Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Should I use better substrate?
Hi, this is my first post here. I set up a 5.5 gallon betta tank a few days ago and am now having second thoughts about the advice I took to use regular aquarium gravel for my live plants. Here are the specs for the tank:
- 14W T8 8000K full-spectrum fluorescent light
- Tetra Whisper 3i filter
- 25W heater, water at 78° (25.5° C)
- standard aquarium gravel (Petco aztec bronze)
- tap water treated with Tetra BettaSafe and SafeStart Plus per directions
- daily water tests with API Master (daily results: pH 7.4, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5)
- two medium narrow-leaf anubias and two large broad-leaf anubias, both rooted in the gravel (rhizome above gravel); three marimo balls
- planning to add a small piece of Malaysian driftwood, which I expect will bring down the pH
- one small male betta
I'm generally happy with the tank (mostly because my betta looks like he's happy), but I'm wondering if the standard gravel was a mistake. I plan to stay very low tech and add a few more easy plants, like java fern and maybe moneywart. Will my gravel suffice, or would something like Eco-Complete or Fluorite have been better for these plants?
Since the tank has been established for only a few days and is doing well, I don't plan to replace the gravel anytime soon unless my current gravel is enough of a setback to warrant it. If it isn't, what other plants do you recommend with this standard gravel? How often should I use fertilizer tabs or liquid for these plants?