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Khai's shenanigans


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Figured I'd record some goings-on about my aquariums here.

Current setups:

- 15g community betta (Niernen) / ember tetra blackwater tank 

- 5g betta (Mithrim) tank

- 3g blue jelly (?) Neocaridina tank

I'll update this post with current photos of the fish as I go and update in the thread.




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Thank yall! Looking forward to sharing with you as I go.

This is Niernen's blackwater tank progress from start til now.

Image 1: initial set up of the 10 gallon.

image 2: added 11 ghost shrimps, 11 amano shrimps, and 1 military helmet nerite. The filter was kicking down duckweed.

Image 3: added a betta and changed to a different submersible filter that had a little less flow. Also relocated the tank. 

Image 4: slight redecorating. Changed the filters to 2 sponge filters because the flow was too strong. Added some more plants. Added a second military helmet nerite because the first one was tiny and slow at eating.

Image 5: complete overhaul because I wasn't satisfied with the initial scaping. Added okho stone and took out the original rock. Added a bunch more plants. Also added 5 more amano shrimp and 10 ember tetras. (Before anyone says anything, I was testing parameters every day. 0 ammonia and nitrites, the fish were fine).

Image 6: got a new shelf for my aquariums but the 10 gallon cracked in the seam between the glass panels while I was moving it. No leaks but I didn't want to risk it, so I moved everyone to a 15 gallon rimless tank. I liked the scape so I kept it the same, just added a handful more plants. Also got rid of the ghost shrimp. The amanos stayed.



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Mithrim's tank progress:

Image 1: initial setup of the 3 gallon. Meant to be a high light tank in contrast to the blackwater.

Image 2: added Mithrim. He's a rosetail betta from petco and was having a rough time in the deli cup. Brought him home and added him and 6 blue neocaridina shrimp. The tank wasn't fully cycled, so ended up doing a fish-in cycle. Lost 2 neos while doing it 😕 definitely was still learning.

Image 3: tank fully cycled and stable. Everyone was doing well and there was tons of algae so I added an onion nerite and 3 more blue neos and 2 amanos. Mithrim attacked and killed one of the neos. 

Image 4: not much change. Hornwort trimmed.

Image 5: upgraded the tank to a 5 gallon at the same time I upgraded Niernen's. I took the blue neos and amanos out because Mithrim was attacking them and it was stressing them out. Now it's just Mithrim and the onion nerite. Keeping an eye on him in case he stresses bc of his tail size and starts nipping his fins but for now he's doing well. I think I'll add some more plants that he can rest on though.






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Shrimp tank progress

Image 1: initial setup in a 2 gallon cube.

Image 2: plant growth after a couple weeks

Image 3: moved everything to Mithrim's old 3 gallon instead when I upgraded him. Moved the 6 remaining blue neos from Mithrim's tank into this one. The amanos went into the 15 gallon with Niernen. So far they're doing well. There's a bit of a nitrite spike (0.25ppm) so I'm using prime but hopefully they'll be fine. Trying to keep water changes to a minimum because there's 2 berried females in there and I don't want them to molt.




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Niernan is very handsome!!!! Stunning colors, and I agree with Guppysnail that the wood is making me think of Groot (I have an entire family that loves Guardians, and Groot specifically).

Mithrim looks like he's healed beautifully for you! Nice, full circle in perfect proportion, and appears lavender now? I might be mistaken, but he looks awfully close to the IBC Standard. 

If he is going purple/lavender, you can make a bit of money in stud fees. Purple of any hue is highly sought after. Purple + perfect form?

Just wow!

Your tanks are awesome, too.

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@Guppysnail haha ive made the same mistake and it's my own tank, can't blame you there. Thank you! 

@Torrey thank you!  Groot is fantastic haha cant blame em. Mithrim looks pink/purple ish because of the lighting but he's actually iridescent white. He's showing hints of starting to turn blue so I don't think he'll stay the color he is, unfortunately. I gotta agree with you though haha he's a nicely built fish for sure.

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It's been a week and a day since I've upgraded the three tanks. A few challenges since then:

Niernen's tank ended up having a small nitrite spike (highest it reached was 0.5 ppm). Did a 50% water change, added prime, etc. It then had a minor ammonia spike at 0.25ppm but that's seemed to have passed as well. It was reading solid 0 ammonia 0 nitrites this morning. Fingers crossed it stays that way. The poor amano shrimp in there have been molting due to the water change but doesn't seem like I have any deaths, thankfully. Not that it's easy to tell with how much stuff is in the tank.

Mithrim's tank has been solid in terms of ammonia and nitrites.Sunday night was frozen mysis shrimp for everyone. He was spitting out his food when he's normally a voracious eater, but mysis shrimp also aren't his favorite thing. He spat out bloodworms too, but then he ate pellets the next morning and frozen daphnia last night. Fasted everyone today, hopefully he's got full appetite tomorrow. He's been a bit more tired and wanting to rest and hide since the move - I don't think he's all that happy about his extra space. I lowered the water so there's only about 3.5 gallons in his tank rather than 5 and he seems happier and more active. Just goes to show, bigger isn't necessarily better. Especially for the heavy finned bettas. 

