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Dirting my 5gallon betta tank

1540 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  dollyhorse101
Planning on dirting my 5 gallon fluval chi for my betta. Currently it just had gravel, a fake plant and decor, heater, sponge filter, and the filter the tank came with. So here's the plan:

Substrate: -Miracle grow organic potting mix
-Either fluval stratum or plain gravel cap

Filter: Will either continue to use my established sponge filter, or buy a small internal or HOB filter with established biological media (Will not continue using filter that came with the tank)

Lights: Small clip-on desk lamp with 13W 6500k CFL clipped on to where the Fluval Chi filter normally goes (these have worked well for my plants in the plants, plus they're very inexpensive for me. Can't be bothered getting anything fancier for a 5gallon betta tank)

Heater: I'll continue to use my current heater for 5-10g tanks

Plants: Glossostigma, jungle val, various crypts, java moss, rotala bonsai, dwarf sag (this is my initial idea based on what plants I have in my 29g). Hoping to plant around a nice intricate piece of driftwood.

Ferts: Probably not going to dose ferts and let the dirt do it's job. Maybe the odd dose of Flourish. However, I'll probably at some point try a small diy co2 set up.

Let me know what you think of this setup. I'll post pics when I get around to setting it up. I also wouldn't mind some other opinions on plants to put in that are good with medium light and for a nano tank, as well as small tank mates for a 5 gallon with a betta (thinking cherry shrimp and a snail. If there's a good small schooling fish that would work too that'd be awesome).
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Snails would be better, shrimp will end up in the bettas stomach in a 5 gallon aquarium. Mollies will work too for tankmate. Looking forward for pics :D
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Snails would be better, shrimp will end up in the bettas stomach in a 5 gallon aquarium. Mollies will work too for tankmate. Looking forward for pics :D
Thanks. Cherries might be too small. Unfortunately it's going to be a little while until this tank is set up but I'll for sure be putting up pictures!
Snails would be better, shrimp will end up in the bettas stomach in a 5 gallon aquarium. Mollies will work too for tankmate. Looking forward for pics :D
Mollies need like 10 times bigger tank, so no. Shrimps may or may not work, it depends on the betta personality, you could try some cheap cherries and look how it goes. Schooling fish for 5 gal... Only really small fish come to my mind (CPD, some boraras), but probably all would get harassed or even eaten.

I would get some anubias mini, bonsai etc. Jungle val is too big, maybe eleocharis xingu? Many crypts won't fit in 5 gallon tank, so maybe try with 2-3 small species. Try some other mosses too. Phoenix moss or smaller fox moss are great. Maybe some flame moss too.
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Ok so it's finally done! Only like 2 months later.

So here was my process:
1) I moved my betta to a temporary 5 gallon where he will remain for ~2 weeks.
2) I removed all the gravel from the old tank and gave it a short wash. I didn't want to complete clean it because I expect there's still beneficial bacteria in it.
3) I cleaned out the 5 gallon and scrubbed at the glass.
4) I sifted the organic potting soil so it was fine and had no large chunks.
5) I put in about 1 inch in the bottom (Less at the front, more at the back), the soaked it, and capped it with the gravel.
6) I then planted it, then filled the tank.
7) I am currently using the old fluval chi filter (which I hate) but it is temporary to clear up the water, and get rid of excess ammonia/nitrates/nitrates from the beneficial bacteria in the current filter media. I am awaiting the new filter to come in the mail. NO old media will be thrown away, it will all be used when the new filter comes. I also hate this filter because it blocks the light.
8) Tomorrow I will do a large water change, and begin temporary CO2 via DIY yeast/sugar. I dirted a 2.5g and having CO2 really helped get the plants started but I no longer need it.

Plants: I honestly don't actually know what the exact species of plants are. The pictures are below, so by all means please help me identify.
-Some type of sword plant
-Some type of hairgrass/microsword
-A ludwigia of sorts
-A type of vallisneria
-Some sort of crypt.

That's literally all I know. Oh well. I'm no aquascaper but I'm hoping that it will fill out ok!


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