Small tanks are not easy to keep.
1. I would stay away from dirt substrate, especially in a small starter tank
2. I would stay away from more then one substrate - really, really hard to kept them separated
3. ADA Amazonia is a good substrate for a planted tank and you will not need much of it. Look for the "sand" granule size
4. Most of the plant recommendations above are a) too big for your tank b) slow growers.When starting a tank there is nothing wrong with going with plants that you will remove later - start with fast growing plants of many virieties. Litterally stuff the tank with plants, you can trim / replace them once the tank is stable. Check out RAOK section of this forum as many folks give away plants for the price of shipping. If the asked-for shipping is > $8, move on.
For your tank size, I would recommend Dwarf Hair Grass, Regular Baby Tears, Blyxa japonica, small Water Sprite, Limnophila aquatica or indica. Do add some floating plants like Frog Bit, Water Lettuce, Salvinia. Do stay away from Duck Weed.
Courtesy * Integrity * Perseverance * Indominable Spirit * and Self Control
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Last edited by OVT; 05-22-2016 at 07:18 AM.