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I have a little delta tail male (his name is Koa Iwi) that's currently in a two gallon tank with a piece of spider wood, gravel, and oak leaves. I just bought a 5.5 gallon tank and some white aquarium sand from an LFS today to upgrade him to.

My thing is, I don't know if I want to leave it unplanted like it is with just leaves and wood, or go with a few smooth river stones, or go with a few plants. The issue I see with that is that all this tank gets is spill light from his upstairs neighbor (Ronin) and ambient light from my two windows. Would bamboo with its feet in the water work? Could I do a mini riparium with this size of tank (if so, what plants are recommended?)

Thanks ahead of time for help! :)

-Empress Akitla
 

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Most house plants (Lucky Bamboo and many others) will grow emersed or riparium style. Most come from a jungle floor with relatively low light. Light from nearby windows might be just fine. If this light hits the tank for too long it may encourage algae, or over heat the tank, forcing you to close some curtains. I use some sheer white fabric in the summer, but leave the windows uncovered during the winter days.

When in doubt, you could add a clip on light for small plants perhaps growing out of a hang on back (HOB) filter, or a slightly taller light, perhaps a desk light on a long neck or drop light sold for garage/shop work for taller plants. A compact fluorescent or LED bulb would work well. Look for something perhaps called 'Daylight' or 'Cool White' for a brighter looking effect, or 'Warm White' for a softer look. As long as the sunshine is part of the day, the color of the light is not so critical. It is a supplement, not the whole supply of light for the plant(s).

In a 5.5 gallon I would go with a branch of wood with Wendelov Java Fern or Dwarf (perhaps Nana) Anubias, or similar small plants in the tank. Most other aquarium plants will outgrow the tank pretty fast.
Then search through the posts using words like Planted HOB, Riparium, and similar terms. Look for the smaller set ups that might have little plants like Selaginella, Mondo Grass, Acorus gramineus minimus aureus and similar dwarfs, and other small house plants. Try Fittonia vershafelti 'Dwarf White', the small white veined type, usually sold as a house plant; stays small enough to work in this small set up.
 
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