Planted 20g Tank - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Planted 20g Tank

I have a male betta fish, and he is very active. He is currently housed in a five gallon tank, however I think he would much rather enjoy a 20 gallon heavly planted tank.

In my 20 gallon high tank, I have a florescent lightbulb that is 8,000k. (is that low light or medium light?)

I would like to make it a heavily planted tank, with an open middle for my betta to swim. I have a couple of questions (:

-I have http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...AvailInUS%2FNo this gravel. Would this gravel be sufficient enough for plants?
-If I need to change the gravel, what types of gravel are good?
-If I need to change the gravel, what colors would make a teal/blue halfmoon betta stand out?
-What plants are low light? (I like jungle val, and dwarf sag, but i dont want just two different plant types)
-What plants are medium light? (if i can grow medium light)
-Could i have it without a filter, or should i have a filter?
-If i should have a filter, should i get a bubble stone one?
-How do bubble stone filter things work? And what is everything I need for it?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Also, what is a good water tester?
I also have a heater.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 04:53 PM
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heres what i can answer

-i bought a really big bag of rocks to cover my planted 20g, i think it was either 20 or 25 bag, thinking it was a 25 lb bag...if u dont have thick enough cap of gravel the soil underneath can come up easily making a mess.
-black makes every color pop, maybe except for black, it also makes the color on plants stand out.
-if the tank is just a betta, u can do without a filter but if u start adding other fish then probably yes
-the air stone adds oxygen to the water for fish who breathe thru their gills, since bettas dont you really dont need that. but for that u need an air pump, air line and bubble stone, some pumps come with all u need but make sure to look at the packaging to make sure.
-api master test kit is used by alot of people on this site and is preferred over paper strip test kits.

heres a pic of my 20g i set up a couple months ago

arrgghhhh :/
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 04:55 PM
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You'll want to change your bulb to one with a kelvin rating of 6700k or 6500k. PLants grow best at that spectrum. It depends on the bulb size/output as to 'how much' light you have. You most likely have a T8 bulb, so one over a 20 gallon would put you at the low/medium end of the spectrum. This bulb is one of the best. Fluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Life-Glo 2 Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Personally I recommend sand for planted tanks. Much easier to clean and IMO roots prefer it. BUT it's all your decision. That gravel will be fine for most plants, although some plants will need root tabs (such as Amazon Sword plants and Crypt Wendtii.) I also prefer black sand for all of my tanks, for me nothing else makes them 'pop' as much.

Jungle val can be a tricky plant, as it prefers harder water. Anyways, good lower light plants are Amazon Swords, Cryptocornes (any kind, such as Wendtii, Lucens, Spiralis...etc), Anubias, and Java Fern are all great beginner low/medium light plants. Just make sure that when you plant Anubias and Java Fern that you don't plant the rhizome. These plants usually do better attached to driftwood or rocks.

You can have it without a filter, but I personally don't like to do that. IMO Fluval Aquaclear is a great option, and you can customize the media and outflow so your betta won't have trouble with the current.

By bubble stone filter do you mean a sponge filter? Sponge filters are also a pretty good option for a cheap filter, but they do require an air pump.

The most commonly used and relied on test kit is API Liquid Master Test kit, runs for about $20 on Amazon.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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So i need soil at the bottom, with a gravel cap? Or could I do with just my gravel?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 05:01 PM
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You can do soil, but be very careful with it. It can be a bit tricky to work with, as in it can release excess ammonia that takes awhile to be processed. Most people generally wait around a month before adding fish to a soil tank. You also can't really move plants after you've planted them.

I do recommend sand though. Gravel lets food and detritus sift down through it and it becomes difficult to remove, while with sand it all lays on top and it easily siphoned off. It's your call, though. Whatever you're comfortable with.

EDIT: Plain gravel can work fine, you just need root tabs for certain plants, and with any substrate you'll need a good liquid fertilizer. Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive is generally considered the best as it contains all of the trace nutrients plants need, while most other fertilizers only contain a few.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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What are root tabs?

And what kinds of plants can i grow?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 05:58 PM
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Root tabs are basically giant fertilizer pills that you place under certain plants every month or so. Here's a link to some. http://www.amazon.com/Seachem-Flourish-Tabs-10-Count/dp/B000255QLG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1369781827&sr=8-2&keywords=aquarium+root+tabs
I mentioned plants that you can grow easily in my first post on this thread :)
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 07:01 PM
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im sorry i assumed u were doing a soil base. u dont have to go that route.

arrgghhhh :/
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2013, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I didn't see your first reply. Also is it worth going to a 20 gallon? I already have an air pump and air stone. However, I do not want to spend a lot of money to make my 20 gallon suitable for my betta. I have a heater also. So what are some cheap ways I can go to get sand substrate, plants, and whatever else I may need?
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