Trying to start a 5.5g planted tank with no experence..help? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Trying to start a 5.5g planted tank with no experence..help?

As the title says I have no experience with planted tanks. But I recently got a 5.5gallon starter kit and was going to set it up for a betta fish. I really would like to put a few live plants in with him, but have no idea about how to do so. I have done some research but I don't really understand much about what I've read

I would prefer not to use Co2 if possible.. but I need to know about what substrate to use, easy to grow plants and what lights I would need. Basically I just need help in general.

I was also wondering if a 5.5gallon tank was big enough to put any other fish in with the betta?

Thanks for any help/advice I really appreciate it
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by kaldrina View Post
As the title says I have no experience with planted tanks. But I recently got a 5.5gallon starter kit and was going to set it up for a betta fish. I really would like to put a few live plants in with him, but have no idea about how to do so. I have done some research but I don't really understand much about what I've read

I would prefer not to use Co2 if possible.. but I need to know about what substrate to use, easy to grow plants and what lights I would need. Basically I just need help in general.

I was also wondering if a 5.5gallon tank was big enough to put any other fish in with the betta?

Thanks for any help/advice I really appreciate it
Substrate:
Seachem Onyx Sand over a thin layer of peat moss works really well, but you can use Eco-complete, fluorite, or 75% Schultz Aquatic Soil capped with 25% pool filter sand.

Lighting:
If your canopy hood comes with a replaceable standard fixture bulb. You can use a 12-15 watt Compact fluorescent bulb 6500 K daylight. Cheap from Wal-Mart.

Plants:
I would go with anubias, cryptocornes, java moss, and java ferns.
Here is an excellent list of low light plants:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...ht-plants.html

Inhabitants: I have 2 dwarf aquatic frogs and 2 Amano Shrimp, and one otocat and they all seem to get along without any issues. A betta would work fine.

Fertilization: weekly dose of Seachem comprehenive, pinch/dash of nitrates, phosphates, and potassium weekly with every water change. Seachem Fluorish excel daily or every other day will do wonders for plant growth too.
You can buy cheap dry ferts from here. A little will last you a life time, especially on a low light low tech tank.
http://www.bestaquariumregulator.com/ferts.html

Here is the way I set up my 5 gallon and it works great all my plants are growing like weeds.
http://www.barrreport.com/articles/4...2-methods.html

You can also set one up this way, which should also work.
http://vickisaquaticplace.com/PlantsChapter1.html
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help, but one more thing the nitrates, phosphates, and potassium for fertilizing, do I need to buy all those thing separately or is there a mixture I could get instead?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 05:01 PM
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As for tankmates for a betta, it will depend on the personality of the betta. Some bettas are very aggressive toward any other inhabitants and others, like mine, are real laid back and docile. I have five otos with mine in a 6.6 gallon and he hasn't harmed a single one. I thought there might be problems at first, but he was just curious when they were first introduced.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kaldrina View Post
Thanks for the help, but one more thing the nitrates, phosphates, and potassium for fertilizing, do I need to buy all those thing separately or is there a mixture I could get instead?
You need to get them seperately as this is how they are sold. The are not sold pre-mixed. Check at your local hydroponics store. It may be cheaper than ordering on-line. Once you get them. It is not likely that you will ever have to buy them again. On a low light tank because you will be using so little, a one time purchase should last you a life time and will also be enough to set up another tank should you decide to do so.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
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One more question I forgot to ask, should I put gravel on top of the substrate? or just leave it as it?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 08:19 PM
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One more question I forgot to ask, should I put gravel on top of the substrate? or just leave it as it?
If you use the speciality substrates like eco-complete or fluorite you don't need to add gravel on top. If you use a substrate like Schultz Aquatic Soil which is also a speciality substrate for growing aquatic plants, you may need to add gravel to the top or pool filter sand as this substrate is light and as plants root in it they may get pushed out and end up floating. The pool filter sand cap/layer on top or gravel helps to better anchor the plants and keeps them planted.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help, with luck I'll have this tank started soon.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 11:07 PM
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