The shrimp tank also has had a nitrite spike but only up to 0.25 ppm, so I dosed prime and it went down to 0 in a few days. The berried females didn't lose their eggs, and one actually gave birth. I've seen like 3 babies around the tank but they're real good at hiding. Hopefully there's more. The other 2 berried shrimp are getting pretty close as well.

The biggest issue was I got some BacterAE for the shrimp and put some in the shrimp tank and Mithrim's tank for the nerite. Unfortunately I overdosed the heck out of it and had massive nitrate spikes in both tanks. The shrimp got a 90% very very very slow drip water change (theyre all alive yay), and mithrim got a couple good 50% water changes. Niernen's tank also had a nitrate spike but I think because the cycle was catching up, since I didn't dose BacterAE on his tank. Either way, everyone got water changes. Nitrates are at approx 10-20 now and they're all decently planted so I'm hoping it goes down pretty quick from now on. 

Took some photos of the tanks today. They look good. Mithrim's tank isn't super noticeable (other than I took away the duckweed and replaced it with dwarf water lettuce) but the other two look really good.

Bonus photos of tiny baby shrimp.






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Alright more updates. 

- Niernen and the tetras are doing well. Niernen's gotten old enough to start building bubble nests 🙂 he's got one in his favorite coconut hide. All parameters are stable so I added some catappa leaves to turn it back into a blackwater tank. There's hints of the start of a hair algae infestation so I'm lowering the light and adding carbon. I was originally leaving the lights on for a while to let algae grow for the nerites but there's plenty of food for them now. The amanos are getting more bold without the ghost shrimp, so hopefully they start eating more of the algae. Probably will add some more amanos as well. There's approx 15 in there but it's a 15 gallon tank and can hold plenty more. 

- mithrim did not do well after the tank size upgrade. He was constantly hiding, no longer exploring, barely came up for air. I emptied the tank halfway so it's holding only about 2.5-3 gallons and he's back to his old self, out and exploring the whole tank again. Not all bettas do better with bigger tanks- his big fins make it hard for him to get around. I'll keep his water level lower. Was considering adding amanos to his tank too but he attacks shrimp so maybe not. Or maybe I'll add like 3 bigger ones.

- the neocaridina are having a population explosion. Didn't lose any during the nitrate spikes and subsequent water changes, and 2 of 3 berried females have given birth so there's a ton of baby shrimp. The first ones to hatch are gaining colors - pleased to say they're all blue. 

Image of a baby shrimp and mithrim



Edited by Khai.and.co
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Welcome to the forum!

Handsome bettas. I like your eye for the scapes. Your plants are generally transitioning very nicely. Jelly’s are an interesting color morph. I though the shrimp kings ideas about jelly’s were very interesting. 

Making a lot of changes will lead to more headaches. I’m sorry you’re in the midst of all this. Bettas are truly individuals and each have their likes and wants. Mine seems to be a homicidal maniac as snails, shrimp, anything that moves is a target. 

Best advice I can give is make one change at a time, give it time weeks notice days, then see where you’re at. By nature people who get into aquaria are tinkerers and it’s hard for us to step back and let the tanks be. 

Most likely you could slowly over a couple months increase the water level in mithrim’s tank eventually get it to full. You may need to distract him with something as you do it - something to put his energy into- probably something to explore. 

Bacter AE, it’s a blessing and a curse. I remember watching I think it was Mark’s Shrimp Tanks and he said use tiny doses of it - like a pin drop and I’d been chucking in full things of it. Lesson learned. It’s also can form a film on the surface and interferes with gas exchange so I try to shake it in some water or include it in my water change. 

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@Beardedbillygoat1975 thank you! Yep, definitely slowing down with the changes. Good idea about Mithrim's water level- I'll probably slowly implement the increase but if he doesn't like it he can go straight back to the low volume. He was really not doing well in 5g of water :') thankfully both my bettas arent snail killers or I'd be very sad haha. And yeah, i learned real quick that bacterAE is for tiny tiny doses, whoops. Got lucky that I didn't lose anyone during that fiasco.


Quick update, I ended up setting up a second 2 gallon shrimp tank (img attached) yesterday to grow out some amanos so they can go into niernen's 15 gallon later. It was supposed to be a quick and temporary setup but I like how it looks so it's probably gonna end up being a neo cull growout tank and/or a shrimp/fish quarantine as well, whoops.

I also put my biggest amano from Niernen's tank into mithrim's in the hopes that he wouldn't chase a bigger shrimp. Jokes on me though, he still did. Amano went back into the 15 gal. I did get a Malaysian trumpet snail from the LFS for free though so he gets to go live with Mithrim. He can have a snail cleanup crew instead of shrimp.


Edited by Khai.and.co
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