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Hey, I have a 2.5 gallon glass tank that I was using as a QT tank--Im going to buy a 10 gallon for that now. I want to use the 2.5 gallon on my desk---planted with some sort of nano creature (s).

Requirements ;

Low tech.

Im not getting into CO2--especially not for a 2.5 gallon.

I have a desk lamp with a CF bulb in it--cant remember the wattage right now--equiv to 60w standard bulb, obviously that can be changed-Im even considering one of the mini hood lights.

Substrate is open for suggestions.

Plants have to be low maintenance. I have Excel and Flourish--as well as root tabs if needed. I keep those things for my other tanks.

I have a Red Sea Nano filter ( currently only has a coarse foam pad in it--suggestions for filter media are OK as well. )

I have a 25w heater.

I dont want to have to raise food for the fish or inhabitants. Flakes, pellets, frozen, freeze dried foods are all OK.

Suggestions for plants and critters ? Frogs, shrimp, fish, snails etc.
 

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Just look for plants that are known to do well in low-light, and you should be okay. For foregrounds you can use moss, marsilea, e. tenellus, maybe HC with a dry start. For midground and background you can use various stems, crypts, and anubias plants that have small leaves. Rotala and baby tears are my favorites for the stems.

Substrate should be something designed for planted tanks, just to make it easier on yourself, and for a tank this small it wouldn't be expensive. Eco-complete, Fluorite, Aquasoil, mineralized topsoil, those kinds. You could use sand, or something else inert, but then you should probably stick some root tabs down in strategic spots where there will be groupings of plants with roots. I recommend just using eco or fluorite.

The excel and flourish should be fine, especially if you'll have inhabitants in there making poop. You could have a single fish in there, like a Betta or dwarf puffer, or you could put a handful of tiny boraras in there. Some shrimp would be a good idea too.

For the lamp just check on the wattage and make sure it's not too low for your needs. A 9w fluorescent right up on the water would probably be sufficient, or you could have up to 27w if you raise it high enough. That's what I have on my 2.5 and it works fine by keeping it high up off the top of the tank, so the intensity is less.

It sounds like you're off to a good start. Just look at other people's low tech tanks and see which plants you like. Stick with small-leaf plants though.
 
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