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Old 03-05-2014, 06:56 AM   #1 
Dakieda
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Question Questions about Planted Tanks...

Hello all! Im new to the hobby of betta keeping, and planted tanks have pretty much always peaked my interest, I used to just like watching videos of them on youtube!

So, I had a few questions about starting a tank, because eventually I would like to try to make one! I have an extra tank with all the fixing to experiment, but still not sure about types of plants and stuff...

So, here are my questions, in a nice little list! :D

1. What types of plants are best for a betta/planted tank beginner like myself? I want something hardy, that will last long, and impossible to murder. xD

2. What soil type is best to use for said plants?

3. How long does it usually take for a tank to go full-cycle, and how many plants would you recommend?

4. What specific betta friendly species (such as shrimps??) do you use/need in a planted tank? How many?

5. I've heard the terms low-light, medium-light, and high-light. Does this refer to different watt bulbs, or what?

6. If bettas like it dark, how do you maintain enough light for the plants and betta to both be happy?

7. And last but not least, are 'marimo balls' a good idea for a betta tank? And what exactly are they anyway? Rocks? Moss?

Thanks you for any and all answers anyone can provide! Sorry if I seem a little daft about this stuff, but thats the point of asking, learning proper husbandry and making the best environment for Arturo!! :D
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:01 AM   #2 
Waking Buddha
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1. What types of plants are best for a betta/planted tank beginner like myself? I want something hardy, that will last long, and impossible to murder. xD
Some low light plants that are pretty easy to care for are anacharis, anubias, java fern, amazon sword

2. What soil type is best to use for said plants?
I'm not positive on this. I've heard of people growing plants successfully in all types of substrate. I use Seachem Fluorite.

3. How long does it usually take for a tank to go full-cycle, and how many plants would you recommend?
An aquarium can take anywhere from 2/3 weeks to 2 months to cycle. You can add as many as you want really. If you have a small tank it doesn't take much to fill it up.

4. What specific betta friendly species (such as shrimps??) do you use/need in a planted tank? How many?
You don't need any necessarily. I have never put anything with my betta so somebody else might be able to answer this.

5. I've heard the terms low-light, medium-light, and high-light. Does this refer to different watt bulbs, or what?
There is a general rule about lighting and it's watts per gallon. I've heard under 1.5 watts per gallon is low light. 1.5 - 2.5 is medium and over that is high light. You want fluorescent not incandescent or led. There is a lot of dispute about whether this rule is true or not though. So i'd recommend reading a lot about the lighting.

6. If bettas like it dark, how do you maintain enough light for the plants and betta to both be happy?
Plants need at least 6 or 7 hours of light a day. Up to maybe 10 or so. I keep one side heavily planted and then my betta can hide under the shade if he wants.

7. And last but not least, are 'marimo balls' a good idea for a betta tank? And what exactly are they anyway? Rocks? Moss?
Marimo moss balls are a plant. The naturally form in lakes in Japan and a few other places. Its an extremely easy to care for plant and it grows so so so slowly. It's just a really neat plant in the shape of a ball!

I hope I could help out some. I started planting my aquarium a few months ago so I am still learning a lot.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:18 AM   #3 
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thanks so much for the input! I think maybe Ill buy a marimo ball or two to start out with after I research what lights they need and which kind I have. I have one of those power-saver type bulbs for my aquarium, it doesnt emit alot of light but it is a nice bright white!

Id also like to still hear some others opinions on plants too, what do you prefer, fish lovers of this wonderful site? :D
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:39 AM   #4 
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1. What types of plants are best for a betta/planted tank beginner like myself? I want something hardy, that will last long, and impossible to murder. xD Water Wisteria, Anubias, Java Fern (note these last two need to be anchored to something like driftwood, NOT planted), Anacharis, and water sprite are some good ones.

2. What soil type is best to use for said plants?
Generally, if you can find it, use Miracle Gro Organic Choice potting mix, this contains little to not ferts and you basically don't have to sift through to get the large pieces of mulch out because there is none. Basically find a soil that does not contain extra ferts and you'll be good to go. And of course cap your soil with some sand so the soil doesn't make the tank really nasty.

3. How long does it usually take for a tank to go full-cycle, and how many plants would you recommend? What do you mean "full-cycle", as in the Nitrogen Cycle or something else? If you are talking about the Nitrogen Cycle and starting off with a fully planted tank then the cycle actually takes a heck of a lot longer, HOWEVER! this is almost a moot point since the plants would then be protecting the fish from any harmful levels of ammonia/nitrite as they soak it up faster than your bacteria colony can eat it. You will cycle the tank eventually but you most likely won't come up with any levels since the plants are eating them all up which is a good thing. But yes, the bacteria will grow eventually forming their colony in the filter mostly and then on the surfaces of objects.

4. What specific betta friendly species (such as shrimps??) do you use/need in a planted tank? How many? Technically you don't need anything but if you wanted snails and shrimps you could certainly try it. Be warned though, bettas can make snacks out of them!

5. I've heard the terms low-light, medium-light, and high-light. Does this refer to different watt bulbs, or what? People used to say "wattage per gallon" but this rule is completely out dated now since it actually means nothing. You could have an incandescent bulb (the ones that kits generally come with and are horrible for plant growing) that has 15 watts and a Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) that is 9 watts and the CFL will grow your plants better. What you are looking for in the general sense is the Kelvin rating, this is the color temperature of the bulb. 6,500K is what the sun is at roughly for the mid-day point and the best time to grow plants so you want to look for that. There is more to "high-light, low-light and medium-light" but that's the basics. The other parts consist of how good your reflector is to bounce the light into the tank, and another is how deep your tank is and how far away your plants are from your light. The further your plants are from a light source, the lower the light. Make sense?

