Creating Depth in an AquaScape - Simple Tips

When it comes to picking an aquarium background to go with your substrate here's what I recommend.
If you choose a dark background like black, you'll generally want your substrate to be light in color in order to create a sense of depth in your aquarium.
So that also means, if you have a light colored background or perhaps no background with natural light coming through you'll probably want to go with a darker substrate such as black.
For those of you that perhaps have a dark background and dark substrate you'll want to add in tank decor that's light in color, like a lot of lush green plants for instance.
So if you perhaps have a light background and substrate you'll want your decor to be darker/deeper in color.
Black is great for making decor/plants appear fuller than they are by creating a shadowing affect under decor/plants. That being said if you have a light colored substrate and want to add depth you could always use dark colored stones around the areas you want to add more depth to. Or if you have dark substate use light colored stones/pebbles/etc in the areas you want to highlight.


Guppy Origins and Environment

Guppies are native to areas around the northeast side of South America. Which include Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Brazil, Guyana, Netherlands Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Venezuela. To better re-create a guppies biotope in an aquarium, you'll probably want to research the Amazon River and Rainforest areas.

You'll find such plants like Amazon Swords at your local petstore that are obviously native to the Amazon. Other native plants are Sagittaria, Ludwiga, Syngonium, Myriophyllum, Caladium, Orchid, Giant Water Lillies, AnthuriumBromeliad and Cabomba to name a few. Other South American fish you may come across locally are certain cichlids, discuss, angelfish, rams, cory's, oscars, tetras, barbs, gouramis, and killifish. Your best bet to re-creating that rainforest feel in your aquarium is to also check the reptile isle at your local petstore as they have lots of rainforest/jungle inspired decor which you may be able to use in your aquarium.
Keep in mind that South America consists of (3) major water types...whitewater, clearwater (blue water), and blackwater.

(1) Whitewater rivers pick up large amounts of sediment from the Andes giving the water a muddy-brown color. Whitewater receives its name from the white foam of the rapids of the upper regions. Whitewater rivers lack abundant plant life. Most aquarium species are found in quiet, backwater areas like oxbow lakes. The water properties of whitewater rivers are a pH from 6.8-7.1 and a dH of 3-5. The best example of a whitewater river is the Amazon River.

(2) Clear or blue water rivers are tributaries which flow through ancient Brazilian and Guyana rock beds where little sediment is released into the rivers. The water of these rivers is very clear and allows plant growth. Clearwater rivers have a pH of 6.9-7.5 and a water hardness of 5-12 dH. The Rio Xingu and the Rio Tocantins are such rivers.

(3) Blackwater rivers are nutrient poor and tea or black in color from the tanic acid released from decaying vegetation. Blackwater has been compared to distilled water due to its lack of dissolved minerals. Blackwater rivers are acidic and have a pH of 6.0 with little measurable water hardness (0 dH). The Rio Negro is the most famous of the blackwater rivers.


Betta Eating Behavior

Recently I've noticed that Mr. Moto (my blue veil-tail Betta) hasn't been eating the way he use to. His Cubus tank is also getting dirtier than normal lately as the flake food is gradually building along the gravel. So, I moved Mr. Moto into a clean MiniBow 2.5gal tank to monitor the issue. I saw that he'll eat a flake and a few seconds later spit it out. Some of the food is apparently breaking down in his mouth and going out through his gills, thus causing a cloud of flake food particles to come out.

I did some research where a few others stated having the same issue and I'm not convinced that this is normal behavior. Mr. Moto also seems to rest more on the bottom of the tank which also isn't like him as he usually rests on top of his plants. He is still occasionally active throughout the day, no signs of illness or fungus and he still attempts to eat.

So here's what I did which seems to have stopped the issue...

Step 1: Do a complete tank cleaning.
Step 2: Do not feed the fish for an entire day (24hrs).
Step 3: The next day only feed the Betta 4 big flakes (about 1 cm diameter) throughout the entire day. You should not see any food coming out through his gills.
Step 4: Only feed the Betta once a day (try to do this the same time every day), a very small pinch of food from here on out.

Keep in mind that Betta's love to eat, but you should never overfeed it. Although your Betta may look hungry and keep eating, I wouldn't feed it more than this. Your Betta more than likely will not starve either. Also, I still have not figured out why Mr. Moto keeps resting on the bottom of the tank but I will continue to closely monitor him.