Monte Carlo Low Tech (No CO2 Carpet Plant)

Monte Carlo plant from Argentina is often said to be the easiest carpeting plant and does not require CO2.

We try it in our low tech tank beside our Ludwigia Sp. Red (2 months old and still alive).

We also cover Monte Carlo plant care tips, guide, and how to plant Monte Carlo.

Basic care tips:

– Moderate or high light recommended
– Nutritious substrate needed
– Fertilization recommended (For example Tropica Fertilizer)
– Trimming required (ideal thickness of Monte Carlo carpet is 1 to 1.5 inches)


Micranthemum Monte Carlo New Large Pearl Grass Live Aquatic Plant in Tissue Culture Cup for Aquarium Freshwater Fish Tank by Greenpro


The above video is Day 1 (21 July 2020) of planting Monte Carlo. Hopefully it will survive and carpet in the low tech tank, without CO2!

Monte Carlo (Day 2) in low tech tank. I pushed some of the Monte Carlo plants deeper into the soil using tweezers. The bright green color of MC (Monte Carlo) is really striking.

Monte Carlo Carpet Without CO2 (Day 7 Update)

Day 7: Noticeable improvement in the Monte Carlo carpet in my low tech, no CO2 tank! I do have a mini “time lapse” photo of the Monte Carlo before and after, the difference is quite noticeable. The Monte Carlo has “rooted” itself deeper into the substrate. Hopefully it continues to improve and spread out even more.

Monte Carlo Low Tech No CO2 (Day 7 Update). Compared with Day 1 or 2, it has rooted itself deeper into the substrate!

Day 13: Monte carlo time lapse (Day 13 Photo Time Lapse), Turning a little brown!

Monte Carlo low tech time lapse (photo montage), up till day 13. Growth is noticeable, but yet there is some yellowing and browning. I think the Monte Carlo is still adapting, and possibly transitioning from emersed to submersed. I just heard that another plant, Marsilea hirsuta, may be even easier than Monte Carlo to grow. Tropica rates the Marsilea hirsuta as easy, while Monte Carlo is rated medium. Maybe will try it if the Monte Carlo melts and dies.

Monte Carlo low tech no CO2 Day 13 update. Some browning and yellowing is observed!

How much to feed betta?

“How much to feed betta” or “how much to feed a betta fish” is a question that has puzzled me for a long time. I did not find any definitive answer online. I believe the rule “feed the size of the fish’s eyeball” leads to underfeeding, based on my experience. Also, it does not quite make sense to me that “a fish’s stomach is the size of its eyeball”, which is another commonly quoted guideline.

Hence, I create my own modified rule:

#1) Feed twice the size of the fish’s eyeball (eyeball includes the entire “sphere”, not just the exposed part).

#2) Adjust accordingly based on the size of the fish’s stomach. A healthy betta should have a round belly (especially after feeding) and a streamlined look at the same time. This is a bit subjective and requires experience of looking at hundreds of betta photos online to get a sense of what is a normal betta shape.

Following the above rule, I am currently feeding 3 to 4 pellets of Hikari Betta Bio-gold daily. That is a Hikari fish food specially formulated for bettas. Betta are carnivorous and require more protein.

How much do you feed your betta? Do you think I am underfeeding or overfeeding? Please comment below!

Eheim Air Pump 200 Review

Recently upgraded my air pump to the Eheim Air Pump 200, with dual output. My previous air pump was not strong enough to power 2 sponge filters simultaneously.

This Eheim Air Pump is very strong. In fact, it is almost too strong, I had to lower to the lowest setting for my 2 gallon nano tank. For the 5 gallon tank, I select the medium setting, and angle the output towards the wall. The sponge filter output was made to be above the water level (there is less turbulence this way).

Overall, this air pump is very good and quiet. Do expect some noise though, it is not totally silent. I would say it has the same noise level as a fan, which is totally acceptable. Also, I find that the 2 adjustable valves are not totally independent, when I adjust one valve it will affect the other output as well.

Review: The Eheim Air Pump is a highly recommended air pump for fish keepers with 2 aquariums.

The Eheim 200 Air Pump is also labelled as Eheim PHL207184. There is a more powerful Eheim 400 (twice the output), but based on my review most aquariums under 50 gallons should not require such a powerful pump (maybe 50 gallons and above may need it).

Eheim PHL207184, 4.00 x 6.00 x 4.00 inches, Black

Nano Fish Species [35 fish/aquatic creatures below 9 cm!]

Fish Max Length (cm)
Dwarf gourami 8.8
Black skirt tetra 7.5
Betta splendens 7
Honey gourami 7
Amano shrimp 6
Guppy (female) 6
Panda corydoras 5.5
Otocinclus 5.5
Cardinal tetra 5
Harlequin rasbora 5
Serpae tetra 5
Rummy-nose tetra 5
Zebra danio 5
Mexican dwarf crayfish 5
Cherry barb 5
Endler’s livebearer (female) 4.5
Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) 4
White Cloud minnow 4
Sparkling gourami 4
Hara jerdoni 4
Neon tetra 3.5
Guppy (male) 3.5
Green neon tetra 3.5
Clown killi 3.5
Pea pufferfish 3.5
Assassin snail 3.5
Dwarf corydoras 3.5
Pygmy corydoras 3.2
Lambchop rasbora 3
Pseudomugil gertrudae 3
Horned Nerite Snail 2.5
Endler’s livebearer (male) 2.5
Celestial pearl danio 2.5
Chili rasbora 2
Phoenix rasbora 2

Credits: All images are from Wikipedia (and/or my personal collection of fish), unless otherwise specified.

Shrimp Videos

I find that shrimp are just as interesting as fish to keep in an aquarium. Shrimp are very good at tidying/cleaning up the aquarium; it is a great idea to keep some shrimp whenever possible.

The easiest shrimp to keep are cherry shrimp (and its color variants), and also the Amano shrimp. The biggest cause of shrimp deaths is due to molting problems. Below are some videos of the shrimp I have personally kept.

Easy to keep shrimp: Amano shrimp, cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi).

More difficult shrimp: Bamboo shrimp (aka Wood shrimp), Bee shrimp (I have not tried these yet), Sulawesi Shrimp (not tried yet either).

Anubias Rhizome tied too tight

Anubias tied too tightly

I think one of my Anubias rhizomes died (rotted) due to it being tied too tightly. The Anubias rhizome is supposed to be hard and green, if it is soft or brown, something is wrong.

For Anubias, the rhizome is the most important part of the plant, if it is dead, the whole plant will die.

Another reason for the Anubias rhizome rotting is the dreaded Anubias disease, but I don’t think it is the case here because another rhizome just next to the rotted rhizome is perfectly healthy.

Hence, the conclusion is that the Anubias rhizome most likely died from being tied too tightly by the string. It was at the back of my tank so I didn’t really notice it at first. I only noticed it when I saw a new leaf sprout out from the rotting rhizome, but the new leaf melted soon after. Usually, when new leaves melt, it is a sign of something wrong. Upon taking the entire Anubias plant out, I then realized that the rhizome had turned mushy.

The original Anubias was tied (by the seller) with thick string. I don’t really blame them for tying too tight because it is not easy at all to tie Anubias (too loose and it will not stay in place). I cut off the old string, threw away the rotted rhizome, and re-tied the healthy Anubias lightly with sewing thread.

Probably the same problem can occur for Java Fern, Bucephalandra, the rhizome may rot if tied too tightly.