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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 2.5g tank (this one, specifically) that I will house a betta or shrimp in. The silicone is pretty messy, so I'll probably be razor blading the excess off soon.

Here's what I've got so far (actually more questions then plans...)

Substrate: fluorite and maybe a top later of sand

Lighting: I will probably be setting up the tank near a window so it will receive some natural light. If I don't go this route, what kind of lighting should I be looking for?

Filtration: I've heard about sponge filters being used in small tanks, but are they good for planted tanks? I'd like this tank to be relatively low maintenance, so should I stick with a small HOB? As for filter media, is activated carbon the best way to go?

Plants: Since I do have such a small tank, I'd really like to use plants with small leaves and stuff to create a sort-of "miniature world" look. I'm thinking about a nice moss or small grassy type plant and a plant that will float on the surface to create a filtered light effect. Low to medium light plants would probably be best if I want to avoid expensive lighting, right?

I've heard that fast growing plants help combat algea growth, so I will definitely look into that. Are there some that people recommend for small tanks or is one fast growing plant just as good as another at keeping algea away?

Dosing and maintenance: I've heard it's best to give the plants time (4 weeks?) to establish themselves before using fertilizer - is that true? I have some API brand liquid fertilizer that seems to work pretty well - do you think it will be enough for the plants? As for water changes, would a changing 1/4 of the water once a month work?

Sorry for all the questions, but I really want to start this off right rather than having to start over later. Thanks!
 

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I am excited to hear what people suggest. I am putting together a planted 1.5gal betta tank for my mom for Christmas for her desk.
 

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Welcome to TPT. There's a lot of plants you can use to have a miniature effect in your tank. Anubias nana petite is a nice low tech plant. Fissidens has small fronds and can be attached to driftwood or other hardscape. Most carpets require higher light and CO2 to stay small and compact. My suggestion for a carpet is some sort of moss tied down to either flat rocks or steel mesh. Floaters such as DWL and Frogbit can be used but their roots can get long in your 2.5. If that's the case, a simple trim of the roots can be done periodically. Giant duckweed looks great in smaller tanks. Plants grow about the size of a dime and have nice maroon undersides when given ample light. Also, they are easier to remove and control than regular duckweed.

For lighting, I suggest a small desk lamp with a 10 watt screw in CFL. Make sure it's a "Daylight" bulb or 6500K.

They make mini HOB filters which you can use for your tank. I know Azoo makes one that a lot of people use.

Algae growth is caused by too much light and not enough CO2 and/or nutrients in the water column. The best way to prevent algae is to not use too much light and to periodically use ferts in your tank. With lower lighting, CO2 would not be needed though it would be beneficial to have. How often you change your water depends on how your stocking levels are and how fast the nitrates build up in your tank. If you have a densely planted tank with a light bioload, you can reduce the amount of water changes you do.

Feel free to ask more questions.
 

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For plants I like these for low light:

marsilea minuta (carpet plant)
any moss like flame, java, xmas etc
crypts
java ferns
rotala rotundifolia

also in the low light section there is a sticky with more plants

welcome to tpt and planted tanks :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the suggestions!

I really like the fissidens! Is there a trick to attching it to mesh? I've attached moss to rock using fishing wire - is it the same for mesh? I assume the mesh just serves as a starting point and the plant will spread, right?

I really like the giant duckweed too! The maroon will add a nice bit of color too.

The rotala rotundifolia is beautiful, but doesn't it need high light to show its colors?

I'll have to check out Azoo filters then! And that lighting sounds easy enough.
 

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Thanks for the suggestions!

I really like the fissidens! Is there a trick to attching it to mesh? I've attached moss to rock using fishing wire - is it the same for mesh? I assume the mesh just serves as a starting point and the plant will spread, right?

I really like the giant duckweed too! The maroon will add a nice bit of color too.

The rotala rotundifolia is beautiful, but doesn't it need high light to show its colors?

I'll have to check out Azoo filters then! And that lighting sounds easy enough.
You can use fishing wire to attach the fissidens to the mesh.
 

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I've got the same tank. I used a desk lamp with a 13 watt CFL, and made my own reflector out of tin foil, that really made the difference. The light is six inches from the top of the tank, and its plenty of light. The bonus to this is that I don't have to heat the water.

Seeing as it is such a small tank, and I wanted room for hardscape and plants, I used a ZooMed 501 external filter. It works great. I filled it with the ceramic rings it comes with, and small lava rock.

I was having an algae problem, then I got a bottle of Excel. With such a small tank it doesn't take much and a bottle will last a long time.

To attach fissidens: This works well on rock and driftwood. Put it wherever you want it, then keep it moist for 2 weeks. NOT SUBMERGED. I usually just put it in a tupperware container. End of two weeks, it is attached.

Welcome, and good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Seeing as it is such a small tank, and I wanted room for hardscape and plants, I used a ZooMed 501 external filter. It works great. I filled it with the ceramic rings it comes with, and small lava rock.
I hadn't thought about a small canister! How is the flow rate? I don't want something too powerful, especially if I end up putting a betta in the tank.

To attach fissidens: This works well on rock and driftwood. Put it wherever you want it, then keep it moist for 2 weeks. NOT SUBMERGED. I usually just put it in a tupperware container. End of two weeks, it is attached.
Oh awesome! I will definitely be using this suggestion! Any idea on if it'd work with mesh too?

About the substrate, is there any benefit of having sand over the flourite or is it purely asthetic?
 

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I don't remember what the quoted flow rate is, but this was a gently used filter I got from kijiji. It works fine for the tank, with a single betta. I don't use the spray bar, I use the deflector thing and it seems to work well. Betta swims wherever he wants and doesn't have any problem with the current. If you find the flow is too much, there are ways of diminishing flow - more holes in a spray bar, bigger holes.

Don't know anything about flourite, but I would think it would be mostly for the look your going for. Sand is inert and has a really low CEC, if any.
 

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I actually just bought this tank tonight. It's setup and cycling as we speak. I'll be putting shrimp in it along with lace rock, driftwood, java fern and java moss. I'm in the same boat right now for lighting. Currently looking for an led desktop lamp but haven't found anything online yet. I'll be interested to see what others have!
 
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