Well, after getting the plants my wife decided she just had to have a Betta. In college she use to keep several, but like me had to give it all up when we moved across the country. That was also back in our days of ignorance and they were kept in small half gallon critter keepers. So this time we were determined to do it right and got a 10 gallon aquarium.
For this tank we decided to experiment with using play sand for a substrate instead of the coated gravel you get at pet stores. For one the play sand is far, far cheaper, and for another I have seen several planted aquariums that have been successful using it. This is the same kind of sand you buy your kids for their sand box.
The biggest negative is the sand comes dirty, very … very …. VERY dirty. It took a good while out in the street with a garden hose rinsing out all the dirt and fine particles from the sand. Even so, when I finally brought it in it took a few filling/draining cycles in the tank to make the water clear. It was a lot of work to be honest … BUT the tank looks awesome! I really like the sand over the gravel.
I’ve put a few plants in, mainly a Java Fern, Anubias Nana, and I threw in some Brazilian Penneywort from my 20 gallon tank. We had also bought some Wisteria from Petsmart, but most of it died before we even opened the package. I left the remaining healthy parts of the stems to float and hopefully they’ll spring back to life. This tanks hood has two screw in type sockets for incandescent bulbs. I threw in two 14W 5000K CFLs and let me tell you, that tank is BRIGHT. The floating plants will be a must to cut down on the intensity, but it will also allow us to give some of the moderate light plants a try. A nearby Petco carries microswords that we are going to give a spin.
We let it sit overnight to ensure the temperature was at a stable 78 degrees before my wife went out to pick the perfect Betta. So, without further delaying, here is a picture of the Betta our daughter has lovingly called “Blue Fishy”. She’s 2, so you have to give her at least a little credit =)
We will eventually probably get a school of four cory cats to occupy the bottom. We are taking it slow and seeing how well the plants are able to keep up with the Betta’s ammonia before we get more fish. Slow and steady wins the race after all, it is best to add fish slowly and let the biology of the tank stabilize.