TLDR: I am completely new except for lots of searching google, this forum, and reddit. I want to plant and shrimp a really small tank with a carpet (what do shrimp like in carpets), a moss tree (I have heard shrimp really like the moss?), and some sort of hideout (any ideas?) with a plant on top, using only daylight if possible (maybe DIY co2, but its a tiny tank so it would have to be scaled back).
I got a marima .5 gallon betta tank that I thought looked nice, and figured it would be a cool tank for a really small walstad planted shrimp tank. I plan on having some sort of carpet on the outside of the inner cube, a "moss tree" in the middle section, a hideyhole thing for the shrimp to play in, and two or three shrimp. I plan on putting it beside a window for the whole day instead of getting a light since the tank is so small and I want plants that don't need co2 or tons of light.
Here is what I think would grow without extra light or co2, but I don't know if they would be good for the shrimp.
Hydrocotyle tripartita http://tropica.com/en/plants/plantdetails/4458/4458
) - Most likely this. This apparently grows fast in less co2 and water but I don't know how good it would look in such a small tank because it apparently grows upwards a lot, although I could have it grow up one side.
Marsilea Hirsuta (http://tropica.com/en/plants/plantde...ta(010TC)/4428
) and Crenata (http://tropica.com/en/plants/plantde...a(010BTC)/4762
) - I think would look the best even though this grows slower, crenata may be too small though.
Micranthemum 'Monte Carlo' (http://tropica.com/en/plants/plantde...9;(025TC)/4442
) - Would probably look terrible in the conditions but i'm not sure.
These are the mosses I have found for the moss tree or possibly the hideout. I don't like the look of many mosses like java moss or spiky moss, and flame moss might not work too well since it grows straight up.
Phoenix Moss (http://www.aquamoss.net/Fissidens-fo...s-fontanus.htm
) - This looks the best in my opinion, and I won't have to trim it which is nice. Tropica (http://tropica.com/en/plants/plantde...nus(002F)/4390
) says that they need more light than most mosses, but I think it will be fine.
Vesicularia dubyana 'Christmas moss' http://tropica.com/en/plants/plantde...nus(002F)/4390
) - This looks the second best.
Vesicularia ferriei 'Weeping moss' (http://tropica.com/en/plants/plantdetails/4398/4398
) - This looks ok but not as good as the other two, and needs to be trimmed more which might be annoying.
Flame moss (http://tropica.com/en/plants/plantdetails/4403/4403
) would be awesome in the tree but I do not know of a good way to attach it. I would like it on whatever I have as shelter and if possible having it as a carpet would be cool.
Some questions I have are: I know to dry start it, but how long would it be before I add the shrimp in a small tank? I also have no idea which shrimp to use, though I guess neo or RCS would be good. I want to be able to see the shrimp easily so I imagine red cherry shrimp would work well. I have also seen scuds used to clean up the tank, which might work well for a low maintenance.