03-20-2011, 07:52 PM
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I think someone with more experience with natural tanks needs to answer the post above. My recommendation, particularly with no filter, is to increase any tank biomass, really, really, slowly. What size tank? Aqadvisor is helpful, but you still need to crank in some interpretation.
Most male bettas will respond very strongly to color, not necessarily the size of the fish, so I'm betting the neons won't work well long-term.
If you trim your Val, it will likely encourage the plant to spread a little more rapidly. Putting the light toward the front of the tank will encourage the plants to bias their growth in that direction. If front-back depth in your tank is small, you may not even notice.