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I got my hands on a Marineland Portrait 5 Gallon Aquarium on sale! It's an all-glass, rimless aquarium. I did NOT like the base that came with it (what were they thinking?!?), so I put it on a piece of thick rubber mat. I decided to do a betta tank out of it.

I followed Cory's advice from a video he posted to YouTube and set aside the media that came with it and hotrodded it out. Seeded it with well-cycled media (sponge and bio-balls) plus a base layer of substrate from an old setup underneath some Peace River gravel I had left over from my other recent scapes.

I'm not quite sure the light that came with the tank will be bright enough, but I used plants that are SUPPOSED to do well in low light setups, so we'll see how that goes. Since bettas prefer lower light tanks, it should work well in that way at least. My other tanks are unheated (we keep our house warm enough year-round that even at night in winter, I'm finding they don't drop below 74 degrees F), but I put a heater in this one to keep it a bit warmer for the betta. Don't want him getting cold.

The hardscape is locally sourced rocks that I tested for safety, and bits of small driftwood (that's already growing a layer of biofilm slime).

Plants are:

  • 2 bunches of Ludwigia repens
  • 2 bunches of Hygrophila siamensis 53B (tissue culture, so it's VERY short right now, but already growing just since I put it in 2 days ago!)
  • 1 Anubias nana petite (itty bitty baby one that split off when I was working with one going into one of the other tanks)
  • 1 Bucephalandra wavy green
  • 1 Cryptocoryne parva
  • 2 Crypocoryne tropica
  • Red Root Floater (1 section)

The Ludwigia is readily visible, as is the Bucephalandra and the Crypt parva, and the nana petite is in the foreground to the left, but the others are small enough that they're currently hiding in the hardscape for the moment. No doubt that will change soon, especially with regards to the Hygro. One image is shot from the front. The other shows the tank from one end to show the placement of the plants that are behind the rocks and in amongst the wood. The Ludwigia is still in the weights and all that they came in. I want to see how it'll do under the light in this tank before I tuck it individual stems into the gravel. The third photo shows the itty bitty baby nana petite. I have no idea if one that tiny can survive and grow, but we'll see. I love trying out different things and seeing how they do.

I put a ramshorn snail in there today. That will be the only inhabitant of this tank other than the betta. The betta is part of a fish order I'm expecting later this week. Looking forward to receiving him and getting him situated.

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Looking good. I'm a fan of the 5 gal portrait tanks, I have two. I like how you can customize the filter compartment, though on my snail tank, the pump gets clogged with baby snails. I'm thinking of just making it an area for pothos roots. Anyways, can't wait to see yours all grown in!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Aragorn is still thriving! I bought a betta log from AC for him, and he loved that right off the bat. Plants are doing well, signs of new growth. The ludwigia's lower leaves melted off, but there's new growth coming in on the top, so I'll be trimming the tops off and removing the bottoms very soon. I just keep removing the leaves that detach. The teeny tiny Anubias petite I decided to try in there is actually getting new leaves! I wasn't sure it would work, because it was SO tiny and had minimal roots, almost no rhizome, and only a couple of barely there leaves. Need to get new photos soon to post.

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Oh, the filter - almost forgot. The output and intake were too strong, even WITH the pump turned down as low as it would go. Aragorn was NOT happy with that. So I put a piece of 1/2" thick coarse sponge over the output - which is held in place by the cover since I made it long enough to stick into the filter compartment. It's just laying on top of the output, which I flipped upside down so the water flows upwards instead of downward. That took care of that part. I put a piece of the same type of sponge over the lower filter intake, which seemed to have stronger flow than the "overlow" intake at the top. That sponge is held in place by suction and part of the driftwood. No more issues since then. Aragorn has been happy since I made those modifications.

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