is a small, very simple tank that I made for Labyrinth fishes. Betta
splendens was my first fresh-water love and still remains my
favourite fish! I was very fascinating by their unique biology and I
tried (with great success and satisfaction) to reproduce them,
discovering, day after day, that Betta males (which a lot of people
still think to be aggressive and merciless) are actually very caring
fathers and shy creatures.
I start planning this tank in August. It was so hot, during this
summer, and there were so many mosquitoes in the country were I
live, that I started to think how terrible it must be to live close
to a lake. During these days, a good friend of mine was leaving for
vacations in Indonesia. He's another Labyrinths lover and he was
telling me that he couldn't wait to see the famous terraces of paddy
fields and the animals that live in this peculiar habitat. Since I
can't take a vacation, I decided to build my own paddy (if Mohammed
can't go to the paddy, the paddy goes to Mohammed)!
But, as usually, right after the decision, I encountered a problem:
there was no way to find rice plants! I tried to plant the cooking
rice, but, of course, nothing grew! I was almost declaring my
defeat, when, few weeks ago, while dusting my shop, I noticed that
in the plastic plants display, there was a type of plant unsold. It
was the ugliest and the fakest plastic plant in the whole
universe... And it was a perfect reproduction of a rice plant!
So, as you can see from the pictures, I used it in the background,
putting some Vallisneria spiralis, Cryptocoryne and few stems of
Rotala wallichii in the first row, to give the feeling of a rice
paddy assaulted by infesting plants. The result is exactly the one I
was looking for! Right after I finished it I found an old picture
and I was surprised to see that this tank was unbelievably similar
to the first Betta's aquarium I made years ago! You can surely
understand the surprising feeling I get by watching it every day,
which actually remains the same, a long-time amazement for this
: 50 X 26 X 35 cm.
Temperature : 26° C.
Lights : 1 neon 15 Watt 10.000° Kelvin, 1 neon 14 watt
6.500° (greenish colour).
Mechanical parts: 2 compact filters 30 lt/h., 1 with
sponge and 1 with only ceramic cylinders for bacteria.
Plants: artificial, plus Vallisneria spiralis, Lilaeopsis
novazelandiae, Cryptocoryne wendtii var. Red, Cryptocoryne parva,
Cryptocoryne lutea, Rotala wallichii, Vesicularia dubyana.
Animals : Betta splendens, Caridina japonica.
Chemistry : KH=0, pH=6.0 GH=0, NO2=0, NO3=0.
Water change: just adding pure RO water to replace
water lost by evaporation.
This is the best
environment for Labyrinth fishes (as you can see from the pictures,
the fish feels protected, breathing at the surface, surrounded by
plants); only half tank filled with water and a lot of entangled
plants. I'm still looking for Riccia fluitans, which is not very
easy to find in Italy but that is the perfect plant for this fish.
And, while talking about Bettas, I have to admit that this fish must
be pretty intelligent... This particular tank is positioned right on
the counter of my shop, close to the computer station I'm working on
this moment, and, believe it or not, the male Betta (which I saved
from definite death from a client's goldfish bowl) stares at me for
hours and hours... I wonder what he is thinking about !
page for more photos of this tank.