Making your fish ‘feel at home’

So it’s been a while since my last post here and I thought of writing this post because I have started this ‘Iwagumi’ setup in a nano ~3-gallon tank. But the post isn’t about it. As most of y’all would know an ‘Iwagumi’ setup is like an ‘underwater garden’ with hills valleys etc. And all of these setups have almost NO hiding places or cover from the bright lights. Almost all fish in their natural habitats have a messy home, and they LOVE THAT. Fish like to hide, they need cover, they need to feel secure. Most fish used in Iwagumi setups are tetras, rasboras etc. and these fish come from darker waters with lots of shade etc.

So I wanted to share another setup of mine which I really love. Its new and has developed so fast to this amazing habitat.

This is my Blackwater setup for 10 Boraras Maculatus.

Tank: 10 Gallon
Hardscape: Driftwood Branches, Indian Almond Leaves

FloraCeratopteris thalictroides (floating)

Fauna: 10 Boraras Maculatus

The water is stained a dark tea color, with the tannins from the Indian Almond Leaves.

These fish seem really really happy, the tank seems empty but confident that they really feel at home. The fish have bred and I have spotted fry in the tank which is just amazing. Here’s a picture of one below, believe me its very difficult to capture them on camera with such low lighting.

Now every fish that you keep might not breed, but getting the setup to mimic nature as much as you can is something I feel we as hobbyists ought to do. Sure Iwagumi tank look awesome, but in my opinion I don’t think they’re ideal for any fish. So when you’re setting up a tank, think about what your fish needs. Also most ‘biotope’ natural setups are fairly cheap too. Don’t overstock, keep the fish in the right numbers, conditions etc. and you’re gonna really love the results!

Do post comments if any or share pictures of your setups. and until next time

Happy Fish-keeping!

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How To: Simple and Easy Nature Nano Aquarium

In this post, I’m gonna share with you some tips about setting up a simple yet beautiful Nano Aquarium.

I keep a lot of fish, and almost all the tanks have live plants and this is mainly because nothing can look better than what nature has made. Well, that and because artificial plants are just.. you know what I mean.

So I recently set up a Nano Tank for my ‘Plakat Betta’ fish and I wanted to keep it simple. I didn’t want to spend a lot on lighting and other things. So here’s what I did.

Sorry for the picture quality and ignore the CO2 drop checker to the left I took it out later.
Before anyone says it, YES it does have a filter.
So to keep things simple I used simple sand for the substrate. As for the plants, I have a low tech setup, So I used Java fern. Java fern has great colour and it’s just impossible to kill. Small Piece of driftwood and voila!Tie your java fern to the driftwood or maybe some rocks, and you’re done. It’s simple, easy, looks really good and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Other plants that you can use with low light are ‘Anubias, Amazon Swords, Java Moss, and Some Valisnera Sp. etc.

Do share this post and if you have any questions leave them in the comments below!

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Setting Up a Blackwater Aquarium

The Original Habitat of most fish from South America include stagnant waters, where the pH is low, water is tea coloured, and there is a lot of leaf litter including tree branches etc. and hardly any plants. Fish from such habitats include various types of tetras, dwarf cichlids like Apistogramma Sp., Angelfish, Discus Fish etc.  
I recently set up a blackwater aquarium for my Apistogramma Agassizii, and I’ll give you some details as to how you all can do it.
Substrate: You need clear sand, or fine gravel for the substrate, it works best to have sand. Chose a whitish or brownish shade for your substrate. You don’t really have to get it really thick as there won’t be any plants.
Hardscape: For the hardscape of the tank, use dried branches of trees, twigs, etc. and make sure you have treated the wood properly by boiling/soaking in water. 
Leaf Litter: Leaf litter is an important part of a Blackwater setup. People use Maple Leaves, after boiling. I have used Indian Almond Leaves, after boiling. Indian Almond Leaves give out tannins which stain the water to a ‘yellow-brown tea colour’ Add them to the base and between the wood. 
Water Colour: pH and Colour are the Hallmarks of a Blackwater Aquarium. It can both be achieved either by Peat, or the Leaves and wood OR a ready-made Blackwater Extract. 
People add Peat to the filter so that the water is stained and the pH is lowered to slightly acidic. Indian Almond Leaves stain water over time, or you can always add home-made Indian Almond Leaf Extract, which would stain the water. Wood over time releases tannins that again stain the water. 
If all this sounds too much to keep up with you can always use a ready-made ‘Blackwater Extract’. Do read the instructions properly for the dosage. 
Whatever it is if you already have fish in the aquarium make sure you do not change your pH too fast. Take it slow.  
Lighting: Aim for subdued lighting, use spotlights, and avoid very bright lights.PlantsIt’s not necessary to add plants, but you can always add floating plants. This will give the tank a cover from the light. If you do want to add some plants, try some low light plants, like Amazon Swords etc. though I wouldn’t recommend it.

