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Lurked around here forever, first post.

So I have an empty 5 gallon tank. I want to make it into a decent looking planted tank. I am a college student, so Low Tech is a necessity. No money or space for CO2 systems. I have a mystery snail in a 1.5 gallon bowl with an anubias and an amazon sword which will all be transferred to the new tank. Eventually I want a male betta fish in there. Thats it for creatures. So there will be a filter and heater on the tank. Oh and lighting is a 13w daylight CFL for now.

After looking at other people's setups (yes I do my research), I love having a stone centerpiece, not a piece of driftwood. Personal preference.

Anyway, I am having a rough time picking a substrate for this tank. I was thinking either pool filter sand, black diamond, or gravel. What would you guys recommend? It will have to be moved a limited amount to get to college in the fall and whatnot, so I want something that wont like destroy the water when traveling.

Also any suggestions on plants that will go good for my conditions will be helpful. I like things that are hard to kill, and not super rare. (cause rare = expensive)
 

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Carpe Diem
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Both pool filter sand and blasting abrasive will both be fine. It's just going to be a preference of color for you. Add some root tabs and you're golden.
 

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I'm a big fan of marimo moss balls. They are really chill as long as you have decent lighting. They grow very slow and look pretty when pearling (although you might not get pearling without CO2, but I have a friend who said his has tiny pearls by the end of the day and he has a low-tech tank).

Also I would go with gravel as it's easier to clean with a gravel vacuum. That's what I find anyway.

As for plants betta fish really like emersed plants like pothos which are easy to grow.
 
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