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Months in the making Betta and Amano shrimp tank Journal!

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Ok, so Sakura made it through a case of Velvet and fin rot (popped up during quarantine and caught early, thank goodness). After nearly 2 months in quarantine, he is finally in his home with his tank mates--5 Amano shrimp. For those who have seen my prior posts in general discussion, I decided to go with a nice piece of dragon stone that I sanded down and cleaned out really well and I'm so glad I did!! My Amanos love to hide in the holes when they aren't eating or swimming around. I also made my own polycarbonate top with acrylic hinges after watching @Cory's video on DIY tops. So glad I found that. I absolutely hated the light this particular kit came with and not having to mess with glass was a godsend. So, thanks, Cory!

Sakura is very, very happy in his new home. It took me the 2+ months he was in the QT getting treatment to get it together and "seasoning" with pre-seeded media and plants. The shrimp are doing well too; I made sure they had lots of algae to come in and eat. They've all molted within a week of settling in with no issues. I'm very pleased as this is my first foray into shrimp keeping as well. Sakura tried to chase them at first, but after realizing he can't catch them, he's since given up and just ignores them.

So, plants are growing in nicely and I'll keep updating pics as the mini Christmas moss grows in. 

Here's what I have:

Without further ado, may I present: Sakura & Shrimp Co.'s 10 gallon column planted tank 🙂


He loves hanging out in his coconut!



DIY polycarbonate top! For those looking to do this who live in apartments with no big power tools available (my situation), it IS possible to hand-cut it with a sharp box cutter (and if you're like me--accident prone--a pair of cut-resistant, protective kitchen gloves). It takes A LOT of effort and care (and strings of cathartic four-letter words and sweat and, man, was I sore for a day or two afterward), but after carefully cutting it and then sanding the cut edges with basic sand paper--course followed by extra fine-- it turned out far better than I thought it would having not used a power saw. It just takes patience (and if you have youngins', I highly recommend you wait until they're out of the house to cut it so you can unashamedly use your full vocabulary 🤣)!!!! Also, if you don't need the big 8 foot piece, Home Depot sells a 4 foot by 2 foot piece online for around $35ish. 


One of the Shrimp Co. munching on Repashy! 

And as a final side note: I'm currently using a Top Fin Silenstream 10 that came with the tank kit for filtration, but I'm replacing it with an Aquaclear 20 from another tank that's also getting an upgrade (to an Aquaclear 30). It's not that the Top Fin filter is necessarily bad, but I just don't care for how it works. Whereas the ACs pull the water up through media, the Top Fin just pushes from one side to another, making hot-rodding it a pain. Not a whole lot of room for media either. I like the convenience of pulling the media basket out of the ACs for maintenance, as well as the ability to get to the impeller for cleaning. This is my first time using fine sand substrate, too. It doesn't stay clean for long, but Sakura likes to swim along the bottom a lot and I don't worry about his fins as much as I would with gravel. Always try everything once! I'm looking to add a Malaysian Trumpet snail or two to keep it churned up and help with spot algae on the glass. 

I also ordered my plants from several different online sources. I wanted to see who had the best products, prices, availabilities, shipping and longevity. It's been an interesting experiment so far for sure! I finally completed my first planted tank, guys! Yay! Let's see if I can keep it thriving!!!

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks for all of the great comments everyone! Apologies for not being super active lately, sometimes life just has a habit of getting in the way! A not-so-quick update:

I took out the dragon stone. I noticed Sakura's tail continually a little frayed and ever since I removed it, his tail has been healing beautifully! I also moved the Amano shrimp gang into my larger 14 gallon community tank. They were being terrorized by Sakura and refused to come out hardly at all, but now they're out 24/7 and enjoying life with my corydoras.

Sakura has made it perfectly clear he will not accept any roommates, which effectively kills my ideas to add a few Kuhli loaches, because who doesn't love a few little, wiggly danger noodles. Alas, not to be. However, I did add a zebra nerite snail, aptly named Roomba, to his tank and Sakura tolerates him just fine. Perhaps it's because he doesn't view him as food like he did the shrimp. He's inquisitive for sure, constantly hovering around Roomba as he slowly makes his way in circles around the tank walls and over the plants, but Roomba takes it all in stride and steamrolls through. Maybe Sakura is just simply inspecting the cleaning services Roomba is providing and not so politely letting him know he missed a spot. Sakura even shares his coconut with Roomba at times...how very gentlemanly of him. 

My crypts propagated like mad, so I moved the runners and now I have little crypts all over the bottom of the tank, which forced me to do some rearranging. I also added a few of them to my new rimless 3 gallon in my kitchen. I'm taking this opportunity to paint the back of the tank (safely) so I can rid myself of the horrid "transflex-style" squeegeed on background.

I'm also coming to the realization that I am not a fan of the sand...it never looks clean. I have OCD. It isn't a good mix. I was binging some @Bentley Pascoe videos this weekend and I want to try replacing it with the Brightwell Rio Escuro XF substrate and mix it with the Eco Complete that is currently in the back half of the tank. I do love a black substrate so very much. 

The season is a-changing and so is my betta tank!! 


