Re-Arranging of Planted Tank’s Layout

This mini revamp might have been overdue for over four months, considering that I didn’t have time or motivation to do much with our aquarium since the arrival of our son Darius (see our Baby of Love blog for more information), except the routine feeding and water change regimes (even the frequency of water change has been reduced).

It was after borrowing several aquarium-related books from the community library recently that got my hyped up about my aquarium hobby again.

Besides getting a Betta to add to our community tank, I would also like to make some re-arrangements to the layout of our main planted tank, since it’s getting a little boring looking at the same layout day in day out.

I sketched a simple layout on how the new layout should look like, noting that some of the bigger plants in the tank should not be moved, since they already had their roots well established at their current locations. Instead, I would focus on shifting the two pieces of existing driftwoods and some smaller plants, while addding on another few pieces of driftwoods to form a hill-like structure on the left portion of the tank.

Some stones would also be added to cover part of the substrate, so the bottom won’t look so dull with its whitish substrate. Previously, I have tried to plant some carpet plants (HC, glosso, hairgrass etc) but none was successful, so the easier alternative will be to place some stones instead.

Knowing what were the items I needed to get, I proceeded down to the LFS in Yishun.

I rummaged through the pile of driftwoods on sale, which were priced according to their weight and size. I finally decided on two long pieces which could be placed side by side vertically to form a hill-like structure. I also purchased a bag of brownish stones and two plants. Our Betta was also bought there.

Bringing all these things home, I started to wash the driftwood thoroughly before placing them as how I’ve sketched out. Though the outcome was not exactly how I had thought it would turn out, I was still quite satisfied with the outlook. Since I didn’t have enough driftwood to fill up the entire 3-feet tank, I filled up the bare portion on the right with plants and stones.

A few days later, I bought some Riccia and HC (not giving up yet!) to add on to our layout and hopefully these will survive well and help beautify the tank. Two new T5 florescene light tubes were also added to replace the two spoilt tubes (they probably have failed quite a while but I didn’t notice).

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"Hill View"

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"Garden View"

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Hemianthus Callitrichoides aka HC

The fishes appear to be liking the new layout too, as they have become more lively and are often seen swimming in the ‘garden’ region. I didn’t expect them to like stones that much.

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Planted Tank Overview

Betta as a Community Fish

Betta splendens, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, are often kept in solitary due to their aggressive nature against other males of their species, and they will fight only till one is dead.

However, not many might have known that Bettas can be kept as a community fish too, and I was one of those ignorant ones, until I came across two books that mentioned about keeping them in a community tank.

Their nature is surprisingly, quite timid and shy when alone, and tend to swim around slowly and gracefully. With this character and their fanciful fins, it makes them an easy target from other fin-nipping inhabitants. So in the end, it may not be the Bettas bullying the other community fishes, but the other way round.

There is not really any fin-nipping fish in our main planted tank, maybe with the exception of our Dwarf Chain Loaches and Siamese Algae Eaters, but even their fin-nipping behaviours are rare. Confident that a Betta will find a comfortable home here, I made up my mind to add one into our community.

Travelling down to a LFS in Yishun, one betta with blue body and red fins caught my eyes and I promptly bought it at S$7.00. I didn’t really know about the market price, but thought it didn’t really matter since we will only be getting one Betta afterall.

Bringing him home and putting him into our planted tank, he acted very timid and shy indeed at first, always hiding in the corners at the back. We thought this was his characteristic so didn’t expect anything more than that. Despite it hiding in the back, it was always a beautiful sight to spot him swimming gracefully with his beautiful fins. My wife Catherine named him ‘Moody’ after seeing him always lurking behind in the corners, seemingly sulking. ^^|

I had bought a small bottle of Betta food, and started to feed him by pouring a few bits of food on my palm before dropping a few pieces down in front of him with the other hand each time. Surprisingly, he did not feel threatened by my approaching fingers and remained at where he was.

When the food was dropped in front of him, he observed them a bit before swallowing them up, one piece at a time. He does not eat as quickly as the other fishes in the tank, as he will always leave a short time interval of about one second before he will eat the next food piece.

On the second and third days, he slowly gained confidence of the security of his new surroundings, and started swimming around more, exploring the tank. He will even mingle with the other fishes during meal times, as they swim around peacefully:

Since Moody has only been here for a few days, it’s still too early to tell if this peacefulness will last, but I’m quite confident it will.

In my opinion, Bettas shouldn’t be kept in small containers such as jars, since they should be given the rights like all other fishes to live in a comfortable, bearable place. They should at least be kept in a slightly bigger container such as a small tank, equipped with proper filtration or at least regular water change. It pains me to see them celled up in small plastic bags or jars in the LFSes.

Anyway, Moody is really interesting to watch, especially after our new layout, with a small hill formed at the rear left of the tank made up of two big pieces of driftwood, which he has made it his home by hanging out there most of the time.