Hi there, I'm a new member and fairly new to aquariums as well and hoping I can find some help. We have a 5 gallon Fluval Chi Model 2 tank in our office that our previous admin assistant was in charge of. We haven't had much luck with our fish in there though, our LFS has been recommending guppies and we have lost them all. The admin assistant has left the company and now the aquarium is my job, and I'm really hoping to do better! I'm thinking our main problems were 1) too many and too large of fish, and 2) lack of live plants to help keep the ecosystem balanced.
I've been doing A LOT of research over the past two weeks, but it seems for every site I find that says do it one way, there's another contradicting it.
So here's where I am...
I have some rocks and small pieces of driftwood on the way to hardscape and create hiding places for the fish, which is something we did not have previously and I think also could have effected our fishies' happiness and longevity. I also have this assortment of plants coming next week (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
). I plan to get the plants going for a week or two before introducing new fish, and I'm leaning towards a small school (5-6) of either neon tetras, cardinal tetras, or galaxy rasboras. Our snail is still living in the tank, which currently has a plain gravel substrate.
So, I'm looking for advice on which substrate to get for the transition to the planted tank. I think I've settled on CaribSea Eco-Complete or Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum. I'm leaning more towards the Fluval because eventually I'd like to get a couple shrimp, having read that in a 5 gallon nano tank with 5-6 nano schooling fish it's ok to get a few shrimp as well.
Any tips on which of these substrates would be better? I've read that either comes packed with nutrients so it's all you need (other than light and CO2) but I've also read no, these are both inert and you still need to fertilize. So are one of these actually full of nutrients at least to begin with, and then I just need to supplement later? I've also read contradicting reports on whether you need to vacuum the substrate or just let debris decompose to become plant food, so advice on that would be helpful as well.
Additionally, what is the best thing to do with our snail while I set up the new tank? We also have a betta in a 1 gallon tank, would it be ok to move the snail over with the betta while I get the tank set back up with the new substrate and arrange the plants? How long should I let the newly built tank cycle before introducing our snail back into the larger tank? Any tips on which nano fish to get or anything else at all that could be helpful is greatly appreciated, thanks!