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I just started looking again at clip on light prices....... most of are $80 馃槄馃槄馃槱
Not sure exactly what your experimental setup looks like...did you settle on a bowl/tank to use?

But for my new bowl experiment I bought a $10 lamp from Target and just put a bog standard LED bulb (same ones I use for all my house lights) in it and...well everything seems to be growing fine lol. Eventually I want to swap it out for a cooler color bulb because I believe that range of light is better for the plants. But I've not been too motivated to do so since everything is working out fine for now. So especially for a smaller setup I think you can get away with a lot less than $80 for lighting.
 

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What wattage do you use? I know Dianna talked about cool white LED bulbs working well, i just always look immediatly look at actual aquarium lights.
6.5W looks like. I didn't check before using it though.

Plants are growing fine, especially the floaters. But I'd like to get a cooler bulb at some point just to improve the aesthetic...everything looks a bit yellow with this bulb.
 

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See, I always thought yellow=warm=fuller color spectrum. But, I have no science to back that up. And, you're right, it's really easy to swap out bulbs, if you don't think a particular one is doing the trick, especially for a 3-5 gallon bowl.
I think scientifically, full-spectrum light is white...all the colors mixed together makes white...or so I recall from my 8th grade science class. I know our sun is actually more on the yellow side, hence why indoor lighting tends to be warmer - because humans are more comfortable with light that matches our sun.

I can never remember what spectrum plants like. I think they ideally want more red+blue light maybe? But also, most of the plants we grow in NPTs are adapted to low-light scenarios and aren't super picky about what they'll take.
 

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First of all, so sorry for your losses PlentyCoup. Sounds like a rough couple of months. I imagine it's difficult getting back into the swing of aquarium upkeep after all that. Sometimes it can be a nice escape though, our own little world apart from everything that we get to care for and enjoy.

Two suggestions:

1) Do not add anymore driftwood.
2) Stop trying to "keep the cycle going". All you're doing is encouraging more bacterial growth. Your plants haven't budged in four months, in part, I suspect, because they are in constant competition with beneficial bacterial growth. But, did we ever get an answer to Diana's question about your water's hardness?
I agree with the driftwood, but not so sure about stopping feeding. Obviously don't be dumping too much food in, but I think continuing some nutrient supplementation would be beneficial to the plants. Not sure how much the beneficial bacteria could be out-competing the plants - it seems like plants have a much higher capacity to absorb nitrogen so if anything it would be the other way around? But either way, if the bacteria was taking nutrients from the plants, I would think they would want to add more nutrients to the tank, not less.

Looking at your plant selection, you have a lot of crypts which are slow growers. The big ones in the back have grown quite a bit in the last couple months! But maybe you need some more fast-growers to keep up. Perhaps some dwarf sag in the front of the tank?
 

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That's not my understanding. Diana states pretty clearly that plants and nitrifying bacteria compete for nutrients and for ammonia/ammonium in particular (p.111, EPA.) Plants can use nitrates as a secondary source of protein, if no ammonia is left for them to absorb. But,it is a less efficient process for them than straight ammonia absorption because it involves converting the nitrates back into ammonia, thus losing as much as 50% of their photosynthesis efficiency. This, I believe, is her main rationale for including as many rapidly growing plants as possible as early as possible in a Walstad tank because once the beneficial bacteria get going, the more dependent the plants become on nitrates.
I thought the reason we include so many fast growers off the bat was because fresh soil is so hot, and releases a lot of nutrients into the water? As for bacteria, I'm just thinking of a traditional tank where to get any kind of biological filtration you need filters, lots of water flow, biomedia, etc. It seems like in a tank without that bacteria would do....something. But I suspect if you took all the plants out of an established tank (where the bacteria is established) it would still crash and grow a ton of algae due to too many nutrients.

In an established tank we end up with no ammonia and no nitrites, and usually a few nitrates. My understanding was that this is because the plants readily take up the ammonia but not so readily the nitrates, hence some leftover. I could certainly be wrong, but I've treated my NPTs as basically having negligible impact from bacteria. Maybe Diana can weigh in here?

How many Ember Tetras could i safely have? I know they like to be in groups but have actually never owned tetras before.
Your tank is 2.5 gallons right? I think a group of schooling fish like tetras should probably be kept in at least a group of 5 or 6...which is probably a pretty high load for that tank. I would not add a beta on top of that. I had a beta in a 6.5 gallon with 7 rasbora espei (slightly larger than ember tetras, but still small) and they did not do too well together. They didn't fight or anything, but were stressed I think at being in a small space together. Next time I would keep the beta alone. As is, I'm planning on moving the rasboras to a 20g once it's set up.
 

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It could be a problem with your betta's swim bladder. A common cause is constipation from overfeeding. It's a tricky thing to balance in a Walstad, because you want to feed a lot to add nutrients back to the tank but the betta will try to eat EVERYTHING you put in xD

I ended up using a sinking pellet with my betta to add additional food. Feed a few betta pellets, then add a sinking one that he can't get.
 

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Iron Deficiency Week 2
So I have decided not to dose micros this week. The plants are looking good so i am earing on the side of caution. I am having a bit of algae on the walls and am also trying to account for still not having a betta in the tank. Totally reliant on the ember tetras right now.
Waiting to hear back from Frank with photos of the currant betta splendens and the spade tail. Also asked for some photos of the alien steel grey.
Frank's bettas look so great! I really was considering getting one of his a while back, but decided not because of all the shipping hassle. Let us know how it goes if you decide to!

So sorry to hear about Golden Boy. The grief from losing a fish is something I find a lot of people "IRL" don't really understand. But they're our pets, so it always hurts.
 

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If you're not opposed, take a look at some of his wild varieties as well. Mahachai and Imbellis in particular have very similar care to splendens and should do great in a Walstad-style aquarium. And they're beautiful!

This is one of his Imbellis:
Fin Organism Underwater Fish Marine biology
 

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I鈥檇 love to hear what you decide and how the shipping process goes for you either way. And I doubt he cares about sending you more photos, I鈥檓 sure that鈥檚 very normal.
 

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Well ive asked for photos of the imbellis and reveived confirmation that the two pictured above are the yellow splenden spadetails. I not if either really pictured above is really what i want so..... If i only those 2 to pick one I think i would choose the lighter one with only the spots of red on the fins.
Thoughts on anyone one elses choice would be appreciated. Hopefully ill have more choices to post soon.
I'd say if you aren't totally happy with the ones pictured, try to get pics of others or wait until he has some that you like. This is a fairly big financial investment and a pet you will hopefully have for quite some time. Have patience and get one you'll really enjoy.
 

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Frank is part of the reason I got back into aquariums a few years back. His bettas are absolutely stunning! If you want to see some impressive and happy looking fish, take a look at his website.

This thread is making me want another beta. But I want to use my 6g for breeding shrimp! Agh, which to pick....
 

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Remember not to drip-acclimate a shipped fish! When you open the bag, the oxygen will start converting nitrogen stored in the bag to ammonia (I don't fully understand the process so if someone could elaborate that would be great, but this is what I've heard). So it's better to temperature acclimate with the bag closed and then transfer over right away.

The coloration in the bag may be medication or some chemicals to make shipping easier? Just speculation.
 
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