This is not one of those events that have a happy ending. I do not feel like writing too much about it, but essentially, I bit off more than I can chew, & the results were disastrous. The final status of this project is: aborted. There will be no further attempts to revive it. All remaining life-forms were distributed to capable care-takers; most, if not all the equipment involved were either sold, sterilised (for future use), or destroyed (recovery efforts out-weigh the item’s value). What follows, is a harrowing tale that cumulated in one of my most unglamorous under-taking…

Initial setup for this secondary project is a GEX Glassterior Slim 450 low-profile tank. Substrate is GEX Shrimp Soil on top of a layer of Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder. This is coated by a thin layer of ADA New Amazonia AquaSoil (powder-type; to facilitate planting of carpeting soil). Main hardscape is a relatively large pice of driftwood, placed off-centre & binded with Christmas moss, as well as random units of Anubias barteri var. nana ‘Petite’. Secondary hardscape are various small pieces of lava rocks scattered around the substrate to make the surroundings look bigger. Illumination provided by a pair of T5HO tubes from an AquaZonic fixture (cheap, simple, gets the job done; cheap-looking fixture as well). Filtration is provide by an Eheim Classic 2211 containing maximum capacity of BioHome Plus media; output via a rainbar.

Performing some conceptualization of the hardscape…frankly speaking, the GEX Glassterior Slim 450 is a very narrow tank, but I still love it.

Placing the driftwood after it has been tied with Christmas moss & “Nana petite”. The environment has to be keep humid to prevent the moss from drying out. The driftwood is embedded deep into the substrate; even them, it is about as tall as the tank’s depth. Note the cheap-looking plastic light fixture.

As always, filling up a tank using soil-based substrate is always, a messy affair. Though the detritus usually clears up within a day, I may have came up with a way to greatly reduce stirred up debris from Day-0 filling-up…

Top-down view of the tank, showing the spacing between each glosso stalk; as well as the amount of Christmas moss deployed.

The Glossostigma Elatinoides is planted node-by-node to promote spreading. After so many times of using glosso, I still pay too little attention to burying them until their leaves touch the topsoil. The above planting, is an example of shoddy work.

View of the tank from the side.

Too long a photo-period, too rich a substrate & you get hair algae!

Illumination has been upgraded to a Beamwork Model 1300 (1-watt-per-diode LED fixture). A small Totto bubble stopper has been added to provide further aeration. Frogbits (the floating plant) are introduced to cope with the high levels of nitrates; as well as kill off some of the direct light. The colony is introduced after weeks of cycling. Notice the Tubifex worms wriggling in the substrate? Yup, that’s what happen when the worms are not introduced via a tray.

Close-up view of the colony.

Tank has been upgraded to an Ocean Free 2-footer, with a depth of 45cm. Substrate is changed to a sand that is even finer (& brighter) than the usual favourite: Sudo Bottom Sand. Compared to the Sudo, this sand is super-fine. Filtration is amp-ed up to an Eheim 2224; output via lily pipe to produce a large but gentle current. Additional filtration is supplemented by an internal sponge filter (which bubbles the water all the way up above the water level before splashing it down). A pair of Giant Nana is introduced to serve as rallying points for the colony. The Totto bubble stopper is upgraded to its larger iteration as well. The substrate is intentionally laid thin.

Another close-up view of the colony. In the new environment.

The Colony is never heard from again.


Posted: September 25, 2012 by ralliart12 in Roadblocks, ~ § Aquascape § ~
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A tale of 2 bettas

Posted: April 22, 2012 by ralliart12 in ~ § Aquascape § ~
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I setup a betta tank in the office for my colleague last week. Splendid specimen, a lavender butterfly half-moon plakat. It was a simple setup too, i.e. GEX “S” Slim filter, a couple of black lava rocks & Malayan hard wood branches, bottom coated with a layer of Sudo Bottom Sand & topped off with a simple LED lamp. Now that fellow’s living like a king inside his new enclosure (big tank for a betta too), complete with a clump of Anubias barteri var. “nana petite” & some Frogbits. & I’m simply loving it. That’s always the problem, ain’t it? Creators always fall in love with their creations.

Any way, the specimen in the photo is mine. His name is Bob. Unfortunately Bob jumped out of his enclosure a few days back & suffered massive physical damages to his body, e.g. especially his gorgeous caudal & pectoral fins. He’s still alive though; the first few hours (after his short-lived terrestrial adventure) he displayed some very un-fighting-fish swimming behaviour. Now he’s swimming al right, & I’m going to do my best to encourage the recovery of his splendour.

Update: just an elaboration on what the “butterfly” nomenclature means. The misconception is that the term is given to fighting fishes with frilly fins (I erroneously believed this too), but it is actually not. The proper definition is:

A bi-coloured form in which the colour pattern of the body (which may be of any colour) partially blends into the transparent or white fins and tail (body / blend / fin edges). The effect is to create an oval band around the fish, which ideally is separated from the body by a narrow, white or transparent zone. Choice Butterflies have a coloured body with a white blend into the fins and then a final blend back to the body colour towards the edge of the fins.  Fins should display a distinct banded pattern, with strong contrast and well defined edges. The bands should also encircle the body of the fish with a well defined oval shape.