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I was convinced by my girlfriend to set up a five and half gallon tank that she had after her betta died. I've been moving around a lot (Seattle to Boston to Tennessee) and you may have seen me posting other threads, but the problem was that I was never anywhere long enough to set up a tank and let it mature etc. But even where I am now, struggling to find work and planning to move again within the next six months, I felt that a tank would make me feel normal somehow. It would give me something to take care of.

Probably an overshare.

Anyway, I'm setting up a low tech small tank that I can take with me when I move. I've attached a picture.

I ordered a fluorescent hood that should be here Tuesday, so I'll buy the appropriate 6500K bulb for that once it arrives. Right now I have a Top Fin 10 HOB, fluorite black substrate, and some Malaysian Trumpet Snails I'll throw in when the tank warms up to room temp.

I'm going to let the tank cycle with the snails, adding some pellets for them every so often. I'd love to buy enough plants to fill it up during the cycle, but money is an issue at the moment. For the foreseeable future it will be a bare snail tank. Once I do get funds, and after it's been planted, I'll probably get a betta for it. Maybe some cherry shrimp if I can find some in rural Tennessee.

Man that fluorite was dirty. Took lots of rinsing! Luckily the tank is so small I just took it outside and rinsed it in the tank. My question so far is this: is there enough fluorite in the tank for plants? I added a 7.7 pound bag to the 5.5 gallon tank. I have gravel left over from my girlfriend's tank and I could mix that in, but that's about my only option. You can see some of it in the tank already.

I'll likely be doing the typical crypts, java fern, and anubias once I can afford plants.
 

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You'll want 2-3 inches of substrate, especially if you have crypts, as they are root-heavy plants. I have a planted 5.5 gallon too and have 6 CPDs with a nerite snail and about a dozen RCS and one amano shrimp. I'm really happy with it. I only supplement with 5 drops of excel and have very little to no algae problems.
 
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