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Setting up a new tank


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Hi guys,

I've been reading and searching to determine the right tank setup, but there are a few questions I have not been able to clarify.

I have a 20L divided tank that I am setting up. In addition to the two main chambers it has four small compartments in the rear for filtration. Currently it has two disposable filters in the first chamber, followed by two sponges, then the final chamber. I have installed the pump to discharge from the final chamber (pull through filters) into the main compartment, output fanned along the surface.. There is also a 25w heater I have put adjacent to the pump in the back, set to 26degC, with the top cm out of the water.

Does this sound like the right way to have the filter setup? Regardless, is this type of filtration acceptable?

Thanks to the threads here I have turfed the plastic plants I bought, used water conditioner and aged the water for a week. Everything washed inc the gravel.

On the shopping list is an accurate thermometer, net, water test kit and basic meds. Anything else obviously missing?

Is java fern a good idea (especially for a newb)? I will also put in a silk plant for cover. LFS says no to live plants??

Turns out the fish at the LFS had white spot, so I'm grateful for the info here - I pulled out but it would have be crushing to have the fish go belly up in the first week! Now I'm hunting for some specific Bettas around Perth.

Thanks for any tips. I'll try to get some pics if that helps?

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I might have been confused - is java moss the right one? I'm looking for something to provide a little shelter..

I've been struggling with pics all day, hopefully this works:




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looks pretty good! just make sure flow isn't too crazy strong, particularly if you're interested in purchasing a halfmoon with long,flowing fins (and i'm not a fan of carbon unless for removing medication)

java fern has green leaves while java moss looks like stringy green wool both are great for beginners and have (ime) very low care requirements, honestly as long as it's not in total darkness it will do just fine and your betta should definitely appreciate it as it helps with excess nutrients(why your lfs would be saying no to that i have no idea, if it was me i'd be sneaking it to new fishkeepers!)

good luck with your search for bettas to occupy this lovely tank! hopefully some perth members will pop up and point the way :)

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Cheers, MT. It seems that getting some good inhabitants is harder than I realized! I'm thinking I might run the carbon filters until I get the nitrogen cycle started then pull em for after med care...

So far I've spent two weeks going to every shop I can find in the yellow pages but haven't found a good crowntail or HM yet!no word back from most of the breeders either. It's a bit disheartening TBH.. Maybe it's just unlucky timing.

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The thing I don't like about carbon is having to change it regularly. But if you're willing to do that then I think it can be quite useful to take out any residual chemical elements that your dechlorinator may not have removed. And there's a theory that it might remove growth inhibiting hormone.

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All day driving around, alas no fish! Did get some silk plants, driftwood, thermometer, test kits, etc.. It's hard visiting so many shops - too tempting.

Speaking to the staff they are expecting deliveries in the three nearest shops over the next week so it may be just the poor fish left (also explains the empty containers!). Worst case scenario they say I can order exMelb based on tail type and approx colour.

Any idea where to pick up some IAL?




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After another day touring the shops I now have two boys - thanks to the threads on what to look for, etc I think they are healthy. They may not be standout but I like them :) They are also crazy hard to photo, and I didn't want to stress them to make them flair..



Thanks for the tips guys..

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The halfmoon looks like a good find. Your crowntail has started to clamp up a bit. His rays are looking thin. Shine a torch and look very closely at him. Is there any fine powdery coating that's reddish or gold? Just want to eliminate velvet as a cause.

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Hey I've just spotted this thread.

Can I suggest you grab a pH test kit rather hastily... that black gravel is a wonderful substrate (for goldfish) but unfortunately it buffers the pH to about 7.5-8 and will be too high for your fighters.

Fist thing would be to test pH..... $10 says it's high and will be the cause of a bit of discomfort (your halfmoon will be the first to show tattered edges I'd suggest)

Just a hot tip... I like the black and have faught for years to find a stable one for fighters.

End of the day, I have brown gravel :~(


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Thanks for the feedback guys! Looks like I owe you $10 Ness. I have been testing the ph since the start and it is a bit high but haven't done anything about it - I was under the impression that changing ph was worse than it being high?

The photos were a couple of hours after moving in. They have both perked right up and the CT has his fins more spread out. Is that what you mean by clamping?? I researched all the diseases before I allowed myself fish, and I can't see any evidence of velvet.

I have been having a slight panic that the stress of moving in let finrot start, as there are jagged edges on the HM/SD tail and the CT has a single pinhole. Watching closely it seemed to be getting worse so I added salt, melafix and black water extract and pulled out the carbon filters. Is it possible that this is just because if the ph? If so I might buy a small aquarium to condition water, warm and adjust ph for water changes..

You can tell you're hooked when you buy $100 worth of meds for $40 worth of fish! :)

Updated photos:




Ps still hopeless at taking photos! The real camera is even harder...

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I've just returned from the LFS. Their 'expert' made some interesting comments!

1st - Do not use melafix on Bettas. It caused them a lot of discomfort and they jump, etc.

2nd PH won't cause fun damage unless its crazy high, it's more likely something else in the water.

3rd Do not use stresscoat plus on Bettas. They lost a number of fish and they had lots of fin damage after using it for water conditioning. Suspect it's to do with the alo Vera.

At the moment I'm planning to pull the boys out into jars, pull everything out of the tank and start again. Get rid of the gravel (I got some 'beta crystals' that are not meant to effect water chemistry). No driftwood or silk plants. Should I start a new thread in the clinic? I'm lost now.

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Clamping is when the fins kinda shrink. On crowntails the rays look thin. Velvet isn't the only cause. Good that you can eliminate it though. Other causes could simply be that they find the water disagreeable. A this point I would just try to get him into clean water with a neutral pH. One of the judges in Singapore said not to put crowntails in low (acidic) pH. But it was a passing comment and I didn't get a chance to pursue that discussion. S medications just clean water. If you can cope with the maintenance I would just keep him in an unfiltered tank and do daily poop removals and water top ups. It just gives him a bit of a rest if he's feeling under the weather. If he doesn't improve Ina couple of days then maybe pop something in the Clinic. The HM looks fine.

I don't like melafix for bettas either. Had one die once. But it was hardly a conclusive experiment. Many have used it without problems. Just not my med of choice.

No wait. Just had another look. The halfmoon looks a little bit shredded. Was he like that before? That could either be biting or finrot or again the pH. Lets see what happens when you change the water conditions.

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Ok, mark 2 underway.

Boys are in jars. Aquarium drained, cleaned using paper towels. Driftwood, substrate, etc all removed.

I have refilled with town water, 20L. PH is 8.1. Ammonia is 0 (duh). Taken using API kits (high range ph and nh3/nh4).

I have added 100 drops of blue planet betta shield (water conditioner) as per the instructions on the bottle.


Sponges installed, as is heater (set to 27), betta crystal substrate (aquatopia) and pump (set on min).

Any advice on next steps? Should I add PH down to get 7 (neutral)?

I have in my inventory:

- tetra aqua black water extract

- API stress zyme plus

- blue planet aquarium salt

- API tap water conditioner

- blue planet Ammo eliminator

- API PH up and PH down


- API melafix

- Blue planet tru sulfa

- blue planet aquari-cycline (tetracycline)

I basically have little faith in local advice, so I chased after the meds I've read about here - I'd rather have it and not use it than cause harm through delay or inaction.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Bettarazzi: he wasn't shredded to start with but it seems to be going that way. I don't think it's tail biting as it is also happening on spots where he can't reach. They are both in jars until I can get it under control. Unfortunately work has decided I'm traveling on Monday for a week so my gf will be taking over :(

Edited by Pez
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