Yesterday my first ever betta fish died. I enjoyed him so much I'd like to get another. Since I don't know what caused my little fella's death I thought it better to be safe than sorry and I washed everything I wasn't going to pitch with a 10% bleach and water mix so my next fish won't get sick.
So I'm basically starting from scratch again, and I'm thinking I'd like to do a natural planted tank this time. I'm studying the sticky and getting a list of materials together, and I've got some questions...
1. I have a 5 gallon tank. How many plants will I need? And what sort of plants would you recommend that I could maybe get at Petco or Petsmart? (I don't know where else to go near me)
2. What sort of shrimp and snails do I need, and how many of each?
3. Is sand the only cap that will work, or would regular gravel or pebbles be okay? I like the way pebbles or gravel looks, but it's not a big deal. Just wondering.
4. is this an appropriate light bulb? - http://www.petco.com/product/111943/...cent-Bulb.aspx
5. Once the tank is mature, do I need to keep running my filter?
Any extra advice and information greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Gravel works fine. I wouldn't go with pebbles unless they're on top of something else for decoration.
A good tip for plants, is to try to set it up so you can't see half the gravel from above. Try to have a mix of slow (rooted plants like swords, crypts, and dwarf sag) and fast growing plants. (Stem plants)
Bettas can eat shrimp, so just try a few ghost shrimp so you're not out anything if they're eaten. As for snails, get whatever you like. MTS are good for soil tanks, and.nerites are great at algae control.
Good to know. Sounds like Nerite snails are the one for me. I'm not sure if my stores will have them (I am going to visit a shop I've never been to today, so they might), so could I start the setup with plants and shrimp and a fish and add snails later, or would that throw things off?
Also, I'm having some trouble trying to find floating plants. Are these vital to the start-up of a npt?
Floating plants are not vital to start a npt it's just that they act as sponges for excess nutrients in the water if you're doing a dirted tank. I have yet to found a Petco selling floating plants try looking on aquabid or the classified section of this forum or a lfs
I had a rather unsuccessful plant shopping day. Between three shops visited I bought four little sprigs of wisteria and an anubias. Not nearly enough to start my tank. I'm definitely not impressed with the selection of live plants at the store locations. I called three other stores, too.
On the bright side, I know where to go to get my snails now :)
Thanks so much for the help, guys. I'm well on my way :)
Last night I ordered plants from tricker.com. I ordered 1 bunch each of wisteria, green hygro, anacharis, ludwigia, cabomba, and one portion of duckweed.
Plus the 4 stems of wisteria and one anubias plant I already have, are these enough plants? I really should have posted to ask before I ordered them but at the time I thought it would be plenty. But now I'm doubting myself.
And could anyone suggest a number of snails and shrimp? I read that nerites are poo machines. Don't know about the shrimp. I don't want to accidentally create an ammonia crisis.
Tricker sends a TON of plants, so you should be in good shape. They tend to be very healthy, but not really "refined" growth. I really stuff my tanks full, and they are super stable. Don't be afraid to plant until you can't see 75-80% of the substrate, looking down from the top.
I have found that many plants go through a freak out period when they get moved. Whether it is from shipping or new tank parameters, or both, it is expected their will be some leaf die off. Just take the dying stuff off and wait it out, you will soon get new growth.
Planted Aquariums Central is my favorite online source for plants. Never lost a plant from him, and they all adapted quickly.