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Hi all,

This is my first experience with a planted tank and I want to get it right. So I have a 2.5 gallon mini bow tank that currently houses a betta that is nearing his end (he’s over 4 years old so I consider him well lived). When he passes, I want to try my hand at a planted tank for red cherry shrimp. I wanted to know if the stock LED light would be good enough to grow simple low light plants (anubias, Java moss/fern) or if I would need something else. If I DO need something else, I’m looking for a small (6-8”) submersible light bar so I could accommodate the tank’s existing filtration. I already plan to get a sponge to cover the intake to protect any shrimp from getting sucked into the filter. I don’t need/want anything too fancy, just something that’ll grow a nice blanket of moss for the shrimp to hide in and some vertical plants to make it interesting.

Finally, do you think I could still manage to have a betta in the tank with the shrimp? Since RCS are pretty low bio-load from what I’ve read, I supposed between the plants and the tank filter it shouldn’t be too much different from normal water quality wise. I’ve already successfully kept a betta in the tank, but I didn’t know if the addition of shrimp would change the game. I know an ill-tempered betta might prey on them, but I would try to provide ample spaces for both species to hide and cohabitate with less quarrels. I’m definitely open to any suggestions, I just want to see if I could make it work!
 

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In my experience, bettas see cherry shrimp as snacks. I've kept one of them with amanos, which are considerably larger, but she was also a really spectacularly lazy betta. I would do shrimp-only in such a small system.

I think the only carpet you're going to be able to grow with the stock light would be either marsilia (it won't grow very fast though) or java moss on mesh. If you wish to upgrade though, there are a lot of options online.

You can also look at cryptocoryne parva, which will literally grow with just the ambient light in a room, and stays really small (about 3" and appropriate for your tank size). It's pretty low maintenance, and should do fine in your setup. Anubias should do well; I suggest the Nana variety if you want it to stay little. Java ferns get a bit larger eventually, but grow so slow that it may not be a problem as long as you stick to smaller varieties like Windelov.
 
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