Concrete Betta sorority decoration? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-09-2012, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Concrete Betta sorority decoration?

So, i am going to get a betta sorority sometime soon, i have a cycling 29 gallon right now, but i need some good places for them to hide!

I bought a big 80 pound bag of concrete because it was just so damned cheap, and 10x more in there for 5x less the price of the little tubs, so, what i still need are Styrofoam blocks i may have to deal with walls though, and not blocks.

What i plan on making is a three tier corner decoration piece, on each tiers it will have a sort of "plant pot" for live plants, and behind the plants will be a cave for the fish (but if i use walls, not cubes, then it wont be a cave, but a door into a hollow room...

and after i build it, and smother it in concrete, i dont want to paint it, but instead cover it in the gravel i use for the tank, so it matches nicely.

my questions are:

will the plants do well in a small "pot"? i'm talking like, 3 inches each. the plants i think will be Anubius Plants.

How well will the gravel stick onto the cement? will they ever pop right out? should i mix the gravel in with the cement for the last layer of cement?

After letting the cement set for 24 hours, i will put it in the empty 29gallon, and do a waterchange while watching the PH levels, is there anything else i am missing here?

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post #2 of 9 Old 01-10-2012, 03:02 AM
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Be sure you know what your cement is made out of. Some materials will definitely affect your water parameters, like lime. You might want to monitor for longer than 24 hours if your water has a high buffering capacity.

From the few times I've used it in the past the quality of the material and degree of wetness influenced how well it adhered to other objects, like your gravel. It does cling pretty well to the things it comes in contact with. Mixing the gravel into a small amount like you suggested would ensure that it sticks, though may be unnecessary if your gravel is small enough. It will also depend on how deeply the gravel is pressed into the cement to whether it will fall out.

Anubias will not do well planted in a pot where the rhizome is buried. Eventually it will rot, and you'll have a mess of decaying plant to deal with.

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post #3 of 9 Old 01-10-2012, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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oh shoot! the roots are not supposed to be buried 0.o?! i have one but i knew nothing about the roots, i assumes they needed to be buried in the substrate! what AM i supposed to do?!
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-10-2012, 12:24 PM
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Anubias and Java Fern both need to have the rhizome, that dark clump of plant and root at the base of the leaves, exposed. You tie it to a rock or piece of wood with a string. Eventually the roots will move out and wrap around the object.

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post #5 of 9 Old 01-10-2012, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, well, time to go and dig them up, xD thank you! anyways, back to the concrete decorations, Will OTHER plants that need to be rooted in work will in little pots? or do the roots need to spread far and wide?
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-10-2012, 12:42 PM
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It really just depends on the type of plant. Swords tend to need to develop a substantial root system, though a dwarf sword might work. I know of plenty of people that just take the little pot a plant is sold in and bury that in their gravel, so I'm sure that some species of plant would be fine. The big thing you'll want to watch for is how tall a plant gets since they will already be elevated in your tank. You may be doing a lot of pruning.

If you had your heart set on the Anubias, you could always remove the substrate from the pot and put the plant in the hole tethered to a rock.

I've got a variety of alternanthera in my tank, and those probably would have done well potted. They are harder to satisfy with light and nutrition, but they do have very pretty leaves. Ludwigia is another plant that might look nice and grow decently in your decoration as long as you fertilize the water.

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post #7 of 9 Old 01-10-2012, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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basicaly all i am looking for are some good plants to help hide the fish, (the plants make the "doors" to caves. but are not too much of a burden for them to get into the caves) and at the top, some that the bettas will like sleeping on
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-10-2012, 01:05 PM
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A nice leafy plant would be good then. Both the ones I mentioned have a stem with leaves extending. A dwarf sword may be something you want to look at, though I've had a hard time finding them anywhere but online. There are a ton of plants available though, and I would check the stickies about plants in freshwater aquariums for some more suggestions. This thread may be of interest because you are not wanting the plants to grow out of hand in that space:

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post #9 of 9 Old 01-10-2012, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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huh, alright, thanks for all the help! i'll check it out :)
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