Roomba roomba-ing




King of the tank, Sakura, looking good

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So, thanks to @Bentley Pascoe's latest videos on the Fluval Aquasky 2.0, I decided to move my Fluval Plant 3.0 Nano to Sakura's tank. (My husband blames Mr. Pascoe for this unexpected expense 😂 I'm afraid he's going to ban me from FishTube, especially after seeing me scouring Dan's Fish website for pygmy corydoras, and the last order from the Coop I just recieved 😬).The Plant Nano was just throwing down so much light for my plants in my 14 gallon that it just wasn't what I wanted--an algae factory. I've got java fern, jungle vallisneria and some green cabomba in that tank--none of which needs that much light. I had it dimmed down to 35% MAX and it was still just too much. Amano clean up crew...still too much for them to handle. Of course I needed to change the light...

Mmhmm...That's my story and I'm stickin' to it, hubs.

Enter the Fluval Aquasky 2.0...According to Bentley, it's the perfect amount of light for low to mid light plants. Out to Petsmart I ran on Tuesday (because Amazon wanted me to wait until freakin' September 30th for no good reason, and I have NO patience) and I nabbed the last one. Bentley, buddy, I am anxiously awaiting the Pro Mode video for the Aquasky 2.0 Ultimate Guide series....and that Flourish smack down you've been teasing us all with 😉 If you're saying it's gonna' be more epic than the SunSun review...I'm there for it. I come for the rants, I stay for the info.

Annnnnnnyyyywho, an hour later and POOF...my 10 gallon column tank is now being graced by the Plant Nano. I feel professional (I'm not). Sakura feels fancy (He is). Roomba isn't quite sure what to make of all this light, but eating is more important than worrying about the bright rays shining down from the heavens, so onward he trudges...or scoots, I guess. Unless he's recharging, of course.

Needless to say, my rotala rotundafolia is absolutely loving the amount of light the Day Sim settings are giving it. Hopefully my mini christmas moss towards the bottom of the tank will respond in kind. It's looking very sad-more Halloween-ish than Christmas-y. I don't think the Stingray 2.0 I originally had on there was getting it enough light...19" tall is quite a bit of water to penetrate through. Not to mention the polycarbonate DIY top.

Naturally, with my little CO2 unit I'm running and with the new, high-speed hoo-yah hoo-yah light, I'm already looking for more awesome plants to get my hands on. Ludwigia Natans Super Red? Alternanthera Reineckii Mini? Staurogyne Repens? Pink Flamingo Crypt? Oh, all the plants...All the pretty, pretty plants...They're mine...My own...My precious...

My husband is going to kill me...but...YOLO. 

Bonus: Sakura is now modeling for me under the new spotlight. He's feeling very couture...Someone call Chanel or Dior...He's willing to be the face of the Spring/Summer 2022 line...maybe for New York Fashion Week?





Edited by Beccs410
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Ok, so I got the Brightwell Rio Escuro XF substrate from Flip Aquatics. They ended up having it cheaper than Amazon, and supporting our Fish Fam is always a good idea, right? Anyway, I opened the box and pulled out the 5 lb bag and I said to myself, "Self...remember...You're waiting for your husband to come home to help you with this little project." I stood in silence for a few minutes, mulling over the the several hours I would have to wait and then said, "Nahhh, I got this."

I so didn't. I so so so so didn't. I had seen a nifty little video on YouTube that made it seem like sucking out the sand would be oh so easy...I attempted to emulate it using my biggest Python. That went horribly. Like, literally, the Python kept clogging up. That video lied! (I refuse to believe it was that easy!) I ended up using a little plastic cup to begin scooping it out and, in doing so, accidentally messed with the Eco-Complete towards the back, which then lead to black water. Literal black water. My guess is it was caused by the half-dissolved Seachem root tabs.

I hurriedly netted out Sakura and put him in a cup of clean tank water I had in a bucket with the plants and my snails I had removed (I wanted to keep a good eye on him to make sure no damage was done. I felt awful). That fish looked at me, his RBF even more angry than usual, as if to say, "Are you kidding me, Mom? A CUP? AGAIN?! HOW DARE YOU!"

At this point, I said screw it and just ended up getting out as much sand as I could by hand/cup. I then proceeded to empty the water, take out all the Eco-Complete and rinse it to rid myself completely of the sand once and for all, then put everything back together again.

At some point during this fiasco, my husband walked in the door, put his things down, stared at me in confusion and just slowly said, "Honey...I thought you were...nevermind. I should know better. What can I help with?" Seconds later, my father calls me on Google Duo wanting to video chat, and I'm surprised he could understand my rattled off, "Sorry, Dad, can't talk! Big mess! Gotta' go! Bye!"

Finally, with no more distractions, I capped the Eco-Complete with the Rio Escuro after adding some Easy Root Tabs and threw a plastic bag in there to diffuse the clean, prepped water I began to painstakingly slowly pour in. I re-planted the plants, added my little snails back and then added Sakura back. He refused to acknowledge my presence the rest of the evening. He wouldn't even come play our daily game of tic-tac-toe (Don't judge, he likes it. Especially with the purple marker. Don't tell him, but I let him win). 

Now, you might ask...Was it really worth all of that, Bec, to not wait? Unequivocally, I say, absolutely. Did I learn a lesson? Sure. But, I'm happy. No more sand; only pretty, dark planted substrate...and a fresh canvas waiting to be given life. Now...to order new/more plants...

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