You should have a set up that looks similar to this. Colour intensity can vary, and hardscape design is up to your creativity.

If you have any questions, or if you have anything to share about your aquariums, do leave a comment, and don’t forget to share this post.


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Taking Care of Betta Fish Fins

Betta fish, Siamese fighting fish or Fighter fish as its called in India are really really beautiful fish. They have magnificent colors on their long flowy fins which come in so many varieties.

Whether your Betta is a half-moon, full moon, delta tail, double tail or a veil tail, taking care that their fins stay in great shape is really important. There are many things that can go wrong and lead to fin deterioration if you don’t pay much attention. Knowing the causes of fin deterioration can help you take better care of your Betta. A proper healthy Betta fish with flawless fins looks like this

Here are some causes of fin deterioration:

– Ammonia Burns
– Fin Nipping
– Fin rot
– Tail Biting
– Aquarium Decorations

Ragged ends of fins are signs of fin deterioration:

Ammonia Burns: Ammonia is one of the products of fish waste in the water. High levels of ammonia can cause the delicate ends of the Betta fins to burn. Safe levels of ammonia for any fish is 0 ppm. When ammonia levels rise, they can cause ammonia burns. High levels of ammonia can lower the immunity of any fish making them susceptible to infections etc.
Solution: Keep a check on water parameters. If possible get an Ammonia Test kit, test your water. Make sure your tank is cycled. If you notice any ragged fins cause due to ammonia, make sure you do enough water changes to keep ammonia at 0 ppm. Add dried Indian Almond leaf to the water, it helps in regrowth and keeping infections away.

Fin Nipping: If your Betta fish has tank mates like tetras (neons, cardinals etc.) there’s a possibility that these fish may nip on the Betta’s fins. It’s better to not have such fish as tank mates with a Betta. Also dried Indian Almond Leaf to help with healing.

Fin rot: Fin rot is an infection caused by bacteria. In conditions where your Betta is stressed or has lowered immunity, fin rot can affect your betta. Fin rot causes frayed, ripped fins. There maybe red/pink tips, black ends, tethered fins etc

 Fin rot can be treated with or without medication. Without medication, you’d have to make sure your Betta is good quality water (water parameters in check) by doing water changes, the temperature in check, and a good diet. Again dried Indian Almond Leaf can surely help. Some aquarists add aquarium salt to the water.
Medication can include Methylene Blue baths.

Tail Biting: Betta fish can bite on their own tail when stressed or bored. This can happen if the filter has a strong current, not enough decor/hiding places etc
Solution: Setting up an aquarium which your betta would love to explore is the key. Also get a filter that doesn’t have a strong current.

Aquarium Decorations: Sharp objects, Plastic plants, etc can lead to tears in your Betta’s fins. Make sure you have silk plants that are soft or Live Plants which are better any day over artificial ones.

So if you see any fin deterioration go through all possible causes and try and fix it before there’s more damage. If you have any questions you can always ask me in the comments. And make sure you share this post!

Happy Fish keeping!

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