6. If bettas like it dark, how do you maintain enough light for the plants and betta to both be happy? Bettas like all sorts of light! They need light just like we do to maintain a 24 hour day/night period and to regulate themselves. They like lots of light too, just don't blind them by pointing a large flashlight in their eyes constantly for 24 hours a day! lol But 10 hours a day of light is normal and a good time to set them for. 6 hours is minimum for plants but really they will flourish better with 8-10 hours ^_^

7. And last but not least, are 'marimo balls' a good idea for a betta tank? And what exactly are they anyway? Rocks? Moss? Marimo Balls are actually an algae that gross in the shape of a ball because of the current of the river they grow in. They are continuously or mostly continuously being pushed around so they roll into balls. For the care of these you would need to put tem in a relatively shaded place and move them around from time to time. If they sit on one side that side that does not get light can die and become brown. Also if they are in direct light all the time, that can kill them too but for the most part you probably won't kill them ^_^

There are different kinds of "moss" balls. Sometimes stores sell a "moss" ball and what it really is is java moss tied around a styrofoam ball inside. Here are the differences and what they look like, you can clearly see the difference generally. http://i223.photobucket.com/albums/d...d/100_0665.jpg <-java moss and, http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/ffxi..._300x450,0.jpg <-Marimo, much softer and fluffier looking. And just a huge tank with some Marimos ^_^ http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m8...59eo1_1280.jpg
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:32 PM   #5 
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Okay, so I think as a beginner [and since they sell some at petco] I will try for marimo and some cherry red shrimp! How many would be appropriate in a 2.5g with my betta? All the ones I see for sale come in sets of very large quantities, and I dont think I would want more than 5! D:
I also am thinking about the java fern, I really love the way it looks! Also, I have like I said an extra tank. Would it be a good idea to set this up as a test with the shrimps to see if Ill be any good at a planted aquarium without risking doing something wrong and hurting my betta??
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:51 PM   #6 
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Are you doing an NPT style tank for this one with the soil base? Or just regular gravel for a regular planted tank? There is a difference there. You want some fast growing plants to so that algae won't take over your tank with the higher lighting, water wisteria is amazing for this; fast growing low light plant and your fish will love it! I have water wisteria forests in my tanks ^_^

As for the shrimp, try a ghost shrimp first to make sure that your Betta won't kill the RCS since they are more expensive! And as for numbers, you can easily have around 10 in there if you have a heavily planted tank, if you only do a plant or two then I wouldn't advise getting shrimp until it is more planted.
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:13 PM   #7 
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Im really not sure. Gravel would probably be easier for me to start out with. I dont much like the look of the wisteria, but if my fish would like it, then I can cope! Its all about him! :D

Alright, ghost shrimp testers we shall have! And I def want some java fern and marimo in the tank. Will java fern grow in gravel or do they need soil? Im really fine with trying either, im just scared i might kill the plants! xD I also really like the anacharis. I think a taller anubias would be good too...so he'll have a broadleaved plant near the top to flop down on like a lazy lump. xD
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:23 PM   #8 
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Are you looking at the right pictures of Wisteria? lol

Java Fern is one of the ones that has to be tied to something like a rock, driftwood or a decoration that is not smooth. The roots will then attach to the object and it will grow on it :) It has something called the Rhizome, this is the green stem part that the leaves grow out of and the roots come out of on the bottom. This picture is of an Anubias but they have the same plant anatomy basically. See that string that is tying around that green straight thingy? That's the Rhizome so if you want, you CAN plant the roots in the gravel only and leave that rhizome above the gravel, otherwise the plant will rot.

Anacharis is a great plant but it likes to melt when you first introduce it into the aquarium. Melting is like acclimation for plants, they basically die off but new shoots generally grow from them in the case of Anacharis. Some plants like Water Wisteria if it were to melt, generally just the leaves die off but the stem continues to grow; growing new leaves at the top as it adjusts to your water chemistry. Sometimes plants will just die, I've had Anacharis do that on me plenty of times but once you get it to grow, it just takes off lol it is a weed technically But just wanted you to know, you will see it act like it is dying but most the time it's just trying to adjust to the new water chemistry.

Anacharis does not have broad leaves, which type of Anacharis are you looking at? Yes they can float and generally do very well floating I find but usually Betta's won't rest on them because they aren't under the surface of the water enough. Or am I misunderstanding you?
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:47 PM   #9 
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I meant a tall anubias :3 I dunno if they get tall, but still. xD

I guess Ill get the tester tank set up tomorrow, and then go to petco on my day off and see what they have than I can try out. Def getting marimo! Theyre so soft looking and and...round 0-0 If the plants dont get murdered right away [LOL] then after a couple weeks of monitoring and letting them adjust Ill try out the shrimps. If all goes well, Ill try putting clippings of my favorites into Arturo's tank! :D
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:10 PM   #10 
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Oh geez, I skipped the part about the taller anubias XD yep, read it wrong! sorry!

Yeah! There are different species of Anubias that you can get, some tiny like Anubias Nana Petite being one of the smallest, Anubias Nana another small one. The one that is most commonly seen in the stores is the Anubias Barteri. Anubias Frazeri is one of the taller ones you can get but that can get up to 20 inches lol, you could always trim to keep the shorter leaves of course! But I know not all of us have access to buying in certain places and on the internet so the normal plants from PetCo should be fine. You could also get a small piece of Driftwood and tie the Anubias and Java Fern to that so they are "taller" technically with the added height from the driftwood ^_^
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