Newbie with lots of questions. Help?
I want to set up a fully planted tank with either a betta or a few WCMMs (White Cloud Mountain Minnows) but I don't know where to begin. I've had limited success with live plants in my betta tanks. The only things that survived were a moss ball and a small Anubis that I attached to a small piece of driftwood.
I have an empty 5.5 gallon tank that I want to use for this little project. I am a poor college student and I don't want this to break the bank. The closest chain pet store is about 40 minutes from me and the only strictly fish store is a saltwater shop 45 minutes away. We have a little shop down the road, but I haven't been in to check it out yet. I'm expecting to purchase most of this from Amazon or Ebay. The plants will definitely have to be purchased online.
Let's start from the bottom with substrate. I have some gravel (smooth pebbles) and 5 lbs of caribsea sand from previous tanks. Most of what I've read says I need a plant substrate. Which ones are good and which should I avoid?
Next onto lighting. My tank came with a hood, but the light fixture is broken. Since I need lights to keep the plants alive, I'll need to buy a new one. What kind of lighting/hood should I get? The classic black hood with one screw in bulb? A glass cover with a light strip? Also, what kind of light bulbs are best for growing various plants?
I am planning on adding either a betta or a few WCMMs once the plants are in, so do I need to invest in a CO2 system? I would think the plants would be fine with the CO2 from the fish. I already have a heater on hand, but will I need a filter as well once I add the fish? Is there any other equipment that I'll need?
And last, but not least, the plants. I want a huge variety, no more than 2 or 3 of the same plant. I also like color. Green is good, but it gets kind of boring when EVERYTHING is green. Some reds and purples are a must. Also a variety of size. Some plants in the back that will get taller, a few kinds in the midground, and some short guys or groundcover for the front.
One more thing - fertilizer. The fish waste will provide some of the nutrients, but this tank will probably need more than that. What kinds of ferts should I look for? Any specific brands or ingredients?
Thank you for taking the time to read this rather long, question filled post. I'm sure all of you guys combined can provide some great answers for me.
Last edited by nikkifro8994; 09-07-2013 at 12:54 PM.