus Aflame
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......
 

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Discussion Starter #72
......
Echinodorus Aflame
21April2013-611pm.jpg
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Loving the shrimp.

Is there a reason why you chose to leave the plants inside the pots?
Thanks, Not sure where the other two I released into the tank are, I will look for them when I do a gravel cleaning soon. The other four are still in the bag, I will release them when I do the cleaning.

The plants are in the pots because the gravel in the tank is not deep enough for the anubias or hygro roots, and the bettas seem to use them as "cave-like" areas. I also don't mind how they look in this tank.

xxxxxxxxx asking for it's only a five gallon, stay with the Betta only. No platies. Bettas do come from a planted area in the wild, so yes, plants will make him happy, but don't overdo it. He needs space to swim around as well.
Not sure what this is about, I never mentioned platies, and the bettas are all females, I have no male. "I think you are a spam bot sir...."
 

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Discussion Starter #76
Thank you :)
That is a theme I would like to replicate, although sometime in the (distant) future, and in a larger tank ;)
and thanks again, I am actually behind about a week with updates on most of my journals, including this one :p, the sun came out....:bigsmile:
 
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